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Educational Leadership

Doctoral Degree Program


The doctoral programs in Educational Leadership (EDLE) at the University of North Texas engage students in conducting current research in educational leadership, educational policy and related fields.

Graduate opportunities

UNT offers a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) and a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Educational Leadership with an embedded superintendent certificate.

An Ed.D. can help you establish or further your professional career in administration at the school or district level. The Ph.D. program prepares you to become a researcher and scholar.

Whether you choose to pursue an Ed.D. or Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, you are expected to complete an applied research dissertation project which will examine/improve educational practices or policies and generate new theories and knowledge within the field of educational leadership.

The programs are offered through a cohort model and in a blended format. Instruction is provided through a combination of face-to-face and online courses.

The EDLE program is a member of the University Council of Educational Administration (UCEA), the Carnegie Program for the Educational Doctorate (CPED) and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Strong support and outstanding resources

Faculty advisors will assist you in your efforts to successfully complete and earn your selected doctoral degree. EDLE faculty possess training and experience as principals, central office administrators, assistant superintendents and superintendents.

You will also have the opportunity to collaborate with EDLE faculty on research, presentations and academic publications that they present and publish at state, national and international levels.

Scholarships and financial assistance

The Donald A. Buchholz Scholarship is intended for doctoral students enrolled in educational leadership.

The Mike Moses Endowed Fellowship supports advanced Ed.D. and Ph.D. students with a one year campus research fellowship.

The College of Education offers a number of additional scholarships to graduate students. Visit UNT's Financial Aid website to learn more and apply for available scholarships and financial assistance programs.

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

Applying to either program is a two-step process: First, apply to the graduate school at Apply Texas, submit official copies of all transcripts, and take the GRE. Next, apply to the EDLE program by submitting an application portfolio to the EDLE program with the following documentation:

  • Completed program application form (contact the EDLE program office)
  • Personal statement describing two professional achievements, your career goals and explaining how obtaining a doctoral degree at UNT relates to those goals
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Three reference letters that provide an assessment of your work as an educational leader and/or an academic professional and your ability to do doctoral work (one letter needs to be from a college or university professor)
  • Writing sample of a published article, book chapter, research term paper, or district or agency report

Additional requirements:

  • Completion of 24 credit hours in education at the master’s level*
  • Master's degree
  • Teaching certificate
  • Two years of teaching experience at a private or public school by the completion of the program

*If your master’s degree is not in educational leadership, you may be expected to take master’s level educational leadership courses as determined by the EDLE program coordinator and faculty.

Although the EDLE program operates according to a rolling admission process, students who are accepted will be expected to start the program in the fall semester along with their assigned cohort.

Degree requirements

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

  • Educational leadership core courses
  • Educational research and statistics courses
  • Educational leadership advanced courses
  • Dissertation

Ph.D. requirements place a greater emphasis on educational policy and research and require you to take two additional courses to complete a unique dissertation product. Consult with the doctoral program coordinator or your EDLE faculty advisor to discuss Ph.D. requirements and options.

Both programs have a residency requirement. For the Ed.D., you must take six credit hours for three consecutive semesters. For the Ph.D., you must take nine credit hours for two consecutive semesters or six credit hours for three consecutive semesters.

Transferring courses

A maximum of 18 credit hours beyond the master’s degree may be transferred from other institutions that offer a doctoral degree in educational leadership. Transfer credits 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. For the Superintendent Certification Program, an application and nomination form from your school district superintendent must be submitted. The nomination form is available by contacting the program office.

This certification program consists of 12 credit hours of coursework as well as a three hour internship. Twelve semester hours of certification coursework may be applied toward the doctorate. The internship cannot be applied to a doctoral degree. Certification requirements related to the state of Texas are not part of the Ed.D. or Ph.D. degrees and need to be completed separately for those seeking to be certified. For further information, see additional certifications for Texas Educators.