Specialist in Education and Doctor of Education

Why pursue Specialist in Education and/or Doctor of Education?

For individuals that have completed their master’s degree in any educational field, McKendree University offers a full ray of choices for advanced graduate degrees. The first option is the Specialist Degree (EdS).  What makes McKendree University unique, is that the University offers specialist degrees in Curriculum Design and Instruction (30 hours) or in Superintendent Licensure (33 hours).  These degree options open up opportunities for educators to get a degree beyond their master’s degree and further enhance their professional success in the classroom.  McKendree University will transfer up to nine credit hours taken at other universities that match our program requirements. 

Once an individual completes their Specialist Degree, they become eligible for the Doctor of Education EdD in Curriculum Design and Instruction degree (30 hours including dissertation). This degree meets current trends in education as the focus at the national and the state level is the improvement of curricular knowledge in school leadership.  The Doctoral Program is designed to prepare experienced teachers and administrators for either curriculum and/or higher administrative leadership roles.  An added benefit to our doctorate program is that McKendree University recognizes specialist degrees (EdS) from other universities which is a huge savings to our incoming candidates.  

McKendree University offers its advanced level classes in a cohort format designed to enable practicing teachers and administrators to obtain the EdS and then have the opportunity to enroll directly into the EdD.

Three key features distinguish these programs:

  • Incorporate a practice-oriented focus that prepares our graduates for career success.
  • Prepare educators to be good consumers of research and to use data to make informed decisions as a practicing school leader.
  • Provide educators opportunities to learn about diverse populations, schools, and educational settings that help our candidates succeed in any work environment.

Why McKendree University?

McKendree University is well known by professionals in the field of education and community leaders throughout southern Illinois for its outstanding academic program. McKendree University has award winning instructors using a combination of educational theory and practical experience along with friendly personal service in all phases of university life. The individualized guidance of university personnel assisting its student candidates for successful degree completion along with small class sizes separates McKendree University from other universities in southern Illinois.  In our advanced degree programs, McKendree University has had the foresight to include both curriculum and leadership degrees, which is the current trend in education.  Once an individual has completed their superintendent licensure, the Doctorate Degree in Curriculum Design and Instruction enhances the candidates ability to secure future employment opportunities. 

Specialist in Education (EdS) Curriculum Design and Instruction Program

The Specialist in Curriculum Design and Instruction is designed for individuals who have earned a master’s degree and are seeking a Specialist in curriculum knowledge. It is a 30 hour program that will take two and a half years to complete. During the first semester of the program, an orientation course is taken to assist the student candidate with an understanding of the overall program. During the last semester a three hour practicum is completed.

EDS 700           Foundations of Teacher and Administrative Leadership (1)

EDS 702           School Improvement and Organizational Development (3)

EDS 704           Human Diversity for Educational Leaders (3)

EDS 706           Administration of Human Resources (3)

EDS 708           Program Evaluation in Education – Evaluating Student Achievement (3)

EDS 720           Core Comprehensive Examination (0)

EDS 722           Evaluation and Application of Research (3)

EDC 730           Trends and Issues in Curriculum (3)

EDC 732           Advanced Instructional Design (3)

EDC 736           Advanced Educational Technology (2)

EDC 738           Research and Theory in Teaching (3)

EDC 750           Practicum in Curriculum Design and Instruction (3)


Specialist in Education (EdS) Superintendent Licensure

The Specialist in Superintendent Licensure is designed for individuals who have earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and are seeking the license to become a superintendent. During the first semester of the program, an additional one hour orientation course is taken to provide an understanding of the overall program and to meet state programmatic admission requirements. This is a 33 hour program that will take two and a half years to complete. The internship can be completed while an individual maintains their current position. 


EDS 700 Foundations of Teacher and Administrative Leadership (1)

EDS 702 School Improvement and Organizational Development (3)

EDS 704 Human Diversity for Educational Leaders (3)

EDS 706 Administration of Human Resources (3)

EDS 708 Program Evaluation in Education – Evaluating Student Achievement (3)

EDL 731 Advanced Legal/Policy/Political Issues (3)

EDL 733 The Superintendent (3)

EDL 735 The Board of Education, Community and Organizational Leadership (3)

EDL 737 Finance Theory, Application, and Management of Resources (3)

EDL 741 Advanced Roles and Responsibilities for the Superintendent (3)

EDL 751 Internship I – Superintendent (1)    

EDL 752 Internship II – Superintendent (2)

EDL 753 Internship III - Superintendent (2)


Doctor of Education (EdD) Curriculum Design and Instruction

The Doctorate Program is in Curriculum Design and Instruction is a 30 hour program which includes a 12 hour dissertation. A unique feature of the program is that the candidate gets direct instructor support for development of the first three chapters of the dissertation plus individual support on research methods and current developments in curriculum design and instruction.  During the first semester of the degree program, an orientation course will be conducted to assist the candidate in understanding the dissertation process.  A dissertation committee will be selected by the candidate for the actual development of the dissertation.   


EDD 760 Doctorate in Education Seminar (0)

EDD 764 Educational Program Planning (3)

EDD 766 Human Development and Educational Processes (3)

EDD 768 Qualitative Research/Quantitative Research (3)

EDD 770 Differentiated Instruction (3)

EDD 774 Advanced Research Methods (3)

EDD 776 Critical Issues and Developments in Curriculum

   Design and Instruction (3)

EDD 797 Dissertation (12)

EDD 798 Dissertation Continuing Study (0)

EDD 799 Continuing Enrollment (1)



This program is highly selective and not all applicants will be admitted. Applicants are considered on an individual basis without regard to sex, race, disability, nationality, or religion. The following items are required for admission:

A completed application for admission; APPLY NOW ($40 fee).

EdS: A master’s degree in Education (e.g., MA, MS, MEd) from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.

EdD: A master’s degree in Education (e.g., MA, MS, MEd) and a specialist degree in Education, or the equivalent, from a regionally accredited institution.

Official transcripts from all institutions previously attended. The minimum GPA required on all graduate level coursework earned within a master’s degree is 3.25 on a 4.0 scale.

Current vitae/resume.

Recommendation Forms completed by three professional colleagues, including at least two who supervised the applicant’s work at some time during the past five years.

Admission Essay/Personal Statement. Write a two- to three-page essay discussing your future professional goals and plans, the contributions you have made in your profession, and your rationale for pursuing the doctoral program.

EdD only: Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores within the past five years. McKendree GRE code: 1456 www.ets.org/gre. The GRE is not required for the EdS starting in Fall 2016.

Two years of teaching/professional experience.

Applicants may be required to participate in a personal interview to assess readiness for the program.

Class Format

This program is formatted for the working professional. Classes in the fall and spring meet one night a week for eight weeks. During the summer, EDS 708 meets in June, three days a week for three weeks, and EDS 720 is taken one day in July. See sequences below.


Spring 2017 EdS Program - Lebanon campus

Spring 2017 EdD Program - at Belleville West High School


Tuition for the EdS and EdD is $540 per credit hour for the 2016/2017 academic year. Financial aid is available.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of 9 hours of transfer credit may be applied to the EdS degree. All 30 hours in the EdD degree must be taken at McKendree University.

Request for Additional Information

If you have questions about the program, please complete the Graduate Education Program Information Request Form. The information submitted is secure and confidential.

Office of Graduate Admission
701 College Road
Lebanon, IL 62254
800-BEARCAT ext. 6576


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