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Ed.D. Program Requirements

The Ed.D. in Executive Leadership program includes 20 courses totaling 60 credits. Candidates must finish the degree within six years of completion of the first course in the program. The time limit is inclusive of any leaves of absence taken by a candidate.

Ed.D. in Executive Leadership

All candidates must complete the following courses and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better each semester. Each course is three credits.

Core Requirements

  • DEXL 701 - Doctoral Studies Seminar
  • DEXL 702 - Contemporary Issues in Executive Leadership
  • DEXL 703 - Research Methods and Design
  • DEXL 704 - Leadership and Cultural Change
  • DEXL 705 - Field Experience I
  • DEXL 706 - Applied and Action Research
  • DEXL 707 - Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods
  • DEXL 708 - Field Experience II
  • DEXL 709 - Public and Human Relations
  • DEXL 710 - Assessment, Evaluation, and Organizational Improvement
  • DEXL 711 - Field Experience III
  • DEXL 712 - Public Policy, Law, and Ethics
  • DEXL 713 - Executive Leadership and Shared Governance
  • DEXL 714 - Field Experience IV
  • DEXL 715 - Finance and Resource Development
  • DEXL 716 - Human Resource Development and Continuous Improvement
  • DEXL 717 - Guided Dissertation Seminar I
  • DEXL 718 - Leadership and Diversity
  • DEXL 719 - Guided Dissertation Seminar II
  • DEXL 720 - Guided Dissertation Seminar III

Total: 60 credits

Optional Course

  • DEXL 725 - Dissertation Continuation (0)

Dissertation Requirements

To be eligible to submit the final dissertation, all candidates are required to:

  • Satisfactorily complete all course requirements with a minimum of a 3.0 (B) or better cumulative grade point average.
  • Fulfill the residency requirement.
  • Pass the comprehensive examination.
  • Receive approval from their dissertation chair.

Preparation for the dissertation process starts during the first semester of the program. Each semester, at least one course focusing on dissertation development is required. By the end of the second semester, candidates select a dissertation topic. By the end of the eighth semester, candidates are expected to complete all degree requirements, including the dissertation.

To facilitate timely completion of the dissertation, each candidate is assigned a faculty advisor during the first semester of study. Assuming satisfactory progress, each candidate will be assigned a dissertation chair and committee member by the beginning of the second semester.

The dissertation committee, under the direction of the chair, oversees the progress, content, defense, methodology, and completion of each assigned candidate’s dissertation proposal and dissertation. As the dissertation process progresses, candidates, with the approval of the chair, may bring on an additional member to the committee.

The dissertation writing must be clear, scholarly, and follow generally accepted standards for the publication of scholarly papers. The dissertation may be a quantitative and/or qualitative study. The dissertation also should contribute to the body of knowledge and professional practice. Candidates will demonstrate:

  • A thorough grasp of the relevant research
  • The ability to gather, interpret, and analyze data
  • An understanding of how to interpret findings
  • The capacity to articulate policy implications and recommendations for action

Additional Program Requirements


All candidates in the doctoral program are required to satisfy a residency requirement as a condition for earning the Ed.D. degree. The residency requirement is defined as completion of at least nine credits of core courses each semester for two consecutive semesters. This requirement must be fulfilled before a candidate can take the comprehensive exam and within the first four semesters of study.

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination is an assessment of knowledge in the candidate's area of specialization. Candidates normally take the examination by the end of their fourth semester. The comprehensive examination is a three-part written exam requiring candidates to demonstrate essential knowledge, skills, dispositions, and reasoning based on the program’s learning objectives.

Candidates are permitted two opportunities to pass the comprehensive examination. A candidate who is unsuccessful after two attempts will be withdrawn from the doctoral program. In unusual circumstances, a candidate may petition the program director to be permitted a third opportunity to re-take the examination. To be eligible to take the comprehensive examination, candidates will be required to:

  • Have a minimum of a 3.0 (B) or better grade point average with no incompletes, and to have made satisfactory progress toward the completion of degree requirements.
  • Have the recommendation of their advisor.
  • Submit evidence satisfactory to the advisor of their ability to do research in the area of specialization
  • Be registered for the term in which the exam is taken.

Participation in and attendance at all classes is a critical component for successful completion of the program.

As a future executive leader, there is also an expectation that a candidate’s participation, attendance, and work will reflect the standards, care, and scholarship that are required in a rigorous doctoral-level program.

One missed weekend session is equivalent to being absent for 25 percent of a course, and will adversely impact a candidate’s final grade in that course. It is important, therefore, that candidates make every effort to be on time and attend every session.

If it is necessary to miss or be late to a class, candidates are required to notify the faculty member teaching the course in advance, if possible.

Specific details of the attendance policy and requirements will be provided by the faculty at the start of each course.

Note: The information here is provided for informational purposes only. For exact requirements as well as course descriptions, visit the Graduate Catalog.