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Ed.S. in Educational Administration

Advance into leadership with innovation and integrity.

At Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, the Ed.S. degree represents a powerful fusion of an administrative licensure certificate—be it K–12 principal, director of special education, or superintendent—augmented by an additional six credits of specialized coursework.

The title “Education Specialist” (Ed.S.) signifies a unique academic achievement, positioning itself between a master’s and a doctorate and it’s a declaration to the world that you possess advanced, nuanced expertise in the realm of education.  Attaining an Ed.S. involves delving into practical research, refining your abilities as both a learner and an educator. Your journey culminates in a thesis, a substantial academic achievement that, while not as extensive as a doctoral dissertation, significantly advances your knowledge base in the field of education.

Taught by experienced administrators and experts in the field, our program is rooted in sound leadership theory, the principles of wise leadership, and practical skills needed by school administrators to become leaders of flourishing learning communities. At Saint Mary’s, we’ll nurture your capacity to serve as a moral leader within your school and community, where you’ll also discover a rejuvenated spirit of personal growth — transforming you into an educational leader characterized by integrity and virtue.

No matter which administrative career path you pursue, and by earning an Ed.S. degree, propel your career even farther as a skilled administrator and confident leader. Enroll in our program and take the first step toward a transformative journey for your professional and personal life.

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per credit


start dates

2 years

completion time





per credit


start dates

2 years

completion time


Program Highlights

  • Participate in our required annual two-day Summer Institute to connect in person with faculty and peers while engaging with inspirational speakers from around the state. Embark on this transformational experience that brings professional and personal fulfillment.
  • Strengthen your leadership skills with courses embedded in character and virtue formation, developed to enhance our Ed.S. program that emphasizes the moral character of educational leaders.
  • You will have a dedicated university advisor with experience in education that supports you from admission to completion, providing assistance with academics, field experiences, and program-related queries. Your success is our priority.
  • Discover scholarships available through our partnerships with several regional and national employers. See if your employer is part of our Trusted Partnership Program. Learn more.

What You'll Learn

  • Collaborative, visionary planning, and decision making to lead education institutions
  • Operational management, including human, financial, and physical resources
  • Effective learning environments and experiences for all students
  • Practical ethical leadership to ensure the best interests of all learners
  • Appreciation and cultivation of diversity
  • Inclusiveness and effective communication

Information Session

Join us for an information session to learn more about the program, the application process, and more. We offer live information sessions where you can meet program staff, as well as an archive you can view on your own time.

Experiencing the Saint Mary's difference.

Samantha Holland knew classrooms would be changed forever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, she decided to embrace these challenges and navigate the complexities ahead by pursuing her Ed.S. in Educational Administration at Saint Mary’s.

This is Samantha’s inspiring story toward becoming an educational administrator and the support she found from our dedicated faculty at Saint Mary’s:


Ready to apply? Learn about taking the next steps.

    • Applicants must possess a master’s degree and at least 21 credits from among any of the following: teaching techniques, curriculum design, communication skills, education research/assessment, education leadership or administration. If additional credits are required to meet the entrance requirement, those credits must be earned before starting Ed.S. program coursework. 
    • According to the Board of School Administrators for the State of Minnesota, an applicant for licensure as a superintendent, principal, or special education director shall have three years of successful classroom teaching experience while holding a classroom teaching license valid for the position or positions in which the experience was gained.

  • Students with transcripts from universities outside the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada (except for the Quebec Province) must take and pass English proficiency testing.

    Saint Mary’s accepts:

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 72
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum score of 6.0
    • Michigan Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) with a minimum score of 74%
    • International Test of English Proficiency (ITEP) with a minimum score of 4.0 or Pearson Test of English with a score of 51
    • Duolingo with a minimum score of 100.

