Education Specialist



30 credit hours

Program Length

as few as 18 months


Regionally Accredited by SACSCOC

Elevate Your Education Career with an EdS Degree!

Take your education career to the next level with Columbia International University’s Educational Specialist (EdS) program. This advanced degree program is designed specifically to challenge and inspire you, combining rigorous coursework, hands-on experience, and cutting-edge research to give you the skills and knowledge you need to succeed as an education professional. Whether you are a teacher, administrator or aspiring educational leader, the EdS program will help you develop the critical thinking, collaboration and problem-solving skills you need to make a real difference in the world of education. With a focus on both theory and practical application, this program offers a unique and dynamic learning experience that will push you to grow both personally and professionally. So, if you’re ready to take your education career to new heights, the EdS program is the perfect choice for you! 

The objectives of the EdS program are to produce graduates who will understand, analyze, synthesize and evaluate: 

  • High-quality educational leadership from a biblical perspective, theoretical approaches, research findings, and alternative models of effective leadership and functioning of organizations, groups, and individuals within organizations 
  • Ways to enhance their personal callings and contribute to the quality of an educational setting through leadership, presentation, and publication 

The EdS in Educational Leadership is comprised of 30 hours of doctoral-level courses but does not include the research component associated with the Doctor of Philosophy.  The 10 courses necessary to complete the 30 hours are comprised of electives that focus either on leadership or curriculum and instruction. A maximum of 15 credit hours of appropriate master’s work may be applied toward the EdS program as determined by the program director. The time limit for completion of all requirements is six years measured from the date a student begins coursework in the EdS program. 

In the leadership emphasis, students will study governance, team building, educational law, leadership and educational history and philosophy. 

The curriculum and instruction component focuses on curriculum theory, learning theory, faculty development and supervision, and alternative learning opportunities. 

Those who complete the EdS have added to their professional development and are better able to serve the educational organizations in which they are ministering. 

Why Choose Columbia International University for this degree 

The educational program at Columbia International University emphasizes a values-driven approach that is focused on developing professionals with the competencies needed to foster growth within the global community. The program provides opportunities to connect with Christian leaders from around the world in a variety of professional settings, and students can learn from experienced educators and practicing scholars. CIU’s EdS courses are endorsed by the Higher Education Accreditation Program (HEAP) of the Association of Christian Schools International, and program graduates who meet specific requirements are eligible to apply for appropriate ACSI teacher or administrator certificates. By studying at CIU, students can gain the knowledge, skills and values needed to make a positive impact in their communities and beyond. 

What you can do with the degree

The Education Specialist (EdS) program is intended to help extend professional understanding and practice in the critical area of education. EdS students will develop capacities to think, communicate and model biblical excellence in educational leadership positions. They will more clearly represent Christ-centered perspectives in the broader society by influencing students, their families, faculty and staff with competencies specifically designed for Kingdom growth 

The EdS provides professional development for educators who are involved in a classroom or administration. In addition, many educational institutions will provide a pay increase once the EdS has been completed.  

The classes offered in the EdS train educators from a biblical worldview to think more deeply about the theories and practices of education. In completing the classes offered, students are able to apply what they have learned in the context of their organizations and this provides a benefit not only to the student, but also to their organizations. 

If a PhD is your goal, graduating with the EdS can help extend the time available to complete the PhD Students have six years to complete the EdS. Once the EdS has been earned, students who are accepted into the PhD program have an additional six years to complete the PhD. Students who have completed the EdS degree at CIU within the previous five years may transfer the 30 hours of the EdS based upon acceptance into the PhD program. 

Featured Faculty

What Will I Study?

  • EDU 9200 Historical and Philosophical Perspectives on Education

    This course surveys and analyzes the historical and philosophical ideas that guide educational theory and practice in schools today. The course focuses on the study of nations, leaders, ideas, and movements, and their developmental effects on current educational settings in the United States. In addition, Christian philosophical perspectives which are the foundation of Christian education are examined.

    3.00 credit hours
  • EDU 9330 Measurement & Assessment Theory

    This course examines important components of measurement and assessment theory as they relate to program development and student assessment on an institution-wide basis. (Offered on request; minimum of five students).

    3.00 credit hours
  • EDU 9350 Models of Effective Instruction

    This course enables practitioners to explore various instructional strategies that reflect current best practice. Students will learn to implement instructional models and to provide training for others in the use of the models. Students will examine philosophies that underlie each model and will analyze them in light of biblical principles. (3)

    3.00 credit hours
  • EDU 9380 Instructional Design

    This course equips students with the skills to design and write curriculum. Basic instructional design theory principles will form the foundation for developing curriculum from the topic level to the course level. Skills acquired in this course will enable students to design courses for local use or for publication as textbooks. (3)

    3.00 credit hours
  • EDU 9510 Leadership and Ethics

    Educational leadership, based on Judeo-Christian ethics and core values, is assessed and developed. An analysis of the biblical, historical, and contemporary leadership models of Steward Leadership provides the framework for personal leadership formation.

