Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

The doctoral program (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership provides the highest professional degree available to candidates who aspire to leadership positions in Education, primarily in K-12 settings.  The degree involves successful completion of a prescribed curriculum of both required and elective courses in professional studies, theory, and research methods up to a minimum of 60 hours of graduate credit. The doctoral degree is awarded upon successful completion of coursework and defense of a dissertation, which is a major independent research project carried out under the supervision of faculty advisors.

Graduates of the doctoral degree in Educational Leadership will have acquired the knowledge and skills to lead K-12 school systems and serve in a leadership and consulting capacity in diverse educational organizations. The doctoral program focuses on developing leader-scholars who are prepared to effectively lead educational organizations by (a) supporting professional development for instructional improvement; (b) applying evidence-based practices in educational research and program evaluation through research design and interpretation; and (c) advocating for sound policies that support the success of all students.

Additional information: Reference the Program Landing Page for additional information, such as cost, delivery format, contact information, or to schedule a visit.

Admission to the doctoral program in Educational Leadership is competitive.  Applicants are encouraged to submit required materials and prepare a high-quality personal statement and resume. 

The Educational Leadership doctoral program utilizes a cohort model where individuals are admitted as a group or a cohort.  Cohort members take their courses together in a face-to-face setting.  Cognates (electives) vary. Some students complete the Texas superintendent certification as their cognate area. A select number of applicants are admitted to a cohort.

Admission Deadlines

The priority deadline for cohort admission is March 1. Priority is given to completed applications. Applications will be accepted until the university deadline based on space availability.

The program uses a cohort-based model. New cohorts begin each Summer semester. To ensure full consideration for cohort admission, applicants should submit all required materials before the priority deadline.  

Cohort Classes Begin Application Deadline
Educational Leadership (K-12) Summer (June) March 1: Priority Deadline

Applicants seeking admission to the doctoral program in Educational Leadership must submit the following to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

  1. Graduate Admission Application
  2. Application fee
  3. Official transcript from the baccalaureate degree granting institution
  4. Official transcript(s) showing receipt of a master's degree in a related field from an accredited institution
  5. Resume (describing education, work history, leadership experiences, and listing at least 3 professional references)
  6. Application Essay. Not to exceed 1,800 words and thoroughly address these specific questions in an essay:
    a) What are some highlights of your professional career?
    b) What are some experiences that demonstrate your leadership strengths?
    c) What are your professional goals?
    d) What reasons do you have for pursuing a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership (K-12) at Sam Houston State University?

Note: Applicants selected after the initial screening will be invited for an interview.

Applicants should hold a master's degree in a related field, and the student's graduate GPA should be 3.5 or higher. In addition, three years of full-time professional experience in a school or agency is preferred.

The program requires a minimum of sixty hours of graduate credit, successful passing of a comprehensive examination, and completion of a dissertation.

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership
Leadership Core
EDLD 7337Academic Writing & Research3
EDLD 7331Leadership Theory/Application3
EDLD 7111Doctoral Studies in Educational Leadership 13
EDLD 7333Societal Factors Affecting Education3
EDLD 7370Education Policy and Ethics3
EDLD 7338Organizational Behavior and Theory in Education3
EDLD 7361Program Evaluation in Education3
EDLD 7332Instructional Theory and Applications3
Research Tools
EDER 7362Methods of Education Research3
EDER 7365Statistical Methods3
EDER 7374Advanced Statistical Methods3
EDER 7372Qualitative Inquiry3
EDLD 7363Proposal Development3
EDAD 6380Executive Leadership for Superintendents3
EDAD 6382Human Resource Management3
EDAD 6381District Business and Financial Management3
EDAD 6384Superintendent Practicum3
EDLD 8033Dissertation 29
Total Hours60

EDLD 7111 must be taken three times for a total of three hours.


EDLD 8033 must be taken at least three times for a minimum total of nine hours. Once enrolled in this course, the student must enroll in it until graduation.

Note: The 12 hours of cognate can vary based on candidate interests and goals. Additional TEA requirements are needed to obtain a Texas Principal or Superintendent certification. 

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) marketable skills initiative is part of the state’s 60x30TX plan and was designed to help students articulate their skills to employers.  Marketable skills are those skills valued by employers and/or graduate programs that can be applied in a variety of work or education settings and may include interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skill areas.

The EdD Educational Leadership degree is designed to provide graduates with the following marketable skills:

  • Collect, analyze, and interpret data through the lens of theories and practice. 
  • Defend research findings to practitioners and researchers.
  • Employ advanced oral and written communication skills.
  • Synthesize empirical literature for research trends.
  • Design, conduct, report, and share independent research projects.