Educational Leadership (EdS)


Effective 1 June 2023 through 31 May 2024

Please see the Graduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.

This program is offered by the School of Education. It is available online, at the St. Louis main campus and at select U.S. campuses. Please see the Campus Locations and Offerings section of this catalog for a list of campuses where this program is offered. These campuses are no longer accepting new student applications.

Program Description

The educational specialist (EdS) degree provides opportunities for those who wish to increase their knowledge and skills beyond the master's level. Course-work, action research and internship experiences enable students to develop and demonstrate competencies required to move from a specific focus in teaching, curriculum or support services in schools to the broader view of the educational leader in the community. The EdS program encourages educators to think outside the box, seek solutions to challenges in schooling, to make the world different and find the courage to do what is best for all students.

Schools are a microcosm of society. The problem schools face today whether urban, suburban or rural connect to societal issues. In order to meet the needs of today's students, principals need to be able to navigate in a labyrinth of rapidly shifting demographics and societal issues to find solutions that work for all stakeholders in their school communities. The EdS in educational leadership effectively prepares 21st-century school leaders by providing opportunities for principal candidates to synthesize the traditional aspects of school leadership with critical issues of diversity, self-awareness and reflective practice.

Successful candidates will become educational leaders who have high expectations for all students and are powerful advocates for the inclusion, understanding and encouragement of marginalized student groups. Principal candidates will have opportunities to engage in ongoing dialogue and reflection on issues of social justice, democracy and equity throughout their coursework and internship experiences. By challenging students to be active participants in difficult conversations about social justice and to immerse themselves in unfamiliar environments, the EdS program encourages aspiring principal candidates to develop a socially responsible leadership mindset transforming them into culturally responsive school leaders who are dedicated to realizing the vision of equity in education and the expectation of success for all learners.

In the educational leadership (EdS) program at Webster University, graduate students are learning to become administrators who are learning focused while developing positive relationships and understanding and appreciating diversity. The curriculum focuses on problem-solving, data-driven decision-making, research based instructional strategies as well as innovation, collaboration and educational culture. 

The educational leadership (EdS) program is designed for students who want to develop their leadership skills and earn a post-master's degree. Successful graduates are able to integrate ethics and global perspectives into their professions to optimize the learning environment for teachers, students and their communities. Prepared to become educational leaders, graduates are ready to strive for positive outcomes in the preK-12 setting. 

The EdS in educational leadership is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).


To develop exemplary leaders for tomorrow's world.


To provide academic rigor, pragmatic experiences and opportunities for individuals to become courageous leaders who are responsive to the diverse needs of the global community.

Program Goals & Learning Outcomes

Program Goals

  • The educational leader/candidate/graduate will demonstrate and model scholarship and lifelong learning skills.
  • The educational leader/candidate/graduate will demonstrate effective teaching, learning and leadership based on sound theory and practice and ethical decision-making to create an optimal learning environment.
  • The educational leader/candidate/graduate will reflect upon his/her own practice in order to become an agent of change in classrooms, schools and communities
  • The educational leader/candidate/graduate will demonstrate respect for and participate in a diverse community of global learners including students, teachers, colleagues and families.

Learning Objectives

  • Candidates will become culturally responsive leaders who use ethics, communication and critical and creative thinking to solve problems. 
  • Candidates will become instructional leaders with the skills to combine traditional leadership duties (scheduling, budgeting, supervising) with an unyielding commitment to student learning and teaching.
  • Candidates will develop the critical theory leadership skills required to get effective and efficient results across internal and external boundaries. 
  • Candidates will build community through the development of relationships, collaboration and an understanding and appreciation of the differences that bring richness to school communities.
  • Candidates will develop the ability to influence and enthuse others through personal advice and drive, and to access resources to build a solid platform for change.


The manner in which an individual behaves (his or her dispositions) affects an entire community. The National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) Standards stipulate three foundational dispositions that subsume all others. If one acts with integrity, fairness and ethically then one will be able to promote success of all students in the global community.

  • Program completers understand and demonstrate the capacity to reflect on, communicate about, cultivate and model professional dispositions and norms (i.e., fairness, integrity, transparency, trust, digital citizenship, collaboration, perseverance, reflection, lifelong learning) that support the educational success and well-being of each student and adult.
  • Program completers understand and demonstrate the capacity to evaluate, communicate about and advocate for ethical and legal decisions. 
  • Program completers understand and demonstrate the capacity to model ethical behavior in their personal conduct and relationships and to cultivate ethical behavior in others.

