School of Education: Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling

The Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling strives to provide quality programs with personal attention. Our full-time faculty, all of whom have doctoral degrees, teach the majority of our courses. Our School of Education is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE/CAEP) and our Master’s degree in Counseling Services is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Other programs that have received national accreditation include: School Psychology; Educational Leadership.

Classes are scheduled to enable those who work full-time to complete their programs. Class sizes are moderate to small, and many degree programs have internships.

The department offers educational specialist degrees, master’s degrees, and certifications and endorsements in a variety of areas. These degree programs of study, their descriptions, and the certifications associated with them appear under programs and certificates. Course descriptions for each program can be found in this catalog and on the Registrar’s Office website. All programs require an application available from the Office of Graduate Admission.

You may also apply to be a special student in some programs. Students enrolled in graduate programs elsewhere or students seeking course work for professional development not leading to a degree, certification or endorsement from Rider University may take courses as a special student. Apply to the Office of Graduate Admission.  A bachelor’s degree and two letters of recommendation are required.

Mission Statement

  • The School of Education prepares undergraduate and graduate students for professional careers in education, organizations, and agencies in the diverse American society.
  • The School of Education fosters the intellectual, personal, and social development of each student for a changing world by creating and providing programs that embody the highest academic and professional standards.
  • The School of Education develops students who are committed, knowledgeable, professional, and reflective and who value service, ethical behavior and the improvement of one’s self and profession.
  • The School of Education promotes a climate of scholarly inquiry, high expectations for achievement, and best professional practices, while establishing beneficial relationships with the public and exchanging relevant ideas and services that speak to emerging needs.

School of Education Conceptual Framework


The School of Education emphasizes content and pedagogical knowledge, which candidates implement in supervised classroom and field experiences. Candidates use acquired technological expertise and reference relevant standards for planning and reflecting on their classroom work.


Novice and experienced educators enrolled in the School of Education are on a career-long path toward professionalism that does not end with graduation. We encourage candidates to become thoughtful, creative problem-solvers.


The School of Education defines reflection as the process of thinking clearly and deliberately to promote understanding about professional practice. Reflection, grounded in active experience, has value for developing educators, through classroom observation, self-assessment, and journal writing.


Commitment, highly prized by the School of Education, serves as an essential cornerstone for teaching and learning. Commitment is a set of connected attitudes, values, and beliefs that result in professional behaviors expected of dedicated educators.

Admission Status

Upon completion of the steps in the application procedures described below, the applicant will be assigned to one of the following classifications once admitted:

Graduate Standing

The student is qualified to undertake graduate study and is recognized as a degree or certification candidate upon admission;

Conditional Standing

Students who do not satisfy all of the admission requirements or have not completed all of the undergraduate preparatory requirements or both may be permitted to enroll in studies during a probationary period not exceeding 12 graduate credits with a minimum grade point average of 3.0.  Students who fail to attain a 3.0 grade point average upon completion of up to 12 graduate credits will be subject to dismissal.

Special Standing

The student does not plan to be a degree candidate or certification candidate in a department/graduate program. Certification students enter the program under this classification. (If a certification student applies for admission to a master’s or specialist degree program and is accepted, the student may apply for transfer of certificate course credits according to the policy guidelines of the department.)

Transfer of Credit

Upon application to and before admission to any graduate degree program in education, leadership, and counseling, students may request transfer of up to 12 semester hours of graduate credits completed at an accredited institution. These credits must have been earned within six years of the date of credit transfer approval. All transfer credits must be approved by the advisor and the department chair. Courses accepted for transfer must be similar to required or elective courses that are approved for the respective programs, and a grade of at least “B” must have been earned in each of these courses.

Students who are eligible to transfer graduate credits from other institutions must submit official transcripts of these credits. The Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling will consider specific written requests for appropriate transfer credits. Official transcripts covering courses submitted for transfer must accompany the written request for such transfer if the transcripts have not already been filed.

Transfer of Credit for Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) Students

The Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling recognizes that students enrolled in an educational specialists program may enter after completing an appropriate master’s program. Consideration is typically given to their prior graduate training and its application to the current degree. The program director/designee and the department chairperson will determine the number of credits to be transferred given the following guidelines.

Guidelines for Transfer of Credits for Ed.S. Students

  • All transfer credits must carry a letter grade of at least “B.”
  • Transfer credits must be taken within the six years from the date of acceptance into the program. Exceptions may also be granted by the program director/designee for courses where content remains consistent over time and supports current program objectives.
  • For students in the School Psychology Program up to 18 credits may be transferred so long as course equivalency can be thoroughly documented. Students in the Counseling Services Program may transfer up to 48 credits from a CACREP approved program. Students admitted from a non-CACREP approved program may transfer up to 36 credits.
  • Official transcripts must accompany the request for transfer of credit. The program director/designee must approve the credits to be transferred upon admission.
  • Credits approved for transfer will be added to the student’s transcript at the time of admission to the program.
  • Course descriptions and/or syllabi of the courses being requested for transfer may be required.

