The performance-based specialist program offers candidates the opportunity to continue to develop their knowledge and skills through advanced and more specialized content designed specifically to address the candidates’ leadership position and career goals. This degree has two options: building-level leadership and system-level leadership. The two tracks are differentiated by the performance component–the level at which the field-based component (residency) is completed.

Selected Educational Outcomes

  1. Candidates will demonstrate an adequate understanding of the knowledge expected in their fields and delineated in professional, state, and institutional standards.
  2. Candidates will use data and current research to inform their practices.
  3. Candidates will create positive environments for student learning.
  4. Candidates will understand and build upon the developmental levels of students with whom they work; the diversity of students, families, and communities; and the policy contexts within which they work.

Examples of Outcome Assessments

  1. Candidates will demonstrate content knowledge through passing the state-required content assessment.
  2. Candidates will demonstrate their ability to use data and current research to inform their practice through completion of a comprehensive review of literature.
  3. Candidates will demonstrate their ability to create positive environments for student learning during a faculty observation of their clinical practice.
  4. Candidates will demonstrate their ability to positively impact P-12 learning through a school improvement project.

Prior to admission to any graduate program at Valdosta State University, applicants must first submit a completed application to the Graduate School. A completed application packet includes official transcripts from all institutions previously attended, completed application form, fee, and any additional program requirements submitted by the admission deadline. To be considered for the preferred term, all required materials must be received by the Graduate School no later than the close of business on the deadline. It is the responsibility of the applicant to allow adequate time for document submission and to ensure receipt of documents.

Admission Deadlines

  • Fall Deadline: July 15
  • Spring Deadline: November 15
  • Summer Deadline: April 15

Go to the Graduate School website and click on Our Programs, then click on Educational Leadership Ed.S. Program for information on:

  • Specific Educational Leadership Ed.S. Program Admission Requirements
  • Educational Leadership Ed.S. Program Retention, Dismissal and Readmission Policies
  • Educational Leadership Ed.S. Program Graduation Requirements

To Apply Online, click here.

Requirements for the Ed.S. Degree with a Major in Educational Leadership

Performance-based Building Level or System Level

Area A Core9
LEAD 8140Leadership for Creating an Effective Learning Environment3
LEAD 8030School Culture, Change and Organizational Dynamics3
RSCH 8000Advanced Research Methodology3
Area B Guided Elective3
Select one of the following:3
Building Leadership for the 21st Century
Executive Leadership for the 21st Century
Leading a Professional Learning Community
Coaching and Mentoring for High-Performing Schools
Financing and Managing Educational Facilities
Managing Resources for School Improvement
Directed Study in Educational Leadership
The faculty advisor will collaborate with candidate and school system partners to identify an appropriate elective.
Area C Field-based Activities 18
LEAD 8920Advanced Leadership Field-Based Experiences I6
LEAD 8930Advanced Leadership Field-Based Experiences II6
LEAD 8940Advanced Leadership Field-Based Experiences III6
The above field-based activities will be conducted at either the building level or system level. The two options (building or system) are differentiated by the performance component–the level at which the residency is completed.
Total Hours Required for the Degree30

Other Degree Requirements

Prior to conducting performance-based activities, a candidate must meet the GaPSC pre-service requirement for performance-based leadership preparation by holding a clear/renewable Leadership (L) Certificate at the master’s level or higher or meet one of the following criteria:

  • holding a master’s degree in educational leadership; or
  • completing LEAD 7020 and LEAD 7420 or their equivalent as determined by a review of all past graduate-level work.
  • At some point before completing the degree requirements, candidates must post a score on the GACE Educational Leadership Content Assessment (Test Code: 173 & 174).

Candidates may add the other leadership level (building or system) by being assigned to a leadership role or position at the other level and then completing the program requirements (including the appropriate performances) for that level. This can be done through extension of the program’s residency or field-based activities. Only the elements that specifically pertain to the level not previously completed are required for adding the other new leadership level. This may be accomplished by completing an additional 6-credit-hour residency (LEAD 8950).

Please note that all students who hold or are seeking a GaPSC educator certificate must successfully complete EDUC 5999.

Additional Certification Requirements

Prior to being recommended for a clear/renewable Georgia leadership certificate, a candidate must meet the GaPSC Special Requirements (PSC Rule 505-2-20)–Identification and Education of Children with Special Needs–and pass the GACE Educational Leadership Content Assessment (Test code: 173 & 174).

Requirements for the Ed.S. Degree with a Major in Educational Leadership 

Performance-based Building Level or System Level

Area A Core6
Leading a Professional Learning Community
Executive Leadership for the 21st Century
Area B Residency21
Advanced Leadership Field-Based Experiences I
Advanced Leadership Field-Based Experiences II
Advanced Leadership Field-Based Experiences III
Advanced Leadership Field Based Experiences IV
The residency will be completed at the candidate's work site under the supervision of a Candidate Support Team consisting of a site mentor, a university advisor/coach, and the candidate.
Total Hours Required for the Degree27

Please note that all students who hold or are seeking this degree and/or GaPSC educator certification must successfully complete EDUC 5999. Prior to being recommended for a clear/renewable Georgia leadership certificate, a candidate must meet the GaPSC Special Requirements (PSC Rule 505-2-20)--Identification and Education of Children with Special Needs and pass the GACE Educational Performance-based Leadership Assessment.