The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in educational policy and leadership studies is designed for educators who seek a terminal doctoral degree to practice upper-level leadership in pre-kindergarten through higher education (PK-20) settings. Based on the scholar-practitioner model, the Ed.D. differs from the Ph.D. degree in that it allows for a more practical-based approach to use and perform applied research in educational settings grounded in problem-based learning pedagogy. Students elect to join their cohort class either on campus in Iowa City or though a hybrid program. The Ed.D. employs a blended learning delivery of online, in-person, condensed, and weekend courses.

Educational Outcomes

Ed.D. graduates will be able to:

  • apply the knowledge, skills, and inquiry strategies to solve significant problems related to educational policies and practices;
  • evaluate and use data to make judgments to improve practice and policy;
  • understand and apply evidence of effective organizational and systemic change for equity, inclusion, and justice;
  • frame situations from multiple perspectives;
  • identify and meet contemporary challenges facing schools and higher education;
  • embrace differences of persons and perspectives;
  • develop a critical and professional perspective that is ethical and promotes change for equity and inclusion;
  • link theory with systematic inquiry and assessment to improve educational policy and practice; and
  • execute a scholarly project that addresses real and complex problems in practice.

The Doctor of Education program in educational policy and leadership studies with a higher education subprogram requires a minimum of 75 s.h. of graduate credit. Up to 36 s.h. in transfer credit may be applied to the degree with advisor approval. Students who earned an Ed.S. degree may apply up to 48 s.h. toward the Ed.D. with advisor approval. All students must earn a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.00 in UI and transfer coursework.

The Ed.D. in educational policy and leadership studies with a higher education subprogram requires the following work.

Core Courses

All of these:
EPLS:6217Theory and Practice of Leadership3
EPLS:6307Professional Seminar for Ed.D. Students: Orientation to the Ed.D.1
EPLS:6321Social Advocacy Summit1
One of these:
EPLS:5240Topics in Education (when topic is facilitating controversial dialogue/facilitator preparation)3
EPLS:6275Diversity and Equity in Higher Education3
EPLS:7432Multicultural Initiatives3

Applied Research

All of these:
EPLS:6266Program Evaluation3
EPLS:6352Action Research in Educational Settings3
EPLS:7483Ed.D. Capstone Proposal3
EPLS:7485Ed.D. Capstone4
An introduction to quantitative research in education course (consult advisor)3

Higher Education Coursework

Students complete coursework in higher education as follows.

All of these:
EPLS:5252Administration of Higher Education and Student Affairs3
EPLS:6216Finance in Higher Education3
EPLS:6218The Law and Higher Education3
EPLS:6225Higher Education Policy3
EPLS:6336Impact of College on Students3

Electives

In consultation with their advisor, students complete the remaining semester hours in elective coursework.

Admission

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College. They must have earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an equivalent degree from another country as determined by the Office of Admissions; a master's degree with a g.p.a. of at least 3.00 in higher education, student affairs, student development, K-12 leadership, or another related field; and have at least three years of full-time experience in education.

Required application materials include transcripts from all higher education institutions attended, a résumé or curriculum vitae, official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores, letters of recommendation from an administrator and a faculty member, and a statement of purpose.

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit official test scores to verify English proficiency. Applicants can verify English proficiency by submitting official test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). For specific score requirements, see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

The Doctor of Education program in educational policy and leadership studies with a PK-12 administration subprogram requires a minimum of 75 s.h. of graduate credit. Up to 36 s.h. in transfer credit may be applied to the degree with advisor approval. Students who earned an Ed.S. degree may apply up to 48 s.h. toward the Ed.D. with advisor approval. Students who have a current endorsement (State of Iowa endorsement 171) may include up to 42 s.h. transfer credit applied to the degree with advisor approval. All students must earn a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.00 in UI and transfer coursework.

The Ed.D. in educational policy and leadership studies with a PK-12 administration subprogram requires the following work.

Core Courses

All of these:
EPLS:6217Theory and Practice of Leadership3
EPLS:6307Professional Seminar for Ed.D. Students: Orientation to the Ed.D.1
EPLS:6321Social Advocacy Summit1
One of these:
EPLS:5240Topics in Education (when topic is facilitating controversial dialogue/facilitator preparation)3
EPLS:6275Diversity and Equity in Higher Education3
EPLS:7432Multicultural Initiatives3

Applied Research

All of these:
EPLS:6266Program Evaluation3
EPLS:6352Action Research in Educational Settings3
EPLS:7483Ed.D. Capstone Proposal3
EPLS:7485Ed.D. Capstone4
An introduction to quantitative research in education course (consult advisor)3

PK-12 Administration Coursework

Students complete coursework in PK-12 administration as follows.

