Ed.S. in Educational Administration Superintendent Preparation Program

Program Overview

This 30 semester hour program of advanced study is designed for persons interested in obtaining the superintendent endorsement on an Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) in order to be eligible to work as a superintendent or assistant superintendent within a school district. The goal for the program is to prepare visionary leaders with the skills and knowledge to effectively implement and manage an educational environment that utilizes evidence of student learning to drive continuous school improvement.

Our state-approved program is completed over the course of two years (six consecutive semesters) including the summer session. The courses are offered in traditional classroom setting with each course requiring some additional online components completed independently by the student. The program is offered in a cohort format so students take classes in a specific sequence with their peers. We plan to start a new cohort every fall semester and we try to rotate cohorts between our main campus in DeKalb and our satellite campuses in Hoffman Estates, Naperville and Rockford.

Classes for this program are scheduled one night per week from 6-9 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters and from 5-9 p.m. during the summer session. Classes will remain at the same campus and be held on the same day (e.g., Monday, Wednesday or Thursday) throughout the entire cohort. In semesters when students enroll in two classes they will take one class during the first half of the semester and the other class during the second half of the semester.

Students will complete a yearlong internship in their current school district during the final three semesters of the program. Students are not required to take a leave of absence from their current position in order to complete the internship or other course work requirements.

Students interested in continuing on for the doctorate are encouraged to apply to the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies – Leadership Specialization toward the end of their Ed.S. course work. The Ed.D. program requires students to complete an additional 33 credit hours beyond the Ed.S. degree. Successful completion of the Ed.S. does not guarantee admission into the Ed.D. program.

Tuition rates are subject to change and are not locked in for the duration of a cohort. Please refer to the Office of the Bursar for information about current rates.

Students are encouraged to contact their school districts about the availability of NIU tuition waivers or tuition reimbursement programs. You may also visit the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office for information about funding your education.

  • A minimum graduate grade point average of 3.50 (preferred)
  • At least two years of full-time experience working as a principal, director of special education, chief school business official or other administrative position on a current and valid administrative endorsement on an Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL)*
  • Current employment in an Illinois school
  • Completion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)* (There is no specific minimum score. Admission decisions are based on the total profile of each applicant.)

Please Note: All students are admitted on a conditional basis. Applicants will be considered for formal admission after a review of assignments and activities completed during the first semester of the program.

*Applicants with a graduate degree from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.00 may request a waiver of the GRE test score requirement. Please send an email to Chloe Board at cboard1@niu.edu after submitting an application and your official transcripts showing evidence of the degree and GPA have been received by the NIU Graduate School.

In order to be considered for admission you will need to submit a degree-seeking application. Be sure to select Educational Administration M.S.Ed. as your intended major. During the application process you will be asked to provide the following items:

  • Statement of purpose/personal statement - A written statement of academic and professional goals. Your statement should describe why you wish to pursue the degree and why you wish to do so at NIU. Most statements are between 250 and 750 words in length.
  • Current resume/curriculum vitae
  • Transcripts – It is okay to upload unofficial copies for the initial review but official copies will need to be received by the NIU Graduate School prior to enrolling in classes. You do not need to request copies of official transcripts showing course work from NIU. The Graduate School will have a record of any official transcripts you have previously submitted.
  • Test scores from the GRE or a test score waiver – If you will be waiving the GRE requirement you may upload a Word document indicating that you are requesting a waiver. You may then send an email to Chloe Board at cboard1@niu.edu to request a waiver after your official transcripts showing evidence of your graduate degree and GPA have been received by the NIU Graduate School.
  • Names and email addresses of three (3) references who are willing to write a letter of recommendation - Your references will be sent a link via email to complete an electronic recommendation form. They are not required to send a hard copy to the Graduate School.
    • References should be someone you know in a professional capacity (e.g., supervisors or professors) who can speak to your academic ability and your ability to complete the program to which you are applying.

After you submit your application you may log into CollegeNet to view your checklist and upload any required materials not previously submitted. For additional support with the application you may contact the CollegeNet HelpDesk. If you need further assistance you may contact the NIU Graduate School at 815-753-0395 or gradsch@niu.edu.

Completed applications are reviewed in the order they are received. We have a limited number of seats available so apply early to reserve your seat in a cohort. The priority application deadline for fall admission is April 15th but we can still consider completed applications received by July 15th.

After Applying

You should receive a decision letter from the Graduate School within a few weeks after submitting a completed application. Admitted students should log into MyNIU to accept their admission after receiving the letter. Our department will send out registration letters via email as soon as they are available. Be sure to check your NIU student email regularly for all official NIU communication.

After receiving conditional admission students must successfully complete the following items during their first semester in order to be considered for formal admission:

  • Submit of a portfolio that presents evidence of a candidate’s achievements during his or her educational experience
  • Secure a letter of support from your current superintendent (template will be provided)
  • Provide copies of previous performance evaluations and/or letters of recommendation from current or former supervisors
  • On-site written response to a given scenario
  • On-site interview with at least two NIU faculty members

More details about the formal admission process and guidelines for each item can be found in the student handbook.

Please Note: Successful completion of the first two courses does not guarantee formal admission into the program. Any applicant who is denied admission may submit an appeal to be reviewed by the admissions committee. Appeals must be in writing, explain the basis for appeal and include information not previously submitted.

Apply Now


Contact David Snow, Graduate Program Advisor


Christine Rienstra Kiracofe

Kelly Summers

Teresa Wasonga

Program Flyer