Interdisciplinary Ed.D. for Educational Leaders

Our Doctor of Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) and Certification Program prepares transformational leaders across K-12, higher education, and social sector fields who are committed to equity-oriented change. 


  • K-12 Education 
  • Higher Education
  • Social Sectors (e.g., leadership in healthcare, organization, criminal justice)

Pennsylvania Department of Education Approved Certifications:

  • Principal
  • Curriculum Supervisor
  • Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility (LOE) with or without Ed.D.
Plan of Study Grid
First Year
EDL 800 Prof Sem: Doctoral Studies 3
EDL 830 Critical Ldsh: Social Justice 3
EDL 805 Quantitative Research I 3
EDL 820 Interdisciplinary Ldsh Theory 3
EDL 845 Historical, Political, & Legal Contexts of Leadership: K-12 3
EDL 875
Organizational Theory&Change
or Hist/Pol/LegalContxt Ldsh: HE
Second Year
EDL 835 Qualitative Research I 3
EDL 850
Learning Design&Env: K-12
or Learning Design&Env: HE
EDL 840 Mixed Methods Research 3
EDL 860 Strat Plan,Eval,Fiscal Resour 3
EDL 880 Community Engaged Leadership 3
EDL 885 Global Perspectives on Ldsh 3
Third Year
EDL 870
Proposal Writing: K-12
or Proposal Writing: Higher Educa
EDL 855
Scholar-Practitioner Sem: K-12
or Scholar-Practi Sem:Higher Ed
EDL 890
Adv Resrch Method: Quant/Mixed
or Adv Resrch Method: Qualitative
EDL 865 Comm & Research Dissemination 3
Fourth Year
EDL 893 Dissertation Study I 6
EDL 894 Dissertation Study II 6
 Total Hours60

Learning Goals and Outcomes

Goal #1Our graduates will develop strong qualitative and quantitative research skills in order to be critical consumers and producers of knowledge.

  • Objective 1.1: Students will acquire qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research skills as a tool for collecting and using data for leading change and making decisions in their fields
  • Objective 1.2: Students will develop the capacity to design and implement their dissertation research according to the scholarly and technical requirements of the field.

Goal #2Our graduates will develop a strong foundation in their field’s theoretical and empirical literature, as well as the capacity to apply theory to practice-based problems.

  • Objective 2.1: Students will develop a strong foundation in their field’s theoretical and empirical literature.
  • Objective 2.2: Students will demonstrate the ability to apply a theoretical framework or empirical study to a problem of practice, as well as the capacity to reflect on the efficacy of their decision-making.

Goal #3Our graduates will develop a strong foundation in leadership focused on inclusive cultures, social justice, and equity-minded change.

  • Objective 3.1: Students will develop the capacity to participate in and lead inclusive cultures in their field. 
  • Objective 3.2: Students will develop critical analysis skills and practices around the role of social justice in equity-minded change.

Goal #4Our graduates will develop mastery of specific skills that they can apply to their professional fields.

  • Objective 4.1: Students will develop an understanding of the impact of historical, political, and contextual perspectives on their professional practices.
  • Objective 4.2: Students will develop the capacity to apply effective leadership practices in their field, including mission, strategic planning, finance/operations, learning design, and communications.

Course Registration

The IDEPEL Director will automatically register all active students in their appropriate course(s). If students do not complete their dissertation by the end of Year 4, the IDEPEL Director will automatically register relevant students for EDL 899 every Fall and Spring semester until they defend their dissertation or reach the maximum of 10 years from the start of their coursework.

Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) and Program Dismissal

IDEPEL students will be dismissed from the program for any of the following reasons: (a) students who do not meet a minimum of a 3.0 GPA after two semesters of academic probation, (b) students who receive the grade of C+ or lower in four or more classes, (c) students who do not defend their dissertation proposal within five years from the start of coursework, and/or (d) students who do not defend their dissertations within 10 years from the start of coursework. Students with a GPA of less than a 3.0 will not be permitted to sit for the comprehensive exam during their third year. 

Leaves of Absence

It is expected that each student will remain with their original cohort in all activities and experiences during the four-year period.  In the event of a personal or professional crisis, students in good academic standing can request a leave of absence for one academic year (three semesters) with the IDEPEL Director. If approved, the leave of absence excuses the student from tuition costs during the leave. At the end of the leave of absence (three semesters), the student is permitted to rejoin the program by enrolling in courses with the next cohort.

Years to Complete the Program

Students have a total of five years from the start of coursework to defend the dissertation proposal and 10 years from the start of coursework to defend the dissertation and complete all degree requirements or be dismissed from the program. 

Graduation Process

After a successful dissertation defense, students must complete all of the post-dissertation defense requirements before their diplomas and transcripts can be released. Post-dissertation defense requirements include: signatory pages, revised, copyedited/formatted, and approved manuscript, IRB  Closure Report, Library Requirements (i.e., dissertation abstract, ProQuest, and bindery), and registration for graduation.