All of these:
EPLS:6265Standards-Based Education and Accountability3
EPLS:6270Policy and Politics3
EPLS:6329Legislative Summit1
Additional coursework toward the superintendency endorsement or electives8

To obtain superintendent endorsement, all requirements for the endorsement must be met including an additional 12 s.h. in PK-12 administration.

Electives

In consultation with their advisor, students complete the remaining semester hours in elective coursework.

Admission

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College. They must have earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an equivalent degree from another country as determined by the Office of Admissions; a master's degree with a g.p.a. of at least 3.00 in higher education, student affairs, student development, K-12 leadership, or another related field; and have at least three years of full-time experience in education.

Required application materials include transcripts from all higher education institutions attended, a résumé or curriculum vitae, official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores, letters of recommendation from an administrator and a faculty member, and a statement of purpose.

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit official test scores to verify English proficiency. Applicants can verify English proficiency by submitting official test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). For specific score requirements, see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

The Ed.D. prepares students for careers in PK-12 and higher education administrative leadership in educational institutions and related organizations. 

Sample Plans of Study

Sample plans represent one way to complete a program of study. Actual course selection and sequence will vary and should be discussed with an academic advisor. For additional sample plans, see MyUI.

Educational Policy and Leadership Studies, Ed.D.

Higher Education Subprogram

Plan of Study Grid (Manual)
Academic Career
Any SemesterHours
75 s.h. must be graduate level coursework; up to 36 s.h. of graduate transfer credits from a previous graduate degree from an accredited university allowed upon approval. More information is included in the General Catalog and on department website. a, b  
 Hours0
First Year
Fall
EPLS:6307 Professional Seminar for Ed.D. Students: Orientation to the Ed.D. 1
PSQF:6241 Quantitative Policy Analysis for Practitioners c 3
Higher Education course d 3
 Hours7
Spring
EPLS:6217 Theory and Practice of Leadership 3
Higher Education course d 3
 Hours6
Summer
EPLS:6321 Social Advocacy Summit e 1
EPLS:7432
Multicultural Initiatives e
or Diversity and Equity in Higher Education
or Topics in Education
3
Higher Education course d 3
 Hours7
Second Year
Fall
EPLS:6266 Program Evaluation 3
Higher Education course d 3
 Hours6
Spring
EPLS:6352 Action Research in Educational Settings 3
Higher Education course d 3
 Hours6
Third Year
Fall
EPLS:7483 Ed.D. Capstone Proposal f 3
 Hours3
Spring
EPLS:7485 Ed.D. Capstone g 4
 Hours4
 Total Hours39

PK-12 Administration Subprogram

Plan of Study Grid (Manual)
Academic Career
Any SemesterHours
75 s.h. must be graduate level coursework; up to 36 s.h. of graduate transfer credits from a previous graduate degree from an accredited university allowed upon approval. More information is included in the General Catalog and on department website. a, b, c  
 Hours0
First Year
Fall
EPLS:6307 Professional Seminar for Ed.D. Students: Orientation to the Ed.D. 1
PSQF:6241 Quantitative Policy Analysis for Practitioners d 3
PK-12 Administration course e 3
 Hours7
Spring
EPLS:6217 Theory and Practice of Leadership 3
PK-12 Administration course e 3
 Hours6
Summer
EPLS:5240
Topics in Education f
or Diversity and Equity in Higher Education
or Multicultural Initiatives
3
EPLS:6321 Social Advocacy Summit f 1
PK-12 Administration course e 3
 Hours7
Second Year
Fall
EPLS:6266 Program Evaluation 3
PK-12 Administration course e 3
 Hours6
Spring
EPLS:6352 Action Research in Educational Settings 3
PK-12 Administration course e 3
 Hours6
Third Year
Fall
EPLS:7483 Ed.D. Capstone Proposal g 3
 Hours3
Spring
EPLS:7485 Ed.D. Capstone h 4
 Hours4
 Total Hours39