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Educational Leadership

Eastern Michigan University’s advanced professional education programs develop leaders who demonstrate reflective thought and scholarship within the context of a culturally diverse society.

Admission Requirements:

To be eligible for admission to the Ph.D. program in educational leadership, the applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. Have completed either a master’s or specialist’s degree from an accredited university. a.) Students with a master’s degree must have completed it with a minimum GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale b.) Students with an accredited specialist’s degree must have a minimum graduate GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.
  2. Complete the Application for Graduate Admission form
  3. On the graduate application, students must complete the personal statement of accomplishments and academic goals portion describing the reasons for requesting admission. This essay must be a minimum of 250 words and will be reviewed as an indicator of writing ability. Students must include their leadership aspirations.
  4. Provide a résumé reflecting professional experience, scholarly activity, etc.
  5. Submit three letters of recommendation addressing the applicant’s professional background, two of which must be from past or present supervisors. Those supervisors need to address the quality of your work and your future potential for leadership.
  6. It is desirable that applicants currently hold, or formerly have held, an administrative position; or present evidence of leadership potential.
  7. Scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). Typically, students admitted to the doctoral program will have scored at or above the 50th percentile on the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections of the Graduate Record Examination and a 4.0 on analytical writing. Given the focus of the educational leadership program on a holistic admissions approach, failure to score at this level will not necessarily exclude a person from admission if other factors indicate potential for success and are judged as superior assets by the faculty.
  8. The faculty of the educational leadership program will conduct personal interviews with selected individuals applying for the Ph.D. program once a year. Individuals will compete against the pool of applicants for admission to the cohort.
  9. International Students must meet the English Proficiency Requirements as outlined by the Graduate School.
    The admission deadline is February 1 for admittance to the following fall semester.

Admission Process:

 The admission process for the doctoral degree includes the following steps:

  1. Submit an Application for Graduate Admission, fee, required transcripts, résumé, a copy of test scores, personal statement and letters of recommendation using the online application system (graduate school application)
  2. Official Graduate Record Exam results must also be sent to the Office of Admissions.
  3. Upon receipt of the completed applications by February 1, the materials will be reviewed by the faculty of the educational leadership program. Selected applicants will be invited to a personal interview with the program faculty.
  4. Following personal interviews, those candidates who have presented the greatest evidence of potential for success in the program will be selected and notified of their admission by the program coordinator. Only 12-15 candidates are selected annually.
  5. All decisions by the faculty regarding admissions are final.
Click here to apply!

Department Information:

Leadership & Counseling - College of Education

Ron Flowers
Department Head

304 Porter Building
(734) 487-0255

Department Website

Advisor Information:

Jaclynn Tracy, Ph.D.

304 Porter Building
(734) 487-0255

David Anderson, Ed.D.

304 Porter Building
(734) 487-0255

Retention Process and Review:

 The objective of this retention plan is to monitor students’ development and progress in the program, and to identify those students who need additional assistance in order to complete the doctoral program successfully.

  1. If a doctoral student receives a grade lower than B+ in any educational leadership class, the educational leadership faculty member who assigns this grade must complete the “Leadership Candidate Evaluation Form” for this student, assign the appropriate rating on each of the 12 generic leadership skills, and include it in the student’s departmental file.
  2. A retention review of the student’s file will be conducted at the end of the student’s first academic year by the student’s doctoral advisor. Students who have not maintained a minimum GPA of at least 3.5 in required educational leadership courses, or those who have not achieved an overall rating of at least “average” on the “Leadership Candidate Evaluation Form,” will be requested to meet with their doctoral advisor to discuss problems, concerns and issues. If a need for assistance is established, a plan will be developed by the advisor and student.

Credit Interface with Specialist's Degree:

Students may enter the Ph.D. program in educational leadership with a specialist’s degree in educational leadership either from Eastern Michigan University or from another accredited institution of higher education. The interface of credit from this degree with the Ph.D. degree differs depending on the field in which the specialist’s degree was earned.

Those students who have completed the EMU Specialist of Arts in Educational Leadership (EDL) , or in another department at EMU, must take a minimum of 37 new hours toward completion of the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. The determination of which hours can be counted will be the responsibility of the student’s doctoral advisor.

Internship Option:

The application of conceptual, technical and human relations skills that is essential to successful educational leadership (i.e., the testing of theory against prevailing practice) is best observed and explored when there is direct involvement in administration. Students in the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership program have the option of an internship of 200-400 clock hours. This internship is to be a clinical experience that occurs in a leadership role related to the student’s career goals. The internship is to be supervised by an experienced educational administrator and the director of the intern program in the educational leadership program.

The internship requirement must be completed prior to the completion of the comprehensive qualifying examination.

Residence Requirement:

Although the Graduate School does not require a specific period of campus residency, it nevertheless supports the efforts of graduate programs to create a cohesive intellectual community. Rigorous graduate programs constitute a community of scholars, in which students are gradually introduced by faculty to the scholarly standards, research protocols, ethical norms, professional expectations, social history and current leaders of the discipline. Such a community must be created deliberately, especially in programs with a high concentration of students who commute, attend part time and are employed full time. Seminars, speaker programs, shared authorship and conference presentations, and social events are just some of the ways in which this socialization can occur.

Comprehensive Qualifying Examination:

When students have completed all doctoral course work except for dissertation research, they are required to complete the comprehensive qualifying examination. The purpose of this examination is to determine the student’s subject mastery of the concepts, literature base and research; and knowledge of problems and issues in the major field (educational leadership) and the cognate area of study. The student is expected to provide written evidence of the ability to analyze and synthesize information, integrate learning into a meaningful whole and draw appropriate conclusions. Consult the EDLD Doctoral Student Handbook for examination process options.

