Ed.D. in Leadership

Headshot of James Perkins, Federal Public Service Employee“From the first class, I realized that this program would work for people of any career. Professionally, that lesson not only has given me confidence to approach my superiors and confidently challenge policy, but also has created opportunities for me in my workplace.” - James Perkins, Ed.D. ‘20

The Ed.D. in leadership is a 48-hour, 36-month program that centers on action-oriented andragogy and curriculum, includes the application of theory and research, and focuses on addressing practitioners’ problems of practice, culminating in a collaborative group Capstone study the final year of the program.

The Department of Educational Leadership is a member of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED).

Program Design and Delivery

The Ed.D. is a three-year cohort-based program beginning each summer only. Applications submitted will be considered for the Summer 2022 cohort.

Coursework includes key topic areas such as Equity & Leadership, Collaboration, Professional Writing, Organizational Change and Analysis, Methods, Law & Policy, and Data Visualization.

Students have the opportunity to choose an online or face-to-face delivery modality during the application process. The Ed.D. program offers engaging and collaborative learning designed to accommodate the lives of our students, who are working professionals leading in a variety of organizations.

To build relationships and provide support for success in the program, regardless of the delivery modality a student is accepted into, attendance is required at one face-to-face Saturday session and one online synchronous Saturday session in the student's first summer and one face-to-face Saturday session in the 2nd summer.

During the third year of the program, students work in collaborative groups with a faculty chair and community-based partner/client to develop a Capstone Dissertation in Practice (including proposal and final defense). There is no traditional individual dissertation option.

What is the typical schedule for an EdD student?

This PDF reflects planning for the 2022-23 academic year.

Learning communities

The Ed.D. program offers opportunities for students to participate in Learning Communities* in the following areas:

  1. General Leadership
  2. Higher Education Leadership

When applying to the Ed.D. program, students should designate their chosen Learning Community on the Ed.D. application checklist.

​Online and in-person learning communities are determined by accepted student preference each spring semester after the admissions deadline. In the supplemental questions area in the online application, students note which learning community and classroom method (online or in-person) they prefer. Each learning community completes the same Ed.D. courses with slight differences in the cases and examples used in each of the courses per the learning community. We are committed to our program's reflective and responsive engagement with our learners in all classrooms.

Please note: Admission decisions will be completed by early April 2022 for the program to start in May 2022.

*Be advised that a minimum number of students is required to administer a Learning Community.

Curriculum requirements

The Ed.D. in leadership requires a minimum of 48 total graduate credit hours. Since this program is built on a cohort model, no external transfer credits are accepted. Please review our most current course table to review a draft program outline.

How much time will I have to invest in the program to be successful?

In years 1 & 2 and the summer of year 3, students enroll in 6 credit hours of coursework each semester. In the fall & spring of year 3, students enroll in 3 credit hours of coursework (some students may enroll in an additional 3 credit independent study for financial aid purposes). For each credit hour, the student should allocate approximately 3 hours of work outside of the classroom (f2f or online) to have adequate time to read, write, and work collaboratively with peers and faculty. Thus, 6 credits requires approximately 18 hours per week of dedicated time outside of class per semester. This may vary by instructor, course, and semester. This is a reading and writing intensive program, with a focus on collaborative learning.

Review this page to see a sample of the EdD Capstone projects in Scholar's Compass located here: https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/edd_capstone/


Ed.D. in Leadership Student Handbook [PDF]

The VCU Holmes Scholars Program is a selective program that provides accepted doctoral students from historically underrepresented groups with resources and professional development to best position them for tenure track faculty positions in high (R2) and very high (R1) research universities. Our cross-disciplinary scholars create a network that leverages the collective and individual strengths of each member to maximize their VCU School of Education program. Learn more about how we live our values through the Holmes program!

Ready To Get Started?

Jenna Lenhardt, Ph.D.

All prospective student inquiries please contact Dr. Lenhardt.

Current students contact Dr. Bukoski/Dr. Bridges with Higher Education/K-12 General Leadership questions.

Current students contact Dr. Bukoski/Dr. Bridges with Higher Education/K-12 General Leadership questions.