Educational Studies

Education Specialist (Ed.S.) - Educational Leadership and Superintendent Licensure

Education Specialist Program Overview

The Department of Educational Studies offers a graduate program in educational leadership leading to a Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree. The Ed.S. program concentrates on the knowledge and skills needed for the superintendency.  Coursework at the education specialist level expands the knowledge of the school principal and adds elements that contribute to continued professional growth and the skills required, specifically, to qualify for the position of superintendent of schools. 

The educational leadership program at Western Illinois University offers the Ed.S. degree through the Weekend Academy format. In this format, classes meet on Saturdays (8 a.m.-5 p.m.) and Sundays (8 a.m.-1:30 p.m.). A 3 s.h. course meets three weekends a semester. Courses are offered at both the Macomb and the Moline campuses.

Educational Leadership Program History

Educational Leadership has long been recognized for strong programs leading to school principal and superintendent certification. The department has certified more than 2,000 principals and 600 superintendents since 1967 when Illinois began approval of administrator preparation programs. These programs have received National Recognition by the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) and the Specialized Professional Association for school leadership preparation programs. The Ed.D. degree extends the department’s other program efforts and, specifically, builds upon the Education Specialist program. 

Students earning superintendent licensure, but not an EdS will be able to count 24 s.h. from superintendent licensure towards the doctoral degree. Courses must be within the university time limits on coursework.

Additional Program Information
  • EdS degree: 30 semester hours
  • Superintendent Licensure: 30 semester hours
  • Students normally take two courses a semester (fall, spring, and summer)
  • Two courses are 1 semester hour (one weekend)
  • Superintendent licensure requires:
    • The passage of the superintendent licensure test (available through the Illinois Testing System)
    • a 12-month internship (4 semester hours included in the 30 semester hour program)
Degree Requirements

The Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in educational leadership requires a minimum of 35 semester hours to be selected in consultation with the student's adviser if approved by the Graduate Committee. The student may earn a superintendent endorsement after completing the degree program. The State of Illinois requires of those enrolling in principal preparation programs to have completed two years of teaching prior to enrollment.

Courses required of all Ed.S. degree candidates:

  • EDL 600 Organizational Leadership: 3 s.h.
  • EDL 623 Collective Bargaining in Education: 3 s.h.
  • EDL 640 The Educational Executive: 3 s.h.
  • EDL 660 Instructional Leadership: 3 s.h.
  • EDL 671 Curriculum Theory: 3 s.h.
  • EDL 681 Research in Educational Leadership: 3 s.h.
  • EIS 607 Implications of Diversity for Educational Leaders: 3 s.h.
  • Electives to be selected in consultation with the student's adviser: 14 s.h.


Superintendent’s Endorsement (Ed.S.) - For Superintendent Certification see the following course requirements:  

Prior to Fall 2016 matriculation

Persons seeking superintendent's endorsement through Western Illinois University must complete a licensure program including the following: 36 semester hours of course work, EDL 655 and EDL 656 (Internship), and a minimum of two years of administrative experience requiring a principal endorsement or its equivalent.

  • EDL 600 Organizational Leadership (3)
  • EDL 617 Legal Aspects of Education Governance (3)
  • EDL 620 Superintendent and Educational Governance (3)
  • EDL 622 Management of Administrative Personnel (3)
  • EDL 623 Collective Bargaining (3)
  • EDL 627 School Business Management (3)
  • EDL 635 Educational Facilities (3)
  • EDL 640 The Educational Executive (3)
  • EDL 660 Instructional Leadership (3)
  • EDL 671 Curriculum Theory (3)
  • EDL 681 Research in Educational Administration (3)
  • EIS 607 Implications of Diversity for Educational Leaders (3)
  • EDL 655 Superintendent Internship I (2)
  • EDL 656 Superintendent Internship II (2)


Fall 2016 matriculation and beyond 

  • EDL 600 Organizational Leadership (3)
  • EDL 620 Superintendent and Educational Governance (3)
  • EDL 622 Management of Administrative Personnel (3)
  • EDL 623 Collective Bargaining (3)
  • EDL 627 School Business Management (3)
  • EDL 640 The Educational Executive (3)
  • EDL 671 Curriculum Theory (3)
  • EDL 701  Quantitative. Research & Stats I (3)
  • EIS 607 Implications of Diversity for Educational Leaders (3)
  • EDL 655 Superintendent Internship I (2)
  • EDL 656 Superintendent Internship II (2)



Successful completion of an internship is required for administrative certification as principal (EDL 555 and EDL 556) and for superintendent (EDL 655 and EDL 656). In both cases, the internship is taken for two semester hours of credit in Fall and Spring semesters or in Spring and Fall semesters, for a total of four credit hours over the two semesters. A minimum of 75 clock hours of planned activity is required for each semester hour of credit. Internships are carried out under the supervision of a school administrator and a faculty member in the Department of Educational Studies.

Download - Graduate Internship Application

Application Deadlines: September 15 (Spring/Fall Sequence) OR February 15 (Fall/Spring Sequence)


Step 1 - Application for admittance to the Western Illinois School of Graduate Studies

Persons seeking admittance to a program within the Department of Educational Studies must first apply to the School of Graduate Studies.

Apply to the WIU School of Graduate Studies »


Step 2 - Application for admission to the Ed.S. and Superintendent Licensure Program

Apply for Education Specialist/Superintendent Licensure »