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Doctorate in Educational Leadership (EdD)

A William Woods University signature course

The field of education is facing increasingly complex challenges. It has never been more critical that these challenges be met by new research and new ideas, developed by a new generation of leaders. The William Woods University Doctorate in Educational Leadership is designed to provide you with the tools you need to become one of these people.

The Doctorate in Educational Leadership will provide you with advanced professional training and develop your abilities in the scholarly study of the issues that challenge education. You will study curricular and instructional issues and develop leadership and organizational skills that you can apply within your own educational setting. The doctorate program will also reinforce the research skills you need to reach a leadership position in the field.

One of things that makes this program a William Woods signature course is that training is only part of the program. It is also designed to challenge and motivate you to go out and find the solutions that education needs.

At William Woods, you’ll be participating in an Education graduate program known for its excellence and for providing a significant number of the leaders in Missouri’s state school system. As one of our students, you will have the opportunity to learn from active practitioners in the field and make the connections you need for leadership and career growth.

This Education doctorate degree is designed to fit the schedules of working pk-12 and collegiate teachers, staff and administrators, and can be completed in two years or less through evening courses taught in convenient locations around the state. You can expect rigorous coursework with real-world relevance, designed and taught by professionals who have proven their expertise. We structure the schedule so as to keep students together, allowing you to develop lasting relationships with peers focused on similar career goals. And, to make this an investment you can count on, your tuition will not go up as long as you stay continuously enrolled.

Your Doctorate in Educational Leadership degree at work

As a Doctoral graduate, you are prepared to be an educational leader. You will generate and apply research and theory in organizational and leadership development, and communicate ideas through writing and speaking with other professionals in the field. You may assume a position in the state department of education; or as a teacher educator, curriculum director, principal or superintendent. Or you may choose to remain in the classroom, serving as a leader and mentor for your colleagues. Through the connections formed in your program, and through your increased degree status, you will join our many graduates as they consistently rise to higher level leadership positions within school districts and at the collegiate level.

575 # of our graduates who are now principals and assistant principals
123 # of our graduates who are now school district administrators
81 # of our graduates who are now school superintendents


You will earn the degree by completing 9 courses leading to research and a doctoral dissertation.

Courses you may take

EDU 710

Aspects of Leadership


EDU 720

Quantitative Analysis II


EDU 730

Effective Educational Systems


EDU 740

Exploration of Qualitative Research


EDU 750

Organizational Learning & System Change


EDU 760

Program Evaluation & Strategic Plan


EDU 780

Dissertation Proposal Seminar


EDU 781

Dissertation Seminar


EDU 790

Research Seminar




25-hour completion

Program Qualifications

  • Education Specialist degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Graduate GPA of 3.6 on a 4.0 scale
  • Two years of experience working as an educator

Prerequisite Coursework

  • Research Methods/Design
  • Research Statistics

The following must be submitted before consideration for admission:

  • Completed application
  • Official transcripts showing masters and specialist degrees. Only transcripts received in a sealed envelope directly from the sending school will be considered official. Students graduating from William Woods University masters and/or specialist programs do not need to submit new copies of transcripts already on file.
  • Two academic letters of reference from professionals who can address the candidate’s academic ability, potential for success in strenuous scholarly work, and past performance as an educator in the field. One letter must be from a supervisor.
  • Professional vita.
  • Philosophy of leadership statement highlighting the applicant’s personal leadership characteristics and past professional leadership experiences, as well as the applicant’s purpose in pursuing the doctoral degree and expectation of the benefit of obtaining the doctorate. This statement must be at least 750 words.

Cohorts available across Missouri

William Woods advanced education programs bring evening classrooms to districts and educators where there is interest. Districts in Fulton, Columbia, Jefferson City, St. Louis, Kansas City, Moberly, Springfield, Ozark, Cape Girardeau, Rolla and many more are running cohorts currently or have in the past.

William Woods in the real world

Many of our graduates hold leadership positions in Missouri’s schools. All of them are great teachers.


What separates William Woods University is the quality of our instructors. They're successful school leaders from around the state, actually out there doing what we're teaching others to do.

— James C. Head, Director of Administrative Field Experience

One more thing

A high percentage of our students have impressive day jobs. They’re building level administrators, central office administrators, superintendents, special education directors, curriculum directors, instructional coaches, and professional development coordinators. As a student in our program, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from practitioners like these and form connections that later may lead to job opportunities.

Admissions Information

Learn more about graduate admissions requirements, deadlines, tuition and financial aid available to you.

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