Our doctoral program in educational leadership is designed for practitioners and scholars working in a variety of educational and education-related organizations, who wish to expand their understanding of and expertise in leadership. We believe that individuals seeking and obtaining this degree will be leaders, broadly defined, in institutions of learning.
Candidates in the Doctor of Education program learn advanced research and practice skills for leading education and related institutions of the 21st century. They refine their understanding of effective leadership in organizations that value educational diversity, inclusiveness, globalism, social responsiveness, and evidence-based practices. They become knowledgeable about recent professional and research trends across multiple levels and fields of education; learn how to be responsive to their organization’s vision and needs; and have the capacity to initiate and implement research-based policies and best practice programs to benefit students, schools, communities, programs, and educational organizations.
What to Expect
Our Doctor of Education degree is earned by engaging in intensive study of research design and content knowledge, culminating in the development, implementation, and completion of an approved doctoral dissertation. The program is designed to support scholar practitioners in developing increased professional expertise in educational leadership, and the skills necessary to initiate and implement sound educational policy and research-based programming through program, supervisory, curricular, and/or administrative roles, among others.
The guiding philosophy of the program integrates several key components into the expectations, coursework and mentorship opportunities in the program. These include:
Structured and strategic inquiry
Systemic critique and reform
Social justice and ethical practice
Embracing community inclusion and diversity
Ongoing scholar-professional development and lifelong learning
These components are essential to the development of leader and scholar dispositions, such as:
A master’s degree in education from an accredited institution with a recommended GPA of 3.5 or better.
One official transcript from each college, university or professional school attended.Transfer credits included on a transcript must include grades earned; if not, an official transcript from the original school must be submitted. Transcripts must be sent from the issuing school in a sealed envelope, or electronically via a password-encoded email from the sending institution and contain the appropriate signatures and seals to be considered official.
Successful completion of coursework related/similar to any of the following areas (at the master's level, unless otherwise approved by the program director): Educational Research, Psychology, Sociology, Human Relations, Education, Social Justice, Diversity or Inclusive Practices.
A minimum of three letters of recommendation from individuals in a position to evaluate the applicant’s qualifications for graduate study and/or field-related work experience, including at least one from a professor familiar with the student’s writing skills and level of critical thinking.
A minimum of five years of experience working as an educational leader if PK-12 administrative certification is desired (e.g., school/district-level administrator, mentor, teacher, educational organization leader).
A current résumé.
An interview with the Admissions Committee, if deemed necessary/beneficial by the Admissions Committee after the initial review of the application.
In exceptional cases, after reviewing an applicant's academic record, the Director may request GRE or MAT scores if needed.
International applicants should visit www.arcadia.edu/international for detailed information on admissions requirements and application procedures. Official results from the TOEFL or IELTS are required for all students for whom English is a second language except for non-native speakers of English who hold degrees or diplomas from post-secondary institutions in English-speaking countries (e.g., the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.) A course-by-course evaluation of all transcripts by an independent evaluation service based in the United States also is required.
Because of the doctoral program’s cohort model, all students who enter in a given year begin the program together in the fall semester. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until the cohort for that fall reaches capacity.
An accepted student who wants to defer his or her admission for one year must submit a request to do so in writing to the Dean of Graduate Studies and the Program Coordinator. Deferments will be granted by the Department on an individual basis. Once a deferral is granted, the student must submit the required deposit to reserve his or her position in the cohort. This deposit will be credited toward tuition. A student who is granted a deferment must understand that he or she will be subject to the prevailing tuition at the time of matriculation to the program.
Academic Policies and Procedures
Continuous Enrollment: Students must be enrolled continuously in the Ed. D. program. In case of a personal emergency, a student may petition the Dean of Graduate Studies for a leave of absence; however, this is not guaranteed.
Readmission: A student who has withdrawn from a graduate program for personal reasons, (that is, other than a dismissal for academic or ethical reasons) may reapply within one year of that withdrawal by sending a letter requesting reinstatement to the Dean of Graduate Studies. The Dean forwards that request to the appropriate departmental admissions committee, which will communicate its decision to the student. In some cases, a student may be asked to submit materials updating the original application. If the withdrawal was granted contingent upon some action(s) on the part of the student, the student also will be required to demonstrate that the recommended steps have been taken. If more than one year has elapsed, a completely new application must be submitted to the Office of Enrollment Management.