Following the writing of the comprehensive qualifying examination, the student’s responses will be reviewed by the student’s doctoral examination committee of the educational leadership program, depending upon the examination option selected. All options include an oral examination during which the student’s written exam is discussed in greater depth by the student with members of the doctoral committee.

Failure on the written portion of the comprehensive qualifying examination (either partially or totally) will cause the student’s performance in the program to be reviewed by the student’s doctoral committee in consultation with the department head. The committee will then recommend that the student either be dismissed from the doctoral program, be permitted to withdraw from the doctoral program or be allowed to retake the examination (either partially or totally) after a remediation plan has been developed and implemented. Re-examination may not take place until at least six months have elapsed, but must occur within one year. The results of the second examination are final. After the second written attempt, the student’s doctoral committee may ask the student to participate in an intensive oral examination. If, after this oral examination, the student’s doctoral committee maintains that the student has not achieved the level of proficiency needed by a professional in the field of educational leadership, the recommendation will be made to the graduate dean that the student be dismissed from the doctoral program.


A doctoral student’s individualized course of study is normally expected to encompass a minimum of 60 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 philosophy degree requirements as set forth by the Graduate School and the Department of Leadership and Counseling. Therefore, some plans of study will have only 60 hours while others may include additional hours, either courses designed to remove deficiencies or courses to enhance opportunities for leadership success, at the discretion of the program advisor.

The doctoral program of study has four components: major (educational leadership), cognate, research support and dissertation research.

The minimum number of credit hours allocated to each component are:

Major (educational leadership) 30 hours
Cognate 10 hours
Research Support 8-12 hours
Dissertation Research 12 hours


Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership

Major (Educational Leadership): 30 hours

Required Courses: 18 hours

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

Elective Courses: 12 hours

The remaining 12 hours are to be selected from EDLD courses 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’s degree can be used to meet some of the 30 hours in the major, as described in the credit interface section above.

Cognate Courses: 10 hours

The opportunity for individualization of the Ph.D. program is present in the selection of a cognate area of study which contributes significantly to the student’s development as a professional educator and administrator. The cognate specialization is developed through completion of a sequence of related courses that are designed to add depth to the student’s doctoral program. In order to provide maximum flexibility in meeting individual needs, the 10-hour cognate may be completed in any one or a combination of graduate academic units, departments, schools, or colleges of the University that offer a sufficient number of advanced graduate courses. Previous graduate course work in a cognate that was taken as part of the specialist degree can be used to meet some of the 10 hours in the cognate, as described in the credit interface section above.

Research Support Courses: 8-12 hours

The research support component of the doctoral program is designed to enable the student to demonstrate competence in research design, analysis and the use of research tools. Additionally, the student will have experience in conducting useful research and be able to use educational research as an informed and productive consumer. Both statistics and applications courses are needed in this area, depending upon the student’s background in this field, and as approved by the student’s doctoral advisor. Previous graduate course work in research and research support that was taken as part of the specialist’s degree can be used to meet some of the eight hours in this area, as described in the credit interface section above.

  • EDPS 621 - Statistical Applications in Educational Research 2 hrs
  • EDPS 651 - Inferential Statistics 2 hrs
  • EDPS 687 - Qualitative/Interpretive Research 3 hrs
  • EDLD 712 - Analysis of Research in Administration 3 hrs

Dissertation Research: 12 hours

Each student in the doctor of philosophy program will be required to complete a dissertation, a document representing an original research effort. The dissertation will focus on an area of particular interest to the student and the dissertation chair, and the research may be conducted using a variety of research designs (causal-comparative, experimental, etc.) as well as approaches (quantitative or qualitative). The student must register for a minimum of 12 hours of dissertation research, including the dissertation seminar, but may not enroll in dissertation research until he or she has completed the comprehensive qualifying examination and has been admitted to candidacy by the Graduate School. However, this stipulation does not preclude enrollment in the dissertation seminar nor in the student’s working with the dissertation chair in formulating ideas about specific research topics. Furthermore, the approval of the dissertation proposal cannot occur until after the student has passed the comprehensive qualifying examination and is enrolled in the dissertation seminar.

When the dissertation is completed, the student will present the written document to the dissertation committee for approval. In a two-hour oral examination/defense, the student will answer questions related to the dissertation research and will defend it. At the conclusion of the oral examination, the doctoral/dissertation committee will determine 1) if the written document meets doctoral standards of quality and rigor; and 2) if the student has successfully defended the research conducted. This process of review and revision continues until the doctoral committee approves both the written document and student’s oral defense of the research.

  • EDLD 896 - Dissertation Research 1 hrs
  • EDLD 897 - Dissertation Research 2 hrs
  • EDLD 898 - Dissertation Research 4 hrs
  • EDLD 899 - Dissertation Research 8 hrs
  • EDLD 900 - Dissertation Research 12 hrs

Required: 2 hours

  • EDLD 895 - Dissertation Research Seminar 2 hrs

Restricted: 10 hours

A combination of any of the following may be taken to reach the required 10 hour minimum for dissertation research:

  • EDLD 896 - Dissertation Research 1 hrs
  • EDLD 897 - Dissertation Research 2 hrs
  • EDLD 898 - Dissertation Research 4 hrs
  • EDLD 899 - Dissertation Research 8 hrs
  • EDLD 900 - Dissertation Research 12 hrs