Northcentral University’s Education Specialist (EdS) program is designed specifically for professionals who desire concentrated continuing education in response to the national and international need for professionals trained in diverse educational specializations. This program is specifically tailored for students who desire to engage in the most advanced levels of professional practice or potentially advance to doctoral studies. Upon completion of the program, students can apply to Northcentral’s Doctor of Education (EdD) program with advanced standing. The prerequisite for admission in the EdS program is a Master’s Degree in any field from an accredited institution.

Northcentral’s EdS program offers students a chance to advance in their chosen field or to embark on a new career through a 33 credit-hour course of study in selected specializations within the School of Education.  The EdS specializations include Curriculum and Teaching, Early Childhood Education, Education Leadership, E-Learning, English as a Second Language, Global Training and Development, Higher Education Leadership, International Education, Instructional Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Special Education, and Sports Management.

Education Specialist (EdS) Program Goals

General Degree Requirements

The EdS Program may be completed in 33 credits. An Academic Advisor or Enrollment Specialist evaluates each student individually and works with the student to create an academically sound Learning Plan based on prior academics and their professional goals.

Completion Period for Doctoral Degrees

Northcentral University allows 5 years to complete the EdS degree.

Northcentral University may accept a maximum of 9 semester credit hours in transfer toward the specialization courses in the Education Specialist degree for graduate coursework completed toward a non-conferred doctoral degree at an accredited college or university with a grade of “B” or better. Transfer credit is only awarded for course work that is evaluated to be substantially equivalent in content with the required course work for the EdS program.

Students who are unable to complete a degree program within the stated time limits are dismissed. If a student believes they have extenuating circumstances they may document the circumstances and send a request for consideration to their respective School Dean or designee. Exceptions to the policy are determined on a case-by-case basis and are granted only once.

Normal time to completion for this program is 59 months. Time to completion varies depending upon the pace in which a student completes courses and the number of transfer credits accepted. As most Northcentral students are working adults balancing educational, professional, and personal commitments, our academic advisors will work with you to develop a program schedule that works best for your needs.

The normal time disclosed above reflects the experience of students who may have entered under different program requirements. In the quest for continuous improvement, academic leadership has revised the program to optimize curriculum and pace, facilitate student learning, and improve chances for success. Therefore, the program is now designed for students enrolling today to take advantage of these revised course structures, lengths, and schedules. New students following the preferred schedule designed by the Dean for this program, and applying no transfer credits, can expect to finish in as little as 18 months.

Certification and Licensing

The School of Education serves educational leaders by providing online graduate studies in education to reach worldwide populations. The EdS program is designed to reach national and international markets and does not purport to provide licensure or certification in any particular state or country.

Education Specialist (EdS) Degree Requirements

Individuals with a previously completed master’s degree will meet the basis of admission to the Education Specialist Program. Students enrolled in the Education Specialist program are required to complete foundations, scholarly writing, specialization courses, and the capstone course with a Grade Point Average of 3.00 (B) or higher.

Course Length

All courses are 8 weeks in length.

Educational Specialist Course Sequence

All foundation and specialization coursework must be completed prior to students entering into the capstone course.

All EdS specializations require the following courses:

Click on the course name for description, click again to close.

EdS Required Basic Foundation Courses – 6 credit hours


Foundations for Graduate Study in Education (This course will be taken as the first course)  


Advanced Scholarly Writing

The EdS in Education requires two Foundations courses, two Research courses, six Specialization courses, and one Capstone course for a total of 33 credit hours.


Specialization Course 1


Research Methods


Specialization Course 2


Specialization Course 3


Specialization Course 4


Action Research


Specialization Course 5


Specialization Course 6

Education Specialist Capstone Course - 3 credit hours


Education Specialist Capstone Project


Education Specialist (EdS) Specializations

The Education Specialist (EdS) program emphasizes an applied, project based approach to development of appreciable improvements in the body of educational practice. The EdS attracts individuals who are primarily professionals either at the PK-12 level or the higher education level. (Enrollment managers, superintendents, principals, teacher leaders, and education faculty who primarily teach - not do research, educational consultants, trainers in organizations). The EdS capstone focuses on solving a problem in the workplace or in the professional field of education and results in a "product" or solution. This degree is also intended to help students increase their own workplace Leadership Skills. Specializations are offered in the following areas:

Specialization Selections for the Education Specialist Degree Program (EdS)

Curriculum and Teaching (CT) Specialization

This specialization provides students with the skill sets, knowledge and competencies to become a leader in the area of curriculum design and teaching. The specialization will provide an in-depth review of current practices, research, and contemporary teaching issues.

