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. 

The program offers the District Level Educational Leadership option leading to Illinois Superintendent endorsement.   

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs):

PLO1. Candidates will demonstrate skills in all aspects of school/district leaders and administration including processes of planning, organization, communication, decision making, influence/politics and evaluation stemming from a shared vision, mission, and core values.

PLO2. Candidates will develop relationship and collaborate among internal and external stakeholders to develop and promote a community of academic success, development of personal potential and well-being of all students.

PLO3. Candidates will lead adult learning and build capacity among school personnel, staff, and teachers to improve student achievement.

PLO4. Candidates will support the intellectually rigorous and coherent systems of curriculum, instruction and assessment for continuous improvement to promote each students’ academic success and well-being.

PLO5. Candidates will pursue educational equity through cultural proficiency and opportunity to advance the overall well-being of students.

PLO6. Candidates will act professionally, ethically, and demonstrate emotional intelligence in a compassionate, caring manner promoting each student’s success.

PLO7. Candidates will strive for school improvement by diagnosing challenges, working collaboratively, and using evidence to initiate change that promotes students’ academic success.

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

  • Submit a professional resume or curriculum vitae 
  • Submit official transcripts from all institutions attended. Please note that only credit from regionally accredited institutions will be considered for transfer credit. Completion of baccalaureate and master’s degrees from regionally accredited institutions must be verified. A grade point average of 3.25 or better in master’s level courses is required of all applicants.
  • 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 Educational Leadership (formerly 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.
  • Candidates may bring up to 12 SH of post-master's degree courses taken before admission into the program, including courses taken at NLU. They must seek approval from the School Directors in consultation with their Academic Advisor. 
  • Candidates who have completed the Educational Leadership, Ed.S., District Level Educational Leadership track (formerly Administration and Supervision, Ed.S., District Level Educational Leadership) at NLU may have all of the program hours applied toward the Educational Leadership, Ed.D. program within 8 years. 

The District Level Educational Leadership option

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.

Research and Dissertation - 21 SH

EDL 628Analyzing and Using Data for Systemic Improvement


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 601Analyzing Resource Allocation and Equity in Educational Financial Management


EDL 604Fostering Cultural Proficiency, Opportunity and Equity


EDL 605Leading Change


EDL 606Utilizing Effective Leadership Principles and Processes


EDL 608Communicating and Engaging with Staff, Families, and Communities


EDL 620Understanding the Dynamics of Political, Legal, and Ethical Issues in Education


EDL 622Developing Curriculum and Evaluating Programs


EDL 624Improving Instruction through Professional Development and Evaluation


EDL 625Scholarly Writing for Practitioners

1 TO 4

EDL 626Leading Instruction to Advance Student Learning


EDL 690Educational Leadership Internship

1 TO 8

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.