Ed.S. in Educational Leadership

  • Total Credit Hours: 27
  • Degree Format: Online


The Educational Specialist’s Degree in Educational Leadership program is a comprehensive program of study including course work and related clinical experiences leading to a Tier II Georgia certificate in Educational Leadership.  The Education Specialist’s Degree program incorporates clinical practice linking theoretical and philosophical frameworks of educational leadership to actual practice.  Through the combination of course work and performance-based activities, candidates will be able to develop the necessary competencies to become an educational leader.

The VSYOU Difference

The candidate is expected to complete significant and varied administrative responsibilities under the guidance of the Candidate Support Team (CST) consisting of the candidate, a leadership mentor, and the VSU leadership advisor.  The goal is to develop one’s leadership and management abilities by engaging in problem analysis, collecting relevant data, collaborative problem-solving, participating in curricular and instructional activities, and participating in instructional supervision.  Candidates undertake activities addressing curriculum development, student and program evaluation, staff development, scheduling, interpretation and use of statistical data for school improvement planning, budgeting procedures, school/community relations, facility maintenance and operations, and the uses of technology for administrative and instructional purposes.

What You'll Learn

The Educational Leadership program is designed to provide future leaders:

  1. An opportunity to acquire practical experience in school leadership
  2. A linkage of theory and practice
  3. An integrated experience in problem resolution and decision-making as well as other selected aspects of educational leadership
  4. The environment to experiment with new ideas, approaches, and strategies in a low-risk, supportive environment
  5. A basis for assessing professional strengths and needs for further development

Cost and Length of Program

The prescribed Educational Specialist’s Performance-Based Leadership course sequence will allow you to complete the course requirements of the program within four semesters.  Based on completing 27 course hours, the cost of the program is approximately $8,500*. We encourage you to compare our cost with any other institution.  We think you will be pleasantly surprised to see the great value offered through VSU.

(*Cost computed based on Fall 2016 rates.)

Admissions Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Education Specialist degree program, the applicant must hold a minimum of a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and a Tier I entry certification or hold a grandfathered L or PL certificate in Educational Leadership from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC).  The applicant must have a cumulative graduate grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale calculated on all work attempted.  Verification is required in the form of official transcripts.  All Education Specialist degree programs require a Graduate Record Examination (GRE), or Miller’s Analogy Test (MAT) score.  Recommended scores for admission are as follows:

  • GRE - 146 Verbal and 141 quantitative
  • MAT – 390

Candidates must submit an assurance form signed by a system/agency administrator to verify the candidate is serving in a leadership position. The employing system/agency must have an active partnership with Valdosta State University to supervise a residency experience for the candidate. Candidates not serving in a leadership position may be admitted if the system/agency and Valdosta State University establish a formal written agreement specifying the candidate will be released from other responsibilities for a portion of the workweek, sufficient in length, to complete the residency. 

Applicants must submit a career goal statement serving as a writing sample.  The statement must demonstrate 1) the ability to organize and articulate thoughts, 2) writing skills including grammar and punctuation, and 3) the ability to set goals consistent with one’s desired career path.  The statement must address the applicant’s career goals, how the degree contributes to reaching these career goals, and why VSU was selected for this graduate work.  This career goal statement should be no more than 250 words and is to be submitted to the Graduate School with the other application materials. The career goals statement accounts for no more than 30 percent of the admissions decision process.

On or after July 1, 2016, candidates must complete, but do not have to pass, the Georgia Ethics for Educational Leadership – Program Entry (370) Assessment prior to becoming enrolled.  NOTE: Candidates having completed this program entry requirement for Tier I do not have to complete the assessment for Tier II.

Program of Study

Area A: Leadership - 6 hours

Course Number & Title Credit Hours
LEAD 8620 Trends & Issues for Principals 3
LEAD 8520 Executive Leadership for Education 3

Area B: Performance-Based Activities - 21 hours

Performance-based activities must be conducted at either the building or system level.

Course Number & Title Credit Hours
LEAD 8920 Leadership Performance-Based Activities I 3
LEAD 8930 Leadership Performance-Based Activities II 6
LEAD 8940 Leadership Performance-Based Activities III 6
LEAD 8950 Leadership Performance-Based Activities IV 6

Exit Requirements

Candidates exit the program upon satisfactory completion of the 27-hour program with a 3.0 grade point average on all graduate work attempted and post a score on the Performance Assessment for School Leaders (PASL).  Used as a certification requirement for Educational Leadership Tier II, a passing score on the PASL is required for certification, but not for graduation.  The assessment will be administered twice per year during pre-established submission windows. Candidates will have approximately two months to upload task responses into the online submission system.

On or after July 1, 2016, candidates must post evidence of having attempted the Georgia Ethics for Educational Leadership – Program Exit (380) Assessment.  NOTE: A candidate must pass the assessment to earn certification in the field of Educational Leadership, but not for graduation.  Candidates having passed the Georgia Ethics for Educational Leadership – Program Exit (380) Assessment for a Tier I certificate do not have to pass the assessment again for Tier II certification.

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    Valdosta, GA 31698