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Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis

College of Education

Educational Specialist

The Educational Specialist program is designed for educators already holding a Master's degree, but desiring more advanced preparation in educational leadership. The various concentration areas serve teachers who seek to improve their classroom leadership skills, teachers seeking initial administrative licensure, and teachers or administrators who already hold administrative licensure and seek further knowledge and skills related to school administration. For some students, the Ed. S. may be the terminal degree; for others, it may be an intermediary degree between the Master's and Doctorate. The program's culminating experience is an action research project conducted throughout the program of studies. 

Concentration Areas and the Requirements:

Admission to the Program

All students who apply to the School of Graduate Studies for the Educational Specialist degree will be screened for admission. Potential students will be notified of screening times.


The screening process consists of an evaluation of each student in terms of selected criteria for admission. Each criterion has been assigned a numerical value. The total of these values equals a possible 100 points:

  • writing skills, 10 points;
  • scholarship, graduate level, 15 points;
  • speaking skills, 10 points;
  • evidence of leadership, 10 points;
  • estimated leadership potential, 10 points;
  • employment record, 10 points;
  • quality of four letters of recommendation (each 5 points), 20 points.

An appointed screening committee utilizes uniform evaluation sheets. After study of the student's credentials and an interview with the student, the committee meets and summarizes the scores. The screening committee will administer the screening process and recommend that the student be accepted or rejected for advanced graduate study in the department leading to the Ed.S. degree. Recommendations may be provnameed by the screening committee for subsequent re-screening, if deemed appropriate.

Transfers From Other Institutions

Students must earn a minimum of 31 semester hours of credit above the master's degree at ETSU to become eligible for the award of the specialist degree. Nine semester hours of appropriate graduate credit earned after completion of the master's degree from an accredited institution may be used in an Ed.S. program, if recommended by the student's graduate committee and approved by the registrar, program coordinator, and deans of the Clemmer College and School of Graduate Studies.

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General Requirements and Information

Advisory Committee

Each student who is admitted to the department as an advanced graduate (Ed. S.) student will be assigned a three-member advisory committee, with one member designated as the chair, who serves as the student's advisor.

Final Comprehensive Examination

This examination may be written and/or oral and is administered by the student's advisory committee at a time designated each semester by the department. The examination may cover the entire field of study including practicum, field study, or internship experiences.

Time Limits

Credit received beyond the master's degree and more than five years prior to the awarding of the Ed. S. degree will not be accepted as part of Ed. S. degree requirements.

Field Experience

Field-based experiences will be required in a number of courses. Every student enrolled in the Ed. S. program will be required to complete a major field project which results in a culminating experience such as the completion and presentation of an action research project, an evaluation project, or an in-depth study of a contemporary issue or practice in education. Specialist Seminar (ELPA 6220) will provide a framework for the culminating experience. This seminar should be taken after at least 24 semester hours have been completed in the Ed. S. program.


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Administrative Endorsement Concentration

Dr. Virginia Foley, Program Coordinator
502 Warf-Pickel Hall
P. O. Box 70550
(423) 439-7615

Core Requirements

ELPA 6450 - Leadership Studies - 3 hours

ELPA 6951 - Seminar in Research Analysis and Interpretations - 3 hours

or ELPA 6872 - Technology Applications for Educational Leaders - 3 hours

ELPA 6220 - Specialist Seminar - 1 hour

Total = 7 hours

Specific Requirements for the Administrative Endorsement Concentration

ELPA 6100 - Interpersonal Relations - 6 hours

ELPA 6200 - Emerging Perspectives Influencing the School - 6 hours

ELPA 6300 - Professional Needs of Individuals & Groups - 6 hours

ELPA 6400 - Developing Learners Through Instructional Leadership - 6 hours

Total = 24 hours

In order to meet coursework requirements for certification, students in this concentration are also required to take ELPA 6500 and 6600.

Beginning Administrator Endorsement

The Educational Specialist degree program with a concentration in administrative endorsement contains the initial four courses (ELPA 6100, 6200, 6300, and 6400) of the required cohort sequence leading to endorsement as a Beginning Administrator. The remaining two courses of the endorsement cohort sequence (ELPA 6500 and 6600) are designed be taken outside the degree program. In addition, the applicant for endorsement as principal or district-level supervisor shall hold a teacher's professional certificate. The applicant shall have had a minimum of three years of successful teaching experience and/or administrative experience in grades for which the certification is sought. The applicant must successfully pass the examination required by the Tennessee Department of Education. For a "Type B" Beginning Administrator Endorsement, the applicant shall successfully complete an appropriate, supervised, Standard Ninety-Day Internship or Alternative Ninety-Day Internship as part of the planned program to be eligible for the Professional Administrative Endorsement. The endorsement of Beginning Administrator (K-12) is added to an existing teaching certificate by the State Department of Education.

Internship Program

While students enrolled in the specialist degree program in educational leadership are engaged in relevant fieldwork throughout their program of study, they must also complete a focused internship as part of their educational experience. The internship may take one of two forms, the Standard Ninety Day Internship and the Alternative Ninety Day Internship. In the Standard Ninety-Day Internship, candidates will have a minimum experience of ninety days in a school setting and five days in a non-educational setting (e.g., business or community agency). The Standard Ninety-Day Internship leads to a "Type B" Beginning Administrator Endorsement at the completion of the master's degree program.

