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Educational Leadership

Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.)

College: College of Education & Behavioral Science | School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Department: Center for Excellence in Education


The Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership provides the highest professional degree available in the field of education to students who aspire to administrative careers in either elementary, secondary, or collegiate levels. Although the degree requirements include a prescribed curriculum of required and elective courses, the doctoral degree is not awarded only on the basis of coursework completion.

Following successful completion of the comprehensive examinations, doctoral students conduct a major research project resulting in the presentation and defense of the doctoral dissertation. This phase of the doctoral degree provides students with an opportunity to develop and demonstrate possession of skill in intellectual problem solving.

  • Admission Information

    Doctor of Education Program 

    Applicants for admission to the Doctor of Education degree program must be in good standing in the graduate school of an accredited institution.

    Admission to the Graduate School does not imply admission to the Doctor of Education degree. Students desiring to pursue graduate work for which they have not completed the prerequisites will be required to make up deficiencies. Specific program requirements and details are outlined under the Center for Excellence in Education (CEE) section of this bulletin and on the following pages.

    General Requirements

    Candidates must earn a minimum of 99 hours of graduate credit beyond the bachelor’s degree. This quantitative requirement is a minimum, as the quantity of coursework to be completed by each candidate is arranged individually by the advisory committee, subject to the approval of the graduate dean, and may be modified both as to quantity and as to type during the progress of the student's coursework.

    Advisory Committees

    Advisory committees will consist of at least three members. Members who possess expertise in students’ major areas of concentration will be selected by students in consultation with the director of the Center for Excellence in Education. Two members must be faculty from the Center for Excellence in Education. The names will be forwarded to the graduate dean for official appointment. No committee is considered constituted without the final written approval of the dean of the Graduate School.

    Membership of advisory committees may be changed if either the student or a member of their committee feels that such a change is appropriate, and the requested change is approved by the Director of the Center for Excellence in Education and the graduate dean. Such a change will not be approved except in clearly unusual circumstances. If approval is given, the student will be notified in writing by the Graduate School.

    Degree Plan

    As the successful completion of 12 semester hours approaches, students should file a degree plan listing all courses completed and to be completed. This plan must be approved by the advisory committee and submitted to the graduate dean for approval. The dean will notify the applicant after the degree plan has been approved. Students will not be permitted to register for more than a cumulative total of 12 semester hours before an approved degree plan is on file in the Graduate School

    Transfer Credit

    The Ed.D. Program consists of a minimum of 99 credits beyond the bachelor's degree. Students who have not completed the master's degree will be encouraged to do so prior to pursuing admission to the doctorate. Although all appropriate graduate credits from master's and beyond will be transferred to the Ed.D., all students must complete the doctoral knowledge core courses and dissertation which total 45 credits plus the necessary prerequisites. Students enrolled in the Ed.D. program who receive four hours with a grade of "C" or lower in the Doctoral Knowledge Core or a grade of "F" will be dismissed from the program. Students will be held responsible for the content of each course placed on the program of study through written examination.

    Comprehensive Examination Structure

    The comprehensive examination for the Ed.D. has multiple parts; the students must choose three of four options.

    1. Individual written exam 
    2. Cohort project 
    3. Portfolio or 
    4. Presentation/publication/grant. 

    Prior to committing to the options, students are advised to consult the department handbook and confer with their faculty advisers. Any failed portion may be repeated once but the student may be directed by the program advisory committee to take additional coursework. If the examination or any portion thereof is failed a second time, the student will be dismissed from the program. The re-examination on any portion failed must be successfully passed within the next consecutive full semester.

    Failure to pass the comprehensive examination the second time terminates the degree program and the student will be dismissed from the program. Upon successful completion of the examination, the program advisory committee will endorse advancement to candidacy. Students must complete all portions of the comprehensive examination by December 31 following the last semester in which the student completes the block.

    Admission To Candidacy

    Students may apply for admission to candidacy upon satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examination. Students may not apply for candidacy while on probation or with a GPA of less than 3.00.

    Continuous Enrollment

    Doctoral students must maintain continuous enrollment subsequent to passing the comprehensive examination. Students maintaining continuous enrollment must register for a minimum of one semester hour of research (ELAD 8xxV) or dissertation (ELAD 889V) credit during each regular semester, including at least one summer term each year, until the dissertation has been accepted by the graduate dean. Doctoral students who are granted an extension to complete the dissertation beyond the allocated four year period of time must enroll in six credit hours for each consecutive semester (Fall, Spring, Summer I or II) until the completion or termination of doctoral status.

    Time to Degree

    All requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed within a period of four (4) years from the last semester in which the student completes the doctoral knowledge core courses. A student who has not completed the dissertation four years from the last semester in which the student completed the knowledge core courses has two options to extend the time to degree. Time limits are strictly monitored. Students exceeding the time limit may be required to repeat the comprehensive examination, replace out-of-date credits with up-to-date work, and/or show other evidence of being current in their major and minor fields. Students anticipating that they will exceed the time limit should apply for an extension.

