Educational Specialist (EdS)

The Educational Specialist program offers one year, three semester, 30-semester hour program (9- 9-12) designed to extend and expand the candidate’s level of professional competence beyond that attained through the master’s level program, to bring the candidate up to date on matters relevant to the field of specialization, to enable the candidate to read and understand research in the field of specialization, to apply relevant research findings to professional activities, to stimulate the candidate to assume a leadership role in the specialty, and to prepare the candidate in that role.

Programs are available with the following concentrations:

  • Curriculum and Instruction (Non-licensure)
  • Instructional Leadership (Licensure)
  • Educational Leadership (Non-licensure)

Degree Application Procedures

Admission for the EdS degree is a two-step process.

Admission to Advanced Graduate Studies
The candidate must submit:

  1. the Application for Advanced Graduate Studies, with the required $50 application fee; and
  2. one (1) official transcript of master’s degree coursework from an accredited institution. (if student is asking for transfer credit of post master’s degree coursework, one (1) official transcript of that coursework must be provided from an accredited institution as well).

The program directors for the School of Education approves admission to Advanced Graduate Studies. 

Admission to Degree Candidacy
Before the completion of three courses (9 semester hours), a degree-seeking candidate must apply for degree candidacy.
The candidate must submit:

  1. Application for Degree Candidacy for the Educational Specialist degree; and
  2. Approved Program of Study.

Upon completion of these requirements, the candidate’s credentials will be presented to the Program Director for consideration for admission to degree candidacy. LMU reserves the right to deny admission due to immoral conduct.

Attendance Policy for Hybrid Cohorts
Cooperative and group learning is the essence of the EdS program. When class absences occur, candidates can make up for the knowledge and skills missed from the instructor, but they are not able to make up for the knowledge and skills their participation in class would have provided to their fellow candidates’ learning. Therefore, even with successful completion of make-up assignments, class absences, after the first, will cause a reduction in the final course grade. Two (2) absences will result in a reduction of one letter grade from whatever grade would have been earned. Three absences will result in a grade of “C” or lower. More than three absences will result in the grade of “F” for the course.

Degree Requirements
The basic requirement for an EdS degree is a planned and approved program of coursework and field experiences, for which credit is awarded beyond the master’s degree. The candidate and the program faculty will discuss and outline the work to be completed. Candidates must take coursework and prove competence in one of the curricula offered. The required hours of credit indicated in each area of study and in the totals are the minimum requirements. Programs of Study include acceptable graduate credit earned beyond the master’s degree. Program faculty are charged with the evaluation of candidate competence and may prescribe work beyond those requirements.

All EdS candidates are required to complete the Graduating Student Survey and the EdS Exit Survey. 

Concentration Areas
Concentrations in Instructional Leadership (IL) leading to Initial Tennessee Leadership Licensure, Educational Leadership (EL), a non-licensure leadership program not leading to initial Tennessee Leadership Licensure, and Curriculum and Instruction (CI), not leading to Tennessee licensure, constitute the choices of the EdS program. The emphasis areas are designed primarily for practitioners in the public schools. Each concentration is a 30-semester hour program.

Educational Specialist – Online Cohort
The EdS Online Cohort Program is a 30-semester hour program designed to extend and expand the candidate’s level of professional competence beyond that attained at the master’s level, to bring the candidate up to date on advanced level information relevant to the field of specialization, to stimulate the candidate to read and understand research in the field of specialization, and to prepare the candidate for leadership roles. The online cohort is 100% online with all discussions, assignments, and study delivered in an online format.

The Instructional Leadership (IL) Program Leading to Initial Tennessee Leadership Licensure

The program is designed to license school administrators based on Tennessee State Board policy and standards. To be eligible for the program, a candidate must complete the EdS Leadership Licensure Pre-Admissions Packet and Admission Portfolio.

Applicants can obtain a copy of the packet from the Graduate Office, or the Admissions Packet can be found on the Graduate Education website at under Handbooks & Forms.
The following documents must be attached to the 

EdS Leadership Licensure Pre-Admissions Packet:

  • a valid Tennessee Teacher License;
  • evidence of two years successful educational experience;
  • a completed Recommendation for Consideration by a practicing TN administrator; and
  • completed application process.

Upon receipt of the completed EdS Leadership Licensure Pre-Admissions Packet, applicants will receive the IL Licensure Admission Portfolio Requirements. The IL Licensure Admission Portfolio will then be evaluated by the IL faculty, and those accepted into the program will be invited for an interview.

Admission Appeals Process for the EdS IL Leadership:

In the EdS Instructional Leadership License program, the requirements are set by the TDOE. While all applicable candidates applying for the IL License have or will have received a master’s degree prior to applying. Applicants who do not meet all admission requirements may place an appeal on any one of three or combination of these three:

  1. Have at least two years of qualifying education experience.
  2. Demonstrate effectiveness as an educator in the two most recent state-approved evaluation model.
  3. Be recommended by the LEA and participate in a committee led interview.

Applicants may appeal each or all of these requirements by the following:

  1. Submit a letter from the district director or superintendent verifying the candidate has been or will be offered an administrative position in the system on a needed basis.
  2. Same as #1, with verification that either the system doesn’t use a state model of evaluation and provides its evaluation model or scores. Additionally, this is appealable if in the district’s letter they state the applicant has not been evaluated during their period of employment.
  3. The recommendation comes directly from the Director/Superintendent again stating the applicant has been or will be placed in an administrative position on an as needed basis:

Candidates who do not meet the three appealable requirements for admission into the Instructional Leadership Licensing program may file an appeal letter. In this letter the applicant must state their reason for the appeal with supporting statements of how they can exempt or meet the appealable requirements.

Upon receipt of the applicant’s letter of appeal, the EdS IL Program Director will consult with the EdS Faculty to determine the status of the application. If the initial letter is accepted, the candidate will be instructed to meet with the Director/Superintendent asking them to submit a letter asking to have exemptions to any or all of the three appealable requirements. In this letter the Superintendent must state the reasons and verify the applicant will be hired by the district. Upon the receipt of the Superintendent’s letter of appeal another review will be done by the EdS IL Program Director and other faculty. If the appeal is successful, the applicant is admitted with full academic credentials.

When the appeal is granted based on the TDOE requirements being appealed the applicant receives full enrollment status with conditions or probationary steps assigned.
An applicant could be refused admission based on the Director’s/Superintendent’s letter not verifying the candidate will be placed in an administrative positive.

Applicants who appeal will receive a letter from the EdS Program Director sent by USPS mail with a follow-up email immediately following the decision.

All communication with the applicant, including emails, phone logs, personal meetings, and USPS are stored in Laisure fiche, LMU’s storage and retrieval program. When they are enrolled in the IL program they are as are all other IL candidates assigned a faculty mentor who monitors, mentors, tracks and provides meaningful feedback on each candidates’ progress throughout the entire 30-hour program.

Degrees and Certificates


EDUC-609: Literacy for Instructional Leaders

Credits 3

This course provides a foundational understanding of content and pedagogical knowledge of literacy instruction, the progression of literacy development, and the cultivation of a literacy-rich learning environment that is responsive to all learners. Emphasis is given to foundational and disciplinary literacy and the use of evidence-based practices and scaffolds and supports matched to individual students’ strengths and needs while maintaining grade-appropriate rigor and alignment to Tennessee Academic Standards.