Candidates unable to pursue the Standard Ninety-Day Internship must develop an Alternative Ninety-Day Internship experience in collaboration with their graduate advisor. Candidates will be able to accumulate their 90 days of internship in a school over six semesters through a combination of different activities. The 90 days accumulated - over six semesters will be logged and verified by signatures from the supervising mentors and the faculty advisor. The Alternative Ninety-Day Internship leads to a "Type B" Beginning Administrator Endorsement at the completion of the full certification program. Applicants interested in learning more about the internship program and licensure options should contact the Graduate Coordinator of the ELPA Specialist degree program.

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Counselor Leadership Concentration

Dr. Janna Scarborough, Program Coordinator

303 B Warf Pickel Hall

P.O. Box 70701

See the ETSU Counseling Program for more information.

The Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) in Counselor Leadership is a 31 credit degree and concentration offered by the Counseling Program in the Department of Human Development & Learning (HDAL) and the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis (ELPA). This program is designed as a post-masters degree for those who seek a specialization leading to leadership positions in schools and school districts in counseling. Those with a school counseling license already can also use this program to gain the credits needed for an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor). Within the ETSU region, the Ed.S. degree tends to provide an increase in salary of anywhere from $2500.00 - $7500.00 per year over what 31 unstructured credits would provide.

ELPA Core requirements (10 hours)

ELPA 6220 - Specialist Seminar - 1 hour

ELPA 6450 - Leadership Studies - 3 hours

ELPA 6820 - Law for Organizational Leaders - 3 hours

ELPA 6872 - Technology Application - 3 hours

or ELPA 6951 - Research Analysis and Interpretation - 3 hours

Total = 10 hours

Counselor Leadership Concentration (21 hours)

HDAL 5540 - Treating Trauma & Abuse in the Family - 3 hours

or HDAL 5549 - Substance Abuse: Indiv. & Families - 3 hours

HDAL 5563 - Advanced Techniques with Children - 3 hours

HDAL 6553 - Advanced Social/Cultural Foundations - 3 hours

HDAL 6585 - Trauma & Recovery - 3 hours

HDAL 6593 - Advanced Internship - 6 hours

Guided Elective - 3 hours

Total required credits for Ed.S. = Approved Masters Degree plus the above courses (31 hours)

Although most of our interested students have their Masters in Counseling, students can be admitted to the program if they have a Masters in Education or Teaching or a related field. People admitted without a Masters in Counseling will not be eligible for licensure as a school counselor in the state of Tennessee at the end of the Ed.S Program. School Counselor licensure in most cases requires a Masters Degree in School Counseling.

The two advanced internships and the elective can in the courses listed above can be designed to meet licensure as a Professional Counselor in Tennessee and surrounding states.

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School System Leadership Concentration

Dr. Pam Scott, Program Coordinator
School System Leadership Concentration
501 B Warf-Pickel Hall
P. O. Box 70550
(423) 439-7618

Core Requirements

ELPA 6450 - Leadership Studies - 3 hours

ELPA 6951 - Seminar in Research Analysis and Interpretations - 3 hours

or ELPA 6872 - Technology Applications for Educational Leaders - 3 hours

ELPA 6220 - Specialist Seminar - 1 hour

Total = 7 hours

Specific Requirements for the School System Leadership Concentration

(Must include 12 hours within two areas of specialization for a total of 24 credit hours.)

Supervision of Instruction Specialization Required:

ELPA 6720 Supervisory Techniques - 3 hours

ELPA 6020 - Seminar in Educational Supervision - 3 hours

Guided Electives (6 hours):

ELPA 6030 - Instructional Leadership - 3 hours

ELPA 6850 - Integrating Public Agencies - 3 hours

ELPA 6010 - Leadership for Lifelong Learning - 3 hours

ELPA 6561 - Organization Development - 3 hours

ELPA 6861 - Personnel Management - 3 hours

ELPA 6563 - Adult Learner - 3 hours

CUAI 5910 - Evaluation Techniques - 3 hours

ELPA 7810 - Educational Statistics - 3 hours

ELPA 6581 - Internship in Educational Leadership - 3 hours

PEXS 5340 - Risk Management and Assessment in Sports - 3 hours

Strategic Planning/Budgeting Specialization Required:

ELPA 6451 - Strategic Planning & School-Based Decision-Making - 3 hours

ELPA 6841 - School Finance & Business Methods - 3 hours

Guided Electives (6 hours):

ELPA 6820 - Law for Organizational Leaders - 3 hours

ELPA 6830 - School Housing & Transportation - 3 hours

ELPA 6861 - Personnel Management - 3 hours

CUAI 5910 - Evaluation Techniques - 3 hours

ELPA 7810 - Educational Statistics - 3 hours

ELPA 6581 - Internship in Educational Leadership - 3 hours

Total for the Ed.S. Degree - 31 hours

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