May 25, 2024  
2023-2024 SGPP Catalog and Student Handbook 
2023-2024 SGPP Catalog and Student Handbook

Educational Administration, Ed.S.

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Program Description

The Education Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) in the Educational Administration program is designed for candidates who have already earned a master’s degree to develop school administrative leadership strategies, management skills, and research techniques with an objective of cultivating wise educational leaders able to lead flourishing schools. Minnesota State requirements for elementary and secondary principals, superintendents, or special education directors are embedded in the courses and the program completion options. The curriculum is practitioner-focused and rooted in research-based pedagogy, with an emphasis on leading with virtue and building high performing school communities. Instruction focuses on applying organizational leadership theories, the principles of wise leadership1, and the practical skills needed by school administrators to become leaders of flourishing learning communities.


The Educational Administration program and the Administrative Licenses are in compliance with all requirements in MR3512. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota affirms that the rules of the Minnesota Board of School Administrators governing the licensure programs for Principals, Superintendents, and Directors of Special Education are met and implemented within the program requirements. 

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, candidates are expected to become wise leaders of character and competence who:

  1. Exhibit an integrated understanding of the state competencies and code of ethics and their relationship to Saint Mary’s wise leadership model.

    1. Candidates understand a virtue-based approach to professional ethics.   

    2. Candidates analyze state competencies and ethics and apply them to authentic situations and professional experiences.

    3. Candidates demonstrate command of state competencies through articulation of pertinent competencies and ethics code in appropriate context.

  2. Explore and understand personal development through the wise leadership model.

    1. Candidates increase their knowledge and understanding of moral virtues including practical wisdom and its connections to leadership practice.

    2. Candidates apply individual moral virtues and character traits to their administrative duties and leadership responsibilities.

    3. Candidates model wise leadership practices and demonstrate their application in educational leadership settings.

  3. Engage a full range of leadership competencies with an emphasis on wise leadership in the context of their organizations and communities.

    1. Candidates analyze a range of leadership models and competencies and understand their application in different organizational contexts.

    2. Candidates apply wise leadership principles and educational theories in the context of complex, contemporary educational and administrative settings.

  4. Cultivate the necessary character traits and dispositions of a wise leader that foster respect for the dignity of every human person.

    1. Candidates identify the components of wise leadership that are necessary to foster respect and dignity for every human person.

    2. Candidates apply wise leadership practices through fostering moral reasoning and ethical leadership in themselves and others. 

    3. Candidates model character traits that foster respect for the dignity of every human person.

  5. Integrate practical wisdom and ethical behavior consistently in multiple educational leadership contexts.

    1. Candidates demonstrate awareness of moral and ethical dilemmas2

    2. Candidates are able to weigh multiple perspectives and responses in order to make moral judgments3.

    3. Candidates apply and evaluate wise leadership practices in the face of moral challenges, dilemmas, and opportunities4.

    4. Candidates synthesize acquired knowledge of wise leadership and moral reasoning in order to apply them to specific actions and behaviors aligned to these principles5.

1Wise leaders exemplify prudence in judgment, virtuous decision-making, and model good, moral action. Through their awareness, judgment, and motivation, they draw on practical wisdom, and are called to act with virtue. Wise leaders foster an educational environment conducive to good moral action and thought in others.
2Morally sensitive (aware of opportunities to exhibit good moral leadership)
3A good moral judge (capable of good judgment based on practical wisdom)
4Morally motivated (oriented toward the good and inspired toward action)
5Prone to good moral thought and deed (committed to good moral action)


Minnesota State Core Competencies

The following outcomes are state-identified competencies for educational administration. (A complete list of requirements can be found at MN Statute 3512.0510):

Core Competencies:

A.   Leadership  

B.   Organizational Management

C.   Equity and Culturally Responsive Leadership

D.   Policy and Law

E.   Political Influence and Governance       

F.   Communication

G.  Community Relations

H.  Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for Success of All Learners

I.    Human Resource Management.

J.   Values and Ethics Leadership

K.   Judgment and Problem Analysis

L.   Safety and Security

Principal Specific Outcomes

PA.   Instructional Leadership

PB.   Monitor Student Learning

PC.   PK-12 Leadership

Superintendent Specific Outcomes

SA.   Policy and Law

SB.   Political Influence and Governance

SC.   Communication

SD.   Fiscal Management

SE.   Judgment and Problem Analysis

Special Education Director Specific Outcomes

SEDA.   Policy and Law

SEDB.   Organizational Management

SEDC.   Resource/Fiscal Management

Program Structure and Delivery

Minnesota State requirements for elementary and secondary principals, superintendents, or special education directors are embedded in the courses and the program completion options.

