Educational Leadership Ed.D.

Degree Requirements: 69 Graduate Credit Hours beyond Master’s including Dissertation (60 Graduate Credit Hours of coursework, Plus Minimum of 9 Dissertation Credit Hours).

Admission Requirements

The admission process has two phases. Applicants must be accepted for admission by both the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies and the Educational Leadership EDLD Program at Georgia Southern University. Application to or acceptance in the College of Graduate Studies in any other program does not guarantee admission to the Program of Educational Leadership. Applicants who wish to pursue advanced professional preparation in Educational Leadership with a view to becoming a candidate for the Ed.D. degree will be expected to file a formal application and present themselves to the faculty to meet program requirements. When applying for admission, applicants must indicate whether they are applying for the cohort for specialization in Higher Education Leadership or the cohort for specialization in P-12 Educational Leadership. Recommendations on admission will be made by program faculty only after screening procedures have been completed. Admission will be upon the recommendation of the EDLD program faculty and the approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

The first phase of admission to the Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership requires the applicant’s satisfaction of the following standards:

  1. Complete all College of Graduate Studies admission requirements.
  2. Hold a Master’s degree at minimum from an institution accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting agency.
  3. Present a minimum grade point average of 3.50 (4.0 scale) in previous graduate work.
  4. Present current official scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) on Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing.
  5. Submit a brief resume that highlights the personal and professional achievements of the applicant.
  6. Submit a completed "Disclosure and Affirmation Form" that addresses misconduct disclosure, criminal background check, the Code of Ethics for Educators, and tort liability insurance.

The second phase of the admission process will require adherence to the following procedures:

  1. Applicant credentials are rated by EDLD faculty.
  2. These faculty, meeting as a committee of the whole, will use these ratings to assemble a list of top candidates for interviews.
  3. Applicants will be invited to interview with EDLD faculty and produce a writing sample.
  4. The Higher Education and P-12 EDLD cohorts may be combined based on the number of students admitted in each area.


The Ed.D. degree presupposes a minimum of five semesters of prescribed continuous study beyond satisfaction of Tier I requirements which cannot be secured through summer study alone. A minimum of 9 credits of Dissertation (EDLD 9999) is required beyond other coursework. Full-time residency (defined as continuous enrollment) is required throughout the program.

Time Limit

All course requirements for the Ed.D. degree, except the dissertation, must be completed within a period of three years. This time requirement begins with the first registration for Tier II on the student’s approved program of doctoral study. In addition, a candidate for the Ed.D. degree who fails to complete all degree requirements within five years after passing the qualifying examinations will be withdrawn from the program. When extenuating circumstances exist, students may apply for an extension of the time requirement. If an extension is granted, degree requirements must be completed that are consistent with the conditions and terms specified in the time extension notification.

Grade Average

A student must maintain at least a 3.50 GPA on all graduate courses taken and on all courses on the Program of Study.

Qualifying Examinations

A student must pass formal, comprehensive written and/or oral examinations before being admitted to candidacy for the degree. These examinations will be administered in accordance with policies in effect in the College of Graduate Studies and the candidate’s department. The results of the examination(s) will be reported to the College of Graduate Studies. If a student fails the qualifying examination for a second time, he/she will be removed from the program.

Admission to Degree Candidacy

The student, in conjunction with his or her Dissertation Committee, is responsible for initiating an application for admission to degree candidacy so that it is filed with the College of Graduate Studies at least one semester before the date of graduation. The application for degree candidacy is a certification by the student’s program that the student has shown the ability to do acceptable graduate work in the chosen field of study and that:

  1. all prerequisites set as a condition for candidacy have been met;
  2. all inquiry/research skill requirements have been met;
  3. the Program of Study has been approved by the Dissertation Committee Chair, the Department Chair, and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies;
  4. a grade point average of 3.50 or higher has been maintained on all graduate courses taken and on all completed courses on the Program of Study; no more than one grade of "C" may be placed on the Program of Study;
  5. written and/or oral candidacy examinations have been passed and reported to the College of Graduate Studies; and
  6. the Dissertation Committee is confirmed and all of its members have been notified of their appointments.

Program of Study

Credit Hours
Tier I Content Courses30
Satisfaction of Tier I (30 post-Master’s graduate credits) requirements for admission to Tier II may be met through one of the following pathways:
P-12 Educational Leadership:
1. EDUCATIONAL SPECIALIST DEGREE IN A FIELD OTHER THAN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP: the applicant will be required to satisfy the requirement of 9 semester graduate credit hours in educational leadership to include: EDLD 7531 - Legal and Ethical Issues, EDLD 7530 - Transformational School Leadership, and one other EDLD Leadership class available in the relevant semester, plus a course in educational statistics equivalent to EDUR 8131. This pathway will satisfy requirements for Tier I, but it will NOT result in leadership/administration certification.
2. ED.S. IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP/ADMINISTRATION (CERTIFICATION TRACK): Completion of an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership/Administration including certification. Details of the Georgia Southern University Ed.S. in Educational Leadership Program may be viewed at
Higher Education Leadership:
1. EDUCATIONAL SPECIALIST DEGREE IN A FIELD OTHER THAN HIGHER EDUCATION LEADERSHIP/ADMINISTRATION: the applicant will be required to satisfy a three-course, nine (9) credits prerequisite, from the Higher Education Professional and/or Leadership Core, plus EDUR 8131 or course equivalent to EDUR 8131.
2. ADMITTED POST-MASTER’S DEGREE, WITHOUT EDUCATIONAL SPECIALIST DEGREE: Completion of the Tier I track for the Higher Education Administration program (30 graduate credits). This pathway will satisfy requirements of Tier I but will NOT result in a degree being conferred at the Ed.S. level. Candidates should follow the Program of Study as prescribed here:
Required Research Core
Educational Statistics I (Prerequisite to EDUR   8434)
Field-Based Educational Research (Prerequisite to EDLD   8839)
Directed Research in Educational Leadership (Taken in final spring semester of Tier I)
Leadership Core
Educational Planning
Higher Education Policy
Grant Development/Administration
Higher Education Professional Core
Select four of the following:
Higher Education Law
Higher Education Finance
Higher Education Governance
The Community College
Politics of Higher Education
Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
Program Evaluation
Substitutions may be authorized with the advisor’s approval.
Course credit is given for Tier I coursework to a maximum of 30 credits, provided the coursework was completed in a timely manner at an institution accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting agency. Questions regarding Higher Education Leadership area of specialization at the Tier I level should be directed to the Ed.D. Program Coordinator; questions regarding P-12 Educational Leadership area of specialization at the Tier I level should be directed to the Higher Ed. Tier I Program Coordinator.
Tier II Core Courses30
There are two areas of specialization in Educational Leadership: 1) Higher Education Leadership and 2) P-12 Educational Leadership. However, students complete the same Tier II courses.
Research Core:
Transformative Educational Leadership Practice I
Transformative Educational Leadership Practice II
Educational Leadership in the 21st Century
Emerging Pedagogical Approaches in Educational Leadership
Research Seminar I
Research Seminar II
Research Seminar III
Research Seminar IV
Doctoral Research Methods
Qualitative Research in Education
Tier III Dissertation9
Total Credit Hours69


Graduate Academic Services Center (GASC)
P.O. Box 8083
Statesboro, GA 30460
(912) 478-1447
Fax: (912) 478-5093