Educational Leadership, Ed.S./Ed.D.

Program Description


If you hold a Standard Professional I (SP I) license, it must be active in order for you to be recommended for an add-on or upgraded license. An expired SP I cannot be modified in any way. If your SP I has expired, you must be rehired by a school district and your district must request that your SP I be reactivated prior to being recommended for your add-on or upgrade.


Educational Specialist, Ed.S.

The Educational Specialist licensure program in Educational Leadership is advanced study beyond the master's degree, which is designed to prepare students for leadership and administration at the district office level of a K-12 school system. Completion of the program typically leads to either North Carolina Level I (Entry-level Principal) or North Carolina Level II (Advanced Principal) licensure and includes a Superintendent Concentration.

The Ed.S. licensure program is essentially a subset of the Ed.D. degree program. Obtaining the Ed.S. and North Carolina administrative licensure (AP/AS) can lead to salary increases for some administrative professionals in North Carolina.

Educational Leadership, Ed.D.

The Educational Leadership doctoral program develops senior administrative leaders for K-12 school districts throughout the nation. The program prepares central level leaders to excel in an ever-changing national, state and local educational environment.


All coursework for the Ed.S. licensure program may count towards the Ed.D. degree as well, although individual plans of study must be completed for each program. The Ed.S. requires a minimum of 36 credits and the Ed.D. requires a minimum of 54 credits, including the dissertation.

Courses are offered in the evenings during the fall and spring terms. Most students are part-time and typically take two courses per term. Classes are scheduled so that many students take two classes in one evening (e.g., on Thursday night, a class from 4 to 6:50 p.m. and another class from 7 to 9:50 p.m.).

School Administration Add-on Licensure

The Educational Leadership Area strongly recommends that all accepted Ed.S./Ed.D. students who are not currently licensed as school administrators become licensed during the course of their studies.


Prospective students must hold the degree of B.A. or B.S., and a master’s degree in School Administration or a closely related field, from an accredited college or university in this country or its equivalent – based on a four-year curriculum – in an institution outside of the U.S.

If the master’s degree is in a field other than educational leadership/school administration, at least three additional courses will be required to complete the Ed.D. program (See Program of Studies).

Successful applicants will have a minimum of three years of school teaching experience or equivalent school site experience such as counseling or social work.

Applicants who are interested in the Director of Student Support Services option should possess three years of experience in School Counseling, School Psychology or School Social Work.

To apply for admission to the Ed.S. and/or the Ed.D. programs, complete a single application for the Ed.D. thus applying for admission to both programs and paying a single application fee.

Permission to Proceed

The Educational Leadership Area reserves the right to recommend student termination of the program with the completion of the Ed.S. only. Alternately, students may decide that they would like to terminate studies with the Ed.S. and obtain the administrative license (AP/AS) without completing the Ed.D.