Educational Leadership

Doctor of Education in
School Leadership

The Ed.D. in School Leadership requires the completion of 63 credit hours above the Master’s degree. It is a degree that is intended for scholar/practitioners who will be involved in field-based applied research in partnership with schools, or other educational agencies, and who will apply new knowledge and skills at work, and as a result improve learning and achievement in schools. Because this degree is specific to the field of school leadership, a building-level certification as a leader (principal or instructional leader) is required. In addition, while not required, experience in a school leadership position is highly recommended.

Admission Requirements

  • Complete the online application for the Ed.D. and remit a $50 application fee. Application can be found on the ATU Graduate School website at .
  • Submit transcripts for all graduate work completed with a minimum grade point average of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale and undergraduate work with minimum grade point average of 2.75 or 3.0 in the last 30 hours.
  • Hold a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
  • Hold a Standard Teaching License.
  • Hold a Building-Level Leadership license (principal or curriculum leader).
  • Submit a successfully completed writing sample (i.e., research paper from a previous graduate class, a technical report for a job assignment, or an article published.)
  • Submit a 500-word Statement of Purpose that includes academic background, professional career goals, and reason for pursuing the doctoral degree.
  • Submit three (3) letters of recommendation that addresses your professional and academic background along with an assessment of applicant’s potential for scholarly work.

Electronic Transcripts AND all other documentation can be received at: Paper copies can be mailed to 1507 N Boulder Ave, Tomlinson 113, Russellville, AR 72801

Program Requirements

There is only one area of concentration for the Ed.D. in School Leadership, but there are two tracks for students to achieve the degree. The degree requires 63 credit hours of graduate work above the Masters. A student may enter the program with only a Master’s degree. Those students may complete the program in nine semesters. To do so will require taking three courses per semester (2 – 7000 level courses and 1 – 8000 level course). The course sequence for this track is provided below.

If a student has completed an Ed.S. degree from an accredited university program, that student may enter the program needing only six semesters to complete the degree. Those students will take two 8000 level courses per semester for a total of 33 graduate credit hours. Those students who completed the Ed.S. at ATU can transfer all of those credits into the Ed.D. program. If a student completed the Ed.S. at another university, the Director of the Ed.D. Program will review the courses and if they are aligned with the ATU Ed.S. program, they will be accepted. However, it is possible that students who did not complete the Ed.S. at ATU may have to take additional courses at the 7000 level in addition to the prescribed 8000 level courses. The final determination as to whether these courses will be accepted will be made by the Program Director and the Dean of the Graduate College.

The 33 hour doctoral-level courses (8000-level) required for completion of the degree are as follows:

Course Descriptions

  •  EDLD 8003 Applied Research
    This course of study facilitates excellence in teaching by exploring contemporary paradigms of educational research with an emphasis on informing thinking and decision-making to address problems in schooling. Skills to be emphasized include conceptualizing real-world problems in an inquiry manner so that information derived from the research literature can be applied to the problem, synthesizing the line of investigation, seeing the historical perspective of the research and critically judging the worth or quality of the study (i.e., internal validity, sampling adequacy). Students will review the literature, develop an inquiry problem, gather and analyze data, and make recommendations to solve the problem.
  •  EDLD 8013 Scholarly Writing
    This course is designed to provide an overview of the literature review as it pertains to the research process and assist students in beginning to create a knowledge base about scholarly writing. Peer and instructor support systems are used in this course to enable student groups to complete a 22-page literature review in preparation for future course requirements. Special attention will be focused upon the American Psychological Association (APA Publication Manual (6th ed.).
  •  EDLD 8023 Quantitative Research
    The focus of this course is the application of quantitative research methodology in the study of educational practice. Emphasis will be placed on study design, data collection, and data analysis using quantitative research methods. The fundamentals of quantitative research will be emphasized. Statistical analysis will be conducted using SPSS software.
  •  EDLD 8033 Qualitative Research
    This course is intended to build in students’ understandings of qualitative research, its theory and methods. As a doctoral-level research course, the material covered will be intended to prepare the student for successful completing of a qualitative doctoral dissertation. The history and development of qualitative research will be covered, as will the theory underlying the method(s). The entire class will cover the broader field of qualitative research, and each student will be expected to choose from one of the disciplines within the field for further study and exploration or may choose to delve into the broader field of qualitative research in more depth.
  •  EDLD 8043 Cultural Influences
    This course facilitates excellence in leadership by exploring current knowledge and research related to communication that builds positive relationships and community in a global society. Issues discussed include, but are not limited to, socioeconomic, ethnicity, gender, age, and other issues that require courageous communication. An emphasis on the educational leader will guide the examination of socio-cultural and diversity issues pervasive in communicating and building relationships in a global society. These issues will be examined through an exploration of philosophy, leadership, multiculturalism, and critical pedagogy. Existing, as well as emergent cultural and societal patterns will be contextualized in terms of leadership in Arkansas, the US, and globally.
  •  EDLD 8053 Ethics

    This course focuses on the ethical administrator, the ethical practice of educational leadership, and the ethics of equity and social justice. Specific philosophical approaches and ethical theories will be discussed. Particular attention will focus on ethical leadership practices within a learning community and include field-based exploration.

  •  EDLD 8063 Dissertation I
    Students will prepare Chapter 1-3 for a dissertation proposal to be presented to the doctoral chair and committee members.
  •  EDLD 8073 Synthesis Seminar
    Integrating, synthesizing, and evaluating major concepts encountered in previous doctoral coursework. This course involves the completion of a student proficiency assessment comprised of a portfolio, synthesis paper, and oral presentation. Successful completion is required to apply for candidacy.
  •  EDLD 8083 Dissertation II Proposal Defense
    Students will prepare Chapter 1-3 for a dissertation proposal. The proposal will be defended with the doctoral committee. Successful completion is required for advancement to candidacy.
  •  EDLD 8093 Dissertation III
    Students will prepare Chapter 1-5. The candidate will conduct research and complete the dissertation and refine Chapters 1-3.
  •  EDLD 8103 Dissertation IV

    Dissertation will be completed and defended. Students must maintain continuous enrollment from the time of advancement to candidacy and register for at least three credit hours each semester until successful dissertation defense, not to exceed three years of advancement to candidacy. Maximum number of dissertation credit hours is twelve.

Where Can I Get More Information About the Educational Leadership Ed.D. Program?
John Freeman, Ph.D.

Phone: (479) 964-3236