Educational Specialist in
District Level Administration

The Educational Specialist in District Level Administration degree is designed for educational leaders who wish to become a superintendent or district level administrator. This program equips students with the skills necessary to effectively lead a PreK-12 school district.

The program leads to PreK-12 district-level administrator’s licensure in Indiana.

Total cost at ACE


(tuition + fees)

Applications due April 3 for April 6, 2020 Term

Estimated Time to Completion:
2 Years

View Tuition Details

Key Features of Our Educational Specialist Degree

  • Thoughtful Field Experience Approach: Your hands-on field experiences are embedded in your courses and finish with a dedicated internship course. Experiences start at an entry-level and move to advanced as you progress through the program.
  • Advanced Coursework: You will learn the fundamentals of how to write and perform research at an advanced graduate level.
  • Flexible: Study on your schedule. Our online format allows you to plan your coursework around your life.
  • Relevant Coursework: Aligned to national and Indiana Standards, you will learn how to think like a superintendent during your coursework so you’ll be prepared for your next step.
  • State-Approved: This program is approved for superintendent licensure in Indiana.
  • Transferable: If you choose to continue your education, you can apply some of the credits earned in this specialist program toward one of our Ed.D. programs and get your degree faster.

For more information about this program, view the College Catalog. You can also ask questions anytime via chat.

Department Chair

Kathleen Stroud, Ed.D.
Administrative Faculty and Chair,
Department of Leadership and Administration

A Degree You Can Count On

We are, and have always been, regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This accreditation guarantees our programs meet certain levels of quality standards.   

A Note About Licensure:

Graduates of programs which are approved to lead to licensure, endorsement, or certification may be subject to additional requirements for the receipt of initial licensure, endorsement, or certification in the state in which they intend to teach or administrate.

Students are strongly encouraged to check licensure requirements in the state in which they intend to teach or administrate to determine whether they are eligible for licensure, endorsement, or certification.

It is vitally important that students know and be continually aware of the requirements for licensure in their state. State licensing requirements and licensing agency information may be found here.


Ed.S. in District Level Administration

Total Tuition

34 semester credits x $306 per credit



$100 Application Fee

$1,530 Technology & Library Fee ($45 per credit)

$150 Program Conferral Fee


Total Program Cost*


*This is an estimated value of the cost for tuition and fees. Amounts may vary depending on number of transfer credits applied to the selected program hours, the pace and satisfactory completion of the selected program credit hours, receipt of scholarship and/or grant amounts, and adjustments to tuition or fees as described in the Catalog Right to Modify Tuition section.

State of California Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF)

It is a state of California requirement that a student who pays his or her tuition is required to pay a state-imposed assessment for the Student Tuition Recovery Fund. For more information and to see if you must pay the state-imposed assessment for Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) click here.

ACE General Admission Requirements

  • Complete and submit all application components including the admission application, including the enrollment agreement, and payment agreement.
  • Submit the nonrefundable application fee.*
  • Provide official transcripts from a regionally accredited institution indicating successful completion of the level of education required for entry to the program.**

*The application fee is valid for one year from date of submission.
**Additional evidence may be required to fulfill state requirements, including but not limited to verification of professional experience, test scores, or an interview.

Program Admission Requirements

Ed.S. in District Level Administration

  • Transcript showing Masters' or doctoral level
  • Minimum grade point average 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for full admission
  • Provisional admission is not permitted
  • Submit a current curriculum vitae (preferred) or resume
  • Submit a goal statement, demonstrating a clear expression of purpose and anticipated personal and professional goals
  • Complete an interview
  • Proof of initial, standard, provisional, proficient, or accomplice practitioner license
  • Proof of 2 years teaching experience

International Transcript Requirements

All applicants must submit to the Admissions Office official, sealed college transcripts from each institution attended.

  • Transcripts that are international and/or not in English must be evaluated through an NACES-recommended agency.
  • Texas applicants may only submit evaluations from agencies approved by the Texas Education Agency.
  • International applicants must request the course-by-course evaluation. The evaluation report must show that the non-U.S. education is equivalent to the education/accreditation level required for the program.

English as a Second Language Applicants

All applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate competence in the English language as demonstrated in one of three ways:

  1. Submission of an official transcript showing a degree from a United States secondary school or regionally accredited college/university.

