Doctor of Education Degree

School Leadership

The Ed.D. in School Leadership degree is designed to develop scholar/practitioners who will utilize inquiry-based approaches to solving problems in the school districts of Arkansas and beyond. The degree requires 63 credit hours above the Master’s degree.

Cohort-Based Program

The Ed.D. in School Leadership program is a cohort-based program with a maximum number of 15 students admitted to each cohort.  Admission to the program occurs once per year and begins during the summer semester.  The course rollout is designed to facilitate an efficient use of time, with students in the 33 hour track taking six credit hours per semester and completing the program in a minimum of six semesters.  Those students in the 63 hour track will take nine hours per semester and may finish the program in a minimum of nine semesters.  Students may complete the Ed.S. degree first and then enter the Ed.D. program.  For students who hold an approved Ed.S. degree, reflective of current school leadership standards, consideration for transfer of earned hours will be given through a transcript audit.

Admission Requirements

Students are eligible for admission to the Ed.D. in School Leadership degree program based on completion of all application requirements listed:

  1. Applicants must complete the online application to the Graduate College.
  2. Applicants must pay a $50.00 nonrefundable application fee directly to the Graduate College.
  3. Applicants must hold a master's degree from an accredited college verified by an official transcript.
  4. Applicants must hold a building level administrative license and provide a copy to the Graduate College (principalship or instructional leader).
  5. Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on the master's degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  6. Applicants must request a complete undergraduate and graduate official transcript from their bachelor's and master's awarding institution sent directly to the Graduate College via mail or e-script. Mail to: Graduate College, 1507 North Boulder Avenue Tomlinson 113, Russellville, AR 72801.  E-script to: Graduate College.
  7. Applicants must provide a writing sample from previous graduate work. This can be in the form of a thesis, research paper, term paper, article, or product from your professional role.
  8. Applicants must submit a 500 word essay on your background, professional and academic career goals, and the reason for pursuing a doctoral degree.
  9. Applicants must submit three (3) letters of recommendation addressing their professional and/or academic background along with an assessment of their potential for scholarly work.

After all materials are received, applicants will be interviewed by the Faculty Admissions Committee (FAC).  These interviews will be held in person or by Skype.

Once the interviews are completed, the FAC will meet to make final selections for the cohort and all applicants will be notified regarding the committee’s decision.

Academic Advisors

The Director of the Ed.D. program will assist the student in the program of study that leads to the fulfillment of degree requirements. Subsequently, the Director, the department faculty, and the Graduate College monitor the student's progress as they progress through the program. It remains, however, the student's responsibility to understand and to satisfy all degree requirements.

Degree Requirements

Students who are taking the 63-hour track will take all 7000 and 8000 level courses listed.

  1. A minimum of 30 semester hours (all at the 7000 level), include the completion of the following courses:

    EDLD 7003 Seminar in Systems Issues
    EDLD 7013 The Superintendency and Central Office
    EDLD 7022 Building a Leadership Community
    EDLD 7023 School Board Relations
    EDLD 7033 School Personnel and Business Management
    EDLD 7101 Administrative Internship in Educational Facilities
    EDLD 7112 Advanced Legal Issues
    EDLD 7113 Seminar in Current Issues
    EDLD 7122 Educational Facilities
    EDLD 7132 School Finance for District Level Administration
    EDLD 7143 School Accountability Systems
    EDLD 7201 Administrative Internship in District Level Finance
    EDLD 7202 Administrative Internship in School Accountability Systems

  2. A minimum of 33 semester hours (all at the 8000 level), include the completion of the following courses:

    EDLD 8003 Applied Research
    EDLD 8013 Scholarly Writing
    EDLD 8023 Quantitative Research Methods
    EDLD 8033 Qualitative Research Methods
    EDLD 8043 Cultural Influences
    EDLD 8053 Ethics and Values
    EDLD 8063 Dissertation I - Proposed Writing
    EDLD 8073 Synthesis Seminar
    EDLD 8083 Dissertation II
    EDLD 8093 Dissertation III
    EDLD 8103 Dissertation IV

  3. A dissertation must be completed and approved by the student’s Dissertation Chair and Committee before the degree is awarded. Guidelines and procedures for the dissertation process will be communicated to the student through the ATU Dissertation Style Guide.
  4. A cumulative grade point average of a 3.00 or better must be achieved in all graduate work attempted at Arkansas Tech University, with a maximum of six (6) hours of "C" grades. A student receiving more than six (6) hours of "C" or grades lower than "C" should refer to the section of the catalog on Academic Probation and Dismissal.
  5. Completion of all degree requirements within eight (8) years of admission to the degree program.


Graduate students admitted unconditionally must apply for candidacy to the selected degree program upon completion of EDLD 8073 Synthesis Seminar. Students admitted conditionally cannot apply for candidacy until all conditions assigned at the time of admission to graduate study have been removed.

Upon the completion of EDLD 8073 Synthesis Seminar, a hold will be placed on the students' record until a candidacy form has been approved by the Graduate Dean. Failure to apply for candidacy will result in the hold remaining on the students' record, and an inability to register for subsequent coursework. 

Students who have filed a candidacy form but do not enroll or receive doctoral credit for one (1) academic year must submit a new candidacy form upon being readmitted into the same doctorate program.  If admitted into a different academic program, students are not required to submit a new candidacy form until twelve (12) graduate credits have been accumulated within the new program.

Application for Graduation

In addition to satisfying all degree requirements, a candidate for a degree must file an Application for Graduation online or at the Registrar's Office.  Students must apply for graduation upon completion of eighteen (18) doctoral credit hours.

Special Conditions of Doctoral Credit

Doctoral Credit Taken Prior to Admission to Arkansas Tech University

A maximum of eighteen (18) semester hours of doctoral credit with a grade point average of "B" or better may be transferred from an accredited doctoral school if the student is enrolled in the 63 hour track and deemed appropriate to the doctoral program by the head of the student's major department and the Graduate College Dean. Students must send a written request to the head of their major department to petition an acceptance of the transfer credit prior to requesting admission to candidacy to the graduate program. Doctoral credit earned eight (8) years prior to the completion date of all degree requirements may not be applied toward the degree without the approval of the appropriate program director and the Graduate College Dean. Credits earned by correspondence courses or for remedial purposes will not apply toward the doctoral degree. No graduate course may be repeated for doctoral credit.

Doctoral Credit Taken After Admission to Arkansas Tech University

If after admission to doctorate study, a student wishes to take a course at another institution to count toward degree requirements at Arkansas Tech University, the student must (in advance of enrollment) obtain written approval from the program director and the Graduate College Dean.