The Education Specialist Degree (EdS) in Adult and Higher Education is a scholarly practitioner’s degree for graduate students who have earned their Master's degree and intend to work within a postsecondary setting or other adult and community educational areas. The degree emphasizes doctoral level coursework to prepare students for specialized administrative positions where original research is not an expectation.

Program Flow

After acceptance, the student will be assigned a temporary advisor and should then meet with his/her assigned advisor. During the second semester of enrollment, the student will identify a graduate committee chair and committee members, establish and submit their program of study to the Graduate School.

Program of Study

Course Number

Course Title


Core Courses (15 Credit Hours)


EDLD 605

Higher Education History and Philosophy


EDLD 616

Org & Administration of Higher Education


EDLD 628

College Students


EDU 637

Institutional Research and Assessment





EDU 614

Program Evaluation


EDU 600

Doctoral Seminar


Electives (18 credit hours)


EDLD 509

Issues and Trends in Higher Education


EDLD 512

Finance & Administration in Higher Education


EDLD 513

Resource and Program Management


EDU 612

Critical Race Theory


NASX 523

Am Indians/Minority in High Ed


EDLD 529

Post Secondary Distance Delivered Education


EDLD 635

College Teaching


EDLD 531

Student Development Theory


EDLD 533

Law and Policy in Higher Education


EDLD 535

Student Services


* Approved electives may be selected from other Education programs or departments that strengthen the student's program of study. These courses need to be selected in consultation with the chair.

Required Research Courses (9 Credits)


EDU 602

Educational Statistics II


EDU 610

Qualitative Educational Research


EDU 607

Quantitative Educational Research


EDCI 506, EDCI 501 or equivalent are prerequisite courses and do not satisfy research component of the degree.


Professional Paper or Comprehensive Exams


EDLD 575

Professional Paper or Comprehensive Exams


Total Credits




Candidates will have a three-member committee. Candidates should work closely with their committee chair to prepare and submit a program of study immediately upon admission to the program. The majority of the committee should be made up of faculty from the degree-granting department. The chair and one other member must be from the Educational Leadership faculty. The third committee member must have academic credentials in the area of the student's program of study and be approved by the Head of the Department of Education and Dean of The Graduate School.


The student should carefully select his/her chair after thorough conversations with the Adult and Higher Education faculty members. The chair will serve as the student's primary advisor. The committee, as a whole, is subject to the approval of the Head of the Department of Education. Chairs and members of a student's committee are subject to change. In addition, revision to the program of study can be made during the course of study with the chair's approval.


Comprehensive Examinations 

Near the end of completing course work, students will complete a written and oral comprehensive exam or a professional paper. Students are expected to demonstrate mastery of the program of study. The substantive content of the written exam questions will be determined by the chair in consultation with the committee.


Professional Paper

The EdS student will develop a professional paper as his/her summative experience. The professional paper will address a specific issue and contextualized problem of practice using appropriate theory and research-based best practices. Specifically, the professional paper will: 1) frame the problem; 2) review pertinent research literature; 3) identify appropriate methods used to demonstrate the extent of the problem and the efficacy of the solution employed; and 4) provide recommendations grounded in research to solve the problem.

Additional Education Specialist Requirements

The Education Specialist degree must meet the minimum requirements under the For Doctoral Students section found on the departmental website with the following two exceptions: 1) no dissertation is required, and 2) courses over seven years old may not be included on the graduate program of study.

Additional requirements for the EdS degree are available through the Department of Education. All EdS degree candidates are expected to be familiar with both departmental and The Graduate School's requirements.

While many courses for the Education Specialist degree are the same as those for the Doctor of Education degree, it must be clearly understood that admission to one program does not imply admission to the other. Transfer from Doctoral to Education Specialist status will be possible only if the applicant: 1) is in good standing with The Graduate School, and 2) has not failed the doctoral comprehensive exam.

Contact Information

Dr. Marilyn Lockhart, Program Leader

Dr. Bryce Hughes

Dr. Carrie Myers

Dr. Tricia Seifert

Dr. Sweeney Windchief