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Educational Leadership, Ed.D.

Note: This program is offered through Global Campus only.

Minimum Totals for Graduation: 63 - 66 hours

The Ed.D. degree in Educational Leadership is designed to provide in-depth knowledge and skills to educational leaders who seek to develop and refine their knowledge and skills to help transform through practice the educational institution. The program emphasizes the application of scholarship (theory) to the improvement of educational practice. It is intended for individuals in educational leadership careers. Students accepted into the program will be part of a cohort. Students entering the Doctor of Education program, who have an earned Specialist in Education degree in Educational Leadership from an approved institution, may receive up to a maximum of 27 credits toward the Doctor of Education. Remaining Doctor of Education requirements must be completed at Central Michigan University.

Admission Requirements, Retention & Termination Standards

Admission Requirement Snapshot

Masters’ GPA: 3.5

Entrance Exam: GRE

Priority Application Deadline: February 1

Regular Application Deadline: April 1

See Admission Requirement Details Below

Admission. In order to be considered for admission to the program , an applicant must have completed a master's degree with a minimum graduate grade point average of 3.5 and must have completed three years of professional education experience. (Preference will be given to those with leadership experience.)

There are two application deadlines, February 1 and April 1. Preference will be given to February 1 applicants. Admission will continue until the cohort is filled. A completed application packet will include the following materials:

To the Office of Research and Graduate Studies

  1. Graduate Application
  2. Application Fee
  3. Official transcript(s) pertaining to all previous undergraduate and graduate coursework

To the Department of Educational Leadership:

  1. Three Recommendations: Use the EdD Letter of Recommendation Form (found on EDL website) and submit recommendations from three individuals who can attest to the applicant’s leadership ability and potential for success in this program.
  2. Personal Statement: A two- or three-page typewritten statement incorporating how the applicant’s program goals and beliefs about leadership connect to the Educational Leadership program and these principles:
    1. Vision for student success and achievement,
    2. Involvement of all stakeholders,
    3. Leadership for a diverse and complex society, and
    4. Demonstration of ethical behavior.
  3. A two-page written statement that identifies at least two significant activities which indicate experiences, abilities, and potential for educational leadership. For each activity identified, applicants should clearly describe the activity and the role and responsibilities they assumed, include the number of people involved or impacted by the activity, describe the budget (if applicable) and resources used, and summarize with a self-reflective statement addressing the insight and learning that occurred.
  4. GRE Score: An official score report from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) earned within the last five years.
  5. Current Resume or Vita identifying training, experience, and professional accomplishments. Applicant must have at least three years of experience in education or a related field.
  6. Signed Declaration of Commitment (found on EDL website)
  7. Participation in Doctor of Education Interview/Group Process
  8. TOEFL Score: If your native language is not English, submit an official score report from the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL). The TOEFL is required of all non-native speakers unless they have completed two years of university-level coursework in an English-language institution.

The Doctoral Program Committee will make all decisions regarding admissions, selecting the cohort from those interviewed. Preference will be given to those applicants who have a demonstrated history of educational leadership and who have career goals consistent with the expectations of this program. The total application package will be evaluated holistically.

Exam for those who seek Michigan Central Office Administrative Certification: Praxis SSA (School Leadership Series-School Superintendent Assessment)

Students are responsible for scheduling the Praxis SSA at a testing center of their choosing. A full list of locations and registration information can be found at:

Program Requirements. Progress through the program is based upon obtaining satisfactory grades (a 3.25 GPA average overall), passing written and oral comprehensive exams, and completing a doctoral dissertation.

Continuous Progress Policy. In order to encourage degree completion and current knowledge of the dissertation process and research methodology, the faculty in the Department of Educational Leadership enact the following policy:

  • EdD students have one calendar year following their final course (EDL 897) or comprehensive exam; whichever is the latter, to successfully defend their dissertation proposal.
  • In the event that a student does not successfully defend his/her proposal within the allotted one-year time frame, the student will be required to take or retake EDL 897 within six months of the one-year date. If the course is retaken, the 3 credits will not count toward the student’s degree completion. If the student fails to take EDL 897 within the required time frame, the student may be dismissed from the program.
  • In the event that a student does not successfully defend his/her dissertation proposal within two years following the final course (EDL 897) or comprehensive exam, whichever is the latter, the student will be required to retake EDL 700 and EDL 897 within six months of the two-year date. If the student fails to take EDL 700 and EDL 897 within the required time frame, the student may be dismissed from the program. The course retake will not count toward the student’s degree completion.
  • In the event that a student has not successfully defended his/her dissertation proposal within three years following his/her final course (EDL 897) or comprehensive exam, whichever is the latter, the student will be dismissed from the program.

Program Requirements

Research Requirements (9 hours)

The research component encompasses both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The competencies to be developed are essential to interpreting and evaluating research studies to be encountered in all course work as well as to completing the dissertation requirement.

EDL 700Educational Research Design


EDL 800Qualitative Research in Educational Leadership


EDL 801Quantitative Analysis in Educational Leadership


Academic Core (15 hours)

The academic core component includes all of the critical areas of study for future educational leaders: foundations, organizational and leadership analyses, and the issues which change and dominate over time. The courses are designed to provide students with the underpinnings to understand and to act effectively upon the challenges confronting the educational organization.

EDL 815Ethical Leadership


EDL 855Organizational Culture and Change in Educational Institutions


EDL 860Organizational Theory in Educational Institutions


EDL 899Doctoral Seminar


Concentration (12 hours)

There are four choices from which students may select a concentration, based upon their needs assessment. The specific courses will be determined in consultation between the student and the academic advisor.

Concentration I

K-12 Leadership

EDL 775Educational Policy Analysis


Plus nine hours of electives to be chosen in consultation with program advisor.

Concentration II

K-12 Curriculum

EDL 773Instructional Supervision and Leadership


Plus nine hours of electives to be chosen in consultation with program advisor.

Concentration III

Higher Education Leadership

EDL 876Higher Education Policy


Plus nine hours of electives to be chosen in consultation with program advisor.

Concentration IV

Educational Technology

EDU 707Issues in Learning, Design, and Technology


Plus nine hours of electives to be chosen in consultation with program advisor.

Cognate (9 hours)

The cognate, to be determined jointly by the student and advisor, can be completed in one academic discipline or by taking a combination of courses from more than one academic discipline.

Field-Based Experience (3-6 hours)

This internship experience will assist students in strengthening their leadership competencies. The number of credit hours required will be determined with the student's advisor based upon the student's past professional experience and personal career objectives. Forty-five contact hours will be required for each credit earned. A letter of understanding will be developed between the student, district, and university supervisor as to the responsibilities and expectations for the experience.

EDL 880Doctoral Internship


Comprehensive Exams

Students will be expected to take written qualifying exams upon the completion of their academic core classes. Qualifying exams will be administered in the fall and spring of each year. Comprehensive review of all program materials is completed with the successful defense of a student's dissertation proposal. At this point, students are advanced to candidacy.

Dissertation (15 hours)

The student will complete three steps in the dissertation process:

  1. the proposal review stage in which there is a formal defense of the dissertation proposal;
  2. conducting the research, analyzing the results, and writing the final document;
  3. an oral defense of the dissertation.

Total: 63-66 semester hours

Note: Students with an earned Ed.S. may be eligible for fewer than the maximum total program credits indicated if they meet university requirements.