  • Applicants must submit the following:

    1. Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel), and
    2. An official transcript(s) issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits.
    3. A personal statement which includes:
      • brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience; and
      • statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and his or her reasons for seeking admission to the program and,
      • statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and his or her reasons for seeking admission to the program and,
      • personal information the applicant wishes to share.
    4. Names of two people (including title, organization, email, phone number) who could serve as professional references, if needed, during the application review process. The best references are those who know you in a professional capacity, such as current or former supervisors.
    5. A current résumé listing educational background and work experience.
    6. Applicants with international transcripts may require an English language proficiency exam (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or MELAB accepted.)

    Please Note: Application materials should be sent to the attention of the Office of Admission on the Twin Cities Campus.

    Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

    Office of Admission
    2500 Park Ave S
    Minneapolis, MN 55404

    Or electronically:

    Please reach out with any questions about the application process.

    Phone: (612) 728-5100
    Toll-free: (866) 437-2788


  • Spring 2024 (January): Friday, Dec. 1, 2023

  • Start date: Spring 2024: Jan. 8

  • You can expect to be notified about your acceptance approximately two weeks following your application completion date.

Tuition & Fees

We help you find ways to finance your education. Talk to your Enrollment Counselor about scholarships, loans, and other ways to make your education affordable.

Course Catalog

With both the Ed.S. program and your chosen administrativeative licensure courses, you’ll focus on how to combine organizational leadership theories with the practical skills school administrators need to become effective leaders of learning organizations. You’ll take courses such as:

  • School Leadership: Purpose and Motivation 
  • Ethical Decision Making for School Leaders 
  • Leading Flourishing Schools 
  • Continuous Improvement for Learning 

The course catalog provides complete information about course requirements.

Careers & Salary

Earning your Ed.S. degree unlocks opportunities that recognize your advanced credential, boosts your salary potential, and positions you for promotions and advancement throughout your career.

Director of Special Education

$122,307 per year*


$102,349 per year*

High School Principal

$92,784 per year*

Related Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

  • At Saint Mary’s, we want you to succeed, and we help you do so, inside and outside of the classroom: 

    Student Central: Your one-stop for student services.

    Library: Resources and services are available 24/7 to all students.

    Writing Center: Offers virtual and face-to-face services to support students. 

    Career Services: Can help you develop your career-readiness skills at any point in your education. 

  • If you are in a degree-granting program and enrolled at least half time, you may be eligible for financial aid.

    Learn more here.

  • Life gets busy. Whether you’re raising a family, pursuing your career, or playing an active role in your community, we know you want to keep up with what you love while you take the next step in your career. That’s why Saint Mary’s online programs are flexible and designed to fit your demanding life.

    Learn more here.

  • Complete your initial Minnesota administrative licensure coursework (minimum of 30 credits) and choose to complete the Ed.S. in Educational Administration degree. The degree is awarded upon successful completion of three additional courses, including an action research methods course, an action research seminar course in which you’ll complete and document your action research project in a thesis, and a presentation of your research thesis during your exit assessment.

  • The K-12 Principal administrative licensure program focuses on developing effective management skills that prepare you to advance into school administrative leadership. Our practitioner-led faculty will help you gain an understanding of the 12 core administrative competencies, with three additional competencies required for Minnesota K-12 principal licensure. You’ll also engage in a 320-hour field experience internship with a minimum of 40 hours at the elementary, junior/middle, and high school levels.


    • A master’s degree in any field
    • Minimum of three years of teaching experience

    Learn more here.

  • This fully online program educates students on the planning and development of curriculum, assessment, and instruction necessary for effective Special Education leadership. Upon completing the program, you will be prepared to oversee, evaluate, and supervise special education programs. Our curriculum is led by faculty with practical leadership experience and can be completed in as little as two years.


    • A master’s degree in any field
    • Minimum of three years of special educationteaching experience

    Learn more here.

  • As a superintendent, you will serve as a problem-solver, expert communicator, and ethical example for your community. Our practitioner-led faculty draws on real-world experience to impart the most relevant information needed in today’s school districts. This online program will prepare you for Minnesota Administrative Licensure with only six more credits beyond your principal or special ed director license.


    • A master’s degree in any field
    • Minimum of three years of teaching experience
    • Current K-12 administrative license or director of special education license

    Learn more here.

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