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College of Education

Educational Leadership Doctorate

P-12 Specialization (code EDADPH02)

Community College/Higher Education Specialization (code EDADPH03)

The Education Leadership doctoral program is designed to prepare current and future P-16 educational leaders to develop and nurture organizations that are designed to serve the diverse populations of southern California. Graduates of this program will be prepared to serve as leaders in urban education with expertise to function in a global technological society. The program produces reflective practitioners aware of the complex challenges of curriculum, finance, organizational dynamics, and collaboration with local, state, and national stakeholders.

Students will become more effective leaders by (a) solving problems from multiple perspectives; (b) using multicultural competence to interact with personnel, students and community members; (c) challenging assumptions to improve educational systems; and (d) learning to lead organizations toward respect of divergent viewpoints, learning styles, and ranges of ability.

Emphasis is placed on the expanding and changing role of education for social change to meet the needs of society. Graduate students in a learning cohort community will experience an interdisciplinary approach to the study of educational leadership, teaching and learning, organizational development, management and research.

Graduates of the program will be qualified for a variety of teaching and leadership positions in education and education-related settings, such as superintendent, central office administrator, school principal in P-12, or chancellor, president or administrator in community colleges or 4-year universities.

University Admission

Applications are reviewed annually and students accepted to the program begin study in the summer of each year. Students must file an application for Graduate Admission along with one complete set of official transcripts from all educational institutions with the University Office of Admissions.

Program Admission

In addition to the university application, prospective students must also submit a program application. Admission is granted on a competitive basis; meeting the minimum requirements qualifies an individual for consideration but does not guarantee admission to the program. Requirements for admission will apply to all Ed.D. applicants and include:

  • 1. Evidence of completing an acceptable baccalaureate degree earned at a regionally accredited institution.
  • 2. Evidence of completing a master's degree earned at a regionally accredited institution, or the applicant has completed equivalent academic preparation.
  • 3. A cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 in upper-division and graduate study combined.
  • 4. Good standing at the last institution of higher education attended.
  • 5. Demonstration of sufficient preparation for, experience in, and potential for educational leadership, including: successful experience in leadership in school, postsecondary, or community contexts, and/or policy leadership; academic excellence; problem-solving ability; technological proficiency; interest in critically assessing current educational policies and practices; and interest in improving current educational policies and practices.
  • 6. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores from the three sections of the General Test, taken within five years of applying to the Ed.D. program.
  • 7. Three letters of recommendation attesting to leadership and scholarship potential.
  • 8. A written statement of purpose reflecting an understanding of the challenges facing the public schools or community colleges in California.
  • 9. A written statement from the applicant describing the applicant's plan for meeting professional responsibilities and the demands of the program.
  • 10. A written statement from the applicant's employer indicating support for the applicant's doctoral studies, if applicable.
  • 11. A personal interview.


The program requires a minimum of 60 units of which 12 are dissertation units. At least 42 units must be completed in residence at the campus.

All courses must be completed:

  • 1. Core courses (23 units):
      • EDLD 720 Proseminar in Educational Leadership (3)
      • EDLD 721A Advanced Proseminar in Educational Leadership (1)
      • EDLD 721B Advanced Proseminar in Educational Leadership (1)
      • EDLD 721C Advanced Proseminar in Educational Leadership (1)
      • EDLD 721D Advanced Proseminar in Educational Leadership (1)
      • EDLD 721E Advanced Proseminar in Educational Leadership (1)
      • EDLD 722 History and Systems of U.S. Education (3)
      • EDLD 723 Legal and Ethical Leadership: Implications for Policy and Practice in P-16 Educ Settings (3)
      • EDLD 724 Critical Perspectives of U.S. Education and Diversity (3)
      • EDLD 725 Organizational Leadership in Educational Settings (3)
      • EDLD 726 Policy, Politics, Power in Educational Settings (3)
  • 2. Research courses (13 units):
    • Take all of the following:
      • EDLD 730 Educational Research Epistemologies and Methodologies (3)
      • EDLD 731 Qualitative Research Methods for Educational Leadership (3)
      • EDLD 733 Program and Student Assessment (1)
      • EDLD 734 Survey Methods in Educ Research (1)
      • EDLD 735 Applied Field Research (2)
    • Take one of the following:
      • EDLD 732A Inferential Data Analysis in Education A (3)
      • EDLD 732B Inferential Data Analysis in Education B (3)
  • 3. Specialization courses (12 units). Choose one of the following specializations:
    • A. Community College/Higher Education Specialization:
      • EDLD 740 Policy and Finance Issues in Community Colleges (3)
      • EDLD 741 Teaching and Learning in Post Secondary Settings (3)
      • EDLD 742 Exploration of Campus Cultures: Impact and Influence (3)
      • EDLD 743 Leadership in Higher Education (3)
    • B. P-12 Specialization:
      • EDLD 750 Instructional Improvement and Accountability (3)
      • EDLD 751 Organizational Culture and Community Engagement in Education (3)
      • EDLD 752 Financial and Human Resource Development (3)
      • EDLD 753 Supervision of Curriculum, Teaching, Learning and Assessment (3)
  • 4. Dissertation (12 units):
      • EDLD 798 Doctoral Dissertation (3)

