Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Department of Educational Leadership: (626) 815-5374

Azusa Pacific University’s Ed.D. in Educational Leadership is a practitioner-based program that places emphasis on applied research that results in direct, positive change in K-12 settings. The program prepares scholar-practitioners who are equipped with the knowledge and skills to make a transformative impact on schools and districts and the lives of students in them.

Mission Statement

The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership program at APU, a Christ-centered university, enables culturally aware K-12 leaders to implement research-based practices as change agents.

Program Requirements

This program requires students to complete 51 units of coursework, pass the First-Year Review, and successfully complete the dissertation and oral defense.

Coursework

Required Courses
Orientation
EDUC 702Proseminar in Educational Leadership1
Leadership Content
EDUC 710Developing the Leader Within2
EDUC 712Leading Change in Education: Theory to Practice3
EDUC 713Diversity and Equity in Education3
EDUC 716Educational Policy: Analysis, Praxis, and Reform3
EDUC 718Group Dynamics and Conflict2
EDUC 719Special Topics in Educational Leadership3
EDUC 722Strategic Planning for Educational Systems3
EDUC 723Legal Issues and Crisis Management in Schools3
EDUC 724Ethical Leadership in Education3
Research Methodology & Design
EDUC 760The Nature of Inquiry in Education2
EDUC 761Introduction to Educational Research2
EDUC 762Quantitative Inquiry in Education3
EDUC 767Qualitative Inquiry in Education2
EDUC 768Methods of Data Collection and Analysis2
EDUC 769Program Evaluation in Education: Assessment for Decision Making3
Dissertation Milestones
EDUC 770Dissertation Milestone: Writing the Introduction1
EDUC 771Dissertation Milestone: Literature Review2
EDUC 772Dissertation Milestone: Dissertation Proposal2
EDUC 773Dissertation Milestone: Data Collection1
EDUC 774Dissertation Milestone: Data Analysis1
EDUC 776Dissertation Milestone: Results, Discussion, and Conclusion2
EDUC 777Dissertation2
Total Units51

Other Degree Requirements

Grading and Grade-Point Average

Throughout higher education, and particularly at the doctoral level, commitment to learning should outweigh the pursuit of grades. Nonetheless, grading and grade-point average continue to play a crucial role in students’ studies. For doctoral students, the grade of B- is considered minimally acceptable. Courses graded lower than B- are not applied toward doctoral degree requirements and must be repeated.

A doctoral student must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in 700-level courses and receive no grade lower than B- in 700-level courses. Courses graded lower than B- are not applied toward doctoral degree requirements and must be repeated. A cumulative GPA lower than 3.0 or the receipt of a grade lower than B- in 700-level courses will result in the student being placed on probation. A doctoral student who is on probation for more than a total of two terms throughout his or her doctoral study may be dismissed from the program. Probation and dismissal actions are posted on a student’s transcript.

A doctoral student whose grade-point average falls in the range of 3.0-3.2 is required to meet with his/her advisor to identify academic skills that may need strengthening and to take appropriate action.

First-Year Review

The First-Year Review of doctoral students takes place at the end of the third term of full-time study. The review consists of a holistic assessment of a student’s potential for continued success in the doctoral program, with emphasis on preparedness for dissertation research, professionalism, and academic performance.

Continuation in the program is contingent upon successfully passing the First-Year Review.

Advancement to Candidacy

Following approval of the dissertation proposal and recommendation by appropriate advisors, doctoral students are advanced to candidacy status.

Dissertation

Doctoral students are required to complete a dissertation. Standards and procedures for the dissertation are defined by program faculty in keeping with the APU Standards and Dissertation Handbook. Continuous enrollment in EDUC 777 is required until the dissertation is successfully defended and submitted to APU’s APA reader. 

Candidates defend the dissertation in a meeting with the faculty committee, and subsequently participate in a public presentation of the research. 

Doctoral students who have completed all program requirements, successfully defended their dissertation, and fulfilled all obligations of the university will have their doctoral degree posted and will be entitled to use the term ‘doctor.’

Continuous Progress

In addition to maintaining continuous enrollment in EDUC 777, doctoral candidates are expected to make continuous progress toward completion of the dissertation. Continuous progress of doctoral candidates is assessed each term on all of the following expectations:

  • maintaining regular contact with the dissertation chair;
  • conducting research as described in the dissertation proposal; and
  • submitting high-quality drafts in a timely manner, consistent with the timeline established with the dissertation committee.

Candidates who receive “NC” for EDUC 777 will need to submit a report on their progress in candidacy and will enter into a probationary period for one term. Candidates who fail to maintain progress after a probationary period may be recommended for termination from the program.

Leaves of Absence

Students in good standing and making satisfactory progress toward their degrees who must interrupt their studies for a compelling reason (e.g., illness, study away, family conditions, or crises) may petition for a leave of absence for a stated period of time not to exceed two years. Requests for a leave must be in writing and state the reasons for the leave and the term in which the student will reenroll. Leaves of absence must be approved by the chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and the dean of the School of Education in advance of the term for which the leave is requested.

