Educational Leadership, Doctor of Education (0010)


Program Coordinator

Antony D. Norman,, (270) 745-3061

The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership provides knowledge and skills for its graduates to become effective change agents within educational and education-related environments. The program is designed to prepare scholarly practitioners whose program content and experiences emphasize application to the real world.

The primary purpose of the program is to develop the ability of education and education-related organizational practitioners to obtain and synthesize knowledge for the solution of institutional problems and practices.  The program provides value-added opportunities for candidates to develop breadth and depth in understanding leadership, policy, and applied research methodologies. In addition, program experiences contribute to the development of future leaders who will creatively generate new knowledge, critically con- serve valuable and useful ideas, and responsibly transform those understandings through writing, teaching and application. The dissertation for all areas of emphasis is expected to contribute knowledge and under- standing of a critical issue drawn from the candidate's field of practice and be applicable for improving educational organizations.

The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership:

  1. encourages participants to become practitioner scholars by promoting skills and knowledge in practice- based settings and to gain scholarship and experience in applied behaviors;
  2. provides opportunities to explore a range of career specialties in various settings so that participants can make sound career choices;
  3. models interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration through the program's management and accountability structures;
  4. provides participants with leadership capacity to bring about changes that enhance student learning; and
  5. provides interdisciplinary research preparation focused on contextually based problems central to future global competitiveness.

Although this program is administratively housed in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Dean's Office, it is an interdisciplinary program involving faculty and courses from several departments throughout the university. More information may be found at

Program Design

Because the EDD program was designed for students who are employed full time, students are considered "full-time" enrolled if they take at least 6 credit hours per semester in the fall, spring, and summer semesters (equaling 18 hours per year).

A typical semester includes enrollment in one cohort class shared by other students entering the program at the same time and an elective related to program specialization. EDD courses typically meet one weekend per month and/or in "hybrid" format in the fall/spring semesters. Summer courses follow similar patterns of weekend and/or hybrid formatting but over a shorter and more compact duration. Students continually enrolling three semesters per year should be able to complete all coursework excluding dissertation hours within three calendar years.

International Student Enrollment

As per United States federal requirements pertaining to students with F1 or J1 visa status, international students are restricted to no more than the equivalent of one on-line/distance education class or 3 credits per semester may count towards the full-time course of study requirement, if an online or distance education course does not require the student's physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class.


  • Organizational Leadership (ELOL)
  • P-12 Administrative Leadership (ELPS)
  • Postsecondary Education Leadership (ELPL)
  • Teacher Leadership (ELTL)

Program Admission

Intended candidates for the degree are individuals who have completed at least a master’s degree (or other appropriate graduate degree), have demonstrated leadership capacity within their organizational settings, and/or are committed to enhancing their abilities to learn and to enhance the educational missions of their organizations and communities. Each student's academic background and professional experiences will be assessed at the time of admission.

Program admission is based on a holistic evaluation of the candidate's application file, which must include:

  1. Transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work;
  2. Documentation of a master's degree (or other graduate degree) from an institution accredited by a nationally recognized accreditation organization;
  3. Completed application;
  4. Current (within 1 year of application deadline) resume or vita;
  5. An in-depth personal statement including qualifications, rationale, and goals related to pursuing the WKU Ed.D. program;
  6. Three current (within 1 year of application deadline) letters of recommendation from persons in a position to evaluate the applicant's potential for success in a doctoral program; and
  7. Official GRE scores.  Minimum scores of GRE-V = 145, GRE-Q = 145 (or their equivalents on older versions of the GRE), and 4.0 analytical writing are preferred.
  8. Submission of a writing sample (requested during the admission review process) if applicants took the GRE without the Analytical Writing portion or if Analytic Writing score falls below preferred minimum.

International students are encouraged to apply and must submit the following additional documents for admission consideration:

  1. Evidence of ability to communicate in English (as evidenced by a minimum of 570 on the paper based TOEFL; a minimum of 88 on the iBT TOEFL; a minimum of 7.0 on the IELTS; or a degree from an institution with English as the language of instruction.)
  2. Evidence of adequate financial resources 

Please refer to the admission section of this catalog for Graduate School admission requirements.

Program Requirements (60 hours)

The program consists of 60 hours beyond a master's or other graduate degree. The program includes the following core coursework:

Orientation course3
Core leadership courses9
Core research and statistics courses9
Job embedded internship6
Program Specialization Courses21-24
Total Hours60
Required Courses
EDLD 702Educational Leadership Doctoral Program Orientation 13
EDLD 710Leadership Theories and Ethics3
EDLD 720Individual and Group Issues in Leadership3
EDLD 730Leading the Organization3
EDLD 712Research Methods and Design for Educational Leaders3
EDLD 722Measurement and Survey Methods for Educational Leaders3
EDLD 732Program Evaluation for Educational Leaders3
EDLD 798Educational Leadership Doctoral Program Internship6
EDLD 799Dissertation Research 29-12
Program Specialization Courses
With advisor approval, select courses to support intellectual and professional development related to one of the four program specializations21-24
Total Hours60

 Taken during the first semester after admission to the program.


 Students are encouraged to take EDLD 797 to prepare for their dissertation experience.

Program Specialization (21-24 hours)

Organizational Leadership

BA 751Strategic Leadership3
BA 752Leading Innovation, Creativity and Change3
Advisor approved electives15-18
Total Hours21-24

P-12 Administrative Leadership

EDAD 707Educational Leadership Policies and Politics3
Advisor approved electives18-21
Total Hours21-24

Postsecondary Education Leadership

EDFN 675Higher Education in America3
EDFN 685Issues in Higher Education3
Advisor approved electives15-18
Total Hours21-24

Teacher Leadership

Advisor approved electives21-24
Total Hours21-24

Experiential Credit Recommendation

Students admitted to the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership program may apply to receive graduate credit for successful completion of the National Board Certified Teacher process. Those approved will receive up to six (6) hours of credit for EDU 695. To be eligible to receive credit, students must document that they:

  • have been admitted to the Ed.D. program in either the Teacher Leader or P-12 Administrative Leadership specialization; and

  • hold current National Board Certification status.

Similarly, Ed.D. students participating in the WKU-Green River Regional Educational Cooperative EdD Partnership may apply to receive up to twelve (12) hours of EDU 695 credit for successfully completing WKU-GRREC co-designed educational leadership experiences/studies. To be eligible to receive credit, students must document that they:

  • have been admitted to the Ed.D. program in either the Teacher Leader or P-12 Administrative Leadership concentration.

In both cases, the student must submit an application form to the Ed.D. Leadership Council, which will consider whether to approve the application and then determine the number of EDU 695 hours to credit to the student's program. The hours may not be substituted for required courses in the program, and no more than 12 credit hours of EDU 695 may be listed on the student’s program.

For NBCT-related applicants, once a recommendation for the awarding of hours for NBCT completion is approved by the EdD Leadership Council, the student must arrange for the American Council on Education (ACE) to send an official transcript documenting the student’s NBCT status to the WKU Graduate School so that the credit may be entered on the student’s transcript.  For WKU-GRREC partnership participants, the application approved by the EdD Leadership Council will serve as documentation for credit.  No charge will be assessed by WKU for posting these credits.

Program Completion

To complete the program, students must:

  1. pass a qualifying exam that includes questions related to program core and specialization outcomes; and
  2. propose, complete, and successfully defend a dissertation.