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Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Cultivate your educational competencies with 100% convenience! It is now even more convenient to become one of the distinguished few who hold a doctorate. The Doctorate in Educational Leadership is designed to fit the schedules of working PreK-12 and collegiate teachers, staff and administrators, and can be completed in two years or less through our convenient 100% online program.

This degree 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. 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.

You can expect rigorous coursework with real-world relevance, designed and taught by professionals who have proven their expertise. 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 - 3.00

As the world constantly changes, the expectations of leaders continue to increase. The effectiveness of a leader requires a high level of ability to work with others and respond to change. With the number of issues leaders continually face, the ability to create a vision of leadership and organize others into collective efforts to respond to the changing needs of society is a must. This course assumes that each individual has leadership potential and that leadership qualities can be developed through a series of experiences and reflections. Class activities will create opportunities to evaluate and assess leadership roles and practices along with documenting leadership experiences. Success in this course requires demonstrated mastery of theoretical concepts, capacity for collaborative work and the thoughtful integration of theory and practice.

EDU 720 - Quantitative Analysis II - 3.00

This course will provide the educational practitioner with the support and further training to the quantitative skills needed for scientific research and data analysis. The course will include a review of basic statistical concepts as well as an introduction to the following statistical methodologies: Correlation, Regression, t-Test, ANOVA, Repeated Measures, Non-parametric test, Factor Analysis, and Categorical Data (Chi-Square). Series of practice problems, discussion, and weekly assessments from the textbook will take the students one step further on various experimental design and statistical test and data analysis. This course is designed with the dissertation in mind to provide foundation of knowledge and skill if a student chooses to do a quantitative analysis for his/her final dissertation.

EDU 730 - Effective Educational Systems - 3.00

This course is designed to assist educational leaders in assessing needs and planning and communicating the importance and content of the effective school improvement plan. Building curriculum, designing instructional activities, maintaining positive school climate and assessing organizational performance through improvement planning are primary responsibilities of school/district leadership. This course will utilize an inquiry format into school effectiveness with students taking major responsibility for guiding the class discussion. The work will take a critical slant, interrogating traditional ideas about the means and ends of public education and proposing alternative solutions. This course is designed to encourage and assist students in deconstructing traditional ways of thinking about effectiveness and to critically examine traditional measures of effectiveness (i.e., assessment scores, dropout rates, etc.). The intent of the deconstruction and critical examination is not to diminish the importance of measuring school effectiveness, but rather to appreciate the inherent complexity of the issue and to understand and acknowledge relevant limitations in ways that can inform the work of scholarly practitioners.

EDU 740 - Exploration of Qualitative Research - 3.00

This course will introduce educational leaders to concepts and strategies in qualitative research in preparation for conducting independent research. Students will discuss future trends, issues, and problems in academic educational systems. Students will critically understand and develop a qualitative research design as it applies to an educational issue. Course topics will include the framing of research questions, identifying data and data sources, and using theory in the design process.

EDU 750 - Organizational Learning & System Change - 3.00

This course focuses on systems thinking, personal and organizational behaviors, and leadership approaches to the change process. Students will demonstrate ethical thinking and action in organizational settings by re-conceptualizing leadership roles and organizational structures. Students will learn concepts and theories and be able to apply them to their educational organizations. The design is to use case studies, experiential exercises, dialogue and group activities to interact with the pedagogy and concepts learned during the course.

EDU 760 - Program Evaluation & Strategic Plan - 3.00

This course will examine concepts, methods and approaches in the field of evaluation research. Students will be exposed to the theoretical and methodological diversity inherent in current evaluation practices. This course will also incorporate strategic planning models, forecasting methods, trend analysis, and future planning. Students will learn how to manage growth, change, and organizational improvement through the evaluation of educational programming.

EDU 780 - Dissertation Proposal Seminar - 3.00

This course is an introduction to dissertation proposal requirements. Course assignments are designed to familiarize students with the information they will need to compile the first three chapters of their dissertation. Techniques for integrating peer-reviewed research into a cohesive literature review are presented. Requirements of the Introduction and Research Methods chapters are also examined. University policies and procedures covering the proposal defense and the dissertation defense are explained. Prerequisite: EDU720 and EDU740

EDU 781 - Dissertation Seminar - 3.00

Students exchange drafts of the first three chapters of their dissertation with their committee chair. A proposal hearing occurs during EDU781 or the following course (EDU790) when the chair and other committee members believe that the introduction to the topic, the literature review and the proposed methodology form the framework of quality dissertation research. Students complete the University’s online research inventory by the end of EDU781. Institutional Review Board approval is pursued after the dissertation committee accepts the proposal. Prerequisite: EDU 710, EDU 720, EDU 740, EDU 750, EDU 760, EDU 780, and passing the EdD comprehensive exam

EDU 790 or EDU 791 - Research Seminar - 1.00

This course is designed to allow students time to continue in writing their dissertation. Students will enroll in the course every term until completion and defense of their dissertation. Prerequisites: EDU781 or This 8 week course is designed to allow students time to continue in writing their dissertation. Students will enroll in the course every term until completion and defense of their dissertation. Prerequisites: EDU781



Can be completed in as little as 25 credit hours.

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.

Admissions Information

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

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