Students who fail to return to enrolled status at the end of an approved period of leave, or after two consecutive terms of nonenrollment, will be considered no longer in pursuit of an advanced degree and must reapply for admission. If readmitted at a later date, students must meet any new program requirements.

Degree Completion Time

Doctoral students are permitted six years from the date of initial enrollment to complete all requirements for the Ed.D. degree. Extensions beyond the six-year limit may be granted at the discretion of the department chair and the dean of the School of Education. Students needing an extension due to unusual circumstances must make their request in writing, stating the reason(s) for the extension, a timetable for completion of requirements, and the expected date of degree completion.

Admission

University graduate admission and program acceptance requirements must be met before an application is complete. (See Admission to the University.)

Program-specific application requirements are available online at apu.edu/education/doctoral/educational-leadership/admission/.

International students have a separate application procedure. Contact the International Center at +1-626-812-3055, or visit apu.edu/international/.

Application Deadlines

Completed applications with all supporting documentation must be received by one of the following deadlines:

  • Priority deadline: May 1 (apply by this date to receive full consideration for scholarships)
  • Regular deadline: June 1 

Interview

Upon invitation, doctoral applicants interview with at least two members of the doctoral faculty. The purpose of the interview is to meet the applicant, discuss education and career goals, evaluate the match of the program to the applicant, and determine the applicant’s potential for success in the program.

Admission Decisions

Program applicants must meet department and university criteria for admission. Admission to the university is the first step in the process, but does not guarantee admission to the program.

The department reserves the right to offer provisional admission to students who do not meet all the admission criteria. In such cases, the requirements necessary for full admission and the time limit for completing them will be stated in writing. Failure to meet these requirements may result in dismissal from the program.

Computer Requirement

Students must own or have ready access to a computer during their tenure in the program. The SPSS statistical software package is required of students in their research courses throughout the program. The University Bookstore makes arrangements to enable students to purchase computers and software at economical rates on convenient terms. Often, the required purchase of the laptop and software can be budgeted into student loans. For more information, contact the student financial services office at (626) 815-4570.

Study Load

The three-year, dissertation-embedded Ed.D. program is a full-time commitment requiring full-time enrollment. To maintain the appropriate course sequence, doctoral students must enroll in all courses designated for each academic term. Requests to enroll for fewer units than designated are approved only in specific circumstances.

Residence Requirement

Doctoral students must meet a residency requirement by completing a minimum of 41 units toward the doctoral degree at APU.

Transfer Units

Doctoral students may transfer up to 10 units of coursework with a grade of B or higher from another regionally accredited doctoral program. Official transcripts and course descriptions must be submitted to the program director, who will determine the courses that successfully transfer.

Schedule

The program requires a full-time, year-round commitment (fall, spring, and summer). Face-to-face classes are held six Saturdays per term in both fall and spring, and five Saturdays during the summer, with additional instruction provided online. Check with the program office to determine meeting dates and times.

Advisement

During the first semester of the doctoral program, students enroll in a 1-unit proseminar course that serves as an orientation and initial advising into the program. The proseminar has three primary goals: 1) to orient students to the intellectual life of doctoral study; 2) to provide opportunities for students to become familiar with steps and procedures required for successful completion of the doctoral program, including a plan and timeline for accomplishing major academic and professional milestones; and 3) to introduce students to the technology, tools, and academic resources needed for doctoral study, including use of the Azusa Pacific University library catalog and databases. All proseminar activities are designed to help students develop connections with each other and with the faculty to create a community of learners and scholars.

Upon successful completion of the first semester, and once a student begins dissertation work, the dissertation chair serves as the primary academic advisor for the remainder of the student’s time in the program.

Financial Aid

Federal Stafford loans and personal bank loans are available to all eligible graduate students through the student financial services office in the Graduate and Professional Center. Students are advised to contact that office early in the admissions process.

Lillian B. Wehmeyer Scholarship Endowment

This scholarship is in memory of the late Dr. Lillian B. Wehmeyer, former faculty in the School of Education doctoral program, who lived with a passion for assisting doctoral students in successful research. This scholarship assists doctoral program students in the School of Education who demonstrate satisfactory academic progress, commitment to service, and financial need. Download the Lillian B. Wehmeyer Scholarship Application (PDF).

Ed.D. Program Scholarship

Azusa Pacific University offers competitive scholarship support to newly admitted doctoral students who demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities or leadership potential in K-12 education and who are committed to serving under-resourced schools and districts. Priority is given to current practitioners who are leading their schools and districts toward improved performance. Admitted applicants are considered for these awards based on an overall assessment of their admission application. No separate application required. This scholarship is renewable and may be received for a total of three years. Continuous enrollment, good academic standing (minimum 3.5 GPA), and employment in K-12 education are required for annual award renewal.