School of Ed. - Director of Special Education

Education Specialist

Education leaders today deal with rapidly changing environments and need to be able to collaborate with others to develop sound policies, listen well to and manage diverse points of view and think critically while acting ethically. Through this program, you will develop a strong foundation and understanding of leadership in education. These skills will help you analyze and implement sound administrative policies, create successful strategies for change and put into service leading practices for the day-to-day needs of your schools.

The Education Specialist in Educational Leadership degree is designed for busy working professionals. Classes are typically held online or one evening per week and occasional Saturdays. This program is designed for individuals with a master’s degree in educational leadership looking to fulfill required competencies for a Director of Special Education, K-12 Principal licensure, or Superintendent licensure. View our EdS and Administrative Licensure flyer.

What you can earn

  • Education Specialist (Ed.S.)
  • Director of Special Education License: Required additional credits can be completed concurrently with the Ed.S. degree
  • Principal License: Completed as part of Ed.S. degree requirements

When to start

Spring 2021


EdS and Special Education Director License: 31



For the Special Education Director License:
EDLD 621   Research Design, Analysis and Critique I
SPED 731   Planning and Administration: The Special Education Director
EDLD 895   Topics: SPED Director Internship, Field Experience I, II, III
EDLD 801   Leadership and Organizational Theory
EDLD 805   Supervision and Professional Development
EDLD 807   Foundations of Leadership: An Intellectual and Ethical Practice
SPED 810   Professional Pre-Assessment: SPED Director Competencies
EDLD 820   School Law
EDLD 826   School Finance
EDLD 840   Administration of Special Programs
EDLD 897   Social Justice Pedagogy in Education

Full course catalog with descriptions


Find current course offerings


  1. Candidates for this degree have:
    • A Master's Degree from a regionally accredited institution.
    • A cumulative minimum undergraduate G.P.A. of 3.0 (4.0 scale). 
  2. Submit the following application materials:
    • Online Application form.
    • 2 positive letters of reference from non-related individuals who know you professionally and/or academically.
    • Official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work (unless that work was completed at the University of St. Thomas).
      • Submit transcripts to: Graduate Admissions, University of St. Thomas, Box 5, 1000 LaSalle Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403;
    • Personal statement.
  3. Submit supplementary materials:
    • International Applicants:
      1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) required for any candidate whose primary language is not English.
      2. Transcript Review: All international transcripts must be reviewed by an accredited evaluation service to determine U.S. equivalency of the degree awarded and the institution awarding the degree. Applications will not be reviewed for admissions until the official review is submitted.

Ongoing Professional Development

Annual events and conferences sponsored by the department offer a variety of networking and professional development opportunities.   

Real-world field experience

If your program includes a field experience element, the dedicated faculty and staff in your program will work with you to ensure that your experience will meet your interests and facilitate your growth, both personally and professionally. Throughout your time in your program, regularly scheduled meetings with faculty and peers offer the opportunity to form a strong professional network as you prepare to enter your field.

Community Partnerships

The School of Education takes pride in engaging in innovative partnerships with a variety of organizations. Students in the School of Education will find many opportunities for professional growth as a result of working with these organizations. Partnership examples include the Northwest Suburban Integration District, Center for Academics and Sports, FAIR School and the Collaborative Urban and Greater Minnesota Educators of Color (CUE) Scholarship Program.

Our licensing programs are accreddited by the Minnesota Board of School Administrators.

The University of St. Thomas prepares candidates for administrative licensure in the following areas: K-12 Principals, Superintendents and Director of Special Education. The University of St. Thomas Administrative Licensure program is compliant with all requirements per Minnesota Administrative Rule, 3512, Licensure of School Personnel.