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Your Educational Specialist Degree

Academic Process for
Educational Specialists


Advisor Assignment


Every student is required to have an advisor.

Upon admission, the academic department will assign a faculty advisor to the student. Before registering for courses each semester or session, the student consults with the advisor to determine appropriate courses to fulfill program requirements. If an advisor is unable or unwilling to continue to serve in this role, the academic program, led by the director of graduate studies, will ensure that a replacement is assigned.


Full-Time Enrollment

Full-time enrollment for graduate students is defined as enrollment in 9 credit hours per semester in the fall and spring semesters and/or 4.5 hours in the summer session. Without special permission of the Dean of the Graduate School, the maximum number of credit hours in which a graduate student may enroll is 16 credit hours per semester in the fall and spring and/or nine in the summer.

International Student Enrollment

View the enrollment guidelines on the International Center website.

Complete Qualifying Examination or Process

All students must pass a qualifying examination or process. Any department or area program may limit the number of times this examination or process may be attempted. The examination or process varies according to each academic program.

Form an Educational Specialist Advisory Committee

An educational specialist advisory committee includes three faculty members from the student’s academic department, including the advisor.

Once a student has worked with their advisor to identify the committee members, the student must submit the S-1 Form Request for the Education Specialist Advisory Committee to the Graduate School by the end of the second semester.


The Educational Specialist Advisory Committee must be recommended by the student’s advisor and approved by the academic program’s director of graduate studies and the Graduate School before one year has elapsed following the student’s first registration as an educational specialist student.

Duties of Committee Members

All members of the education specialist advisory committee participate actively in the activities of the educational specialist student at all the stages of the student’s career at MU. Committee members may call a meeting of the full committee at any time to discuss the student’s progress.

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Submit a Plan of Study

After performing satisfactorily for a minimum of one semester, the student completes the Plan of Study for the Educational Specialist Degree form (S-2) and submits it to the director of graduate studies in their department.

The completed form will be sent to the Graduate School for final approval. The plan of study must be filed with the Graduate School by the end of the student’s second semester of enrollment.

Note: If a student completes more than one graduate credential at MU, they may use a course for no more than three formal credentials (e.g., a master’s, doctoral, specialist, and/or dual degree; certificate, minor).

The plan of study should list course work and other appropriate educational experiences that:

  • Prepare the student for practice and scholarly investigation in the chosen field of study
  • Satisfy the credit-hour and residency requirements of the academic program
  • Satisfy special requirements required by the department or academic program
  • Satisfy the Graduate School’s requirement for a minimum of 15 hours of course work at the 8000/9000 level (exclusive of research, problems and independent-study course work)
  • Satisfy the College of Education’s requirement for a minimum of 15 hours of College of Education coursework
  • Satisfy the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requirements for certification (ELPA only)

Changes to the Plan of Study

If the student changes the approved plan of study, then they must submit the Plan of Study Courses Substitution form to the director of graduate studies in the academic department.

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Prepare for Your Final Semester

Each candidate must successfully complete and pass the required academic culminating experience.

The results must be approved by a majority of the candidate’s advisory committee. All committee members will sign the S3 Report of Committee form upon completion indicating whether the student passed and submit it to the department’s director of graduate studies. The form will then be submitted to the Graduate School. The culminating experience will vary depending upon the degree program.

Refer to the academic program for more information.


Credit Requirements

The educational specialist degree, offered through the College of Education, is a 30-hour program of specialization built upon the master’s degree, of which 24 hours must be taken with MU faculty. Six semester hours must be completed in residence within one semester or summer session.

Students have eight years to complete the degree from the time they are first admitted to the degree program. No more than 12 hours of non-degree, graduate coursework may be used toward a EdSp degree.

Credit Transfer

A maximum of six semester hours completed with a grade of B or better may be accepted in transfer from a regionally accredited institution that offers doctoral degrees.

All transfer credits are considered general electives. They cannot be used toward the 8000-level requirement, but are considered as credit hours toward the completion of the degree.

Off-campus courses authorized for graduate credit and offered by MU faculty members and courses offered through Mizzou Online taught by MU faculty may be included in the program.

Enrollment Information

Students expecting to complete a culminating capstone experience (e.g., examination, portfolio) must be enrolled in the term when that activity occurs.

If educational specialist students have completed all their course work and only need to take complete their culminating capstone experience, they can enroll in MISC 8999 Graduate Examination, located in the Miscellaneous section of the Schedule of Courses in myZou.

Registration in 8999 Graduate Examination does not count toward enrollment certification. Students enrolled in the Graduate Examination would not be considered full time or part time.

If students need to use the library or computers on campus, they should enroll in at least one hour of regular credit instead of graduate examination.

Students who have a financial aid or visa situation should check with Student Financial Aid or the International Center, respectively, before registering for the graduate examination option. Failure to do so could cause serious consequences for the student’s financial aid or visa status.

Extra fees apply for access to the Student Health Center and the Student Recreation Center. Please consult the Office of Cashiers about these optional fees.

International Student Enrollment

View the enrollment guidelines on the International Center website.