Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Ed.D.

All students must meet the Requirements for the Doctor of Education Degree.


The Ed.D. (Doctorate in Education) is an applied research program for professionals serving in educational leadership positions in PreK-12 schools, higher education, social service and non-profit organizations. The program is framed around issues of equity and social justice and solutions to complex problems of practice. The curriculum is grounded in professional knowledge that integrates practice and research. We aim to produce leaders who can construct and apply knowledge to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals, families and communities through promoting excellence in:

  •  leadership and change strategies in and across organizations;
  • development of learning organizations in response to social issues;
  • design, implementation, and supervision of applied research in education;
  • interpretation and application of research;
  • understanding of broad social issues and policies from the perspectives of justice, equity, and diversity;
  • meeting the needs of students with learning challenges and disabilities and their families;
  • analysis of policy and fiscal management in education and social services;
  • implementation of policies and practices that promote equity and social justice, collaboration, and cultural awareness and responsiveness.

This program has been designed to respond to the expanding demands placed on leaders in educational and human service organizations where leaders are increasingly expected to:

  • design and supervise local research and varied evaluative studies;
  • interpret and apply recent national research findings to practice;
  • analyze and apply governmental regulations and court decisions;
  • develop organizational responses to emerging social expectations;
  • organize and lead staff development programs;
  • understand and apply broad-based economic principles to social and fiscal policy;
  • develop and manage budgets; and
  • assess and respond to the psychological needs of educational consumers.

Specific Requirements

Requirements for Admission to Graduate Studies for the Degree of Doctor of Education

Applicants must possess a:

  • master's degree or equivalent, from an accredited institution,
  • cumulative grade point average of 3.00 for previous graduate study,
  • Online application,
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae,
  • Detailed Statement of Purpose including a summary of how the Ed.D. program relates to your professional, career, and educational goals,
  • 3 letters of recommendation using the Graduate College form,
  • Transcripts from all institutions attended, and
  • Scholarly writing sample.

Applications must be submitted by the program deadline.

Minimum Degree Requirements

Students admitted to graduate studies must complete successfully core requirements in research, educational foundations, policy studies, organizational change, and leadership. The required concentration is composed of courses chosen and approved by program faculty from an area of student interest (e.g., curriculum and instruction, higher education, educational leadership, special education) within the College of Education and Social Services. Students must satisfactorily complete the following Program of Study:

Core Requirements (18 credits):
EDLP 400ProSeminar: Doctoral Intro (Professional Seminar: K-16 Educational Research)3
EDLP 407Epistemologies in Education3
EDFS 455Soc Process & Institutionl Chg3
EDLP 431Adv Sem Organizational Ldrshp3
EDLP 437Sem on Educational Policy3
EDLP 449Dissertation Writing Seminar3
Required Research Courses (9 credits):
EDFS 347Qualitative Research Methods3
EDLP 419Quantitative Research Methods3
EDLP 459Mixed Method Research3
Elective Research Courses (3 credits) - 4 options listed below:3
Survey Research Methods
Advanced Special Topics (Ethnography in Education Research or Case Study Research Methods)
Analyze&Write Qualitative Rsch
Advanced Special Topics (Research Methods in Program Evaluation)
Focus Area: Graduate course options within CESS (guided by student interest and program advisor approval)12
Dissertation Research Credits:
EDLP 491Doctoral Dissertation Research17
Total Required59

A maximum of 6 credit hours may be accepted in transfer from an accredited graduate program. Credits to transfer may be completed prior to admission to the Doctor of Education program provided that the credit is approved by the student's program advisor and conforms to all Graduate College and EDLP program requirements.

Comprehensive Examination

Consistent with Graduate College requirements, the Ed.D. program requires students to complete a comprehensive examination of core knowledge prior to the completion of the degree program, with the exception of EDLP 449, taken in the spring of Year 3.  This examination occurs in the semester following completion of the core course curriculum.  Currently the comprehensive examination is administered in October. The examination tests knowledge in areas of study germane to all Ed.D. students.  Students may not sit for the comprehensive examination until they have successfully completed their core courses.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Education

Successful completion of (1) all core courses with 3.00 GPA, (2) the comprehensive examination, and (3) defense of a dissertation proposal allows the student to advance to doctoral candidacy.

For further information concerning program advising and Ed.D. requirements refer to the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies doctoral programs website.