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Degrees and Programs text

Doctorate in Educational Leadership

Available in: 
  • Grand Rapids


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Cooperative Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership

Grand Valley State University and Eastern Michigan University jointly bring to you the Cooperative Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. The program is designed to develop leaders with knowledge, skills and attitudes for helping to build learning communities within a culturally diverse society. Practicing administrators will find that the program is designed to support the application of educational leadership theory to meet the challenges of practice in a changing environment; that the emphasis is on applied research and immediate application of that research; and that the focus is on gaining insight and skills for initiating improvement within educational organizations. Courses are available in compressed weekend formats at the GVSU/Eberhard Center.

Career Opportunities
Designed for a master’s or specialist’s degree holder, GVSU’s doctoral program provides collaboration through a student cohort experience and research leading to improved leadership practice in K–12 programs, higher education institutions and/or other education-related settings.

GVSU and the EMU Colleges of Education are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and approved by the Michigan Department of Education for the preparation of educational personnel.

Number of Credits

  • 30 credit hours in the educational leadership major
  • 10 credit hours of cognate courses
  • 8 credit hours of research support
  • 12 credit hours of dissertation research

Total: 60–62 credit hours minimum

Program of Study
A doctoral student’s individualized course of study is normally expected to encompass a minimum of 60–62 credit hours of course work beyond the master’s degree. The exact number of hours will be determined by the student’s program advisor, based on a review of previous graduate work/transcripts, the student’s professional and personal aspirations and the doctor of education degree requirements as set forth by the Graduate School and the Leadership and Counseling Department. Therefore, some plans of study will have only 60 credit hours while others may include additional hours, either courses designed to remove deficiencies or enhance opportunities for leadership success, at the discretion of the program advisor.

Interface with the GVSU Specialist Degree
Almost half of the required coursework for the doctorate can be completed through the GVSU educational leadership specialist degree program. A minimum of 37 additional EMU doctoral credit hours, inclusive of advanced educational leadership concentration and research courses, and dissertation research credits are required over and above the specialist degree.

Major (Educational Leadership)
The 30 credit hours in the major in educational leadership include 18 credit hours in the following required courses: 

  • EDLD 710 Leadership Theory (3)
  • EDLD 714 Data-Driven Decision Management for Educational Leaders (3)
  • EDLD 794 Advanced Seminar in Educational Administration (3)
  • EDLD 740 Organizational Theory (3)
  • EDLD 810 Ethics and Policy Analysis for Educational Leaders (3)
  • EDLD 820 Politics of Educational Leadership (3)

The remaining 12 credit hours are selected according to the student’s professional and personal goals, including considerations of career advancement and certification, and as approved by the student’s doctoral advisor. Previous graduate course work in educational leadership which was taken as part of the specialist degree can be used toward the EDLD major at the discretion of the student’s advisor.

For More Information

Read more information by downloading the fact sheet [PDF].