General Requirements & Certification

The educational leadership (EdS) requires satisfactory completion of 32 credit hours of prescribed curriculum that includes coursework, internships and a capstone/portfolio course. This course includes a formal review of the student's portfolio of documented competencies or other faculty-approved methods of documenting established competencies. Coursework is based upon the requirements as stated by National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP), the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL) and the Missouri Leader Standards for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The goal of the program is to increase student leadership knowledge and skills for successful passing of the licensure test issued by the department of education in the state where students reside. Therefore, it is in the students' best interest to confirm certification requirements with the department of education in the state in which they reside or which to obtain certification. Certification requirements vary from state to state. 

Students wishing to combine the educational leadership (EdS) with certification must communicate with their advisor and EdS faculty to meet certification requirements and document performance. Students in the educational leadership major can work toward elementary, middle or high school principal certification. After successful completion of state-required assessment activities, students can apply for administrative certification.

Students seeking administrative certification must also hold valid teacher certification for the appropriate grade level or specialty area. Students seeking an out-of-state certificate must contact their state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for information on requirements for administrative certificates. Some states require that students must complete the entire educational leadership (EdS) program before certification will be granted. 

EdS students are required to demonstrate graduate level writing skills. Students who are unable to do so will be required to seek assistance for every writing assignment at Webster University’s Writing Center.

Program Requirements

The following are required courses for the educational leadership (EdS):

  • LEAD 6500 Introduction to the Field Experience (1 hour)
  • LEAD 6501 Foundations of Educational Leadership (3 hours)
  • LEAD 6502 Leadership for Improving Learning (3 hours)
  • LEAD 6503 Leadership for Ethics, Equity and Social Justice (2 hours)
  • LEAD 6504 Resourceful Leadership (3 hours)
  • LEAD 6505 Culture, Collaboration and Diversity (2 hours)
  • LEAD 6506 Leadership with Vision (2 hours)
  • LEAD 6507 Advanced School Law (3 hours)
  • LEAD 6508 Trauma Informed Leadership (2 hours)
  • LEAD 6509 Relational and Reflective Leadership (2 hours)
  • LEAD 6510 Innovative Leadership (1 hour)
  • LEAD 6511 Managerial Leadership (2 hours)
  • LEAD 6512 Capstone/Field Experience (2 hours)
  • LEAD 6523 Action Research I (2 hours)
  • LEAD 6533 Action Research II (2 hours)

Program description materials providing additional information on course requirements for specific certification can be obtained from an EdS advisor.

Students must take LEAD 6523 prior to LEAD 6533. 

Students enrolled in the educational leadership (EdS) program and seeking principal certification must pass the appropriate Praxis/licensure exam prior to enrolling in LEAD 6512 and must have the permission of the program coordinator(s).


See the Admission section of this catalog for general admission requirements. Students interested in applying must submit their application online at Transcripts should be sent from your institution electronically to If this service is not available, send transcripts to:

Office of Admission
Webster University
470 E. Lockwood Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63119 

Additional Requirements

Requirements for admission to the EdS in educational leadership program include:

  • Completion of a master’s degree in education or a related field, such as social work, business or communications.
  • Superior academic ability at the graduate level with at least a 3.25 GPA.
  • Official transcripts of previous undergraduate and graduate coursework.
  • A letter of recommendation from a faculty member and/or associate.
  • Essay.

Application Process

Admission to this program occurs each full semester (Fall, Spring) and in the Summer.

Advancement to Candidacy

The student is advanced to candidacy upon the successful completion of the advancement packet. The timeline for advancing to candidacy is after successful completion of the first 6 hours and before completion of 12 hours. Completing the Advancement to Candidacy packet is the student's responsibility. The packet must be completed at this time in order for the student to continue to take courses.

Requirements for Missouri Special Education Director Certification

Special Education Director is an add-on certification. In Missouri, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education requires special education teaching certification, completion of the above requirements and the following courses, totaling 9 hours:

  • LEAD 6138 Foundations of Special Education Administration (3 hours)
  • LEAD 6122 Special Education and Law (2 hours)
  • LEAD 6136 Special Education Internship (2 hours)
  • LEAD 6006 Advanced Internship (2 hours)