    Holding a full-time job is not in itself considered sufficient grounds for requesting an extension. Time spent in obligated military service of the United States will not be considered in computing these time limits. However, career members of the armed forces should consult the graduate dean concerning credit given to work completed before entering active service.

    The faculty approved the following procedure to operationalize the "Time to Degree" policy: 

    • Students who have not completed the dissertation four years from the last semester in which the student completes the knowledge core courses have two options to extend the time to degree. 
    • Doctoral students who have completed a dissertation proposal that has been accepted by the committee prior to the expiration date will be granted a one year extension upon com-mittee approval. 
    • For those individuals who have not had a proposal approved by their committee, a two year extension may be granted contingent upon committee approval with the completion of additional prescribed course work and a retake of the written comprehensive examination. 
  • Dissertation

    Approval Of Dissertation Research By The IRB

    Under federal regulation, all institutions receiving funds from any of 16 federal agencies, including USDA, NASA, NSF, EPA, Department of Education, and NIH, are required to establish institutional review boards to monitor all funded research involving humans. Human research is define as any systematic activity involving the collection and/or analysis of data on human subjects for the purpose of advancing generalizable knowledge, unless this activity is specifically exempted by current federal regulations. It is the policy of this university to apply the regulations to all research and research related activities which involve humans, funded or not. Dissertation research involving human subjects is included. 

    Copies of the Arkansas State University Institutional Review Board Information Packet are available in the Office of Research and Technology Transfer.

    Seminar For The Defense Of The Dissertation Proposal

    The dissertation proposal should be distributed to all members of the advisory committee at least one week before the date set for the defense seminar. Enough copies should be made for all members of the doctoral committee and for visitors to the defense seminar. The defense seminar will be open to faculty and to master’s and doctoral students. After candidates have successfully defended the proposed problem, it is assumed that they will develop, with the supervision of the advisory committee, this proposed problem into a completed dissertation. The candidates will be notified in writing of their committees approval.

    Dissertation Defense

    Upon completion of the dissertation, an oral presentation of the dissertation research and results followed by an examination which deals with the dissertation and any other aspect of candidates' programs which the committee designates will be held. 

    Arrangements for this examination will be made by the CEE, but announced by the Graduate School. This oral examination will be open to the public.

    Final Form

    The completed dissertation must follow the style and format requirements of the Graduate School as contained in the Guide to Thesis and Dissertations: Preparation and Electronic Submission. It is the responsibility of candidates to assure that the completed dissertation follows this designated form. Before submission to the graduate dean, the completed dissertation must be approved by the entire advisory committee and the CEE Director, as listed in the Guide. At least four copies of the completed dissertation will be submitted by candidates. The bound copies will be on file with the ASU Library, Graduate School, CEE, adviser, and the department. The Center endorses the use of APA as the approved style for formatting the dissertation. Any deviation from APA should be approved by the advisor.

    The Abstract

    Candidates will be responsible for the preparation of an abstract of the dissertation which will be submitted at the same time as the completed dissertation or project. The abstract must not exceed 300 words.

    Deadline For Submission

    The completed dissertation and abstract, signed by all members of the advisory committee, must be to Proquest by the deadline set for accepting dissertations. The date for each semester and summer term is given in the Academic Calendar.

    Checklist for the Last Semester Before Graduation
    1. In the last semester before graduation, candidates must register for the graduation fee.  
    2. File an Intent to Graduate Form with the relevant deadline. 
    3. Complete the final oral examination on the dissertation.
    4. Submit the dissertation online by the relevant deadline.


  • How to Apply

    Admission to the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership Degree Program

    Applicants to the Doctor of Education Degree program must hold an earned master's degree from an accredited institution and provide evidence of having sustained a superior level of scholarship during master's and post-master's level graduate work. Applicants must submit the following to the Graduate School:

    1. A completed application for admission. Applicants are encouraged to submit the application no later than March 1 for the fall semester. Screening for admission will begin on March 1. Application forms are available from the Graduate School or from the Center for Excellence in Education.
    2. A $50 nonrefundable application fee. Checks must be made payable to Arkansas State University. If applications are received without payment, the Graduate School will hold all application materials and notify the applicants that no action will be taken until payment is received. International students may utilize a check or an International Postal Money Order to remit payment in U.S. currency. 
    3. One copy of official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate course work attempted to be sent directly from the institution(s) previously attended. (The Graduate School will compute the graduate GPA by counting all graduate courses completed, including any repeated courses.)
    4. At least four letters of recommendation, two from former professors and two from former or current employers. These letters will be reviewed by the doctoral faculty. An interview may be required. Both recommendation by the doctoral faculty and approval by the dean of the Graduate School are required for admission to the doctoral program.
    5. Acceptable scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections of  the Graduate Record Examination.
  • Program of Study


    Each student will complete a program of studies determined in consultation with and approved by the student's advisory committee. This program will be designed to ensure breadth of professional knowledge and an appropriate specialization in educational leadership. At least 99 semester hours are required beyond the bachelor's degree, inclusive of applicable master's and specialist degree credit.

    Curriculum and degree requirements can be found in the most current Graduate Bulletin.

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