Offered through the University of Missouri, in cooperation with partner universities across the state, the Missouri Statewide EdD Program has an outstanding reputation amongst its graduates — 97 percent would refer prospective students to the program. The program has been lauded by a number of organizations for its innovative delivery, cohesive curriculum and rigorous standards and is one of the 21 Phase I institutions in the Carnegie Foundation Project on the Education Doctorate, a national dialogue about the educational doctorate.

Based on an integrated curriculum for leaders in PK-12, post-secondary, and nonprofit educational settings, this degree is delivered in cohort format with both face-to-face and Web-enhanced instruction. Students take courses during summer sessions at MU’s campus in Columbia, as well as fall and spring courses at a regional partner university. It consists of 34 hours of course work and 12 hours of dissertation.

Potential students must have a master’s degree and relevant leadership experience. New cohorts of students are admitted every 2 years. Our program completion rate is just over 88% and on average our students finish in less than 5 years.

Learning Objectives

The emphasis of the educational doctorate program is on developing effective, thoughtful and reflective practitioners who are competent in identifying and solving complex problems of practice in educational settings. As a program dedicated to the development of these scholarly practitioners, graduates will know:

  • Foundational and current theories and perspectives in leadership theory and practice, organizational analysis, educational policy, and content and context of learning;
  • The importance of being responsive to issues of social justice including power, privilege and difference;
  • How to identify and analyze problems of practice;
  • The value of reflective practice;
  • Theories and research behind teams and group dynamics.

In addition to developing knowledge that is informed by theory and empirical research, content themes are integrated with practice emphasizing real-time application in the work setting so that graduates will be able to:

  • Provide effective leadership to their respective organizations;
  • Work collaboratively to achieve organizational goals with a diverse set of stakeholders;
  • Address problems of practice through the use of data, both pre-existing and by using data collection methods of their own;
  • Engage in reflective practice in order to implement change in their professional practice and within their organizations;
  • Respond to issues of social justice within their organizations and communities.


The educational doctorate curriculum provides four critical lenses essential to educational leadership and the research, inquiry and evaluation tools needed to put that knowledge into practice.

  • Leadership theory and practice
  • Organizational analysis
  • Educational policy
  • Content and context of learning

Instruction methods vary to enhance your learning. You will meet face-to-face for a traditional classroom experience, work in teams for a collaborative and dynamic experience, and have online classes to help with busy schedules. All classes are problem-based and provide opportunities for real-time application in practice. The culminating experience as a scholarly practitioner is the dissertation.Although the educational doctorate program does encompass some of the competencies required to serve as a principal or superintendent, the program is not designed to lead to professional licensure/certification. Individuals completing the educational doctorate who wish to enhance the degree with the requirements for certification should contact their educational doctorate site coordinator and/or campus certification office for more information.

Year One

Summer Semester (seven hours)

  • Organizational Analysis for Educational Leadership (four hours)
  • Educational Leadership Inquiry I: Change, Diversity, and Ethics (two hours)
  • Team Building and Group Dynamics (one hour)

Fall Semester

  • Leadership Theory & Practice (three hours)
  • Leadership Theory & Practice Application: Leaders and Data (one hour)
  • Professional Seminar I: Research Design (one hour)

Spring Semester

  • Qualitative Methods in Educational Research I (three hours)
  • Educational Leadership Inquiry II: Research, Ethics and IRB (one hour)
  • Professional Seminar I: Research Design (one hour)

Year Two

Summer Semester

  • Policy Analysis for Educational Leadership (four hours)
  • Quantitative Methods in Educational Research (three hours)

Fall Semester

  • Educational Planning and Evaluation (three hours)
  • Educational Leadership Inquiry III: Data Reporting (one hour)
  • Professional Seminar II: Advanced Research Design (one hour)

Spring Semester

  • Content and Context of Learning (three hours)
  • Educational Leadership Inquiry IV: Data Driven Decision-Making (one hour)
  • Professional Seminar II: Advanced Research Design — Prospectus Development (one hour)

Learn more about individual courses in ELPA.

Typical Schedule of Important Dates

  • Late April/Early May: Cohort Orientation Year 1 or Site Meeting Year 2
  • Mid/Late May through June: Summer Pre-Work
  • July – Summer: Instruction


Faculty members from all five campuses across the state are a part of the educational doctorate program, more than 20 of whom are doctoral faculty and can serve as your doctoral adviser. Faculty research interests span across a variety of topics including:

  • Educational equity and access
  • Assessment in public schools
  • Teacher professional development
  • Leadership and change
  • School reform


Thanks to statewide collaboration, everywhere is close by. Since the program’s inception, students have represented more than 170 communities and 80 percent of Missouri counties. Faculty from MU and partner institutions collaborate as program instructors, and each partner institution has a faculty liaison who is responsible for program coordination on that campus. Students from each partner institution form a site cohort that will advance through the degree together.


Admission Dates

  • Applications are due October 15 of even-numbered years
  • Invitations to Interview Day sent out in mid-December
  • Interview Day will take place in mid-January (January 15, 2021 for Cohort 13)

Admission Requirements

  • GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale) in the last 60 hours of undergraduate education from an accredited institution
  • GPA of 3.5 (4.0 scale) in graduate studies (master’s degree) from an accredited institution
  • Competitive Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score taken no later than the application deadline
  • Evidence of consistency between candidate’s and the program’s goals
  • Relevant organizational or educational leadership experience
  • Minimum scores established by MU’s Graduate Faculty Senate for TOEFL or IELTS exams for non-native English speakers
  • Three recommendations from individuals who can comment on qualifications for graduate study. At least two letters should be from faculty who have taught or advised you.
  • Instructions will be provided through the graduate school application process

How to Apply

Applications are available in August of even years and are due in October. Begin the application process here. When applying, use the admission category Doctorate/Distance(Online/Remote Site) and select Educational Leadership & Policy/Educational Leadership-Distance (EdD).

For questions about applying for the next cohort (October 15, 2020 deadline) contact us: