Ed.S. in Educational Administration Superintendent Preparation (Online)

Long recognized for excellence in the preparation of school superintendents, our online Ed.S. program is the first in the state to match new standards mandated by the Illinois General Assembly. Our graduates join a significant number of alumni regarded as visionary leaders in education, applying research-informed knowledge and skills to foster continuous improvement in the academic environments they manage. Our program spans two full years with courses in organizational theory, leadership theory, school finance and facilities management, and current trends in educational research.

New cohorts are scheduled to begin every fall semester. You should apply for degree-seeking admission before the fall application deadline.

Applicants must have a current and valid ISBE administrative endorsement (e.g., principal, CSBO, director of special education or general administrative) and be employed as a school district administrator. A minimum graduate GPA of 3.00 is preferred.

Transfer Credits

Credits earned in the Ed.S. program are transferable into the Ed.D. program in educational leadership and policy studies. Be sure to contact your current school district about the availability of tuition vouchers or professional development funds that can be used for continuing education.

Recognizing that many of our students are full-time working professionals, the eight required courses for the Ed.S. program are offered in a fully online synchronous cohort format. The yearlong internship experience will be completed in person within an Illinois public school district.

Our Ed.S. program is designed with one goal in mind: to prepare visionary leaders with the skills, knowledge and professional disposition to effectively implement and manage an educational environment that uses evidence of student learning to drive continuous school improvement. Every aspect of the program, from the admission process to the submission of the capstone portfolio, supports this objective – and we are the first in Illinois to comply with the updated state standards. Although we recognize that most of our graduates will pursue work as K-12 public school administrators, the material and experiences we provide also equip students to work in higher education, educational policy and the nonprofit sector.

Requirements for the superintendent endorsement include:

  • Master's degree awarded by a regionally accredited institution of higher education
  • Completion of a state-approved Illinois program approved for the preparation of superintendents
  • Two years of full-time administrative or supervisory experience in schools
    • The superintendent endorsement shall not be issued as the individual's first endorsement.
  • You must pass state-required content area exam(s)

Submit a degree-seeking application online at go.niu.edu/gradapply. Be sure to select educational administration (Ed.S.).

You will need to include the following items:

  • Three letters of recommendation: Provide the names and emails of three references. They will be sent a link via email to complete an electronic recommendation form.
  • Goal/personal statement: Please discuss your education, professional progress, goals and reasons for applying.
  • Official transcripts: The application portal allows you to temporarily upload unofficial copies but you will need to submit official copies. If sent electronically, they should go to gradsch@niu.edu.
  • Current resumé

Completed applications will be reviewed by the program faculty in the order they are received. Students are accepted to this program under conditional admission. Formal admission will be granted after a review of assignments and activities completed during the first semester of coursework.

Our cohort-based model enables you to learn from top practitioners and engaged faculty while also establishing the professional networks necessary to succeed in your job. The coursework requires you to engage with the current issues facing district leaders as well as research and trends in the Illinois educational context. You also participate in a three-semester internship that provides firsthand experience of the work of district superintendents.

  • Semester one:
    • LEEA 700 Nature and Theory of Administration (3 credits)
    • LEEA 710 The Superintendency (3 credits)
  • Semester two:
    • LEEA 725 Education Law II (3 credits)
    • LEEA 735 Supervisory Behavior (3 credits)
  • Semester three:
    • LEEA 720 Education Finance and Asset Management (3 credits)
    • LEEA 754 Politics of Educational Administration (3 credits)
  • Semester four:
    • LEEA 786 (A) Superintendent Internship, part one (3 credits)
  • Semester five:
    • LEEA 745 Survey of Research in Educational Administration (3 credits)
    • LEEA 786 (B) Superintendent Internship, part two (2 credits)
  • Semester six:
    • LEEA 727 Multi-tiered Systems of Support (3 credits)
    • LEEA 786 (C) Superintendent Internship, part three (1 credit)

By the Numbers

One out of every five superintendents in Illinois is an NIU graduate.

Our alumni hold prestigious positions throughout our home state:

  • Regional or state superintendents: 8
  • Deputy superintendents: 4
  • Superintendents: 150
  • Assistant or associate superintendents: 77


Tim Vincent

I consistently recommend the NIU College of Education because of the personal feel and high expectations. As someone who hires teacher-candidates, I know that NIU graduates will likely be able to handle the rigors of teaching. NIU graduates are prepared to be exceptional candidates in the field and often are leaders in the profession.

Tim Vincent, superintendent, Galena #120
Teresa Polson

After an outstanding experience seeking an NIU master's degree in educational administration, I returned to be a Huskie to begin my journey of seeking my Ed.S. and currently am working toward my Ed.D. There was no question where I would seek my doctorate. NIU provides top-notch professors who are active in research and have experience in application, which has greatly assisted me in growing my own skills in serving as an educational leader for all stakeholders.

Teresa Polson, principal, Jane Addams Middle School, Valley View Community Unit School District 365
Tricia Rollerson

My journey with NIU started back in 1994. I have now completed a bachelor's degree, a master's degree and an Ed.S., and I currently am in pursuit of my doctoral degree. NIU is a world-class university that looks out for the best interest of its students by providing professors with passion and real-life experiences. I have had the privilege of growing in my professional practice, which has led me to be a better leader for the students, families and staff that I serve at my school.

Tricia Rollerson, principal, John J. Lukancic Middle School, Valley View Community Unit School District 365

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Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations
Graham 223
DeKalb, IL 60115

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