College of Education & Human Services

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

Education Specialist Program Overview

The School of Education 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. International students do not qualify for admission to this program. 

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)


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

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


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