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Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) - Leadership

Specialist (Ed.S.) in Leadership

The online Ed.S. is a post-master's degree that does not require a dissertation. If you already have a master's degree and are thinking about pursuing a full doctorate in the future at ACE, the Ed.S. can be a great way to begin your studies. All Ed.S. coursework is applicable to the Ed.D. in Leadership.

The program provides an excellent forum for problem solving and sharing current leadership issues. The culture of collaboration within the program is an invaluable resource for leaders working in fields such as education, nonprofit administration, business and public service.

Leaders from all disciplines are welcome, including education, business, nonprofit management and community leadership. Applicants should hold a master's degree including an M.A., M.B.A., M.Ed. or M.S., with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, from a regionally accredited institution. International degrees may also be accepted. Please visit the Admissions page for more information.

The Ed.S. degree is a practitioner's degree, so it is designed especially for professionals currently working in their field. The degree does not include an internship or lead to a license or endorsement.

Students in the Ed.S. in Leadership program may choose from one of the following focus of study options:

  • Leadership - This focus of study explores topics relevant to any leadership position. Whether the focus is on establishing an appropriate research base or writing grants, leaders practice ethical decision making through the implementation of policies and a framework of governance.

  • Online Learning and Teaching - This focus of study supports candidates who seek to serve as technology leaders and emphasizes new ways of thinking about technology and the integration of applications. Learning how to design environments that enhance and support organizational goals are considered to maximize learning for both individual and corporate purposes.

  • STEM - This focus of study utilizes digital resources to foster the innovative engagement of diverse learners associated with the integrated contents of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The courses offer a holistic overview of historical and current issues and trends impacting integrated science education while cultivating research-based strategies to improve learning and leadership in the field.

  • Instructional Content  -  any four (4) master’s level courses taken at ACE. Classes must meet standard internal credit transfer requirements as outlined in the Graduate Catalog.


Students in the Ed.S. in Leadership program will:

  • Seek, interpret and utilize evidence to inform decision-making.
  • Develop a professional knowledge base through systematic inquiry.
  • Explore issues of equity, ethics, and social justice.

 Start your application, or check admission requirements.

Program Summary

The Education Specialist degree is a practitioner’s degree at the post-master’s level for those who seek advanced credentials but not a full doctoral degree with a dissertation requirement. The objective of the degree is to develop skills and competencies that will make the student a more effective teacher, administrator, or leader. The Ed.S. in Leadership is designed principally for educators and other leaders who already possess licensure or certification as a teacher or school administrator, and who wish to expand their understanding of evidence-based leadership. The degree does not lead to professional licensure, nor does it include an internship.
View our faculty here

Program Outcomes

  • Collaborate in diverse communities of learning and build partnerships with states, school districts, or other organizations

  • Contribute to solutions for complex problems of practice

  • Analyze and promote best practices in leadership

  • Demonstrate evidence-based decision-making, integrating principles of equity, ethics, and social justice of civic concern in local and global communities

  • Develop and implement personal and organization-level knowledge and skills including technology

  • Demonstrate mastery of content knowledge through the utilization of critical and creative thinking

  • Demonstrate competence in the application of multiple research methods

Course Plan

Initial Courses (3 semester credits each, except if noted otherwise)

This Course to be taken at the beginning of program

LEAD6001 Introduction to Advanced Studies (1 credit)

Core Courses (3 semester credits each, except if noted otherwise)

Classes to be taken during remaining terms (order based on availability)

RES6011 Research Tool: APA & Bibliographic Software
RES6021 Research Tool: Creating and Analyzing Measures
RES6221 Crafting a Concept Paper
RES6013
Research Methods
RES6003
Applied Statistics (Pre-req: RES6003)
LEAD6001
Introduction to Advanced Studies (1 semester credit)
LEAD6123 Management of Financial Resources
LEAD6133 Models of Leadership and Coaching
LEAD6143 Strategic Operations Planning and Innovation
LEAD6163 Management of Human Capital

Focus of Study Options

Students may select one of the following focuses of study:

Leadership (3 semester credits each)

LEAD6103 Evidence-Based Learning and Teaching
LEAD6113 Ethical Leadership and Social Justice
LEAD6153 Policy and Governance
LEAD6183 Grants Writing for Leaders

Online Learning and Teaching (3 semester credits each)

TECH6303 Online Learning and Teaching
TECH6313 Creating Online Collaboration and Communities
TECH6323 Designing Courses and Programs
TECH6333 Online Teaching and Assessment

STEM - any four courses (3 semester credits each)

SCI6203 Foundations of Integrated Science Education
SCI6213 Engaging Diversity in the Science Classroom
SCI6223 Modern Learning and Integrated Science Education
SCI6233 Inventing and Reinventing Mathematics and Science Curriculum: Elementary, Secondary, & College Level

Instructional Content


Any 4 master’s level courses taken at ACE. Classes must meet standard internal credit transfer requirements as outlined in the Graduate Catalog.

