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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Program

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program is designed to expand the knowledge of students while adding knowledge to the profession through high quality research and applied scholarship. The focus of the program is on developing leaders for PK-16 educational settings.

The doctoral program is housed in Stephenville, Texas on the Tarleton State University main campus.  During the fall and spring semesters, doctoral classes are taught on Wednesday evenings and/or Saturdays.  Wednesday evening classes may be taught on a rotational basis during the semester and Saturday classes generally meet seven times during a semester. Two doctoral classes are taught in Fort Worth and two doctoral classes are taught in Waco.  Summer classes are held on Fridays and Saturdays in a full day format. The program employs a face-to-face delivery supplemented with blended or hybrid components in selected courses.

Admission to the Doctoral Program:

Doctoral program admission is a multi-step process that begins with the submission of all required documents.  When a prospective applicant’s file is forwarded to the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the College of Graduate Studies, the file is reviewed and evaluated by members of the Doctoral Admissions Committee.  Personal interviews will be scheduled by the Doctoral Admissions Committee with applicants whose files meet the established admission criteria. Based on the review of applicants, the Doctoral Admissions Committee will make recommendations for admission to the Coordinator of the Doctoral Program who will forward final recommendations to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.  The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies will notify applicants of their status related to admission to the doctoral program.

*Specific information required for the admission process can be found in the doctoral student handbook.

Doctoral Program Advisors

Upon admission into the doctoral program, each student will be assigned an advisor by the Coordinator of the Doctoral Program.  The advisor will be a member of the doctoral faculty.  The advisor works with the student in the development of the specialization/cognate area, development and completion of the activities for the residency year, and preparation for the qualifying examinations.  Upon admission to candidacy and selection of a projected dissertation topic, the doctoral student will select the chair of the dissertation committee who, along with the dissertation committee members,  will guide the student in completion of the dissertation.

Curriculum for Doctoral Program:

The doctoral program curriculum consists of 72 semester hours in educational leadership, research tools, specialization area, dissertation, and electives. Thirty-six of the semester hours have a pre-requisite of doctoral standing, and must be taken with the cohort group. Non-doctoral courses (i.e., specialization and elective courses) can be taken at the choice of the student. However, students are advised to take the electives in the sequence listed in the typical curriculum. Students should work closely with their advisors so that an appropriate workload is established. Coursework applied to a previous degree will not be applied to the doctoral degree. Coursework taken more than 10 years previous to the date of graduation will not apply toward the degree.

Educational Leadership Core

Enrollment in all courses in the educational leadership core require doctoral standing. Students will be required to take these courses with the cohort group. The year and semester of the delivery of the courses are outlined in the Typical Curriculum section.

Leadership Core—27 semester hours.

  • EDAD 6310 Historical and Theoretical Foundations in Educational Leadership
  • EDAD 6111 Critical Issues in Educational Leadership
  • EDAD 6314 Philosophy and Ethics in Educational Leadership
  • EDAD 6321 Education Law and Policy
  • EDAD 6322 Data Analysis and School Improvement
  • EDAD 6323 Theory & Practice of Organizational Leadership
  • EDAD 6324 Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership
  • EDAD 6330 Educational Governance and Politics
  • EDAD 6385 Advanced Seminar in Educational Leadership
Research Tools—12 semester hours

Enrollment in the twelve (12) semester hours of research tools require doctoral standing. Students will be required to take those courses with the cohort.

  • EDAD 6313 Statistical Methods in Educational Leadership
  • EDAD 6312 Methods of Educational Research
  • EDAD 6325 Methods of Inquiry I
  • EDAD 6331 Methods of Inquiry II
Specialization/Cognate Area—21 semester hours

In the specialization area, the student will work with his/her doctoral advisor to establish a program supportive of his/her professional goals and doctoral objectives. A minimum of 21 hours may be selected from the educational administration electives or other appropriate graduate coursework.

Typical Curriculum

The following is a typical curriculum for students in the Ed.D. program. The identified courses must be taken with the cohort group in the time frame listed below. Students should work closely with their advisors when deciding to complete electives and specialization courses.

Year 1




EDAD 6310



EDAD 6312

EDAD 6313
EDAD 6322

Year 2 (Residency)




EDAD 6111   (1 hour)
EDAD 6314

EDAD 6111   (1 hour)
EDAD 6323
EDAD 6325

EDAD 6111   (1 hour)
EDAD 6331
EDAD 6321

Year 3




EDAD 6324
EDAD 6330
Washington DC

EDAD 6385
Qualifying Examinations


Year 4

EDAD 7388 Minimum of 12 hours

With approval and a written request from the doctoral advisor, and at the discretion of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, students may transfer up to 12 semester credit hours toward the doctoral degree from another regionally-accredited university. Transfer coursework may not be used to satisfy the educational leadership core requirements. Because of limitations on transfer for advanced standing, advisors should be consulted prior to making the request.

Transfer Coursework

Doctoral degree candidates will be required to complete a campus residency of at least two long semesters, and one summer session, consecutively. A minimum of six (6) hours must be taken during each of the semesters and summer session. During the residency, the student will complete a residency plan requiring the student to participate in activities related to cultural diversity, research, service, and professional development. Residency seminars will be held at the mid-point and conclusions of the residency year.  Residency students work with their doctoral program advisors to plan the residency projects and activities.

Qualifying Examinations

At the completion of the leadership core, the students must take comprehensive written and oral qualifying examinations. Upon successful completion of the qualifying examinations and recommendation of doctoral faculty advisors, students will be admitted to candidacy. Candidacy status permits the student to begin working on his/her dissertation research project.


Once students have successfully passed the qualifying examination, they are eligible to propose their dissertation studies. Students make an oral defense of their proposal to their doctoral committee. Once the dissertation has been completed, students will defend their dissertation to the members of their graduate committee, the Graduate Dean or the Dean’s representative who is a member of the Graduate Council, and invited guests. Students must continuously enroll in EDAD 788 Dissertation each semester until the dissertation is completed. The student must enroll in a minimum of 12 semester hours of EDAD 788 to complete the degree.


The completion of an internship is required prior to the awarding of the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. Internships will be made available for students seeking principal and superintendent certification. Students who have not participated in an internship program leading to principal or superintendent certification will be required to enroll in EDAD 686, Internship in Educational Leadership. Internship coursework may not be used to satisfy other degree requirements.