EdS Courses for CT Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 courses from the following:


Developing Instructional Strategies and Curriculum


The Role of the Teacher Practitioner


Identifying and Maximizing Learning/Teaching Styles


Teaching and Learning Foundations


Language and Literacy Education


Literacy: Focus on Curriculum


Multiple Intelligences


Leadership for Student Achievement


Evaluation of Instruction

Early Childhood Education (ECE) Specialization

The Education Specialist in Early Childhood Education program allows students to explore a broad spectrum of topics from growth and development, childhood literature, program administration, curriculum and assessment, and stakeholder partnerships. The specialization is designed with an emphasis on the development of skills in scientific inquiry and leadership. Students enrolled in this program will develop an understanding of theory related to the study of education in early childhood. Students will apply research findings in an informed manner and conduct applied research and program evaluation.

EdS Courses for ECE Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 courses from the following:


Topics in Early Childhood Education


Topics in Early Childhood Growth, Development, and Educational Programs


Topics in Early Childhood Program Administration


Early Childhood Curriculum and Assessment


Early Childhood Literacy and Literature


Families, Communities, and Schools as Partners in Early Childhood Education


Language and Literacy Education


Literacy: Focus on Curriculum

Educational Leadership (EDL) Specialization

Education is the foundation on which a modern society is built. This specialization prepares the student to address management and leadership issues in education and guide others through training, excellence in teaching, research and service. This specialization provides the knowledge base to be a leader in the field of education.

EdS Courses for EDL Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 courses from the following:


School Law


Language Arts and Reading


Educating a Diversity of Students


Educational Leadership


Financial Issues in Schools


Safety Issues for Educators


Supervision and Leadership in Schools


Policies and Practices in Leadership


Development of Organizational Leadership

E-Learning (EL) Specialization

This specialization integrates curriculum development, instructional design and course delivery using technology and online learning management systems. The specialization focuses on providing a knowledge base of current research for the planning and implementation of teaching and delivery modalities using instructional design methodologies incorporating educational media.

EdS Courses for EL Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 courses from the following:


Principles and Practices in E-Learning


E-Learning Instructional Strategies


Instructional Design and E-Learning Activities


The Online Student


Facilitating Adult Learning Online


Ethical and Legal Issues in an Online Course


Online Learning Communities in an Online Course


Online Learning for K12 Students


Educating a Diversity of Students

English Second Language (ESL) Specialization

The pedagogy of language acquisition is of extreme importance in today's classrooms and businesses. This specialization provides the knowledge base to build successful programs to enhance the learning of the English language, to assess skills of diverse students and to design instruction with bilingual materials. A practicum is possible for this level of study in English as a Second Language. (Note: students seeking ESL certification should verify with appropriate state officials that this specialization meets applicable certification requirements.)

EdS Courses for ESL Specialization – 18 credit hours

Select 6 courses from the following:


Instructional Practices


Cultural Diversity


Evaluation of Diverse Students


Bilingual Instructional Methods


Developing Curriculum for ESL Students


Second Language Foundations



Global Training and Development (GTD) Specialization

The graduates from Global Training and Development are tomorrow's leaders in the field of training. The coursework entails theoretical and practical information from the areas of organizational leadership, human resources, and adult education as well as a series of research courses in which strategies are changed, reviewed, and prioritized for future effectiveness. The specialization emphasizes systemic leadership and organizational capacity.

EdS Courses for GTD Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 courses from the following:

GTD7000 / GTD7000-8

Human Performance: Paradigms and Possibilities

GTD7005 / GTD7005-8

Strategic Links for Successful Global Training

GTD7007 / GTD7007-8

The Role of Technology in the Global Training Marketplace

GTD7011 / GTD7011-8

Best Practices for Training and Presenting to International Audiences

GTD7013 / GTD7013-8

Evaluating Training Programs

GTD7019 / GTD7019-8

Trainer as Consultant in the Global Marketplace

OL7002 / OL7002-8

Building Organizational Capacity

OL7001 / OL7001-8

Conflict Resolution and Mediation

ED7017 / ED7017-8

Systems Dynamics

OL7003 / OL7003-8

Leadership for Excellence

ED7030 / ED7030-8

Development of Organizational Leadership

Instructional Leadership (IL) Specialization

Leaders are needed to assist school districts and state educational boards with improvement of instructional capacities in our schools. This specialization provides a strong background in the supervision of instruction and the ability to assess and interpret data. The specialization focuses on instructional improvements and reform to enhance student achievement.