    3.00 credit hours
  • EDU 9515 Leadership and Organizational Behavior

    This course examines the relationship dynamics which occur in organizations between leaders and followers, and between work groups in light of biblical principles. Attention is given to theories of effective leadership, motivation, decision-making, organizational change, and organizational systems, with applications in diverse and cross-cultural settings.

    3.00 credit hours
  • EDU 9525 Principles of Organizational Team Building

    This course examines models and strategies for building team unity within organizations. Biblical principles, the role of leadership, new team development, inter-group relations, large group interventions, and goal setting are studied. (3)

    3.00 credit hours
  • EDU 9535 Governance/Management in Educational Institutions

    This course examines the biblical foundations for policies, organizational structures, and relationships necessary for effective functioning of institutional governing boards, presidents/headmasters, and vice presidents/deans of educational institutions in various cultural contexts. Consideration is also given to the role of faculty in institutional and academic governance.

    3.00 credit hours
  • EDU 9540 Models of Strategic Planning and Organizational Assessment

    This course examines various models for conducting strategic planning and for assessing the effectiveness of organizations in accomplishment of their missions from a biblical worldview. Special attention is given to linking mission, vision, goals, planning, budgeting, and assessment.

    3.00 credit hours
  • EDU 9545 Alternative Educational Delivery Systems

    Distance education offers an alternative way for students to learn. Today, teaching and learning online is a basic skill for both the teacher and the student. In this course, students will learn an ongoing course development process focusing on analysis, design, development, and evaluation. This process will be broadly applicable to online instruction as well as other means of content delivery. (3)

    3.00 credit hours
  • EDU 9550 Educational Trends and the Law

    This course examines the philosophies and trends which have surfaced through court decisions and legislation relating to education in general, and private or sectarian education in particular. The implications for Christian school and university practice are reviewed.

    3.00 credit hours
  • EDU 9555 Development/Finance-Educational Institutions

    This course addresses various philosophies and approaches for building strong public relations programs and for generating capital growth. It also examines financial resource management concepts and analytical skills for generating principle-driven business decisions.

    3.00 credit hours
For a comprehensive list of courses related to this program visit the Academic Catalog.

Admission Requirements

  • Completed application
  • Official transcripts for highest earned graduate degree and any additional graduate degree work
  • Minimum 3.2 GPA for entering credential
  • Two general references
  • Academic writing sample (Published article or graduate research paper)
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Accreditation and Accolades

SACSCOC (The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges)

Career Path Opportunities

  • School Administrator: EdS degree holders can work as school administrators, overseeing daily operations and implementing policies and procedures to ensure that schools run smoothly. 
  • Curriculum Director: An EdS degree can qualify you to work as a curriculum director, responsible for developing and implementing educational programs that meet the needs of students. 
  • Instructional Coordinator: EdS degree holders can work as instructional coordinators, helping to develop and implement teaching strategies and curricula to meet the needs of students. 
  • Education Consultant: With an EdS degree, you can work as an education consultant, advising schools and other organizations on educational best practices and strategies. 
  • School Counselor: EdS degree holders can work as school counselors, providing guidance and support to students and helping them to achieve academic and personal success. 
  • Special Education Director: An EdS degree can qualify you to work as a special education director, overseeing programs that support students with special needs. 
  • College Professor: With an EdS degree, you can teach at the college level, sharing your expertise and knowledge with the next generation of educators. 
  • Education Researcher: EdS degree holders can work as education researchers, conducting studies and developing new theories and approaches to education that can help improve outcomes for students. 

Top FAQs

Does this program include statistics and research?

While the EdS program does not specifically focus on statistics and research, students will have the opportunity to study the theory and practices of education in depth. This can include exploring the latest trends and research in education and learning best practices that can help them become more effective educators.

Are there grants, scholarships or graduate assistantships for students pursuing the EdS in educational leadership?

While there are currently no tuition assistance programs available for EdS students at CIU, students may be eligible for financial aid or scholarships from other sources. The courses are all online and offered on a pay-as-you-go basis, which can help students manage the expense of the program. Students should contact the financial aid office for more information on available funding options.

Will my Master’s Degree transfer?

Students with master’s degrees from accredited institutions may be able to transfer up to 15 semester hours of appropriate coursework towards their EdS degree at CIU. This can help students save time and money while still earning a valuable degree in educational leadership.

Is there a time limit to complete the degree?

Yes, students in the EdS program are expected to complete the program within six years of beginning their coursework. However, students who experience extenuating circumstances may petition for additional time to complete their dissertation.

Am I able to apply my EdS credits toward a Ph.D. at CIU?

Yes, students who complete the Ed.S. program and have a master’s degree may be able to transfer up to 21 hours of credit towards a PhD program at CIU. This can help students continue their education and further their career goals.

How are the classes delivered?

All classes in the EdS program are delivered online in eight-week terms. This flexible format allows students to complete their coursework on their own schedule and at their own pace, making it an ideal option for working professionals.

When may I start the EdS classes?

Students can begin taking EdS classes at the beginning of any eight-week term, which occur in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. This allows students to start the program at a time that works best for them and their schedule.


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