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Educational Administration Doctorate Degree

The Ed.D. in Educational Administration at KU has been preparing educators and district-level leaders for decades. The program is designed for part-time graduate students who currently hold initial teaching licensure with an endorsement in building-level administration. As a graduate student enrolled in this program, you can expect to:

  •     Extend your knowledge of pedagogy and leadership
  •     Enlarge your understanding & develop an appreciation of the political, economic and social forces that influence the decisions of district administrators
  •     Build upon the skills and knowledge acquired in the previous terms with progressive sequence of coursework

Students in the KU programs primarily come from school districts within a 100 mile radius of the Kansas City metropolitan and greater Lawrence areas. Based on the fact that classes are scheduled back-to-back on only one day of the week, extended commuting is feasible. Enroll in two courses are scheduled in 16-week formats during each fall and spring semester and meet back-to-back one night each week from 4:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Beginning in June each summer, courses are scheduled into two 4-week blocks and generally meet three times each week.

Ed.D. vs. Ph.D. in Educational Administration

The Ed.D. is considered a practitioner's degree (like the MD in medicine) designed specifically to prepare the student to assume central office leadership roles in schools. It leads to district-level licensure in both Kansas (and many other states). The dissertation associated with the Ed.D. is often more practical in nature and can include original research, evaluations, meta-analyses, and literature syntheses. Individuals with the Ed.D. are qualified and prepared to teach educational leadership courses.

The Ph.D. is considered a research degree designed for someone who wants to teach at a research university. Professors at research universities are expected to be actively engaged in research and thus need to know a great deal about statistics, research methods, and a specific content area. The Ph.D. degree requires a research minor (12 hours), a college teaching practicum (ELPS 996) and a slightly different continuous study requirement.  A Ph.D. in educational administration may or may not lead to district-level licensure since administrative licensure is not required to teach at the college level.  Non-US citizens should only pursue the Ph.D. since many foreign governments only recognize that degree.

Ed.D. Residency Requirements

The Ed.D. program requires each student to meet a residency requirement. Several options are noted below, though students who follow the program as outlined by their advisor will meet the 2nd, 3rd, & 4th options:

  • Two consecutive semesters of full-time enrollment in regularly scheduled courses;
  • Two consecutive semesters of at least 6 hours and adjacent summer session of at least 3 hours. (At least quarter time appropriately related professional involvement on or off-campus is required during the academic year. One KU course each semester may be taken at an off-campus location at advisor's recommendation.);
  • Three consecutive semester enrollments (excluding summer session) of at least 6 hours each in regularly scheduled courses at the program's home campus. (At least quarter time appropriately related professional involvement on or off-campus is required during the academic year. One KU course each semester may be taken at an off-campus location at advisor's recommendation.);
  • Eighteen (18) hours taken during the period encompassed by two consecutive summer sessions with enrollment in each of the four semesters: summer, fall, spring summer.  At least quarter time appropriately related professional involvement on or off-campus is required during the academic year.
  • Twenty-seven (27) hours taken during any five consecutive semesters (including summer sessions), with enrollments in each semester. During the period, the student must be employed full-time in a field directly related to the student's academic field.

Ed.D. Comprehensive Exams

Students will enroll in ELPS 969 (Dissertation Seminar) in the fall semester of Year III in addition to completing the oral portion of the comprehensive exam and taking one hour of field experience.

Ed.D. Dissertation

Writing and defending a dissertation is the final requirement of the Ed.D. program. In contrast to the academic course work, which is designed to develop the knowledge base necessary for effective leadership, the dissertation's purpose is to study one narrowly focused issue in depth. The student is expected to contribute to resolving an important problem or question within the field of educational leadership. The area of inquiry and method of analysis are limited only by the availability of a dissertation advisor (faculty member) who has agreed to be the student’s dissertation advisor and sponsor the project.

A minimum of 12 credit hours of dissertation is required. Students who do not pass the comprehensive examination cannot apply dissertation hours to degree requirements. The dissertation credit hours (ELPS 999 Doctoral Dissertation) are with the specific dissertation advisor.  The program advisor will work with each student to identify and secure a dissertation advisor during the spring of year two.  The dissertation advisor will assist the student in the selection of a dissertation committee, the development of a dissertation proposal, and the completion of a dissertation based on the proposal.

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Practicing Educator
Cost Savings

Learn more about the Practicing Educator Sponsorship Program offered to PK-12 public (or private) school district educators interested in a graduate program in education at KU.

Campus Locations
This program is available at the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park! Learn more»
School of Education is 10th among public universities for its master’s and doctoral programs
—U.S. News & World Report
Professor Lisa Wolf-Wendel is president-elect of the Association for the Study of Higher Education
Alumni of the department head higher education institutions, school districts, and schools across the nation
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