Educational Specialist Degree

Welcome to the Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) navigation guide for graduate students in the Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development at Mississippi State University. We have compiled this page to serve as a guide in helping you to navigate the different areas of the program to enhance your journey. Please review each aspect of it and bookmark this page to be referenced throughout your path through the Ed.S. It contains information and links applicable to each aspect you will encounter. While we endeavored to ensure the guide is inclusive, if you find that you still have questions, please direct them to us in an email at or call us at 662.325.2281.

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The admissions requirements for a MSU graduate program are outlined in the following links:

Prerequisites for admission into the graduate program include all the general requirements of the Graduate School. In addition, scores from all sections of the GRE must be submitted. International students must obtain a minimum TOEFL score of 550 PBT (213 CBT of 79 iBT) or a minimum IELTS score of 6.5

A complete admission packet consists of the following items:

  • Application to the graduate degree program.
  • Three letters of recommendation (must come from faculty and administrators who can comment about your scholarly ability)
  • Statement of purpose (a minimum of one-page single-spaced): In the statement, please make sure to address the following:
    • Official scores from all sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE - fewer than 5 years old)
    • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Full Admission to any department graduate programs requires a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher from a four-year accredited institution or a minimum graduate GPA of 3.00 or higher on previous graduate work from an accredited institution.
  • Provisional Admission. If a student does not fully meet the admission requirements of the program, it may be possible for that student to be admitted provisionally. If admitted provisionally, the student must attain a 3.00 GPA on the first 9 hours of graduate courses at Mississippi State University after admission to the program. Courses with an S grade, transfer credits, or credits earned while in Unclassified status cannot be used to satisfy this requirement. If a 3.00 GPA is not attained, the student shall be dismissed from the graduate program.
  • Contingent Admission. There are no contingent admissions. The admission packet must be complete and all admission requirements met before admission will be considered.

Applying for Domestic Deadline International Deadline
Summer first 5-week April 1 March 1
Summer second 5-week April 1 March 1
Summer 10-week April 1 March 1
Fall July 1 May 1
Spring November 1 September 1

The Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development requires that a student who has not been enrolled for three consecutive semesters must submit a readmission application that includes:

  • New GRE scores (if the GRE is older than five years)
  • Three letters of recommendation (if they are older than three years since the last application)
  • A revised statement of purpose that:
    • Describes the purpose of reapplying
    • Discusses the applicatnt's career goals
    • Explains how circumstances have changed making academic improvement a realistic goal

After reviewing the department's admission requirements, you can being the application process via the Application link.

Begin Applying

Once you have completed the admission process, the Graduate School will forward your information to the Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development for review. Afer review by the department admissions committee, College Dean, and Graduate Dean, you will be notified of the decision by an email from the Graduate School. If you have any further questions, you may contact the Graduate School and/or ISWD Department at the links below.

Contact Graduate School

Contact ISWD Department

After your admission to the program, you will be assigned an advisor from our department. You will need to contact your advisor to schedule an appointment to complete your course schedule for the upcoming semester. The links below will direct you to the curriculum sheet of the MST program offered by the department. Click on the faculty member's name to view a full profile including research interests.

Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) Curriculum Sheet.

ISWD Faculty

Degree Requirements

Information concerning number of hours that can be shared between graduate hours and hours that can be transfered into a new program are outlined in the following link.

Sharing & Transfer Credits

The following links discuss graduate committee membership, membership changes and details concerning who may serve on a graduate committee as well as all necessary forms for selecting your committee.

Graduate Committee Details

Committee Request

Committee Change Request

Students are required to complete a program of study with the aid of their advisor. The contents of a student's program of study are documented in the student's CAPP report, which can be accessed in myBanner. A signed CAPP report must be on file for all graduate students. Details concerning the CAPP report/program of study are included in the following link:

Program of Study Policies

The student and his/her major advisor may use the following forms to design a program of study, which will then be keyed in the student's CAPP report.

Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) Planning Form

The CAPP report will be used as the final program of study. The CAPP report should be approved and signed by the student, the major advisor, and all committee members.

