Beyond the Master’s Degree–Permission for the Ed Specialist Degree

CWU has one policy request this year. That is to be allowed to offered the Education Specialist degree. This degree is more advanced than a master’s degree; a master’s degree is a pre-requisite for an Ed.S.  Statute doesn’t authorize degrees beyond the master’s levels, and that means we need to get lawmakers to amend. Our request is to  add “Central Washington University” to the “Revised Code of Washington” (RCW) 28B.35.205, which currently reads this way:

         Educational specialist degrees. 
        The board of trustees of Eastern Washington University may offer educational                                          specialist degrees.

Here’s what my friends in the provost’s office tell me about the Ed.S. degree:

It’s designed to enable “practitioners” to broaden and deepen knowledge and skills in a specialized area of education. Programs are based on the specific goals of students as they seek to improve competence in their concentration areas.  Note that the emphasis of an Ed.S. is on “practitioners” and “education.”

It’s usually for students who do not want to pursue a Ph.D. With an Ed.S., usually all courses are in an area of concentration (such as instructional technology or special education or educational administration, etc.).   Although a Ph.D. is generally considered a higher degree than an Ed.S, the Ed.S. is also referred to as a terminal post-master’s degree; meaning it is not designed as a stepping-stone to a Ph.D. Although courses taken in the Ed.S. program could count towards a subsequent Ph.D. or Ed.D. degree (depending on the decision of the doctoral advising committee), it is recommended that individuals decide to pursue either the Ed.S. or the Ph.D., based on their career goals.

A Ph.D. requires more coursework and a dissertation, and it enables graduates to seek positions as professors at universities, where they will conduct research and teach classes. An Ed.S. is more application oriented — although individuals could teach at a community college, be leaders in school districts and/or specific schools, and/or be leaders in the field.

Now you know.



About Linda Schactler

Linda is the former Director of Communications for the Washington State Senate, and former deputy director of the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board. From 2000 through 2010 Linda was the proprietor of Schactler Communications, an Olympia-based public affairs business. She holds a master of arts in English literature from Washington University in St. Louis. Linda can be reached at her Ellensburg office, 509-963-1384, or on her cell phone, 509-607-4103.
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