May 28, 2024  
ACE Catalog - Volume 25 
ACE Catalog - Volume 25 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Leadership, Ed.D.

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Program Description

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership prepares graduate students to contribute to their professional communities as leaders who address real-world problems through evidence-based decision-making. Students engage with other professionals in their specific fields, including partners ranging from school districts and state government to businesses and nonprofits, to apply skills and knowledge to complex problems of practice. Doctoral students select an area of emphasis. In addition to highly interactive, project-based coursework, students will pursue original research in leadership culminating with a dissertation under the direction of a doctoral committee.

Program Outcomes

  1. Collaborate in diverse communities of learning and build partnerships with states, school districts, or other organizations. 
  2. Contribute to solutions for complex problems of practice with actions based upon theory, standards, and frameworks. 
  3. Analyze and promote best practices in leadership. 
  4. Demonstrate evidence-based decision-making, integrating principles of equity, ethics, and social justice of civic concern in local and global communities. 
  5. Develop and implement personal- and organization-level knowledge and skills including technology. 
  6. Demonstrate mastery of content knowledge through the utilization of critical and creative thinking. 
  7. Demonstrate competence in the application of multiple research methods. 
  8. Contribute to professional knowledge bases through the dissemination of applied research. 


Focus of Study Options

Adult and Continuing Education  

The Adult and Continuing Education focus of study is designed to help professionals gain the necessary knowledge in the area of adult learning and continuing education. It provides a framework focused on the major theories of adult education, instructional strategies for the adult learner, critical analysis of instructional programs, and assessment of the adult learner. 

Curriculum and Instruction  

The Curriculum and Instruction focus of study prepares students for today’s educational environments.  Today’s learning environments require understanding critical aspects of how learning happens for a diverse population spanning multiple ages.  This focus of study examines how standards shape assessment while building needed skills in content areas each strengthen by the ability to read well.    

Early Childhood Education  

The Early Childhood Education focus of study will provide an in-depth exploration of theory, research, and practical applications relevant to professionals working in the early childhood field. Students will gain advanced knowledge of developmental theories and modern early childhood practices which influence children, educators, families, stakeholders, and public policy. 

Educational and Community Organizations 

The Educational and Community Organizations focus of study prepares individuals to lead in diverse settings, to handle transition and change, and effectively communicate to stakeholders. These skills are essential for sustainable growth, enhanced functionality and use of emerging technologies.  As an effective executive, approaches to motivate and ways to influence others are considered on a corporate and individual level.  Knowledgeable leadership creates high-performing individuals who support the mission and goals of an organization. 

Health and Wellness  

The Health and Wellness focus of study provides students with the information necessary to expand their knowledge in the health and wellness field.  The program provides content that includes not only the fundamentals of health and wellness, but also the theories, systems, and policies.  Students enrolled in this focus of study will be provided the opportunity to learn foundational leadership skills in health education.  

Higher Education  

The Higher Education focus of study is intended to prepare administrators in acquiring or enhancing necessary skills to successfully lead higher education institutions. The courses offer a broad perspective of critical issues facing higher education, emphasizing the complexity of student concerns while balancing the demands of outside constituents, e.g. accreditors, state and federal regulators, community, students, and faculty. Designed to complement and support professional agendas, individual studies prepare leadership to understand the integrated aspects of complex systems influenced by modern societal issues.  

Instructional Leadership  

The Instructional Leadership focus of study prepares instructional students to assist their schools, organizations, and communities in moving away from less effective traditional views of teaching and learning by embracing a more proactive approach of using formative assessment data to build curriculum, design instructional delivery, and teach with the future in mind instead of solely relying on summative evaluations measuring only what has already been taught in the past. Educational and organizational leaders can then make informed decisions and learner-centered adjustments much earlier in the process, maximize all available resources, and ultimately, foster higher levels of achievement and performance within their schools or organizations.  

International Education  

This International Education focus of study is intended to prepare and equip leaders with skills, knowledge and a theoretical foundation to address international education and transnational dimensions of learning. It is well suited to those aspiring to work in the field of international education, spanning international schools, institutions of higher education, international organizations, international aid agencies, global foundations, and non-profit organizations among others. Designed to complement and support professional agendas, the course provides a broad overview of international dimensions of education, introducing students to international development policy, international aid, refugee education, international organizations, global foundations, cross-national studies of education, international migration, and global pedagogy and curricula. Students will also learn strategies and gain experience in conducting comparative research and cross-national policy analysis. 

Online Education  

The Online Education focus of study supports candidates who seek to serve as technology leaders and emphasizes new ways of thinking about technology and the integration of applications. Learning how to design environments which enhance and support organizational goals are considered to maximize learning for both individual and corporate purposes.  

Second Language Instruction 

The Second Language Instruction focus of study provides students with information to work with second language learners in a variety of settings. The program provides content addressing key foundational theories and research-based strategies to support the educational or instructional needs of diverse learners. Students enrolled in this focus of study can select courses which address instructional methods applicable to traditional classroom settings or they may select courses which support working with second language learners through a leadership role.   


The STEM focus of study utilizes digital resources to foster the innovative engagement of diverse learners associated with the integrated contents of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The courses offer a holistic overview of historical and current issues and trends impacting integrated science education while cultivating research-based strategies to improve learning and leadership in the field. 

Course List (64 Total Semester Credits)

Choose a Six-Course Focus of Study (18 Semester Credits)

General Track

Any six courses selected from courses above in focus of study options. 

Additional Courses (if required or desired)

Support courses to aid in dissertation completion for Ed.D. students. Courses may be required if progression is not achieved in courses OR students can elect to take courses to support their progress. If an Ed.D. student is required to take either the Research or Dissertation Boot Camp (RES6223 or RES6233) course, they will be charged for the tuition and fees associated with the Boot Camp course and not the tuition and fees associated with the dissertation sequence course they are retaking with the boot camp (RES6512, RES6521, RES6531, RES6541, or RES6551). 

CITI Training

All students pursuing advanced degrees are required to have completed a certificate of completion for the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) in Human Subjects Research. There will be no additional fee. This is strongly recommended for students who anticipate conducting dissertation research involving human subjects. The CITI offers training modules for a Social-Behavioral-Educational (SBE) track, as well as additional modules of interest. More information can be found in Student Commons.  Scroll down under Doc Program Resources where you will find the CITI Program Guide.

This program also offers two additional pathways for students transferring in a completed Ed.S. degree or entering as an “All But Dissertation” (ABD) student.

A student with a confirmed 3.0 GPA in an Ed.S. program or has been confirmed to have completed all Ed.D. work besides their dissertation (ABD) at a 3.0 GPA are eligible to transfer his/her prior coursework/degree to ACE in its entirety and complete. Please see the Ed.S. or ABD to Ed.D. Pathway option. 


  • This program is neither designed nor approved (as of the publication date of this Catalog) to prepare students for licensure, certification, or endorsement in any state. 
  • Check availability in your state on the Programs by State section of the ACE website.

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