Students who join our Educational Specialist programs are usually already in leadership positions in their schools and are seeking to enhance their disciplinary and pedagogical knowledge, as well as their capacity to bring about affirmative school change. Through our programs they will learn to plan and create differentiated experiences and programs based on disciplinary content, cutting edge research, and professional standards in order to engage diverse 6th through 12th grade school populations in rigorous and enjoyable learning. Our students engage in original, empirical research, and when they graduate they often become disciplinary coaches or curriculum specialists for their schools or districts.

All of our programs include 12 hours of graduate level work in the discipline, as well as advanced work in curriculum and instruction.

Admission Requirements

The Graduate School makes admission decisions based on a composite of qualitative and quantitative information that include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • applicant’s statement of purpose
  • letters of recommendation
  • the academic standing of the student in program(s) in which the applicant has studied
  • relevant professional activities and achievements
  • recommendation of the faculty
  • Class A certification in your discipline

Not every student whose credentials meet stated standards is admitted. Admission requirements are subject to change without prior notice. A person holding a bachelor’s degree (or who is a senior) from a U.S. regionally accredited institution (or the foreign equivalent for an international applicant) is eligible for consideration for admission to the Graduate School of The University of Alabama.

Application Process

Please apply online for graduate study at the Graduate School’s website.  Interested persons with restrictions that prevent the use of our online application or who have questions about applications should contact The University of Alabama, Graduate School, Box 870118, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0118; telephone (205) 348-5921 or 1-877-UAGRADS; fax (205) 348-0400; or e-mail gradschool@ua.edu.

All applicants, including U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and international applicants, must submit the following materials to the Graduate School using the online application:

  • Applicant data sheet and statement of purpose
  • One official transcript for each US institution of higher education (including community colleges) at which 15 or more credit hours have been completed. For domestic applicants, transcripts must be uploaded by the applicant. For international applicants, transcripts but be submitted directly by the issuing institution.
  • Three letters of recommendation. Recommendations may be submitted online by logging in to ‘Manage Supporting Documents‘ or through postal mail. Complete information for the submission of letters of recommendation can be found at http://graduate.ua.edu/prospective-students/apply-now. These should be submitted directly to the department to which the applicant is applying (not to the Graduate School ). Each applicant must have a letter of reference from at least one professor in
    1. their undergraduate major, or
    2. the proposed field of graduate study, if any courses have been taken in either area within the last five years
  • Additional application materials (e.g., portfolios, writing samples, responses to essay questions, etc.) required by individual departments. Applicants should contact departments directly for more information and visit ‘Manage Supporting Documents’ for a list of documents may currently be uploaded.

Application Deadlines*

Application DeadlineDecision Letters SentFor Semester & Year
July 31, 2023September 15, 2023
Spring 2024
Feb. 5, 2024March 8, 2024summer and fall 2024
July 29, 2024September 13, 2024spring 2025

All of the above materials must be received by the Graduate School before an application will be considered. To ensure that no materials are missing, applicants should periodically check the status of their applications online or by telephoning the Graduate School.

Application may be made to only two programs at a time, and at no time may a student be enrolled in more than two programs. A person holding a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution (or the foreign equivalent for an international applicant) is eligible for consideration for admission to the Graduate School of The University of Alabama. Seniors who have completed at least 91 undergraduate credits at regionally accredited institutions are also eligible to apply.

If a student applies but does not complete any coursework within 12 months of the requested entrance date, a new application and an accompanying appropriate fee must be submitted.


Program Requirements

The EdS degree normally is granted at the end of the sixth year of collegiate study and falls in time between the master’s degree and the doctorate, although it is not viewed as intermediate between the master’s and doctoral degrees. In the College of Education, some EdS degrees lead to a teaching certification for P–12 education fields. In some teaching fields, the purpose of the degree is to prepare undergraduate-college teachers, especially those who will be employed in junior colleges, small private and state colleges, and the group of colleges labeled as “developing” institutions. The primary goals of the EdS degree are teaching and acquiring professional proficiency.

Because the purposes of the EdS degree may differ from those of either the EdD or PhD, credit earned in an EdS program is not automatically transferable to a doctoral program. Instead, if a holder of an EdS degree enters a doctoral program at a later date, the doctoral advisory committee will decide how much of the credit earned in the EdS program will be counted toward the doctorate.

The EdS degree requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of study beyond the master’s degree. (Students completing an EdS program and also expecting to receive an Alabama Class AA certificate for service in the public schools must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours and achieve a minimum 3.5 grade point average on all work attempted.) Generally, the following requirements will hold for the degree:

  • If a student enters a program with a master’s degree in the same field, a minimum of 12 additional semester hours in the teaching field must be taken as part of the 30-hour total.  Some departments may require more than these minimums.
  • Since one of the goals of the EdS degree is to prepare undergraduate-college teachers, certain courses in higher education may be necessary, if required by the major department. A faculty advisor in the program in higher education administration will advise students on the appropriate courses to complete this requirement.
  • Candidates for the EdS degree will be required to complete all coursework at the 500 and 600 levels.

All requirements for the EdS degree must be completed during the six years (18 fall, spring, and summer semesters) immediately preceding the date on which the degree is to be awarded. There is no provision at the EdS level for a time limit extension beyond 6 years.

A standard form for an EdS plan of study is not available at the Graduate School’s website, because each department or program participating in the EdS degree has established a framework of requirements for the degree that indicates the general structure of its program. At or before initial registration, each student develops a formal plan of study for the degree, designating all courses he or she plans to take in the program. In reaching decisions, the student should consult with the program director. The student will file a completed plan with the program director who, upon approving the plan, will distribute copies to the Graduate School and to the student, retaining one copy for departmental files.

A plan of study may be amended at any time using appropriate forms and following the procedure described above. Until formal approval of an amended plan of study is made, the original or current modification of the plan will be in effect.

As noted above, the EdS Plan of Study is available in the College of Education and must be approved by the Graduate School before the student can be admitted to candidacy for the EdS degree. Thus, it is best to complete the plan of study by the end of the first or second semester of course work.

Each EdS student completes the Admission to Candidacy for the EdS Degree application form and submits it to the Graduate School.

In addition to the regular course examinations, a final comprehensive examination is required. The examination may be written or oral or both, at the discretion of the major department. No candidate is eligible for the final examination until approved by the appropriate program director. A student may take the final oral or written examination only twice. Failing the examination twice results in dismissal from the degree program and the Graduate School.

The examination will be prepared and conducted by a committee of at least three members of the UA graduate faculty, including the program director in the major area of study and a designee (or two or more people from the major area of study, designated by the program director) and the program director (or a designee) from the minor field of study, if one has been included in a program. Committees will be appointed by the dean of the Graduate School on request of the major program director. Each candidate must be judged by the major department to have completed the examination(s) satisfactorily.

If a candidate receives failing marks in both the minor area of study and the professional education field, the candidate will be judged to have failed the examination. If a candidate fails either the minor examination or the professional education examination, the committee as a whole will reach a decision about the satisfactory or unsatisfactory nature of the candidate’s performance on the examination. If a candidate does not have a minor field, the committee members will meet to reach a decision in the event the student fails the professional education examination.

All written examinations will be kept on file by the program directors for one year following the date of the examination, and students will have the right to confer with their program directors regarding the strengths and weaknesses shown on the examinations.

Each candidate for an educational specialist degree submits the Application for Degree through myBama no later than the registration period of the semester or the first term of the summer session in which requirements for the degree are to be completed.


Programs of Study