EdS Courses for IL Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 courses from the following:


The Culture of Learning


Leader as Advocate and Decision Maker


Leader as Community Advocate


Practices in School Organization


Supervision and Leadership in Schools


Curriculum Supervision


Development of Organizational Leadership


Innovation for Change

International Education (IE) Specialization

Today, leaders are needed who are trained with the skills and practical knowledge required to work effectively within the context of global economic, political, cultural, community influences in education. These same leaders must be aware of global trends and issues in the field of education, recognize the various dimensions of educational interventions and be able to analyze the implications for students nationally and internationally. Additionally, students in this specialization analyze the roles and approaches of international, comparative, and educational practicum.

EdS Courses for IE Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 courses from the following:


Introduction to Global and Comparative Education


Culture, Society and Education in Comparative Perspective


International Organizations in Global Education


Conflict Resolution in an International Context


Globalization and Educational Change


International Education Leadership


International Education Concepts and Theory


Global Perspective on Ethical Issues

Leadership in Higher Education (LHE) Specialization

The program provides knowledge in educational leadership research, theory and practices applicable to higher education. Action or applied research is conducted to identify future directions of national and global higher education leadership.

EdS Courses for LHE Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 courses from the following:


Organization & Governance of Higher Education


Legal Issues in Higher Education


Student Affairs Leadership


Strategic Enrollment Leadership


Higher Education Finance


Current Trends & Topics in Higher Education


Foundations of Higher Education Leadership


Strategic Planning & Institutional Effectiveness in Higher Education


Community College Curriculum and Program Development


Introduction to the Community College

Organizational Leadership (OL) Specialization

Designed for professionals aspiring towards leadership roles in education, corporate, government, or community organizations, this specialization equips students with the tools necessary to make things happen in any organization. This specialization concentrates on the strategies to forge alliances, build confidence, and inspire a shared vision. This curriculum is grounded in applied research and provides exploration of issues and resolutions in contemporary organizations.  

EdS Specialization Courses for OL Specialization– 18 credit hours

Select 6 courses from the following:

OL7001 / OL7001-8

Conflict Resolution and Mediation

OL7002 / OL7002-8

Building Organizational Capacity

OL7003 / OL7003-8

Leadership for Excellence

OL7004 / OL7004-8

Theory and Practice of Organizational Leadership

OL7005 / OL7005-8

Ethical Leadership

OL7007 / OL7007-8

Leader as Coach

OL7008 / OL7008-8

Executive Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations

Special Education (SE) Specialization

The program is designed for students who work with gifted and disabled students in a variety of settings. The course offerings in this specialization cover a wide spectrum of issues related to individuals with disabilities, including the development and characteristics of students, learning differences, and instructional strategies to address the needs of these students. Additionally, the specialization will provide the skills to plan, assess, and deliver instruction to students with mental, physical, behavioral, learning disabilities, and the gifted student.

EdS Courses for Special Education Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 courses from the following:


Introduction to the Exceptional Student


Assessment in Special Education


Characteristics of Learning Disabled Students


Emotionally Disabled Student


Developing Curriculum for the Mentally Disabled


Law in Special Education


Teaching Strategies in Special Education


Managing the Exceptional Student


Language Disabilities


Transitioning the Exceptional Student

Sports Management (SM) Specialization

The Education Specialist degree with a specialization in Sports Management provides educators with leadership expertise in this growing field. The program is designed to allow students the ability to increase their understanding of the field of Sports Management through practical application and doctoral research on the influences that impact sports and athletics. The program includes a combination of science-based academics, research methods, and real-world experience with an emphasis on the ever-changing financial, legal, political, and marketing concerns within the sports industry.

EdS Courses for Sports Management Specialization – 18 credit hours.

Select 6 courses from the following:


Development of Human Resource Strategies in Intercollegiate Athletics


Intercollegiate Sports Governance


Legal Aspects of Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics


Sports Compliance


Advising the Student Athlete


Student Affairs Leadership


Foundations of Higher Education Leadership