Through a blended format, Samford’s Educational Specialist degree in Instructional Leadership enhances its candidate’s leadership potential through a customized preparation program that affords them with the knowledge and skills needed to lead successful school improvement initiatives.

This 30-credit hour program incorporates the Alabama Standards for Instructional Leaders delivered through rigorous academic study and utilizes research-based “best practices” for adult learners. Additionally, the program provides mentorship opportunities through collaborative P-12-University partnerships.

At Samford, you receive a successful, well-structured program where you are able to learn practical strategies that can be immediately applied to your daily work.Catherine Finkley, M.S.E. `12, Instructional Leadership Certification `16, Ed.S. `17, Doctoral Candidate

Objectives and Curriculum

An Ed.S. degree in Instructional Leadership is available for candidates who hold a Master of Science degree from a regionally accredited college or university and Class A certification in instructional leadership.

This Instructional Leadership program provides opportunities for candidates to demonstrate knowledge and abilities outlined in the Alabama Standards for Instructional Leaders while being involved in innovative site-based learning activities.

In just 18 months, graduates of Samford’s Ed.S. in Instructional Leadership program will have an understanding of the following concepts:

  • Skills necessary for successful management of the educational enterprise including the study of economics, finance, taxation, strategic planning, analysis of policy staffing and technology use.
  • Changes in social, political and the economic context of schooling.
  • Different organizational and human factors that impact an organization’s ability to implement and sustain change.
  • Legal and policy issues inherent in instructional, non-instructional, and administrative positions throughout the education profession.
  • The administrator’s role in assessment, current and emerging trends for effective work, and overall program evaluation.

The curriculum requirement for the program is 30 credit hours. Students must have a 3.00 or higher cumulative GPA at Orlean Beeson School of Education to graduate. Please view our full list of completion requirements.

For more information about the graduate courses and electives offered at Orlean Beeson School of Education, please visit Orlean Beeson School of Education’s section of the Samford University Catalog.

View Curriculum


Application Deadlines

Fall term: July 15
Spring/Jan term: November 15
Summer term: May 15

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Ed.S. in Instructional Leadership program you must possess a master's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and a Class A teaching certificate in instructional leadership.

For an application to be considered complete, we must receive all of the following*:

  • Online application for admission: Please be sure to list your personal e-mail address on the application.
  • $35 Application Fee: This non-refundable fee is payable by credit card and is waived for Samford alumni, and current Samford students, faculty or staff.
  • Official Transcript(s) from all higher education institutions attended: Transcripts are considered official only when they bear the issuing institution’s seal and arrive with the seal intact. Transcripts can be sent electronically to or by mail.
  • Dispositions form filled out by current supervisor. May not be the same contact as the letter of recommendation.
  • Letters of recommendation: two letters of recommendation uploaded to online application.
  • Notarized Experience Verification Form
  • Statement of purpose
  • Writing Sample: highlight one problem facing education today

To check the status of application items, you may login to your application account and view the list of application items received.

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Is This Program For Me?

This program is designed for K-12 professionals with a passion for education and an unwavering belief in the importance of leadership development. If you have a desire to serve the education system in an administrative role, join this program and be pushed to your greatest potential.

Career Opportunities

  • Educational Administrator
  • Assistant Principal
  • Principal
  • Assistant Superintendent
  • Deputy Superintendent
  • Superintendent

Tuition, Scholarships and Financial Aid


Please visit our Tuition and Fees page for more information or contact the Graduate Admissions Coordinator.


Orlean Beeson School of Education is proud to award graduate students in its master's, certificate and specialist program a scholarship. Graduate students do not need to apply for this scholarship as it is automatically applied. The school will continue providing a scholarship until coursework is complete. Any additional scholarships are the responsibility of the applicant to secure.

Financial Aid

A financial assistance program administered by Samford One Stop has been established to aid students in attending Samford University.

Education students may have the ability to utilize Stafford Loans and Grad PLUS Loans. As an education student, a FAFSA is required to receive either of these loans.

To learn more about financial aid options, please visit the Samford One Stop or call 205-726-2905.