For educators who want to become a principal or administrator at the education specialist level, Walden University’s Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and Administration program is designed to help you develop the knowledge and skills to become a licensed principal.*

Our curriculum is focused on preparing you to:

  • Understand and manage complex educational issues. 
  • Assess, improve, and provide quality instructional programs. 
  • Recruit, hire, and retain school personnel committed to improving student learning. 
  • Create a shared strategic vision. 
  • Encourage and inspire students, teachers, staff members, families, and the community to work together to provide a safe and secure learning environment.

This is a unique, scholar-practitioner educational leadership degree program that’s grounded in current research. This program is designed to provide students with opportunities to respond to authentic case studies, participate in school leadership experiences, work side by side with principal mentors, and develop the ability to impact social change.

The Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and Administration is approved for principal licensure in Minnesota and Ohio. Upon successful completion of this program, Its curriculum is aligned with the standards of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC), the Educational Leadership Constituents Council (ELCC), and the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA).

Gain a general understanding of the guidelines and requirements of the principal preparation program with the Principal Candidate Guidebook (abridged version). After you download the guidebook, please call 1-866-492-5336 to speak with your enrollment advisor for assistance in reviewing the information.

An Education Specialist degree, sometimes referred to as a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (C.A.G.S.), is ideal for educators who want to remain working in the field but who would like to increase their influence and impact on their learning communities.

Find information about Walden programs and licensure requirements specific to your state.

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  • $2500 Grant for students who reside in the U.S.

  • Click here to view available scholarships.

  • Licensure Preparation & Endorsement for Educators

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  • Curriculum

  • Tuition and Fees

  • Highlights

  • Learning Outcomes

  • Program Data

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Completion Requirements

  • 36 total semester credits
  • Field Experience courses (6 sem. credits)
  • Virtual Field Experience (VFE®)# 
  • Two 3-day residencies

This program can be completed in as little as 20 months. Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.


*Walden is approved by Minnesota and Ohio to offer the Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and Administration program that leads to principal licensure. Walden is also approved by Ohio to offer the M.S. in Education, Educational Leadership and Administration, which leads to principal licensure in Ohio.

Individuals interested in principal licensure in states other than Minnesota and Ohio may qualify for the license by virtue of completing a state-approved program; however, individuals must review their state’s regulations to ensure the program meets all requirements, paying particular attention to any requirements specific to out-of-state program completers.

Walden enrollment advisors can provide guidance on licensure issues; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand and comply with all state licensure requirements. Walden makes no representation or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure or endorsement.

#Each Field Experience course is one credit. Field Experience begins in the second half of the second semester and is taken simultaneously with the required three credit courses.


Find out more about the Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and Administration now.  Request Information

Next State Date is May 5.  Apply Now

Curriculum Component  Requirements  Cost 
Courses  36 total semester credit hours  $765 per semester credit hour (includes course textbooks and materials) 
3-Day Residency  2 during your program  $820 each, plus travel, lodging, other expenses 
Technology Fee  per semester  $160

Tuition and fees are subject to change.

Call 1-866-492-5336 for information about a full range of options for:

No Application Fee - Applying has never been easier.

When you choose Walden’s educational leadership program, you can benefit from the flexibility of online learning and from MobileLearn®. Offered exclusively at Walden, MobileLearn not only enables you to choose where and when you learn, it also gives you the ability to choose how you learn. Learn more.

Find out more about what defines Walden’s Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and Administration program:

Exit Evaluation

The exit evaluation is a required component of the principal preparation program. It is a culminating activity/assessment that provides an opportunity for you to showcase your successful completion of all components of the program.

During the exit evaluation, which is conducted virtually with a team of representatives from the university and licensed principal-practitioners, you will be asked to discuss and show:

  • Evidence of your situational observations.
  • Your progress to date on your individual learning plan.
  • Selected field experience artifacts and course artifacts that represent integration of the Minnesota competencies or Ohio principal standards.
  • Evidence of all completed transition points.
  • A final reflection on your program experience.

Successful completion of the exit evaluation is a requirement for graduation. You will also need to have passed the School Leaders Licensure Assessment Exam (SLLA) by this time. Upon completion of the program requirements, Walden will recommend you to the Minnesota Board of School Administrators for licensure as a preK–12 principal in Minnesota or to the Ohio State Board of Education for building principal licensure (grades preK–6, grades 4–9, and grades 5–12). To obtain an Ohio principal license, individuals must also pass Praxis II – Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision (#0411).

Face-to-Face Residencies

Held in convenient locations, face-to-face residencies give you important opportunities to:

  • Meet with faculty members for individual advising sessions.
  • Enhance your writing, research, and critical-thinking skills.
  • Network with other students and develop the support and skills you need to successfully complete your degree.
  • Access a variety of Walden resources.

