Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Do you believe that purposeful change in education policy and practice is accomplished through meaningful engagement that is transformational in nature? That change promotes equity? That it improves policy and practice on a local, state, national or international level? Our Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies will prepare you to shape, lead and implement such change. We develop action-oriented scholarly practitioners who blend practical wisdom and professional skills with research and theory to impact problems of practice in formal and nonformal educational settings. You can choose from two tracks: Educational Leadership, which builds on your Ed.S. and superintendent endorsement, and Policy Studies, which prepares you for careers at universities, government agencies, nonprofits, think tanks and publications

  • Application to the Graduate School
  • Three letters of reference
  • An academic writing sample
  • A personal statement
  • Successful participation in an interview

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Our program adheres to the three dimensions of "Signature Pedagogy," as defined by the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate: "Signature Pedagogy is the pervasive set of practices used to prepare scholarly practitioners for all aspects of their professional work: "to think, to perform and to act with integrity.""

  • Teaching is deliberate, pervasive and persistent. It challenges assumptions, engages in action and requires ongoing assessment and accountability.
  • Teaching and learning are grounded in theory, research and in problems of practice. It leads to habits of mind, hand and heart that can and will be applied to authentic professional settings.
  • Teaching helps students develop a critical and professional stance with a moral and ethical imperative for equity and social justice.

Our mission is to prepare you to become a leader in your chosen profession through programs of study grounded in engaged learning experiences.

Educational Leadership

If you want to harness your passion to effect change in educational settings, this track provides the skills necessary to do that. You’ll become a scholarly practitioner, able to identify problems of practice and to collaboratively develop solutions to those problems by drawing on knowledge both practical and research-based. Our coursework helps you build your research toolkit –theoretical framing, methods, writing, analysis and more – and prepares you for the independent scholarship needed to complete your dissertation. Our graduates find jobs in school district administration, state and local government and community college and university teaching.

Policy Studies

If you want to contribute to informing and improving educational policy, this track will prepare you to become a transformation leader in educational nonprofit organizations; schools and school districts; museums and other informal learning environments; two- and four-year colleges and universities; and communitybased organizations. We emphasize critical engagement with important concepts that promote deeper understanding of the social, cultural, historical, political and philosophical dimensions of policy. Our coursework helps you to develop the analytic dispositions, skills and knowledge that form the basis of effective policy evaluation, advocacy, development and implementation.

Educational Leadership

Thirty hours of coursework will be transferred for students completing the Ed.S. in Educational Administration, which includes school finance, school law, organizational theory and politics.

Policy Studies

Thirty hours of coursework covering foundational educational policy studies topics, including historical, sociological, philosophical, social justice, urban education and gender topics.

Common Core (21 credit hours)

  • EPFE 475 Interpretive Methods in Educational Research (3)
  • ETRA 525 Qualitative Methods (3)
  • EPFE 712 Ethics in Education (3)
  • ETRA 521 Quantitative Methods (3)
  • EPFE/EPS 707 Human Development in Educational and Social Policy (3)
  • ETRA 520 Advanced Research Methods (3)
  • LEEA 798 Seminar in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (3)

Dissertation (12 credit hours)

  • LEEA 799A Doctoral Dissertation Seminar (3)
  • LEEA 799B Doctoral Dissertation Independent (minimum of 9 credit hours)