Leading Through Inquiry, Inclusion, and Action


The basic program requirements for the Ed.D. consist of a minimum of 90 semester credit hours of graduate level work, of which at least half (exclusive of dissertation hours) must be completed at Syracuse University; completion of a doctoral practicum; and successful completion and defense of a dissertation. Candidates with prior masters degrees, must complete their coursework (again, exclusive of dissertation hours) within four years of matriculation into the doctoral program.

More specifically, each doctoral program includes:

  1. 48 hours in Educational Leadership, or closely related courses, approved by an assigned advisor. Work completed previously in a masters or certification program often satisfies part of this requirement. Fifteen (15) of these hours would consist of a series of required core courses:

    • EDA 712 - Educational Leadership (one week course, each Summer)
    • EDA 722 - Leadership for Student Learning (Fall, odd years)
    • EDA 732 - Leadership for Adult Development (Spring, even years)
    • EDA 742 - Leadership for Program Development (Fall, even years)
    • EDA 752 - Leadership for Organizational Development (Spring, odd years)

    These core courses provide students with opportunities to engage in intensive field inquiry in particular school systems and detailed examination of that fieldwork in biweekly seminars. Doctoral students use field projects to explore possible topics for their dissertations, while CAS students pursuing administrative certification use them to explore how the essential knowledge base of educational leadership applies in actual field settings. Doctoral students who have completed Syracuse University's CAS program will have already taken these courses, and need not repeat them. Other doctoral students who have taken courses in the same domains as these courses may substitute previous graduate coursework for one or two of these courses, but are expected to take at least three of them, to ensure that they have the experience of conducting field inquiry under the direction of program faculty and to serve as mentors to CAS candidates.

    Candidates for the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership are urged, but not required, to take two other courses as part of the overall 48 hours in Educational Leadership, both designed specifically for doctoral students:

    • EDA 780 - Workshop in Educational Leadership

    • EDA 890 - Seminar in Educational Leadership

    The first of these courses is designed to develop students' familiarity and facility with theories in an about schools and school leadership, particularly as they may apply to students' own dissertation research. The second is designed as a forum for examination and discussion of the dissertation process.

  2. Research methods courses - currently a minimum of 9 hours for the Ed.D., with additional work decided by student and advisor. (Note: serious consideration is currently being given to increasing this requirement to 12 hours)

  3. One School of Education doctoral core course - Institutions and Processes of Education.

  4. Electives - to complete the remainder of the 90 credit hours (often fulfilled by a previous masters and/or educational certification program).

  5. Doctoral Practicum Field Experience - Course credit is optional and variable; if chosen, it may count toward the overall 90-hour program requirement. A report of the experience is required, written in a style appropriate for publication in a practitioner journal.

  6. Qualifying examinations - Candidates for the Ed.D. must satisfactorily complete a set of qualifying examinations, consisting of responses to six questions that address substantive issues in educational leadership, three questions that address issues of research methodology and development, and successful defense of a dissertation proposal. The questions are developed jointly by the candidate, his or her faculty advisor, and other members of the program faculty, and typically focus on substantive and methodological issues that the candidate anticipates addressing in his or her dissertation. The candidate's responses to these questions, prepared on a take home basis, must be reviewed and approved by members of the program faculty; the dissertation proposal must be reviewed and approved by members of the candidate's dissertation committee, and then presented orally to the full faculty of Teaching and Leadership Programs.

  7. Dissertation - The candidate must propose, execute, submit, orally defend and complete a dissertation of high quality and importance, under the supervision of a committee of graduate faculty members. The dissertation normally carries 9-12 credit hours. Candidates for the Ed.D. are urged, but not required, to craft a dissertation that addresses the immediate practical needs of one or more identifiable school systems, while simultaneously expanding the knowledge base on which theory and practice in educational leadership are grounded.