Program Details

Education Specialist in K-12 Leadership

Offered By: College of Doctoral Studies
Total Program Credits & Course Length:
Total Program Credits: 30
Online: 8 weeks
Transfer Credits:
Up to 9 credits
Program Tuition Rate:
Online: $650 per credit. [ More Info ]
VA Approved Program Icon


Specialize in K-12 Education and Leadership

Building a collaborative community focused on student learning requires research, knowledge and the ability plan strategically. Grand Canyon University’s Education Specialist (EdS) in K-12 Leadership program is designed to prepare you to assume a leadership role in economically and culturally diverse 21st century educational communities. Offered by the College of Doctoral Studies, this accelerated EdS online program streamlines a rigorous curriculum. Unlike the Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in K-12 Leadership, the EdS degree program does not require a residency or dissertation.

With an in-depth analysis-based approach, the Education Specialist degree emphasizes theories and models of teaching, learning and leading in elementary, junior high and high school learning environments. Examine the global politics of education and intervention facilitated by government entities. Study professional learning communities and explore ways to train and develop the team you will lead and support.

Degree Outcomes

Study Curriculum That is Aligned With ELCC

After foundational instruction in ethics, research and theory, you focus on educational policy development and decision-making. Your coursework examines departmental management in K-12 private and public schools, including staffing and organizational structure, supervision of teaching and learning and other leadership areas at the building or district level. Standards of this program are aligned with those of the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC).

What You Will Learn

Build a K-12 Community

Throughout this EdS degree program, you review the following topics:

  • History and politics of K-12 education
  • Using collaboration to increase instructional effectiveness and student learning
  • Building a K-12 community and sustaining a diverse learning infrastructure
  • Current and emerging leadership strategies and classroom practices in K-12 education
  • The development and evolution of leadership theories

Career Outcomes

Become an Educational Specialist in K-12 Education

The Education Specialist degree program fulfills the academic goals of professional educators with a master's degree seeking educational paths that enhance knowledge and skills. Coursework in the EdS online curriculum assists current educators whose goal is to improve their instructional skills in the K-12 classroom. Common careers include teacher, curriculum director, consultant, school counselor or administrator in public, private or charter schools and educational agencies.

Program Domains

Course List

The programs offered at Grand Canyon University may vary by content and course length. You are currently viewing the program version available in Arizona. For information about specific course content, credit length and VA approval in your state, please contact a counselor at 1-855-GCU-LOPE or click here to request more information.
30 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
30 credits

Program 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. Prerequisite: RES-811.

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-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. Prerequisite: RES-850.

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. Prerequisite: RES-861 or EDL-861.

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. Prerequisite: RES-861.

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.

Program Locations



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. GCU offers the most experienced leadership in delivering online degree programs. Full-time faculty members and fully trained adjunct instructors, equipped with strong academic backgrounds and practical experience in their fields, support you every step of the way. Designed with the career-oriented professional in mind, our online classes provide an intimate environment that stimulates engaging and challenging discussions. Choose from programs across our distinct colleges, in high-demand employment areas. Classes begin frequently.

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

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.