Doctoral students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to be in good standing. Students who have a grade point average below 3.0 in two successive terms will be disqualified from the program.

The Ed.D. program is designed to allow students to complete all program requirements within three calendar years, including three required summer sessions. Students are expected to complete program requirements within five years after full admission to the program. Extensions of up to two years may be granted if the student is in good standing, there are compelling individual circumstances, and the student demonstrates current knowledge of research and practice in educational leadership. After completion of all course work and successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student will advance to candidacy and undertake the dissertation.

Continuous enrollment is a requirement of the program. If extenuating circumstances require that the student leave the program for a period of time, the faculty will consider an adjusted schedule and an individualized plan.

Qualifying Examination Paper

The qualifying examination paper shall include a rigorous written demonstration of student knowledge; the examination must be passed prior to the student's advancement to candidacy. The examination will be due by the end of the fourth term in the program. The student will synthesize knowledge from courses taken to date: (1) Leadership core courses, (2) Research Methods courses, and (3) Specialization courses completed up to that time. The structure of the qualifying examination paper will be a definition of the problem under study and a review of the literature that could serve as a preparatory chapter of the dissertation.

Dissertation Proposal Examination

The dissertation proposal examination and oral defense will evaluate the student's readiness to proceed with the dissertation research. The dissertation proposal examination will consist of the first three chapters of the dissertation. It will typically focus on an examination of (a) an educational issue, (b) a practice or program, (c) an educational policy or reform or improvement, or (d) implementation studies within an educational organization or community setting.

The dissertation committee will evaluate the proposal. A determination of passing must be made by consensus of the committee. Passing this examination shall constitute formal approval for the candidate to proceed with the proposed dissertation research, subject to Institutional Review Board approval.

Advancement to Candidacy

After being admitted to the program, passing the qualifying examination, completing coursework, and successfully defending the dissertation proposal, the student will advance to candidacy. The total time from admission until candidacy shall not exceed three years unless there are mitigating circumstances and the program faculty have approved the extension. An extension for advancement to candidacy shall not exceed one year.


The dissertation shall be the written product of systematic, rigorous research on a significant educational issue. The dissertation is expected to contribute to an improvement in public P-12 or community college professional practices or policy, generally or in the context of a particular educational institution.

The dissertation shall identify the field-based research problem and question(s), state the major theoretical perspectives, explain the applied significance of the undertaking, relate it to the relevant scholarly and professional literature, set forth the appropriate sources for and methods of gathering and analyzing the data, and offer a conclusion or recommendation. It shall include a written abstract that summarizes the significance of the work, objectives, methodology, and a conclusion or recommendation.

The Dissertation Committee will minimally consist of a chair and two members. The chair will be selected by the procedure followed by the College of Education. The chair and student will then select two other members: one will be from the college faculty and the other will be either a university faculty member outside of the college, a P-16 practitioner who holds a doctorate, or a community member associated with the program who holds a doctorate.

The dissertation committee chair shall provide primary supervision for the dissertation. The chair shall be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member in the College. The Ed.D. program director may allow the replacement of a committee member, based on the evaluation of a rationale provided by the student or committee member making the request.

Final Examination Oral Defense of the Dissertation

The Dissertation Committee will conduct a final oral examination during which the doctoral student defends the dissertation. By unanimous vote the Committee may approve the dissertation and recommend conferral of the degree or may request minor and/or substantive changes. In the event that the Dissertation Committee requires substantive changes, the final vote of the Committee will be postponed until the changes are completed. The Committee may also vote to reject the dissertation, thereby ending the student's participation in the degree program.