The Education Specialist Degree (EdS) is a practitioner’s degree.  Many states require this degree for Superintendent Licensure, however, Montana does not.  This degree is particularly valuable for students who see themselves as school system leaders in medium sized to larger school systems. Admission into the Educational Leadership program is required.

Program Flow

The purpose of the EdS Degree is to provide skills and knowledge required for District Superintendent and central office leadership. In addition to improving skill and knowledge, it is the goal of the program to create strong networks among students to support effective practices.  To that end, classes are generally offered in a blended format which combines face-to-face delivery and distance delivery.  An appropriate balance of theory and practice is a strong consideration in planning for the content of the classes. Typically the Superintendent Core (EDLD 620, EDLD 645, EDLD 650, EDLD 655) is offered every summer on campus during a two-week window in June.

Program of Study

Course Number
Course Title
Specialist Core
Ldrshp and Organizational Thry
The School Superintendent
Supervision & Instruct Ldrshp
Personnell and Collective Bargaining in MT
MT Finance & Facilities
MT Legal & Policy Studies
Ed Policy & Politics
Leading Social Justice
Field Experience
Field Exper in Ed Ldrshp (Field Experience may be waived based on experience and goals)
Professional Paper
Professional Paper & Project
Total Credits


The student should carefully select his/her chair after thorough conversations with the approved Educational Leadership 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 and committee approval.


Candidates will have a three member committee. Candidates should work closely with their committee chair to prepare and submit graduate committee form 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.

Comprehensive Examination/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 on found in the departmental website with the following two exceptions: 1) no dissertation is required, and 2) courses over seven years old at the time of graduation may not be included on the graduate program of study.

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.

All EdS degree candidates are expected to be familiar with both The Graduate School's degree requirements: http://www.montana.edu/gradschool/policy/degreq_doctoral.html and Department of Education degree requirements listed on each of the three program's websites and the Graduate Student Handbook.

Department of Education Resources for Graduate Students


Grad Request Info

Contact Information

Dr. Jason Cummins, Program Leader and Assistant Professor of    Educational Leadership
Phone: 406-994-4142 Email: [email protected]

Dr. Bill Ruff, Professor of Educational Leadership
406-994-4182  Email: [email protected]