Online and Distance Degrees > Degree Programs > EdS in Educational Leadership (Instructional Leadership Certification)

Educational Specialist (EdS) in
Educational Leadership (Instructional Leadership Certification)


Program Overview

Students will learn the foundational skills needed in advanced school administration and leadership roles with an online Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership (Instructional Leadership) degree from The University of Alabama. After earning their Instructional Leadership certification, graduates will be able to develop and enact a shared mission of high-quality education and academic success.

  • Program Format

  • Credit Hours

  • Tuition Per Hour


Lead Your School to Greatness

Throughout our program, students will develop various skills focused on motivating colleagues and students to achieve the goals of their school’s strategic plan and vision. Learning how to best interact with community members and other faculty and staff is also crucial in this program so graduates can effectively lead and improve their organizations.

With an Educational Leadership degree, our alums seek careers as school principals, college deans, program directors, superintendents, university presidents and more.

This program leads to Alabama Class AA Instructional Leadership (P-12) Certification.

  • Application Priority DeadlineJuly 1 for fall admission; November 15 for spring admission; May 1 for summer admission
  • Fees$10 graduate College of Education fee (per hour)
  • AccreditationNational Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
  • Required For EntranceAlabama Class A Instructional Leader certificate or another Alabama Class A leadership certificate


The EdS in Educational Leadership with Instructional Leadership certification consists of 30-33 credit hours. Program and courses are subject to change.

Required Courses

  • AEL 631 – Strategic Leadership
  • AEL 632 – Leading Learning through the Curriculum
  • AEL 633 – Leading, Developing, and Mentoring Adult Learners
  • AEL 634 – Development and Supervision of Human Resources
  • AEL 635 – Ethical, Legal, and Policy Issues in Schools
  • AEL 636 – School Finance and Financial Management
  • AEL 637 – Leadership and Social Systems
  • AEL 638 – Solving Problems of Practice

Additional Requirements

  • Foundations: 3 credit hours
  • BER Research 600 level course
  • Special education survey course (if not previously completed)

In addition to coursework, students must pass a comprehensive exam, complete mentor training and a problem analysis project.

View more information about this program through the University’s catalog.


Admission to the EdS program requires the following:

  • A master’s degree from an accredited university
  • Alabama master’s level certification in Instructional Leadership
  • Educational experience in teaching and/or leadership

A completed application package includes unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a Graduate School application.

Submit the following materials to the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Technology Studies:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A statement of purpose
  • An academic writing sample
  • An EXP form completed by the Board of Education
  • Evidence of leadership and management potential

Experience must be verified on the notarized Supplement EXP form. Section III and V should be completed by your current and/or previous school system(s) (usually the HR department), and Section IV is not required. Questions related to acceptable experience or certification should be directed to Dawn Bryant, Coordinator of Graduate Admissions and Certification at The original form should be mailed to:

The University of Alabama College of Education
ATTN: Dawn Bryant
Box 870231
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0231
Application Deadlines:

  • May 1 – summer admission
  • July 1 – fall admission
  • Nov. 15 – spring admission

Note: Prospective students who did not earn a master’s degree from UA or earned a master’s degree more than eight years ago may be required to provide additional documentation.

Do you accept out-of-state students into the program?

In order to apply to the master’s program, you must have an Alabama Class B teacher certification. If you are out of state, you would need to obtain an Alabama Class B certification in order to apply. For the EdS program, you need to have an Alabama Class A certification in Educational Leadership.

Do you have a reduced hour option for certification?

Yes, UA Online offers an Educational Leadership reduced hour option that consists of 18 credit hours. In order to apply for the reduced hour option, you need to have an Alabama Class A teacher certification.

Do I need to have teaching experience before applying?

Yes, you need three years of educational experience in the P-12 setting to apply for this program.

Is there a way to obtain an Alabama Class B teacher certification if I am an out-of-state student?

Yes, you may reach out to Dawn Bryant who works with certification in the College of Education if you would like to receive information on how to obtain an Alabama Class B certification.

Please email Dawn at


Find more information and learn about restrictions related to this degree program that may exist regarding licensure in the state in which you reside.


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