Degree Options

Doctorate in Leadership

All doctoral students complete the Ed.D. course sequence, which includes 63 credits in three years of work. Students selecting the Ph.D. track take an additional 3 credits in theory and research. At the end of the first year of study (May/June), students will decide whether to continue in the Ed.D. track or pursue the Ph.D. in leadership.

Distinctions Between Ed.D. and Ph.D.

The difference between the two degrees is typically summarized in the following manner: the Ed.D. has an applied focus, while the Ph.D. is more research-oriented. The Ph.D. course of study is more focused on research skill courses (sometimes called “methods”) than the Ed.D. Therefore, individuals whose future employment may involve planning, conducting and interpreting research should consider the Ph.D. The Ed.D. is designed as a practitioner’s degree and features courses that assist individuals in improving practices in their respective fields and within their communities.

Both degrees focus on leadership and are appropriate for individuals who intend to enter careers in higher education. While the Ph.D. will require students to acquire a deeper and more specific understanding of the various components of research, both degrees will focus on implementation of research.


  • Development of specialized practitioner skills.
  • Application of other foundations and techniques to the field.
  • Applied research which primarily addresses practitioner problems or questions.


  • Theoretical foundations of the field.
  • Application of other foundational or related disciplines.
  • Research which emphasizes theory building, statistics and research design.

Graduates of both degree programs will be prepared to make the world a better place in which to live. Specifically, a deeper knowledge of research enables more community actions and publications.