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Educational Leadership (PhD)

Announcing a Flexible Hybrid Format

The University of Dayton's Ph.D. Program in Educational Leadership is expanding its offerings and reach by moving to a flexible hybrid format. Starting in Fall of 2024, students may opt to attend classes in-person at our Dayton, OH campus, or via state-of-the-art web-conferencing and distance learning technology. 

Program Overview

The Ph.D. in Educational Leadership program is designed for educators who are committed to providing leadership at elementary, secondary or collegiate levels. Students in the program have a choice of two concentration areas: PK-12 School Administration or Higher Education Administration.

The program seeks to prepare transformative and culturally proficient scholar- practitioners, leaders who: 

  • Value research and practical knowledge while collaborating and engaging in continuous inquiry on professional concerns. 
  • Contribute to the knowledge base and the generative exchange of ideas.
  • Commit themselves to building inclusive and equitable communities of practice. 

In addressing these ends, UD’s administration, faculty and staff:

  • Create and maintain a challenging and supportive environment for the intellectual, social, spiritual, and emotional growth of members. 
  • Maintain rigorous academic standards. 
  • Model reflective practitioner behavior in day-to-day efforts. 
  • Engage students in inquiry as part of quality classroom instruction.
  • Support research efforts with implications for policy and practice.
  • Conduct interpersonal interactions with equity, integrity, and justice in mind.

Course of Study 

The Ph.D. in Educational Leadership program requires 63 semester hours for completion. Both concentrations require a minimum of 21 semester hours of appropriate courses. In addition, all doctoral students must complete a nine-semester hour core program during their first year of Enrollment.

Formal coursework in the program is organized around the concepts of research, foundations and organizational behavior. Course work in an academic field outside of education is required in the 9-hour cognate.

Course descriptions and sample plans of study:

What Can I do with this Degree?

The University of Dayton's Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership program offers you the option to specialize in one of two areas:

  • PreK-12 School Administration: Designed to prepare educators for the following types of positions: Administrative roles in elementary and secondary education, educational researchers, consultants, professors of school administration. Students pursuing this concentration may take educator preparation programs which lead to a State of Ohio-issued license (principal or superintendent). Coordinator: Dr. David Dolph
  • Higher Education Administration: Preparing educators for positions, such as: Administrative and leadership roles in colleges and universities, educational researchers, assessment professionals, institutional researchers, advocates and consultants working with higher education institutions, families, communities, schools and students, faculty roles in education programs. Coordinator: Dr. Charles J. Russo

Admission Requirements & Processing

Applicants must submit the following information in addition to the application at

  • Official transcripts from all previously attended colleges or universities. Must be submitted directly from the colleges or universities to the University of Dayton Office of Graduate Admission Processing.
  • Applicants for admission to the doctoral program must have attained a 3.25 GPA in a master’s degree program
  • Three letters of recommendation from professors or employers.
  • Two- to three-page essay stating how your personal goals, including your concentration of interest, are congruent with the objectives of the Ph.D. program, as stated in our mission statement. Please title the essay, “Application Essay.”
  • Current resume. 

Note: Additional requirements apply for international students.

Residency Requirement 

Residency is completed during the first three consecutive terms (fall, spring, summer) following admission to the program. A minimum of six semester hours of coursework must be completed in each of these terms.

Comprehensive Exam

In addition to completing coursework and residency requirements, students must successfully complete a written examination based on the content of their coursework and dissertation research topics.

Scholarship Available

The Dr. Ellis Joseph Scholarship is available to currently enrolled Ph.D. students who have been in the program for at least one academic year. The recipient must commit to write a dissertation in the general area of urban education. Dr. Joseph was Dean of the University of Dayton School of Education from 1973-95. He and his colleagues initiated the PhD in Educational Leadership program at UD.

Additional information available on the PhD Educational Leadership Brochure


Department of Educational Administration

Fitz Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2963