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Educational Specialist in Leadership, Ed.S.

The educational specialist in leadership program provides school, district, and organizational 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. Of the credits from a completed degree, 90% will transfer to partner institutions for doctoral programs. Courses offered in person or online.

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 Ed.D. programs at partnering universities. The Ed.S. in leadership with a cognate in district level administration builds on the master's degree and develops leadership practitioners for school and/or central office administrative positions.


Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year, but timely application is strongly encouraged to secure course enrollment. The GRE is not required. The $30 nonrefundable application fee is waived if you have previously applied to GVSU.

Why Study Educational Leadership at Grand Valley?

  • Faculty members have extensive K-12 teaching and administrative backgrounds.
  • Convenient locations with classes in person or online, making it accessible across the state.
  • Flexible hybrid classes offered evenings meet virtually or in person about once per month, making it easier for teachers and administrators to plan their schedules.
  • The leadership curriculum is an excellent blend of theory and practical application.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Grand Valley State University's College of Education and Community Innovation is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association (NCA). The faculty are leaders in their fields, melding together the philosophy of education and your needs as a practitioner.

Location & Format

Classes for the program are a combination of online and in-seat on the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids campus.

This program is also available in Traverse City.



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 and organizations whose management and administrative understandings, skills, and dispositions foster quality education. 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.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the educational specialist degree in leadership program requires the following:

  • A master's degree with at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
  • Essay/personal statement indicating how this degree will support candidates' personal and career goals.
  • Three letters of recommendation. Two from a professional, addressing your leadership skills and success. One from an individual who can address your academic/scholarly capabilities.
  • 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.

International students, please note: This program does not offer enough consecutive physical classroom presence for a student to qualify for an F-1 visa.

For More Information

College of Education and Community Innovation
401 Fulton Street West, Building C
(616) 331-6650
Program Contact: Gregory Warsen, Ph.D., [email protected]

Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Office

Program Director

Gregory Warsen, Ph.D.
(616) 331-6209


“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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