The Educational Doctorate (Ed.D.) in educational leadership — a joint initiative of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Alabama — is designed for school administrators and teachers who would like to enhance their analytical, management, and leadership skills in order to attain senior administrative positions in elementary, middle, and high schools, district-level offices, or state K-12 organizations. Our coursework aims to develop reflective instructional leaders who are capable of addressing the complexities of school supervision. Our doctoral students focus on issues such as public accountability for teaching and learning results, ever increasing diversity in student and teacher populations, and new instructional technologies. While the vast majority of our graduates intend to serve as educational administrators, the possibility of their teaching at a college or university at some point in their careers does exist.

Admissions Requirements

To be eligible for the doctoral program, applicants must have an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree and a valid Class AA certificate in an instructional, instructional leadership, or instructional support area. Prospective students must apply through the UAB Graduate School and submit official transcripts from all institutions attended since high school, three letters of recommendation, a resume, and an official GRE or MAT test score.(Students must score at the 50th percentile or above on the MAT [388] or GRE to be considered for the doctoral program.) Students must also submit an admissions portfolio prior to program admission.

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Coursework and Degree Requirements

The Educational Doctorate (Ed.D.) program requires a minimum of 55 credit hours and consists of core leadership courses, foundations courses, research electives, and dissertation hours. Both UAB and UA faculty teach the core leadership courses. The foundations classes, taught by UAB faculty, provide a sequence of courses designed to meet the specific learning and research needs of our doctoral students. Students study strategic and instructional leadership, organizational theory, and data-driven decision-making among other subjects. Research courses prepare students to assess carefully the kinds of challenges school leaders currently face and to write their dissertations.

Cohort Model

Students are placed in cohorts, a system of organization that encourages group learning and fosters lasting professional relationships among educators. Cohorts are admitted once every two years in the fall term (e.g., Fall 2019, Fall 2021), and meet two nights per week throughout the 6 semesters of course work. The program also requires a minimum of  12 credits of dissertation work after all coursework is completed. This results in a minimum of nine semesters of coursework and research to complete the program.

Learn more about Educational Leadership in the video below.