Doctorate in Leadership

Individual Plan of Scholarship

Each student develops an individual plan of scholarship that focuses on knowledge, skill, and character development related to leadership for learning and service. The individual plan of scholarship provides a focusing framework for seminars, independent study, field practice and research. The plan is developed and assessed through demonstrations of knowledge, skills, and attitudes described in performance indicators. Evidence of progress and proficiency related to the individual plan of scholarship is entered into student portfolios.

Practica/Field Experience

The course sequence is three years and students engage in at least three problem-based learning experiences within and outside of their field employment. The practica/field experiences integrate learning through research, reflection, and practice with knowledge, skills and dispositions of the curriculum. Students are encouraged to design practica/field experiences in diverse learning communities, e.g., a different school district, institution, industry, state or country.


The dissertation component of the Ed.D. and Ph.D. both require rigid adherence to standards of research methodology while analyzing the data for practical implications in the development of original scholarship. However, the Ph.D. will require more depth in developing the theoretical structure of a research base. In addition, the Ph.D. dissertation will require extended depth of analysis of the data and research, and contain rigorous design procedures.

All dissertations must address leadership for the advancement of learning and service, and explicate practical applications implied in the results. The dissertation is fully incorporated into the regular course work to integrate course knowledge, theory, and practice.


Doctoral seminars and practica will be assessed high pass/pass/incomplete/fail. For transcript purposes and translation to traditional grading scales, high pass is equivalent to an A, pass is equivalent to a B, and fail is equivalent to an F.

Successful demonstration of program outcomes and performance indicators will determine passing. Students failing a learning sequence will be given an opportunity to take an incomplete within a specified time frame, and will be given additional opportunities to demonstrate success for the outcomes in question. All program outcomes must be demonstrated successfully in order to complete the degree.

Program Completion Timeline

The course sequence is three years, and students are expected to complete the program in three to four years. The maximum time limit for completing the program, including dissertation, is seven years. Students continuing dissertation scholarship beyond the prescribed three-year program schedule will enroll in one dissertation credit per semester to maintain contact with the advisor and dissertation committee, and to have access to Stritch resources for research.