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Educational Leadership

Doctoral Degree Program


Graduate opportunities

The doctoral Educational Leadership program at the University of North Texas provides you information about current educational research and helps you develop the decision-making skills required for leadership positions in the field and in other policy areas.

Our program offers a Doctor of Education or Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Leadership and a superintendent certificate.

While pursuing your doctoral degree, you’ll participate in applied research to improve practice through the generation and application of new knowledge. Conceptual thinking and problem-based learning are emphasized throughout the program.

Acquiring a strong understanding of these concepts will help you establish or further your career in school administration. Our program is also appropriate for those who may want to move into academe or policy arenas.

Courses are available at several locations throughout the North Texas region (Denton, Dallas, McKinney and Fort Worth). A number of the required blended courses are available online. No matter the location of a course, you’ll have full access to the UNT libraries and all associated research resources.

The College of Education is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (1140 19th Street, NW; Suite 400; Washington, D.C. 20036; telephone 202-223-0077). This distinction means we meet or exceed strict academic standards for excellence in education. The college is also one of the state’s top producers of teachers, administrators, counselors and other school professionals.

Strong student support

Our courses are structured to create a supportive network of colleagues during and after you complete the program. This network helps you to achieve your goals in the program and throughout your career.

Faculty advisors work closely with you to ensure you’re completing the program, publishing and presenting research, and participating in scholarly work and school district leadership.

Outstanding faculty and resources

Our faculty members have many years of training and experience as principals, central office administrators, assistant superintendents and superintendents. Their scholarly accomplishments include:

  • Writing books, articles and book chapters
  • Presenting research at state, national and international conferences
  • Serving in leadership roles for state, national and international organizations
  • Receiving and implementing numerous grants
  • Delivering keynote speeches at state, national and international conferences
  • Serving as visiting professors at other universities

Students and professors collaborate on presenting at conferences and publishing works. Our professors conduct, publish and present research on data analysis for improved student performance; education law; education finance leadership and reform initiatives; professional learning communities; cultural proficiency; ethics and social justice; and online instructional strategies, among others.

The university provides several services exclusively to graduate students. The Graduate Student Writing Support office can help you with writing, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research offers assistance with statistical research.

A Dissertation Boot Camp and other specialized workshops are available through the Toulouse Graduate School®. Many of the workshops are available online for your convenience.

Special scholarship programs available

The Donald A. Buchholz Scholarship was established in honor of Donald A. Buchholz for his commitment to higher education and is intended for doctoral students enrolled in Educational Leadership.

The Southwest Securities Superintendent Certification Scholarship Program supports school leaders seeking certification and provides a high quality, research-based preparation for outstanding school leaders.

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

Applying to the doctoral program is a two-step process, requiring you to apply to the graduate school and the program. Graduate school admission requirements include applying at Apply Texas, submitting official copies of all transcripts and taking the GRE.

You’ll also submit an application portfolio to the Educational Leadership program with the following documentation:

  • Completed program application form (Contact the program office about this form.)
  • Essay focusing on your two most important professional achievements and career goals and explaining how securing a doctoral degree relates to those goals
  • Essay on the two or three most important books you’ve read related to education
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Three reference letters (One letter needs to be from a college or university professor. The letters should provide assessments of your work as an academic professional and your ability to do doctoral work.)
  • Writing sample of a published article, book chapter, research term paper, or district or agency report (This demonstrates your ability to write at an advanced conceptual level.)

Additional requirements include:

  • Completion of 24 credit hours of master’s-level education courses (Leveling courses may also be applied.)
  • Master’s degree
  • Teaching certificate
  • Two years teaching experience at a private or public school by the completion of the program

If your master’s degree isn’t in Educational Leadership, you can take leveling courses as determined by an advisor.

Application deadlines are March 15 for the fall semester and Oct. 15 for the spring semester.

Degree requirements

You must complete 54 credit hours for an Ed.D. and 60 credit hours for the Ph.D. degree. The course work for the Ed.D. includes:

  • Educational leadership core courses
  • Educational research and statistics courses
  • Minor subject or concentration area courses
  • Dissertation

Ph.D. requirements are similar, but the program has a greater emphasis on educational policy and research. Consult with an advisor to discuss Ph.D. requirements.

Both programs have a residency requirement. For the Ph.D., you’ll need to take 9 credit hours for two consecutive semesters or 6 credit hours for three consecutive semesters. For the Ed.D., you’ll need to take 6 credit hours for three consecutive semesters.

Your progression through the program is based on a degree plan developed in consultation with your major professor.

A maximum of 24 credit hours beyond the master’s degree may be transferred from other institutions that offer the doctoral degree. Transfer credit must be approved by your major professor or advisory committee and the dean of the graduate school.

Superintendent certification

You must meet the admission requirements for the graduate school. In addition, a Superintendent Certification Program Application and a nomination form from your school district need to be submitted to the program. The nomination form is available by contacting the program office.

This certification program consists of 15 credit hours of course work including an internship. Twelve credit hours are doctoral-level work and may be applied toward the doctorate if you’re accepted to the program. The internship cannot be applied to a doctoral degree.

In addition, for certification, you’ll need to pass the Texas Examination of Educator Standards (TExES) Superintendent test.

Financial assistance

In addition to the Donald A. Buchholz Scholarship and the Southwest Securities Superintendent Certification Scholarship Program, the College of Education offers several scholarships to graduate students including the college’s The Key to Success for North Texans Scholarship. Visit our website for information about available scholarships and the financial aid site for information about other financial assistance programs.