All students take the core courses that cover competencies common to all areas of educational administration licensure in Minnesota. Three options offer students the opportunity to tailor their program to the type of educational administration license they desire. If students want licensure in more than one area, additional coursework is required.

In addition, two final courses and a presentation of their research thesis during their exit assessment are required to earn the Education Specialist degree. These courses include an action research methods course and an action research seminar course in which students complete and document their action research project in a thesis. At the end of the program, students present their action research and a portfolio. The portfolio addresses each of the 12 core program outcomes and the selected administrative position outcomes required by the State of Minnesota for licensure. All students must successfully demonstrate quality performance in the competencies in order to receive endorsement from Saint Mary’s University for their Minnesota School Administrative license.

Students may transfer a maximum of six graduate semester credits from a regionally accredited institution. Credits must have been earned during the five years prior to admission, be administrative in nature, have been approved by the program director and the dean, and have not been used as a part of another degree program. After acceptance into the program, all subsequent courses must be earned at Saint Mary’s University.

The principal and special education director license options are offered online with the addition of a summer institute. Students may start these options at the beginning of fall and spring semesters only.

The school superintendent license option is offered as remote delivery and is only available in the summer semester.

The EdS degree completion courses are offered online.


Alternative Pathway

Applicants who do not have the required three years of successful classroom teaching experience and/or classroom teaching licensure may be considered for provisional admission into the Ed.S. program or the graduate certificate program in Educational Administration through an alternate pathway option. Upon successful completion of the alternate pathway course students will be considered for regular admission.

There are three major components of the pathway contained within three 1-credit graduate level courses including 1050 hours of school classroom experience, an electronic portfolio documenting completion of the pathway requirements, and an exit assessment meeting.

Component 1: EDS691 Classroom Experience (1 cr.)

Candidates are required to document a minimum of 1050 hours studying and learning about pre-kindergarten, elementary, junior high/middle school, and high school level classroom experiences, to demonstrate knowledge and skills in the 10 Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice for Teachers.

Component 2: EDS692 Electronic Portfolio (1 cr.)

In order to demonstrate basic knowledge and skills as required by the Minnesota Rule (MR) 3512.0700, the culmination of the pathway is the presentation of an electronic portfolio.  The portfolio should demonstrate the appropriate teaching knowledge, skills, and experiences related to the 10 Standards of Effective Practice for Teachers and will be presented to a panel consisting of university and K-12 school advisors and staff.

Component 3: EDS693 Exit Meeting (1 cr.)

The exit assessment meeting is an opportunity for the student to showcase the portfolio and demonstrate evidence of accomplishment of the 10 Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice for Teachers addressed in the program. In addition, the student is asked to demonstrate that the requirements for the alternative pathway have been met in order to qualify for admittance to an education administration licensure program in Minnesota.


Faculty members for the Education Specialist Degree in Education Administration have earned doctorates, education specialist or master’s degrees. Faculty members are selected for their combination of educational and professional experience and expertise.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must possess a master’s degree in an education-related field, including 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.

Applicants may apply for admission to specialist degree and doctorate degree programs at any time during the year. A master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, for which applicant maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, is required for admission. Applicants must demonstrate the language proficiency necessary for successful graduate coursework. All applicants must complete an interview with the program administrators.

Application Process

Applicants must submit:

  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. Official transcripts issued to Saint Mary’s University from the institutions granting the applicant’s completed master’s degree(s) and other graduate level course completed (an official transcript is one that is sent or carried to the university in an envelope sealed by the granting institution.  Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated by a Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota accepted evaluation source, such as World Education Services,, and deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. University standards.)
  3. As part of the application process, using the education administration competencies listed in Minnesota Rule 3512.0510, the applicant’s transcripts are evaluated by the Program Director to determine which, if any, courses may be eliminated from the applicant’s personal learning course of study.  If the applicant indicates a desire for a graduate certificate or an Education Specialist degree on completion of his or her program, his or her transcript is evaluated for possible course transfer, subject to the maximum of 6 credits transfer in policy.
  4. All applicants must submit a reflective essay which includes:
    1. brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience and,
    2. statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and his or her reasons for seeking admission to this program and,
    3. description of the areas which the applicant considers to be his or her strengths and area in which the applicant wishes to develop greater strengths and abilities and,
    4. personal information the applicant wishes to share.
  5. Letters of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability and,
  6. A current resume listing educational background and work experience.

Please note: Application materials should be sent to the office of admission on the Twin Cities campus:

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Office of Admission
2500 Park Ave
Minneapolis, MN  55404

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