At the end of each residency, you will submit a reflection paper that demonstrates the advancement of your learning during each residency. See the locations and dates of residencies that are available to current students.

Residency 1

Days: Three (completed between course numbers three [EDUC 7201] and five [EDUC 7203])

Format: Large group presentations; small group discussions on key topics and issues related to educational leadership; role playing opportunities; case study analyses; Q&A sessions; and one-on-one interaction and advising with faculty.

Focus: The focus of the residencies is to prepare you for productive and successful Field Experience. Your time is structured to allow you to engage in professional discourse regarding questions and concerns about your Field Experience, as well as all other aspects of the Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and Administration program.

Residency 2

Days: Three (completed between course numbers seven [EDUC 7205] and nine [EDUC 7207])

Format: Large group presentations; small group discussions on key topics and issues related to educational leadership; role playing opportunities; case study analyses; Q&A sessions; and one-on-one interaction and advising with faculty.

Focus: Relating your Field Experience to the Minnesota Board of School Administrators Core Leadership and Principal Competencies.

Residency Learning Outcomes

  1. Socialization, skills, and support for meeting expectations in Walden’s EdS, ELA Principal Preparation Program, community-building, life-long learning
  2. Effective collaborative and communication skills
  3. Reflect and analyze educational issues in light of current research and best practice, demonstrate an understanding of the attributes of effective leaders who promote social change

For more information about how Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and Administration residencies enhance your academic experience, call 1-866-492-5336.

Field Experience

Field Experience is required and an integral part of this program. Field experience offers:

  • Opportunities to apply course concepts in authentic environments.
  • Experience in elementary, middle or junior high, and high school settings where you will work side-by-side with a licensed and practicing school principal as an administrative aide.
  • Preparation for the daily responsibilities and challenges of leadership and administration in schools.

Your Field Experience spans 12 months and is worth a total of six credits. Time-wise, you will spend 240 hours at the school level of your primary teaching experience and 40 hours each at the levels in which you have not taught.

Duration: 320 hours or 40 eight-hour days across 12 consecutive months, or a full year, (begins after course number three (EDUC 7201) and ends at course number nine (EDUC 7207).

Pre-Assessment and Individual Learning Plan

The pre-assessment and individual learning plan is a self-assessment of your current status in relation to the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of effective school leaders. You will have an opportunity to take stock of your ability to manage time and consider ways to more effectively juggle the demands of work, life, and your degree program. Through a series of steps, you will reflect on your current abilities; read current research; view video segments of national experts; participate in a case study focused on articulating the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of effective school leaders; and then envision the type of school leader you hope to become. 

Timing: Completed during the first course, EDUC 7002 – Foundations: Educational Leadership and Administration.


  • Write a leadership philosophy statement based on what you bring to the program and what you are learning. 
  • Develop a set of goals. 
  • Commit to an action plan to help you successfully complete your program of study and reach your goals.

A copy of the initial individual leadership plan will be added to your ePortfolio, and you will have an opportunity to revise this plan throughout the program as your understanding and expertise continue to grow.

Situational Observations

Situational observations are your opportunity to demonstrate an integrated application of the Minnesota Core Leadership and Principal Competencies.

Timing: Two observations take place during your field experience. A third observation during Residency 2 will be based on a “simulated” situation involving a case study.


  • The two field observations include pre-conference meetings, the observations themselves, and post-conferences in which you receive feedback on your performance. 
  • The “simulated” situational observation is a key component of your exit evaluation for the program.

Graduates of this program will be prepared to:

  1. Lead initiatives that evaluate and improve instructional programs. 
  2. Effectively manage all personnel and provide ongoing evaluation and professional development in teaching and learning. 
  3. Create a strategic plan using a visioning process to be shared and supported by all stakeholders. 
  4. Use data to effectively manage the organization and resources for a safe, secure, and effective learning environment. 
  5. Address community interests and diverse needs through communicating and collaborating with internal and external publics. 
  6. Articulate the school’s role within the broader political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context and responding effectively to changes that impact the school community. 
  7. Model democratic value systems, ethics, and moral leadership; supporting others to grow and develop as caring and informed citizens.

Walden is committed to providing the information you need to make an informed decision about where you pursue your education. Click here to find detailed information for the Education Specialist (Ed.S.) in Educational Leadership and Administration (Principal Preparation) relating to the types of occupations this program may lead to, completion rate, program costs, and median loan debt of students who have graduated from this program.

For assistance in deciding which online degree program fits your goals, request information or speak with an enrollment advisor by calling 1-866-492-5336. A list of international toll-free phone numbers is available for students outside the United States.