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

The Ph.D. Program in Educational Administration with a specialization in K-12 District Leadership is intended for post-educational specialist students who desire a terminal degree preparing them to be scholar/practitioner leaders.

The program is designed to prepare persons for roles in:
public school administration, educational policy, college teaching and research, and governmental and industrial positions requiring competencies relevant to educational administration and research. The 90 credit hour program consists of 72 hours of coursework. A maximum of 42 hours can possibly be transferred into the program if all transfer requirements are met (See Graduate and Professional Studies, Graduate Catalog). These graduate course hours are applied to one’s master’s and/or Ed.S. coursework. Thirty (30) hours of required core Ph.D. coursework must be completed in the program. The program content focuses on school law, policy analysis, theory of educational administration, school finance and budget processes, change theory, power, politics, and human resource management, research in educational administration, staff and program evaluation and development, statistical methods, and educational foundations.

At the completion of coursework and the successful completion of Oral and Written preliminary exams, students are admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. this begins the dissertation phase. Students will complete 18 hours of dissertation. This is completed under the guidance of the dissertation chairperson and dissertation committee.

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