Educational Leadership, Ed.D.

This program is designed to prepare individuals to serve in school and school district leadership roles in the areas of administration and supervision. By combining coursework and internship experiences, the program integrates theory, research and practice into a cohesive plan of study for educational leaders.

While the coursework for both of the below options is the same, applicants must specify which is appropriate for their needs.

The District Level Educational Leadership option is for students interested in earning the doctoral degree and leading and managing multi-school educational systems and school districts, and prepares individuals to serve as systems administrators and district superintendents. This option includes instruction in educational administration; education of students at various levels; system planning and budgeting; educational policy; educational law and regulations; public relations; professional standards and ethics; and applications to specific issues, cultural context, and geographic locales. Students choosing this option must hold an Illinois general administrative or principal endorsement upon admission. Students admitted to this option must complete all 60 SH of the program, including EDL 690 Educational Leadership Internship, and are then eligible to apply for the Illinois Superintendent endorsement.

The Leadership for Learning and Organizational Development option is for individuals seeking to supervise instructional and support personnel at the organizational, facility or staff level. Includes instruction in the principles of staffing and organization, the supervision of learning activities, personnel relations, administrative duties related to departmental or unit management, and specific applications to various educational settings and curricula. This option, however, does not lead to state credentials, either principal or superintendent, upon completion of the doctoral program. Students admitted to this option must complete all 60 SH of the program, including EDL 690 Educational Leadership Internship, but are not eligible to apply for principal endorsement or the Superintendent endorsement. 

Students taking this option may, in the future, complete the Administration and Supervision, Ed.S. leading to the general administrative or principal endorsement in Illinois and then the Superintendent Subsequent Endorsement.

In addition to National College of Education Doctoral Admissions Requirements, applicants must:

  • Present documented evidence of at least two years of leadership in an educational setting.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation. Letters should originate from people supervising the applicant's professional work or people associated with the applicant's graduate work.
  • Submit written responses to substantive questions that directly speak to the applicant’s intellectual interests, professional goals, compatibility with program and commitments to the values of the program. Each program has its own set of questions and assessment criteria. Applicant responses are considered carefully, along with all other evidence, in determining the applicant’s potential for success in pursuing the Ed.D. degree.
  • Note: The admission process occurs in two stages. First, the applicant submits the application and all supporting documentation to the Office of Admissions by the published deadlines. Faculty from the respective doctoral programs reviews the applications. 

    The second stage of the admissions process consists of an interview with the program faculty. 

    The objectives of the interview process are to establish that applicants have clearly defined goals for pursuing doctoral study, to determine that the applicants’ goals may be met through the doctoral programs, to gain further information about the applicants and to clarify areas of concern, to provide an opportunity for applicants to ask questions about the programs and to enable applicants to acquaint themselves with faculty in the programs.

Program Details:

  • Requires 60 SH for completion 
  • Requires an internship
  • Requires a dissertation
  • Candidates may transfer in up to 12 SH of coursework from another doctoral program if approved by faculty and not part of a completed degree program. Applicants who have completed the Administration and Supervision, Ed.S. degree at NLU may transfer a maximum of 6 SH of internship credit toward the doctoral degree upon the approval of the director of the Educational Leadership doctoral program or designee.

Required Courses

Research and Dissertation - 21 SH

EDL 628Organizational Inquiry


EDL 630Understanding and Using Educational Research


EDL 632Utilizing Data to Inform Decision Making


CCD 699BDissertation: Educational Leadership

1 TO 12

Note: CCD 699B must be taken for a total of 12 SH.

Educational Leadership Core - 39 SH

EDL 601School Financial Management


EDL 604Administrative Issues for Pluralistic Schools


EDL 605Leading Change


EDL 606Principles and Fundamentals of School Leadership


EDL 608Community Engagement


EDL 620School Leadership: Policy and Politics


EDL 622Curriculum Planning, Organization and Evaluation


EDL 624Professional Development and School Change


EDL 625Scholarly Writing for Practitioners

1 TO 4

EDL 626Instructional Leadership


EDL 690Educational Leadership Internship

1 TO 12

Notes: EDL 625 must be taken for a total of 4 semester hours. EDL 690 must be taken for a total of 8 semester hours.