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The Richard M. DeVos Center, home to Grand Valley's College of Education.

Education, Educational Specialist in Leadership, Ed.S.

The Educational Specialist in Leadership (Ed.S.) program provides district leaders with clinical experiences, case methods of teaching, and pragmatic curriculum geared to the specific knowledge required by district leaders and superintendents at different career stages.

Visit the program website for more information.

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Program Overview

The program offers candidates the opportunity to expand their knowledge skills, networking, and career opportunities. In addition, it makes for an excellent transition to an Ed.D. program. The Ed.S. in leadership with a cognate in administration builds on the master's degree and develops leadership practitioners for school and/or central office administrative positions.

Why Study Educational Leadership at Grand Valley?

  • Faculty members who have demonstrated successful practice in their K-12 backgrounds.
  • Instruction grounded in theory but delivered in a context of authentic work.
  • Accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association (NCA).
  • Consideration of family and career commitments.
  • Convenient locations. Some classes are online; others are at sites in southwestern and northern Michigan.
  • Opportunity to join a network of peers in school administration.
  • Flexibility. Evening, weekend, and summer classes make it easy for teachers and administrators to plan their schedules.

Location & Format

Classes for graduate students in this major meet downtown on the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

This program is also available in Traverse City.

  • Face To Face


The degree is 30 credit hours divided into three components: 18 hours in the degree core area, nine hours in the administrative emphasis area, and a three hour culminating experience designed to apply the knowledge, skills, and dispositions acquired throughout the program in an internship/practicum.

Career Options

The degree prepares effective leaders for K-12 districts whose management and administrative understandings, skills, and dispositions foster quality education for children and youth. A significant number of Ed.S. candidates have received jobs during and/or upon completion of their program as school administrators, central office directors, assistant superintendents and superintendents.

Skills Employers Want

Educational specialist and leadership graduates will leave with the following skills:

  • Management and supervision
  • Educational leadership and change
  • Organizational behavior
  • Ethics
  • Decision making
  • Data based decision making
  • Organizational relations
  • Community relations
  • Educational law
  • Economics

Application Deadline

Deadline for fall semester is May 15; winter deadline is September 15; spring/summer deadline is February 15. Early application is strongly encouraged, those received after the deadline will be considered for the next cycle. The $30 nonrefundable application fee is waived if the applicant has previously applied to Grand Valley State University. Please visit

Admission Requirements

All students seeking the Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) in Leadership Program must be formally admitted to graduate study. A maximum of six graduate credits earned prior to graduate admission may apply to degree requirements.

    In addition to university admissions requirements in the GVSU Catalog, students must meet the Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) Admission Criteria:

    1. A master’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
    2. A one-/two-page Essay/Personal Statement of your career goals and how the Educational Specialist Program at GVSU will help you achieve your educational and professional objective.
    3. Three letters of recommendation. 
    4. A verified background check from a current employer or fingerprinting through the College of Education is required prior to registering for EDL 770.
    5. Copy of current resume (see below).

    Current resume must include the following:

    • Title of master’s project or thesis, degrees received with dates, institutions, majors and minors.
    • Listing of employment.
    • Description of leadership experience, dates, and location.
    • Presentations, publications, memberships, and professional development.

    Visit the College of Education page for alternate criteria and policies.

    NOTE: As of 4/19/2019, Official GRE General test scores are no longer required for admission to the Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) in Leadership Program. 

    For More Information

    College of Education
    401 W. Fulton St, Building C
    (616) 331-6650

    Graduate Admissions Office


    “The Education Specialist program has provided me with tremendous experiences and opportunities that have truly expanded and enhanced my professional skills. The staff are always willing to help and support you, and they are very considerate of your professional schedules and responsibilities.”



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