Education Specialist Degree (EdS) with K-12 Leadership Emphasis

Education Specialist in K-12 Leadership

Offered By: College of Doctoral Studies

What Is an EdS Degree?

Active teachers who hold a master’s degree can enhance their skill sets and broaden their applicable knowledge by earning a doctoral education specialist degree. The Education Specialist in K-12 Leadership at Grand Canyon University is unique in that it focuses on the improvement of instructional skills, allowing teachers to advance their career qualifications without having to complete a dissertation or residency. Graduates are prepared to advance into leadership roles within the dynamic and diverse 21st century education field.

Offered by the College of Doctoral Studies, the EdS degree builds knowledge in ethics, research and theory with a focus on educational policy development, staffing, organizational leadership and instructional supervision. The accelerated coursework guides learners in acquiring core competencies that are immediately applicable in the field. Using an analysis-driven approach, learners examine best practices in leadership that support teaming at all levels and the maintenance of a diverse learning infrastructure.

Earn Your Online EdS Degree at GCU

Graduates will emerge fully prepared to address the challenges of the modern school, with a strong foundation of educational policy development, ethical decision-making and servant leadership. The coursework guides learners in developing a firm grasp on organizational leadership, staffing and supervision at the building and district levels. GCU strives to graduate learners who are confident communicators, able to convey complex information to a variety of stakeholders. GCU is a Christian school with an emphasis on professional ethics and the Christian worldview.

Earn your EdS online at GCU with accelerated coursework. The entire degree can be completed online via our intuitive learning platform, enabling learners to connect with their instructors and benefit from diverse views of their peers. A total of 30 credits are required for completion. Online classes are eight weeks in length.

Study Curriculum That Is Aligned with ELCC

The coursework for the EdS degree is aligned with the standards of the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC). Aspiring education leaders explore key concepts in leadership thought, ethical stewardship and K-12 community building. In courses such as Training and Collaboration for Learning, Strategic Planning in K-12 Education and Progressions in Leadership Thought, learners will study the following topic areas:

  • Seminal leadership theories and models, with a look at the evolution of leadership theories and the range of leadership research
  • Long-range strategic planning in K-12 education based on the establishment of a shared mission, vision and goals among internal and external stakeholders, including a survey of professional and facilities development
  • Horizontal and vertical collaboration to ensure consistency in instructional practice
  • Current and emerging leadership strategies and classroom practices in K-12 education

Become an Educational Specialist in K-12 Education

Teachers with an EdS degree are prepared to lead and inspire others within the educational community thoughtfully. This degree program empowers educators to become more effective K-12 instructors for the betterment of their students. Some graduates may wish to pursue opportunities in school administration or consulting. As of September 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook estimates job growth for instructional coordinators to increase by about 10% from 2020 to 2030, as fast as average, accounting for an estimated increase of 18,400 jobs in the field.1

1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is based on 2020, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Instructional Coordinators.

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Total Credits: 30
Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 9 doctoral credits
Online: $715 per credit [More Info]

Time to Completion and Dissertation Process

To learn more about time to completion and the dissertation process at GCU, visit our doctoral page.

Course List

30 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
30 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course introduces students to the principal elements of research and scholarly writing. Learners explore approaches to synthesizing literature and the application of the major components of APA form and style, and learn to coordinate literature searches. Furthermore, they learn how to discern principal arguments, analyze research questions, and clearly identify the key scholarly attributes to journal articles and other sources of scholarly data. This course also introduces learners to the University’s overarching values and beliefs regarding research and the responsibility scholars have in continuing a tradition of contributing to an ever-growing body of knowledge.

Course Description

This course provides an overview of seminal leadership theories and models. Learners focus on understanding the development and evolution of leadership theories and the range and emphasis of leadership research.

Course Description

This course examines multiple ethical frameworks, principles, and theories as they apply to the study and practice of leadership. Corporate social responsibility will be addressed from the perspective of ethical decision making. Prerequisite: RES-815 or RES-811.

Course Description

This course provides a broad overview of foundational elements for conducting independent, original research. Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research methods are introduced and applied. The template for developing a research prospectus is also introduced, with emphasis on identifying a researchable topic related to the learners’ degree specialization. Prerequisite: RES-811.

Course Description

This course provides a broad, global overview of the history and politics of K-12 education and examines the political landscape and ethics surrounding K-12 education. A brief overview of governmental interventions is also presented.

Course Description

Clearly, instructional leadership today is driven to a great extent by the capacity to lead teaming and collaboration. This course will explore the leadership required to support teaming at all levels. For example, horizontal teams are required in schools today in order to be thoughtful about the instructional leadership decisions that must be made on a consistent basis. This requires strategic grade-level collaboration that helps to ensure horizontal alignment of the curriculum and consistency in instructional practice. Furthermore, vertical collaboration includes teachers and administrators from different levels—perhaps from central office, etc.—all working together toward instituting a more comprehensive implementation of the instructional plan. This exploration will include an examination of Professional Learning Communities and the mechanisms used to make this reform model successful.

Course Description

This course is designed to train learners in the conduct of a systematic literature review related to their research topic or area of interest. Emphasis is placed on creating structure for reading, analyzing, synthesizing, and organizing prior research for educational purposes.

Course Description

This course examines relations with K-12 education stakeholders, including boards, learners, parents, faculty, staff, and the community at large. Attention is given to creating and sustaining a diverse learning infrastructure through faculty and staff professional development, alumni relations, and the building of a learning community.

Course Description

This course examines the current and emerging leadership strategies and classroom practices in K-12 education. Topics are placed in the context of improved student outcomes.

Course Description

This course addresses the establishment of a shared mission, vision, and goals among both internal and external stakeholders as the foundation for long-range strategic planning in K-12 education. Professional and facilities development is addressed in the context of K-12 education master planning.

GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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