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 Credits
Specialist Core 24
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 3
Field Exper in Ed Ldrshp (Field Experience may be waived based on experience and goals)  
Professional Paper 3
Professional Paper & Project  
Total Credits 30


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 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's approval.

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 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. 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. Tena Versland, Program Leader
406-994-6799 Email: [email protected]

Dr. Bill Ruff
406-994-4182 Email: [email protected]