Capstone Course (3 semester credits)

CAP6923 Capstone in Leadership

Total: 37 semester credits

Core Courses

LEAD6001 Introduction to Advanced Study (1 semester credit)

Students will undertake an examination of the rigors of advanced graduate study and reflect on personal strengths and challenges at the start of their program. Topics include identity as scholar-practitioner, models of inquiry, self-assessment, and professional goals.

LEAD6123 Management of Financial Resources

Students will examine principles and concepts of finance at local, state, federal, and international levels; strategies for maximizing and obtaining financial resources, and economic issues of the third sector.

LEAD6133 Models of Leadership and Coaching

Students will evaluate and compare different leadership and coaching models and determine appropriateness for diverse settings.

LEAD6143 Strategic Operations Planning and Innovation

Students will design, develop, and implement models of strategic planning that exhibit innovation.

LEAD6163 Management of Human Capital

The course emphasizes principles and practices of personnel administration, including recruitment, selection, evaluation, staff development, and employee relations. Students will evaluate best practices for working with volunteer boards, advisory councils, and external stakeholders.

Research Courses

RES6003 Applied Statistics

Students will examine topics associated with statistics including parametric and non-parametric tests, hypothesis formation, frequency distributions, measures of central tendency and dispersion, inferential statistics, and correlation. Emphasis will be placed on the selection of appropriate statistical techniques. Students will conduct and interpret statistical analysis using SPSS.

RES6013 Research Methods

Students will examine foundations of research design, data collection, analysis, and presentation. Students will assess ethics of educational research and reporting.

RES6221 Crafting a Concept Paper

This course provides students the opportunity to complete an approved concept paper as the first step toward the Ed.S. original research project. Students will apply advanced research skills to address a real-world application of scholarly expertise as it relates to solving an existing problem.

A description of the project will provide the rationale for the goals and objectives and includes a literature review, methodology, and the anticipated results of the research project. Pre-requisites:  RES6013: Research Methods; RES6003 Applied Statistics, and 27 semester credits. Repeat the course as needed to complete the approved concept paper.

Research Tools

RES6011 Research Tool: APA & Bibliographic Software (1 semester credit)

Students in this course will employ APA format for manuscripts and citations and compare bibliographic software for organizing references.

RES6021 Research Tool: Creating and Analyzing Measures (1 semester credit)

Students will assess existing measures of performance and effectiveness. Students will create sample online surveys for data collection, as well as examine and analyze survey results. Issues associated with the development of valid measures, interviews, questionnaires, and surveys will be addressed.

Focus of study

Students will select from one of multiple focus of study options. To review course detail for each focus of study, click here.

Capstone Experience

CAP6923 Capstone in Leadership

The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the Educational Specialist in Leadership program.

Semester Credits Tuition Per Credit Total Tuition
37 $306 $11,322.00

Applicable fees

  • Application fee: $100
  • Technology fee: $30 per credit hour (for a total of $1,110)
  • Capstone fee: $150
  • Program conferral fee: $150

Total program cost: $12,832. For more information, visit the tuition section.

Total program cost for students who are admitted, re-entered, or changed programs before the February 22, 2016 term: $12,415.75

Additional considerations for Ed.S. students

Access to an e-portfolio is provided through existing fees; no additional fee is charged.

Required course materials currently include bibliographic software that may be purchased using a discount negotiated by ACE.

Students may choose required statistics software, either for free or as a purchased tool.




American College of Education has completely changed my views on what it means to lead. My experience with ACE was one of the defining moments of my life and set me on a path that was not expecting, but thoroughly enjoy. I will be forever grateful for wherever it leads me.

Brenda Raccuia M.Ed. Educational Technology 2013