Education Specialist Degree (EdS) in Teaching and Learning

Education Specialist in Teaching and Learning

Offered By: College of Doctoral Studies

Position Yourself for Possible Career Advancement With an Education Specialist Degree

The Education Specialist in Teaching and Learning (EdS) degree at Grand Canyon University (GCU) is a post-master’s program which allows K-12 educators to enhance the skills and knowledge necessary for developing education communities that improve student outcomes. Offered by GCU’s College of Doctoral Studies, this fully online teaching and learning program emphasizes theories and models of teaching in various educational environments, from elementary to high school. 

Throughout this online program, you can:

  • Examine the global politics of education and the intervention facilitated by government entities
  • Study professional learning communities and theories of pedagogy
  • Explore ways to train and develop the teams that learners are preparing to lead and support
  • Learn to excel in teaching by studying industry trends, implementing new effective teaching strategies based on original research and applying findings to foster greater classroom success

As a private, Christian university, GCU integrates faith into each of its programs. Courses within the education specialist degree program for teaching and learning use a curriculum rooted in the Christian worldview that addresses socially responsible practices and ethical decision-making within education. 

Skills Taught in the Online Education Specialist Degree in Teaching and Learning

The aim of the online EdS degree in teaching and learning is to give current educators the skills, through research-based teaching strategies, to develop collaborative educational communities with the purpose of improving student learning and driving classroom success in K-12 environments.

You will be taught to make connections between past philosophies of education and current issues and emerging trends in the field. This can help you to develop the skills to identify and implement effective models or theories of change, innovative technologies and modern methods to enhance your learning environments.

The specialist degree in education at GCU focuses on the following:

  • Using philosophies of teaching and learning as a foundation for improving the teaching and learning process
  • Examining disruptive innovation and change associated with theories and models 
  • Assessing teaching and learning from a global perspective to understand the social, cultural, organizational and psychological factors that affect the classroom
  • Using research methods and statistical analysis to produce original research

An EdS capstone course concludes the program, providing learners with the opportunity to apply the skills they have developed to their professional interests and goals. While earning your specialist degree in education, you will develop a written project suitable for a professional portfolio.

The EdS degree program offers a rigorous curriculum and takes an in-depth, analysis-based approach to every course. Unlike GCU’s doctoral education degrees, the teaching and learning specialist program does not require completion of a residency or dissertation. This allows current full-time teachers to complete their program on a more flexible schedule.

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Total Credits: 30
Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 9 doctoral credits
Online: $740 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance


Career Opportunities for EdS Degree in Teaching and Learning Graduates

Graduates of this program are taught how to move beyond traditional classroom responsibilities and drive change with the research and collaboration skills developed throughout the program.

After completing the program, educators may pursue higher-level roles at the school and district levels or higher. The knowledge and skills developed during the EdS program can equip educators to position themselves for advanced careers in school leadership, administration or consulting.

The online Education Specialist degree in teaching and learning program allows teachers with a master’s degree to position themselves for career advancement without enrolling in a full doctoral program. However, if you are unsure whether you should pursue an EdD or an EdS degree for your career goals, speak with a GCU university counselor for more information about these programs.

Online Education Specialist Degree in Teaching and Learning FAQs

Learn more about earning your Education Specialist degree in teaching and learning by reading answers to these commonly asked questions:

While an EdS is an advanced graduate degree, it is not a terminal degree. Students wishing to earn a terminal degree in the education field can pursue a Doctor of Education (EdD) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education, depending on their career goals. Both an EdD and PhD require a residency and dissertation, whereas an EdS degree does not require either.

Earning an education specialist degree can build your skills in implementing sustainable teaching strategies designed to improve student learning and classroom success.  

At GCU, the EdS is a post-master’s degree that builds upon the knowledge and skill set developed through a master’s in education program. Therefore, students are required to have at least a master’s in order to pursue an EdS degree. 

If you hold a master’s degree and are looking to advance your career in teaching and learning development, you may want to consider either an Education Specialist (EdS) degree in teaching and learning or a Doctor of Education (EdD) degree. An EdS is an advanced intermediate degree between a master’s and doctorate that doesn’t require a residency or dissertation. An EdD is a terminal education degree that is geared for the highest levels in the education field and requires both a residency and dissertation. Both degrees offer emphases in teaching and learning. 

For educators who wish to advance into a leadership role at the elementary through high school levels, consider earning your online Education Specialist degree EdS in K-12 Leadership program. If your interests and goals are geared toward improving learning environments and student success in K-12, then an EdS in Teaching and Learning may be right for you. 

Alumni Doctoral Degree Scholarship
Now Available

GCU alumni enrolling in a doctoral program for the first time may be eligible for a $2,000 scholarship.§


§ MOU-Alumni 2000 Doctoral-Jun2024: The Alumni Scholarship for Doctoral Programs is only valid for those applicants who submit a complete application and begin a Doctoral program in June 2024. This scholarship cannot be used in conjunction with any other GCU scholarship or awards and only applies to online and evening programs. Please speak to a university counselor for complete details.

If seeking licensure or certification, applicants to the program are responsible for contacting their state department of education for licensure requirements and program approval. In addition, fingerprint and background clearance is required.

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
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

The course presents a foundation of historic and philosophic ideas in teaching and learning. Learners are encouraged to consider the connections between history, philosophy, teaching, and learning as well as the influence of these concepts on the development of a personal philosophy of teaching and learning.

Course Description

The course provides a chronological overview of learning theories and their common applications. Connections between theory and philosophy of teaching and learning are explored.

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 current mindset surrounding the notion of collaboration and proposes a paradigm shift to a mindset that redefines collaboration and integrates it with coaching and mentoring. The course includes a discussion of strategies employed by coaches/mentors to support leadership and ensure a positive organizational culture.

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.

Course Description

The course addresses the challenges to teaching and learning inherent in a global environment of perpetual change and frequent innovation. Connections to philosophy of teaching and learning are explored.

Course Description

This capstone course provides learners the opportunity to apply skills related to their professional interests and goals. Learners demonstrate competency through the development of a written project suitable for inclusion in a professional portfolio.

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.