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The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences:
Education Specialist (EdS) in Special Education

In the Education Specialist (EdS) in Special Education program, education professionals prepare for leadership roles in school districts, communities, and the profession as a whole. Educators in this program will deepen their understanding of the critical trends and issues impacting special education today. They will learn how to collaborate effectively with families and school staff to enhance special education practice. Learners engage in real-world case studies that require collaborative problem solving and the implementation of research-based strategies.

This EdS curriculum is informed by the Council for Exceptional Children’s Advanced Preparation Standards. Key issues in the field of special education, such as leadership and policy, program development and assessment, collaboration, and ethical practice, are emphasized. Educators culminate the program with a capstone project that focuses on a real-world problem of practice in special education.

Note on Educator Licensure or Certification

This program does not lead to educator licensure or certification. Educators are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.

Learning Outcomes

All EdS graduates will be prepared to:

  1. Apply discipline-specific knowledge to address issues in educational settings.
  2. Apply evidence-based practices to address a problem within the academic and/or work environment and propose a solution.
  3. Communicate information to a variety of stakeholders using oral and written formats.
  4. Practice ethically as a professional in the field of education.
  5. Collaborate with diverse stakeholders to promote continuous improvement in educational settings.
  6. Advocate for social change to make a positive impact in educational settings.

In addition to the shared EdS outcomes above, Special Education (Non-Licensure) graduates will be prepared to:

  1. Follow policies surrounding ethical and legal practices that support high quality education for individuals with diverse educational, behavioral, emotional, and cultural learning needs.
  2. Apply valid, research-based assessment measures to facilitate learning and behavioral interventions for individuals with diverse educational, behavioral, emotional, and cultural learning needs.
  3. Evaluate special education programs, including the integration of related services (e.g., assistive technology, behavioral intervention, transition, inclusion), for individuals with exceptionalities based upon an understanding of individual differences.
  4. Distinguish research-based strategies used to improve data decision making, supports, and services for individuals with diverse educational, behavioral, emotional, and cultural learning needs.
  5. Support the continuous improvement of education programs/supports/services for individuals with exceptionalities.
  6. Effectively communicate with stakeholders to improve outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities and their families.
  7. Design a scholarly response to address a special education problem and contribute to the profession.

Degree Requirements

  • 45 total quarter credits
  • Foundation course (5 credits)
  • Research course (5 credits)
  • Specialization courses (30 credits)
  • EdS Capstone Project (5 credits)
  • ePortfolio 

Curriculum (45 total credits)

Foundation Course (5 credits)


  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.

(6-week version)

Research Course (5 credits)

Specialization Courses (30 credits)

  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.
  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.

Capstone (5 credits)

Course Sequence

The recommended course sequence is as follows:

Quarter Course Credits
Quarter 1

EDSD 7002 - Leading the Future of Education


EDSD 7006 - Leading the Future of Education (6-week version)

5 credits
Quarter 2

EDSD 7070 - Special Education: Exploring Theory and Practice

5 credits
Quarter 3

EDSD 7071 - Leading Change in Special Education: Advocacy, Policy, and Law

5 credits
Quarter 4

RSCH 7110 - Research Theory, Design, and Methods

5 credits
Quarter 5

EDSD 7072 - Research Methodology for Special Education

5 credits
Quarter 6

EDSD 7073 - Designing Specialized Instruction for Diverse Learners

5 credits
Quarter 7

EDSD 7074 - Implementing Effective School-Wide Intervention Models

5 credits
Quarter 8

EDSD 7075 - Sustaining and Supporting Effective Practices in Special Education

5 credits
Quarter 9

EDSD 7900 - EdS Capstone Project: Creating and Supporting Effective Educational Practices

5 credits