Ph.D. Educational Administration (K-12 District Leadership)

For many years the K-12, PhD program was built around a residency experience that included coming to the ISU campus in Terre haute, every Wednesday each semester, along with a week-long summer experience. We have recently modified those requirements to three on-campus seminars per semester, with a 4-day summer experience. Each on-campus seminar is an all-day Friday (8am – 5pm) and a half-day Saturday (8am – 12pm). The four-day summer experience is in late June, running from 9am – 4pm each day. We hope to maintain a sense of residency for this program, yet acknowledging the life of practitioners in today’s busy world.


Additional changes regarding applications and acceptance into the program have been instituted. We are now reviewing applications in the months of November and December only. Our team reviews all applications and in January, determines who to interview for the 15 positions we open with each cohort. Each year we will interview about 25-30 people in March, acceptance letters are sent in April. To be considered for interview and potential acceptance into this program, applicants will need to have completed the EdS degree prior to starting in the Fall. Our EdS program is post-Masters, and is seven courses (nine if you want the superintendent license). We do not transfer any doctoral coursework outside of ISU into the PhD program. We do consider EdS coursework from other institutions, those decisions are made by the coordinator of that program, Dr. Ryan Donlan. All students must take all ten PhD courses at ISU, meeting a 30-hour requirement.


This is a cohort-based program, thus, students will matriculate through the ten courses over five semesters, two courses per semester. Missing courses will simply put the student into the next cohort. At the conclusion of the last semester, students will participate in preliminary examinations, which once passed, will give students candidacy into the dissertation portion of the program, which means they will start the dissertation process. Dissertations usually take about 18 months to three years to complete.


If you have additional questions, please feel free to call or email Dr. Steve Gruenert, program coordinator.



Distinctive Features

  • Cohort experience from the superintendency and central office, all levels of the principalship and other administrators.
  • Team taught curriculum
  • Designed to serve public and private sector working professionals for positions of leadership in either setting
  • Linkages with a large network of alumni for mentoring and support, many of whom have won statewide honors for their work
  • Scholarship and grant opportunities available to help you to fund your degree


Our programs and processes are changing. In Summer 2019 we will open, a new program that will be replacing our 30-year-old Wednesday Residency program. The Campus Residency Educational Doctorate (CREDS) program will begin with two summer courses. The two courses will be covered partly on-line but will include a four day intensive on campus.  Students will be required to come to campus on the selected four days and attend class, working with the instructors and cohort members. In the fall and spring semesters students will enroll in three courses. Most work will be online. But three times each term students will come to campus for class on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. This will mean possibly missing six school days each semester and committing three Saturdays, or 12 total school days for both semesters and six Saturdays. The following summer would be a repeat of the first summer, with two classes including the four-day intensive sessions. This would be the schedule for the 30 hours or ten core courses of the Ph.D. program. After completion of all 72 hours of coursework, students will work on the 18 dissertation hours at their own rate.


We will be starting a new regional program (REDS) in Fall 2019. The REDS program is a two-year five-term commitment to cover the 30 hours or ten core courses of the Ph.D. Each term two courses are taken- Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021. In the summer the two courses are presently all on-line. In the fall and spring semesters, one course is purely on-line while the second is a combination of on-line, possible live internet broadcasts, and a required one Saturday a month face-to-face session. The face-to-face sessions are at a regional site to be determined, with the exception of one each term possible meeting at ISU. Again, after coursework is completed, the student is responsible for the 18 hours of dissertation.

Program Curriculum

How to Apply

Dissertation Resources