TKT 7000 Research-Based Directed Individual Study

The TKT 7000: Directed Individual Study course is the capstone of the Ed.S. degree program. The Research Based Directed Individual Study should provide students the opportunity for self-directed research or projects. Directed Individual study courses should be proposed to demonstrate (a) need for the study or project, (b) significance of the study or project, (c) how the study or project is to be conducted, and (d) how the findings or outcome will be used.

To be approved, the proposal should demonstrate that the problem or project will be comparable in time and quality of work to other three semester hour offerings. Proposals should include a time period for completion. It is suggested that the student submit their project proposal and obtain approval from the Ed.S. committee before the beginning of the semester in which they register for TKT 7000. Begin discussing the requirements for this capstone course in the early semesters you are completing courses in the Ed.S. degree.

Comprehensive Examination

The department administers written comprehensive examinations in October, March, and June. The exact deadlines are posted each semester on the ISWD website. You may also contact the graduate coordinator.

  • Completed examination application. The office associate in IED Room 100 distributes the application.
  • Approved Program of Study
  • Committee Request Form
  • 3.00 GPA on all courses attempted for graduate credit after admission to the degree program (i.e., program and non-program courses)

The written comprehensive examination is comprised of one examination period: Friday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The examination includes four questions: two from the major advisor and one each from the other two committee members. Secure study guides from the major advisor and committee members prior to applying to take the examination.

The examination is administered by faculty proctors and is held in one of the departmental computer labs in the Industrial Education Building. Students are provided the examination questions, a flash drive for saving their responses, and specific instructions and procedures for taking the examination. Students are not permitted to use the internet, email, or any resource materials during the examination. Reference to the literature is expected in examination answers; however, the student must be prepared to cite the sources.

These procedures are shown at the link below.
Procedures for Students Taking Comprehensive Examination

The student will request a study guide from each of his/her committee members. The study guide (not exam questions) will guide the student in specific areas of study. The application to take the examination cannot be completed until the student has received all study guides.

  • Prepare for the Examination Early. Begin studying for the comprehensive examination when you enter the program. Throughout your course work, save all course lectures and notes to use later for study materials while preparing for the comprehensive examination. Build a notebook (paper or digital) that combines information and research articles that can be used as study materials.
  • Set Aside Time to Study. As the time approaches to take the exam, devote time each week for preparing for the examination.
  • Research Study Guide Topics. Spend time on the research needed to complete the examination questions. Refer to course notes and scholarly research articles and books related to the study guide topics.
  • Practice Answering a Question. Ask your major advisor to provide a practice question. Write your response in a timed setting. Review and rewrite your reponse. Ask your major advisor to critique using the examination rubric.
  • Form Study Groups. Find fellow Ed.S. students and form a study group to discuss ways to prepare for the examination.
  • Use the Rubric to Guide Quality of Response. Review the rubric and be sure you are addressing all components of the rubric in the answer. The components are Completeness, Knowledge, Organization, and Quality of Writing.
  • Practice Time Management During the Examination. Do not spend an excessive amount of time on one question and attempt to rush the others. Attempting to answer all questions will be essential in reaching the passing socre and excelling on the examination.
  • Evaluate the Length of Answer. Over the years many students have asked about the number of pages expected. Although it seems a perplexing question, the answer is quite simple. Write enough pages to fully answer the question and show the committee mastery of the subject. Again, refer to the rubric as it describes the criterion for completeness, knowledge, organization, and quality of writing.
  • Document Response with Sources. Knowledge of examination question is best evidenced by use of sources/citations to support the knowledge presented in the question. Although in most scenarios you will not be expected to memorize the entirety of an APA reference, you will be expected to show concrete evidence and knowledge of your sources which may include the author(s), journal, and article where information or quote was taken. You will not be permitted to use the Internet, email, or any resources you may have collected.
  • Quality of Writing. Always remember that this is also a writing exam and students will be expected to use proper grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. Writing should be done in an academic form and not written as simply conversational. See the organization element on the grading rubric that clearly expects an introduction, body, and summary.