  2. Submission of an official minimum score on the paper or internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exams.
    • The minimum TOEFL score required for the internet-based version is 80, and the paper-based version requires a minimum TOEFL score of 20 for each of the three skills: Reading, Listening, and, Writing.

    • The minimum IELTS score required is 6.5. Note: IELTS is not acceptable for Texas programs leading to certification.

    • The testing agency must send test scores directly to American College of Education.
  3. Applicants to the Texas Educational Leadership program whose first language is not English must submit scores from the Internet-Based (IBT) TOEFL. An overall score of 80, and a score of 26 on the speaking section is required.

Admissions Appeal Process

Applicants have the right to appeal admissions decisions. Begin the process by filling out the admissions appeal here.


Explore the classes you'll take to fulfill this program's 34 semester credit requirement. For more information, a complete list of requirements, and course options, see the College Catalog.

Research Courses

(4 semester credits)

This course enables students to perform active research applying data collection and data analysis techniques for evidence-based decision making. Students explore how action research can become a vital tool to improve organizational operations and activities.
This course examines the importance of scholarly writing in your leadership practice, the foundation of how to write in a scholarly mode, and research strategies to support your doctoral writing. 

Leadership Courses

(7 semester credits)

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.
The course focus is on theory, research, and practices related to ethical administration. Students will assess ethical decision making and implications for policy.
This course examines how structure, values, and behavior impact an organization and its culture. Students analyze how leadership theories can be integrated and applied into advanced leadership roles.

District Leadership Courses

(23 semester credits)

Students explore developing and sustaining a positive educational culture by modeling personal, professional, and ethical behavior to promote building of student and adult relationships and the achievement of transformative results in PK-12 districts. Pre-requisite: RES6403.
This course enables future school district leaders to enhance their skill sets in managing human capital and maximizing all available district human resources, including teachers, staff, and district personnel, in a manner that is aligned to district vision, mission, and goals, and, ultimately, supports student achievement.
This course emphasizes the role of superintendents serving as district-level leaders of learning and agents of reform focused on the achievement and performance of diverse student populations. Leadership practices include establishing a district-wide, collaborative culture that embraces the instructional vision, mission, values, and goals; a high-quality, rigorous curricular, instructional, and assessment program; opportunities for teamwork, reflection, conversation, sharing, and problem solving among stakeholders; professional learning and the building of leadership capacity in self and others, and the use of data to provide prompt feedback to building-level principals and staff, monitor and improve instruction, and increase student performance. Candidates engage in activities to gain knowledge of best instructional practices, including preservation of teaching time, and how to promote activities contributing to the academic success of all students. This course includes 25 hours of field experiences. 
An essential skill for superintendents, decision making identifies critical elements of a choice to determine a plan of action. This course considers ways decisions are made and how these strategies can be evaluated to improve educational outcomes for diverse student populations. Specifically, the course addresses the development of skills to efficiently and consistently make informed decisions using data to evaluate and improve instructional quality and to regularly provide building-level principals and staff with prompt, high-quality feedback aimed at improving student outcomes.Candidates engage in activities using effective decision-making strategies related to change, including forging consensus and managing, monitoring, and gaining cooperation from key stakeholders in planning and implementing reform.The role of collaboration in decision making is also emphasized. This course includes 25 hours of field experiences. 
This course prepares superintendents to guide the development, alignment, and implementation of essential curricula, instruction, and assessment to meet the needs of diverse learners in a changing world. Emphasis is on curricular design and essential content, including reading and the new literacies; differentiated instruction, technology integration, civic and global awareness, and trends and issues impacting the effectiveness of PK-12 education today.   This course includes 25 hours of field experiences. 
This course enables students to gain valuable insight, knowledge, and skill sets for strategically and effectively managing PK-12 school districts, demonstrating organizational and operational leadership and resource management.
This course provides students with the opportunity to apply theory, pedagogy, culture, and best practices for district-level administration from the perspective of a superintendent. Through an application-based learning environment, students gain knowledge of specific critical issues facing district-level administrators and their districts. Topics include vision, mission, climate, culture, managing human capital, and qualities of effective teachers and administrators in diverse PK-12 learning environments. Students are required to document a minimum of 250 hours of field-based internship experience to pass this course.
This course is designed for superintendent candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their district-level administrator knowledge and competencies gained throughout their coursework for the superintendency.