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 post secondary 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.

Course Offerings

The doctoral course of study features a combination of face-to-face and online courses. As such, it is considered an on-campus program which blends both formats of instruction. 

Courses are offered in a regular, predictable rotation as much as possible. Core courses are offered at least once each year. At a minimum, all other courses are offered every other year. During the summer, courses are offered based on student needs.

The Graduate Course Rotation depicts a working schedule of course offerings and delivery methods.

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. The chair and one other member must be from the Adult and Higher Education 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.


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 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 student choosing the professional paper option 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 on found in 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 EdD and PhD degrees, it must be clearly understood that admission to one program does not imply admission to the other. EdS students must formally apply to the EdD or PhD program as well as be in good standing with The Graduate School, and not failed the doctoral comprehensive exam.

Contact Information

Dr. Sweeney Windchief, Program Leader
[email protected] 

Dr. Bryce Hughes
[email protected]

Dr. Carrie Myers  (on sabbatical 2021-2022 AY)
[email protected]

Dr. Tricia Seifert
[email protected]