Guidelines for Transfer of Credits for MA in Organizational Leadership Students

  • All requests for transfer credits must be made at the time of application.
  • Courses accepted for transfer to fulfill core or concentration requirements must be substantially similar to those students would take at Rider University.
  • Courses accepted for transfer to fulfill elective requirements must be approved by the program director/designee.
  • Course syllabi for transfer requests must be provided.
  • Decisions for accepting courses for transfer credit will be made by the program director/designee and appropriate faculty subject experts.
  • Not all concentrations allow transfer credit.
  • If not already filed, official transcripts must accompany the application for transfer of credits.
  • All courses used for transfer of credit must be “B” or better.
  • Courses used for transfer of credit must have been taken within six years from the date of admission to the program.

Course Repeat Policy

Students may not repeat any graduate course for credit that they have already taken, except a course in which they have received a grade lower than “B” or one from which they withdrew. Any exceptions must be approved by the department chair.

Comprehensive Examination

Students who are pursuing a graduate program leading to the Master of Arts in counseling services; clinical mental health counseling; reading/literacy education; or special education, must successfully pass a comprehensive examination covering knowledge of a specialized field; major concepts, theories and ideas; techniques for applying to a problem area knowledge of the specialized field and/or the related areas of foundations and research; adequate communication of ideas in light of the question(s) posed.

The comprehensive examination is administered once each regular semester during the academic year. Only those students who have achieved the following requirements for the MA degree are eligible to sit for this exam:

  • A cumulative average of 3.0 or better by the time of application for the comprehensive exam.
  • In the last semester of the program; or, may take the examination in the spring if only one course remains and will be taken in the summer. Permission of program director/designee is required.

Application for Comprehensive Examination and Graduation

A student who plans to take the comprehensive examination and graduate must fill out and file an Application for Comprehensive Examination and Graduation form on or before the date specified in the graduate calendar for his or her final semester. This form must be filed with the chair of the Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling.


Any of the following situations will result in the automatic dismissal of a student working toward a graduate degree or certification program in the Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling:

  • Receiving two grades of “F” in graduate course work;
  • Receiving any grade of “C” (C+, C, or C- or lower) in more than two graduate courses;
  • Not attaining a grade point average of 3.0 after taking twelve or more graduate credits at Rider University;
  • Failing the comprehensive examination for the second time (pertains only to students enrolled in degree programs that require the examination);
  • Failure to complete degree requirements in six years;
  • The Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling reserves the right to dismiss any student when, in the judgment of the faculty or the officers of Rider, such action seems advisable.

Honors Graduates

Students who graduate with an overall grade point average of 3.85 or better are designated as graduating with distinction. This term appears on the student’s official transcript, below the student’s name in the commencement program, and on the diploma.

Programs of Study

Degrees and Certifications Offered

The Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree is offered in the following areas:

The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree is offered in the following areas:

In addition, the department provides opportunity for study leading to teacher certification and other types of educational and human services certification.

Educational Certificates

The Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling provides opportunity for study leading to teacher certification and other types of educational certification in the following areas:

Endorsement to Existing Teaching Certificates

General Master’s Degree Application Requirements

All programs require an application available from the Office of Graduate Admission. A decision is made about an application for admission only when all required credentials have been submitted. Applications must be received by April 1 for summer session, May 1 for fall session, and November 1 for spring session unless otherwise specified for specific programs. Completed applications received after the official deadline may be given consideration pending program capacity.

The faculty encourages prospective students from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds to apply. The following are due by the application due date:

  • A completed application form, with a non-refundable $50 application fee;
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended;
  • Other such admission requirements as specified within the particular program to which you are applying;
  • If the due dates are different, they will be specified within the program requirements.

General Master’s Degree Requirements

To qualify for the degree of Master of Arts, the candidate must:

  • Comply with the general requirements concerning graduate study;
  • Enroll in graduate study at Rider for no fewer than two academic semesters or the equivalent thereof;
  • Complete at least 33–60 semester hours of graduate credit in an approved program of studies;
  • Complete an internship/practicum as required by individual programs;
  • Successfully pass a written comprehensive examination except for the Master of Arts in Teaching degree; Educational Leadership degree; and Teacher Leadership degree;
  • Maintain a grade point average of “B” (3.0) or better for work submitted for the master’s degree with no more than two “C”s; and
  • Complete the program within six years of the date the student enrolled in his/her first course unless an extension is approved by the Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling. Students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program have ten years and students in Counseling Services program have eight years to complete the program.