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The Doctor of Educational Leadership (Ed.D-DEL) in K-12 Educational Administration adopts Michigan State University’s core institutional values of quality, inclusiveness, and connectivity. We apply these values to the design and implementation of the program and aim to enroll diverse professionals with a passion for improving the life chances of young people, bringing new spirit to communities, and leading deliberative democratic conversations on matters of common interest. The program is particularly committed to enrolling leaders representing under-served communities.

The program prepares students to embed these values in their own organizations and to further develop the professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions to navigate the complex demands of leading effective schools and education systems. Key objectives guiding the Doctor of Educational Leadership (Ed.D-DEL) program are:

  1. to prepare educational leaders to lead excellent, equitable, and responsive educational systems;
  2. to qualify graduates for the Michigan Central Office Administrator certification;
  3. to provide intellectual leadership around educational issues for school leaders, policy makers, politicians, community leaders, and other interested stakeholders;
  4. to convene forums for democratic deliberation of educational, social, and economic issues so as to play an active role in redevelopment efforts in Michigan while also preparing students to be agents for change within their own districts or areas;
  5. to support high caliber collaborative action research that puts innovative solutions to work while advancing outreach, engagement, and economic development and strengthening linkages to other MSU units and to external partners.

Program Structure and Content

The Doctor of Educational Leadership (Ed.D-DEL) is an intensive three-year program. It is designed for working educators and uses hybrid learning arrangements that blend face-to-face and online learning Saturdays, evenings, and summer.

The Program Requirements table illustrates the structure of the program. Year 1 focuses on core knowledge required by educational leaders, policymakers, and researchers. Year 1 also follows a unique schedule of three consecutive 11-week courses running late August to mid-May. One other Year 1 course, (EAD 921 Leadership for Transformation), meets monthly over this same period.

Summer 1 courses run mid-May through July, with a 2-week break. Students end Year 1 by taking a Preliminary Doctoral Examination.


Year 1 of the EdD program divides the academic year into three 11-week course segments. Classes meet Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 pm and mix face-to-face, live-online and asynchronous formats.

CourseTitleOffered Dates
EAD 920Political Economy of SchoolingSept –November
EAD 922Analyzing Education SystemsNovember – February
EAD 923Organizing for LearningFebruary – May
EAD 921Leadership and Transformationmonthly, August – May
EAD 929Collaborative InquirySummer (mid-May – June)
EAD 980Engaged Leadership orSummer (mid July – August 1)
EAD 991Human Resources ManagementSummer (mid July – August 1)



CourseTitleOffered Dates
EAD 924Data and DecisionsFall Semester
EAD 927Leadership for Social JusticeFall Semester
EAD 926School Finance and OperationsSpring Semester
EAD 995Leadership and TransformationSummer (mid-May – June)
EAD 980Engaged Leadership orSummer (mid July – August 1)
EAD 991aHuman Resources ManagementSummer (mid July – August 1)



CourseTitleOffered Dates
EAD 981aGroup ResearchFall Semester
EAD 982aDissertation in Practice SeminarFall Semester
EAD 981bGroup ResearchSpring Semester
EAD 982bDissertation in Practice SeminarSpring Semester


Year 2 follows a regular semester schedule. It deepens students’ core knowledge of leadership and begins exploration of possible dissertation-in-practice topics.

Summer 2 courses run mid-May through July, with a 2-week break. Students end Year 2 by producing a Comprehensive Doctoral Examination paper.

Year 3 is dedicated to the completion of a collaborative, group dissertation-in-practice. We define a group dissertation-in-practice as a significant, time-bound, inquiry undertaken by a group working interdependently to address a problem of practice in collaboration with one or more partners