The goal of the educational specialist degree is to develop personnel who are highly competent practitioners/specialists in specific fields of education. The program of study will place emphasis on the extension of the students' abilities to apply theory, methodology and techniques to practical problems related to the individual's field. The breadth of studies will be consistent with the guidelines suggested by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Graduates are expected to be competent translators of practices and research.

The educational specialist degree can be earned in counseling and guidance, educational administration, reading education, or curriculum and instruction.

Requirements for Admission

Students are eligible for consideration for admission to the Ed.S. degree program in the School of Education when they have met at least one of the following requirements:

  • Students must be eligible for regular admission to the School of Education at the graduate level (undergraduate GPA must be at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale); if applicants have earned graduate credit, their graduate GPA must be at least 3.0.
  • The completion of a master's degree from an accredited institution of higher education and a cumulative graduate GPA of at least 3.0.

Applicants who have met one of the above requirements for admission to the School of Education at the Ed.S. level must also meet the divisional admission requirements for the specific degree program (educational administration, counseling and guidance, curriculum and instruction, or reading education). Consult the section of the catalog outlining the requirements of the divisions.

All educational specialist degree-seeking students are governed both by School of Education requirements and those of the School of Graduate Studies.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 60 hours of approved graduate work beyond the bachelor's degree is required for the educational specialist degree, with at least 60 percent of the courses numbered 5500 and above. Any courses on the 300 and 400 level included in the Ed.S. program of study must be accepted by the advisor and taken for graduate credit.

As soon as possible after admission to graduate study, students should seek to meet with a faculty member in the major to plan a program of study. This program must be filed in the Education Student Services Office and approved by the dean's representative when students still have at least 18 hours of coursework beyond the master's degree to complete. A majority of new coursework applied to any graduate degree to be completed at UMKC must be taken at UMKC. Transfer credit not included in a master's degree must not be more than 7 years old at the time of degree completion or graduation.

Transfer credit may be allowed for correspondence courses, provided the credits meet the criteria for graduate coursework. Completed courses offered by the School of Education's Continuing and Professional Education Program will be accepted into graduate degree programs in accordance with guidelines adopted by the School of Education.

UMKC credit more than seven years old at the time of degree completion that has not been included on a master's degree is not applicable to an Ed.S. degree unless validated to the satisfaction of the School of Education and the School of Graduate Studies. A maximum of 30 percent of coursework on the student's program of study may be validated under this procedure. All validation must be completed by the end of the final semester of enrollment.

The coursework is divided into the following study areas:

Specialization (21-42 hours)

The specialization is defined as a body of coursework associated with the area of concentration or major. Such courses might deal with the theory, research and methodology of the field.

Supporting Area(s) (9-15 hours each)

In addition to specific courses in a field of study, there are those courses which expand the competence of the specialist. These supporting areas might include study in one or two related areas, or study might be an intensive development of specific skills within the field.

Culminating Experience (3-12 hours)

All students should be able to demonstrate an ability to perform satisfactorily in situations approximating the intended role or specialization. While such experience may be included in regular coursework, at least 3 hours of supervised practicum, internship or field experience should be accomplished where the practice is the focus of the course.

Humanistic and Behavioral Studies (6-12 hours)

The success of a specialist may also depend on a broader understanding and interpretation of the concepts related to the problems and practices of the field, as revealed by study in humanistic and behavioral sciences. Courses or seminars in educational history, philosophy, psychology or sociology, or other appropriate courses, might be included in this area.


Enrollment as a full-time graduate student during one semester (5 credit hours during summer sessions, 9 credit hours during fall and spring semesters) is required for the educational specialist degree.

Final Examination

Students are required to pass a final examination in the major field or an oral examination upon the completion of the practicum or internship for the educational specialist degree.

Requirements for Retention

Students should assume responsibility for the following steps:

  1. Complete all admission requirements.
  2. With the faculty advisor, establish a program of study and have it approved by the dean's representative.
  3. Complete all courses listed on the program of study.
  4. Maintain an acceptable GPA (Grades below B- in 300- or 400-level courses taken for graduate credit will not be accepted on the program of study. No grade lower than a C in any 5500-level course is acceptable. A minimum of 80 percent of the program must be completed with grades of A or B. Additionally, students must maintain a 3.0 (B) average in all graduate coursework, regardless of whether the courses are on the actual program of study.
  5. Apply for the degree (graduation) by the posted deadline during their final term of enrollment. Students are required to be enrolled in at least one credit hour during the term the degree requirements are to be completed.