Education Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction


The Education Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction prepares classroom teachers to become specialists so that they are well-prepared to lead within their schools, districts, or region, specific to a particular area of teaching specialization (for example, Mathematics Specialist, Literacy/Reading Specialist, or Diversity Literacy Specialist). Prospective applicants for the degree are teachers who have completed a master’s degree in education (e.g., a Master’s in Education (M.Ed.) or a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.), or related field, and are interested in continuing their educational pursuits, but are not interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction.

The program will provide graduates with expertise needed for strong instructional leadership in schools, including extensive knowledge of:

  • Curriculum
  • Leadership and coaching
  • Data Analysis and research methods to support data-drive decision making
  • One area of expertise within teaching (e.g. science teaching, elementary mathematics specialist, reading specialist, special education)

Learn more about the CEHD's Tuition Reduction Initiative that can be applied to the M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership Program!


This is a 30-hour program leading to an Education Specialist degree. Teachers who have completed this program are well positioned for leadership positions such as a district science specialist or a school instructional coach. In addition, Education Specialists are strong applicants for working in non-profit organizations and college and/or university positions.

UofL’s Ed.S. in Curriculum and Instruction has these defining features:

  • Flexible choice of specialization area
  • Collaboration with nationally-recognized experts across many specialization areas
  • Focus on current research-based effective teaching practices
  • Development of skills as a leader of other educators, a consumer and conductor of research, and a leader who can impact change to improve educational learning opportunities for all students


The Education Specialist Degree in Curriculum and Instruction is a 30-hour, post-Master’s degree program designed to prepare experienced teachers as curriculum and/or instructional leaders.

Specialist in Education in Curriculum and Instruction
Unit: College of Education and Human Development
Departments: Department of Elementary, Middle & Secondary Teacher Education , Department Special Education, Early Childhood & Prevention Science

Credit Hours
Specialization Areas12-15
Classroom Reading
Elementary Mathematics Specialist (EMS)
English as a Second Language (ESL)
Instructional Technology
Content Area Teaching
Diversity Literacy
Special Education
RESEARCH METHODS (Recommended Courses) [At least one quantitative and one qualitative course]6-9
LEAD 601 Applied Research Methods
LEAD 701 Intermediate Statistics
LEAD 702 Applied Multiple Regression Qualitative
LEAD 704 Qualitative Field Research Methods
LEAD 705 Qualitative Data Analysis and Representation
LEADERSHIP (Recommended Courses)6
EDAP 624 Curriculum Theory
EDAP 677 Developing Collaborative Groups, Facilitating, Coaching, and Mentoring
LEAD 636 Creating Equitable & Reliable Learning Environments (or other leadership course in consultation with advisor)
PROJECT (Required Course)3
EDAP 770 Education Specialist Research

The Graduate School Future Students resource page offers additional application information and support.

How to Apply

This program is open to all eligible candidates regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age. Follow the instructions at the UofL Graduate School, which include the Graduate school application, along with instructions on submitting the admissions requirements listed above.

Admissions Requirements

  • Three years of successful, full-time teaching experience
  • Evidence of a Master’s degree in Education (or related field)
  • Minimum 3.3 Grade Point Average (GPA) in Master’s degree
  • Submission of official transcripts
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Completion of six credit hours of advanced teaching coursework (beyond initial teacher preparation).*

The Education Specialist Program is open to all eligible faculty, staff, and students regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age.

*If you have not taken six credit hours of advanced teaching and are interested in the Ed.S., please see Contacts to discuss options for completing this requirement.

Dr. Justin McFadden
Advanced Programs Co-coordinator
Associate Professor

Dr. James Chisholm
Advanced Programs Co-coordinator
Associate Professor

Ms. Betty Hampton
Advisor, Graduate Education Programs
Director, Graduate Student Services

An Education Specialist is prepared for positions such as these:

  • District Curriculum Specialist (e.g., Science Education Coordinator)
  • Program Coordinator (e.g., Early Childhood programs)
  • Content Specialist (e.g., Math Specialist)
  • Instructional Coach (e.g., at school or district level)
  • Consultant (in area of specialization) (e.g., working for a state department, textbook company, tutoring agency, or online education organizations and businesses).

For job opportunities in Kentucky, visit Kentucky Educator Placement Service

Non-Endorsement Options: Content Area Teaching, Diversity Literacy, Special Education (or combine two areas of interest)

The Graduate School Future Students resource page offers financial aid information.

In addition to the Graduate School Future Students resource page, the College of Education & Human Development also has Financial Aid and Scholarships for graduate students.

Tuition Reduction

All candidates in the Ed.S. receive a 25% reduction in the UofL graduate tuition.

Learn more about the CEHD's Tuition Reduction Initiative that can be applied to the M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership Program!

CEHD Scholarships

The CEHD has a long history of offering scholarships to prospective and current students pursuing an education degree program. The CEHD provides over $225,000 annually and selects recipients three times a year. Scholarship selection is competitive and applies to tuition only. Apply online for a CEHD scholarship before the deadline (March 1st, June 1st and/or October 1st). Applicants should expect notification four to five weeks after the posted deadline.

Supervising and Resource Teachers

In recognition of valuable service to the preparation of teachers and the need for all teachers to have continual professional growth, a Supervising Teacher or a Resource Teacher for a teacher intern may, with prior approval of the course-offering institution, take a maximum of six (6) credit hours per term at any public postsecondary institution and pay no tuition. The postsecondary institution shall waive the tuition up to a maximum of six (6) credit hours.

To apply, you must complete the Tuition Waiver Certification for Supervising and Resource Teachers Application. Please make certain that all Eligibility Criteria have been met. When completed by the Supervising Teacher and certified by the school principal, return the form to the Student Financial Aid Office at UofL. Students may exercise the tuition waiver option up to twelve months following the assignment.

For additional information, contact Rachel Kirk at 502-852-8379 or

These FAQs are specific to the College of Education and Human Development. See also the Graduate School FAQs

Question: I have some credit hours from another program/university. Can the credit be transferred?

Once you are admitted to the program, you may request to transfer up to 6 credit hours if your UofL advisor approves the request. Transfer requests are then submitted to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

Question: What degrees or endorsements do I receive if I complete the Education Specialist Program?

Successful candidates will graduate with an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree. If you choose to pursue an endorsement as your specialization, you will also be able to apply that endorsement to your base certificate.

Question: How long does it take to complete the Ed.S. program?

The program can be completed in as few as two years or as many as six years.

Question: Where are courses being delivered?

Courses are delivered both face to face and online. Face to face courses are offered on UofL campus and in local schools.

Question: How will I be able to individualize my program of study?

This program is highly individualized. You are able to identify a faculty advisor with whom you would like to work and together you determine a program of studies that builds on what you have already learned and then develop a course sequence that further develops your specialization/expertise in order to meet your future career goals.

Question: Will this program lead to principal certification?

No, but the CEHD does offer a principal certification program and an Ed.S. in Educational Administration.

Question: Can I transfer in my PhD coursework if I would rather do this program?

Yes, it is possible to transfer in PhD coursework, as it fits within the Ed.S. program sections. This must be approved by your advisor and the Advanced Programs Coordinators.

Question: Can I transfer into the Ed.S. Program if I am enrolled in the UofL MEd in Teacher Leader program?

If you have already completed a different master’s degree (e.g., MAT or another M.Ed.) and if you meet the other admissions requirements for the Ed.S., you can transfer into this program. Coursework must fit within the Ed.S. program sections. Any transfer credits/courses must be approved by your advisor and the Advanced Programs Coordinators.