Graduate Catalog 2024-2025

Educational Leadership Ed.D.


Program Overview

College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

General Doctoral Degree Admission Requirements

View delivery options, start terms and admission requirements.

Chair: Linda R. Vogel, Ph.D.

Location:McKee 418

Telephone: 970.351.2119

The University of Northern Colorado has a long history of preparing individuals to assume leadership roles in education. Over the years, superintendents, principals, deans, program directors, professors, presidents and other persons in leadership positions in Colorado and across the nation have received academic degrees from the University. The current focus of the Ed.D. is preparing P-12 leaders for public and private schools and other educational organizations.

The purpose of the Ed.D. program is to engage educators in P-12 and other education-related settings in the advanced study of educational leadership so they can critique and improve their own practice. The program focuses on problems of practice - studying practice, engaging in constructive critique of practice, and improving one’s practice. Coursework in the program is designed to be highly relevant to the participants’ jobs and careers.

Features that make this program attractive to current and aspiring educational leaders:

  • Collaborative and collegial learning community;
  • Challenging, provocative, research-based knowledge;
  • Cohort approach to learning for 3 semesters of enrollment;
  • Instructional techniques emphasizing practices of adult learning;
  • Emphasis on problems of practice;
  • Professional networking with area P-12 educational leaders;
  • National and internationally recognized university faculty and affiliates;
  • Faculty and cohort commitment that all participants successfully complete the program.

Program of Study. The nature of doctoral studies implies a blend of required learning experiences and individualized program development to reflect the personal, professional, and academic goals of each student. Each doctoral student admitted to the program works with an advisor and program coordinator to develop a plan of study.

Students may work concurrently on the principal's license and/or administrator (district-level leadership/superintendent) license as part of their Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. To obtain a Colorado principal or administrator license, students must have a master's degree or higher, complete a principal and/or administrator license program, and satisfactorily pass the appropriate PRAXIS exam. Students desiring a principal's or administrator's license must work with the UNC licensure office for program verification when they have completed their coursework.

Program Requirements:

Admission materials for review by the faculty include a current resume, copies of educator licenses, scholarly writing sample, and a statement of goals in addition to the other information in the online UNC application system for graduate student admission. Students are admitted each fall semester. Applicants may be asked to complete an online interview with the Educational Leadership program faculty.

Students who complete the application process by February 15 are given priority screening for fall admissions of that year and have increased opportunities for financial assistance.

The doctoral program expands upon the foundation gained in study for the master's, specialist, and/or licensure programs. It provides opportunities for candidates to develop breadth in understanding leadership, policy, and research methodologies, and also depth in one or more areas of specialization. The focus of this program is the refinement of students' understandings of leadership and policy development and analysis, ultimately culminating in the dissertation. The dissertation is meant to address a problem of practice in educational leadership.

Entering doctoral students who already possess a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership or a related field complete a minimum of 64 semester hours of graduate credit beyond the master's degree. Students with an Educational Specialist's degree enroll in a minimum of 42 semester hours beyond the specialist's degree. These semester hour requirements are minimum expectations for students' performance. Credit requirements are a function of the types of learning experiences needed by students to achieve their goals.

Degree Requirements — 64 Credits

Educational Leadership Core — 21 hours

ELPS 608Issues in Educational Leadership: Implications for Practice


ELPS 666Planning and Change in Education


ELPS 667Leadership at the District Level


ELPS 751Doctoral Core I


ELPS 752Doctoral Core II


Specialization Area — 9 hours

Coursework that relates directly to goals as educational leaders (e.g., building level leadership, central office leadership, special education, educational technology).

Field Based Learning — 6 hours

Select one or both of the following courses:

ELPS 606Internship in Educational Leadership

1- 9

ELPS 695Practicum in Educational Leadership

1- 3

Research Core — 12 hours minimum

ELPS 754Research in Educational Leadership


SRM 602Statistical Methods I


Select research electives from the following courses (or equivalents approved by the doctoral committee) (6 hours):

PSY 674Measurement I: Classical Test Theory


SRM 603Statistical Methods II


SRM 670Evaluation: Models and Designs


SRM 680Introduction to Qualitative Research


SRM 700Advanced Research Methods


Research Proposal/Dissertation — 16 hours

ELPS 797Doctoral Proposal Research

1- 4

ELPS 799Doctoral Dissertation in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Deficiencies or Additional Elective Courses

ELPS 650School Finance and Budgeting


ELPS 654Instructional Leadership and Supervision


ELPS 660Law and the Administrator


ELPS 665Policy Analysis and Development


ELPS 670The Principalship: Leadership at the School Site Level


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