EDS Project


The Ed.S. field-based inquiry segment

The field-based inquiry segment of the program requires the completion of a substantive and important inquiry project.  Students design, implement, and report the process and conclusions of the project. This segment provides students with an opportunity to put specialized, technical expertise to use in a specific setting of real world schooling.   Additionally, this experience provides students with a mechanism for relating such experience to the academic knowledge base in the field of educational administration and leadership. All inquiry projects emerge from carefully constructed research proposals that are reviewed, commented upon, and finally approved by the Advisory Committee.  The actual inquiry project begins after approval of the proposal and the student continues receiving guidance from the committee throughout the field-based segment of the program.

The field-based project and report requirement is intended to enhance student abilities to:

  • identify important issues and problems of practice, isolate their major elements, and define their parameters;
  • use the knowledge base and current literature to develop a grounded, balanced, and informed understanding of issues/problems of practice;
  • design and implement effective strategies for the systematic investigation of issues/problems of practice, usually including but not limited to the collection, analysis, and interpretation of information;
  • use the literature and other information to inform the design of approaches to/solutions for issues/problems of practice; and
  • express oneself effectively within the context and constraints of a formal written report.


The Advisory Committee

Composed of three EDL faculty, a student’s Advisory Committee assists the student in the design of the Ed.S. Program of Study, throughout the field-based segment, and serves as the Examining Committee near the conclusion of the Ed.S. program.  One of these three members serves as the Committee Chair and is the student’s primary advisor.


Generally students establish their Advisory Committee around the middle of the classroom-based segment of the program (after completing approximately 15 semester hours).  To establish a committee, students discuss with the DGS possible committee chairpersons and, based on recommendations from that discussion, meets with the recommended EDL faculty member(s) about serving as the committee chair.  When selected, the committee chair helps with the selection of the two remaining faculty members.  Selection is usually based on the student’s interests and goals.  Once the student has received conformation of a chairperson and two committee members, the student completes the request and appointment form (see Appendix D) and submits it to the DGS for formal appointment of the Committee.


Basic expectations

The faculty of the Department expect that Ed.S. students will select a substantive and important issue/problem of practice for their Ed.S. project and will engage in a serious, intensive, and extensive investigation of that issue/problem.  We expect students to develop a close familiarity with the current literature on the issue/problem and be able to discuss the themes, strengths, limitations, and implications of that literature in a critical and thoughtful manner.  By the time the project report is ready to be defended, we expect the student to be sufficiently knowledgeable about the focal issue/problem, its real world characteristics, and the literature pertaining to it.  We anticipate feeling secure enough in the knowledge and critical thinking of the student that s/he could be recommended to schools as an informed expert and effective external consultant.


Topic and scope

The project required in the Ed.S. program is practice-oriented.  Thus the focal topic might be either an issue or a problem of practice, i.e., something of importance to practicing administrators.  The issue/problem selected for exploration should be one that has meaning and significance beyond a single building though the details of the project may in fact focus on the situation of a particular school or district. Finally, the topic should be of sufficient import that there is a literature on it, and that literature should provide the context within which the issue/problem is approached in the project.



The project must be research-based and it must be a research project as well.  The basic process of the project is the collection/selection, analysis and interpretation of information relative to a particular issue or problem of practice.  Beyond that basic requirement, students have substantial latitude in their selection of procedures for information collection/selection and analysis.  As with all data based inquiry, the question drives the procedures.  Students will be introduced to various forms of practice-oriented inquiry during their Ed.S. course work and thus should be prepared to design and carry out the project.  In the Final Examination students must be knowledgeable about whatever data collection/selection and analysis procedures they selected, and they must be prepared to discuss the appropriateness as well as the strengths and limitations of the ones they used in their project.


Project report, format, style, and presentation

The project report is a formal document.  It should follow the style and meet the basic standards of written professional work, including but not limited to correct grammar, spelling, language usage, citation of sources, and the like.  The specific format will vary depending upon the type of project being reported, and the appropriate standard format for the selected mode of inquiry should be employed.  No matter the particulars of formatting, however, all Ed.S. project reports must include and label explicitly at least the following:


·         Project summary
·         Statement of the issue/problem
·         Discussion of the pertinent literature
·         Explications of the procedures used to collect/select and analyze information
·         Discussion of the findings and their implications for practice
·         Bibliography


Unless dictated by a particular approach to research report writing (i.e., history has its own citation preferences), citations in the text and the format of the bibliography should be in the style represented in the current APA Publication Manual.  The University’s current Graduate School manual for the presentation of theses and dissertations is the authoritative source of information on all other issues of presentation, e.g., the proper formatting of the title and other heading pages, required page margins and pagination, allowable print size and fonts, acceptable paper quality, etc.



Steps to the Specialist in Education Degree

Students move through clearly defined program steps on their way to an Ed.S. degree.


  • Acknowledge acceptance by the Department of Educational Leadership Studies into the Ed.S. degree program;
  • Advance through course work and complete approximately 15 credit hours of course work;
  • Establish an Advisory Committee by the completion of 15 credit hours;
  • Begin discussions with Committee Chair and Committee members about the topic and scope of the Ed.S. project;
  • Advance through remaining course work;
  • Work with Committee Chair to develop proposal for Ed.S. project and submit proposal for Committee review and approval;
  • Complete Ed.S. project and write report on it;
  • Work with Committee Chair to develop final draft of report to be defended in Final Examination;
  • Submit Application for Degree cards to the Graduate School at the beginning of the semester in which the Final Examination will be scheduled;
  • Schedule and pass the Final Examination;
  • Receive the Specialist in Education in School Administration degree from the University of Kentucky.


To request professional certification: 

Complete the appropriate certification request forms 

Submit certification request forms to TEB 166