Time Limits: Students enrolled in the cohort program must complete coursework within five years of receiving candidacy. Dissertation must be completed within five years after the completion of coursework.
Program Continuation: Students who are not making appropriate progress will be counseled out of the program at the end of a given year of coursework. Students who engage in any other activity that would support a reason for dismissal (cheating, plagiarism) may be asked to leave immediately or at the end of the semester. Continuance in the program for those with under a 3.0 GPA will be conditional for the next semester provided their grade point average improves to at least that level during that time.
The doctoral program in Educational Leadership is open to applicants from a variety of backgrounds and professional roles, who envision themselves growing as leaders and scholars in public and private education organizations serving diverse populations. For example, students in the doctoral program have been teacher-leaders in PK-12 schools, supervisors and practitioners in organizations dedicated to working with children and/or families, scholar-practitioners in post-secondary educational institutions, educational and research/evaluation consultants, school- and district-level administrators, and university-level teacher educators.
How long does it take to complete the program?
For students enrolled in the cohort program, courses are taken sequentially for three years (8 consecutive semesters). A few students opt to complete their dissertation during that three-year period; however, most work on developing their dissertation proposal while taking courses and then implement their study during the fourth year, after their coursework is completed.
When are classes held?
Students take two face-to-face courses each semester—during the fall, spring, and first summer sessions (there are not any classes during July or August). Classes are held on Thursdays from 4:30 - 10 p.m.; the first course runs from 4:30 - 7:10 p.m. and the second from 7:20 - 10 p.m. Because some classes utilize a hybrid in-person/online format, there are some Thursdays when students do not need to be on campus for the full-time block (such schedule details are provided at the beginning of each semester).
What does it mean that the doctoral program uses a “modified cohort model?”
To optimize students’ learning experiences and outcomes, a cohort of students enters the doctoral program each fall and remains together throughout their coursework. This approach has many benefits, such as facilitating professional collaboration and networking, providing a cohesive support system, and promoting continuity with learning goals. Although the goal is to have students progress through the program as a group, there are times when flexibility is necessitated, based on special and individual circumstances. For example, in response to a significant life event (e.g., birth of a child, change of job), a student might decide to take only one course during a particular semester, or take a short-term leave of absence (e.g., one semester or year). Because we allow for this type of schedule adjustment in certain situations, we call our approach a modified cohort model. Specific approval from the program director is required in these circumstances.
Can I transfer credits from other doctoral programs?
Up to six credits of relevant doctoral-level coursework from an accredited institution can potentially be applied towards Arcadia’s Ed.D. degree. Decisions about transfer credits are made by the Program Director, on an individual student basis. Coursework completed toward a prior graduate degree cannot be transferred.
Do most students who enter the doctoral program successfully complete it?
The cohort model and supportiveness of our program faculty are two of the factors we believe contribute to the graduation success of our students. Faculty and Dissertation Committee Chairs and Members are chosen based not only on their content and research expertise, but also for their commitment to personal and individual student attention and support throughout the program. Students who are committed to engaging in doctoral-level coursework and research, and are open to receiving faculty feedback toward growth are those that are most successful in our program.
I'm a PK-12 educator. Can I get administrative certification through this program?
Completion of the doctoral program, itself, does not result in administrative certification. However, many of the competencies required for a variety of administrative certificates are embedded in the doctoral courses, and approved by PDE as meeting certification requirements, so earning certification is streamlined through the program. Students interested in certification must meet PDE’s requirements for certification, and meet individually with the coordinator of the Master’s and Certification Programs in Educational Leadership to discuss options and develop a plan of study. Arcadia University's Superintendent Letter of Eligibility program and its courses are approved to meet the requirements for Act 45/PIL (PA Inspired Leadership Program).
Do I need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)?
Prospective students are encouraged to prioritize submission of all non-GRE/MAT required application documents to the Office of Enrollment Management. The admission committee will determine on an individual student basis, after reviewing all other documents submitted, if additional testing information is needed. Although the GRE is preferred, the Miller Analogies Test is also accepted in these circumstances.
When can I apply?
Because of the doctoral program’s cohort model, all students who enter in a given year begin the program together in the fall semester. Applicants are encouraged to submit all the required documents as soon as possible, to allow time for review. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until the cohort for that fall reaches capacity.
Although the federal and state governments do not offer grants or scholarship aid at the graduate level, listed below are the other types of assistance available to part-time graduate students. Visit Financial Aid Options and How to Apply for more information.