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Doctorate (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership

Become a more efficient leader that manages and tackles problems in the education system. This 100% online Ed.D. online program is for education professionals with a master's degree who seek a career as directors, assistant directors, school district leaders, administrative or academic deans, and other types of leadership roles in educationally-based organizations.

Students enjoy the flexibility of completing their studies online. Exams and defense are all completed remotely. Students will be required to participate in synchronous online program activities 5-6 times per semester.

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At a Glance

Fall 2025

Application Due Date:
Start Date:

Credits and Tuition Cost (2023-2024)

Credits Required: 46
Cost Per Credit: $737.00


Online in Real-time

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Learn more about the Educational Leadership online program.
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Doctorate in Educational Leadership overview

Program format
Online in Real-time
Total credits
Total Credits
Degree awarded
Degree Awarded

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What You'll Learn


Designed for the working educational professional who wants to gain expertise for a research-intensive career, this rigorous, online program can be completed in as little as four years. As a student in this program you will:

  • Improve your leadership skills and develop strategies to create organizational change and organizational learning.
  • Apply theoretical concepts and frameworks to educational problems and identify best practices for addressing those problems.
  • Use action research to diagnose problems in educational settings, identify innovative solutions, and assess outcomes.
  • Develop a professional network of faculty and program alumni who will help you navigate problems in your organization.

*This program requires some synchronous classes, usually on a Saturday or in the evening. 

Course Examples

  • EDL 700 Knowledge Base*
  • EDL 701 Leadership in Educational Organizations I*
  • EDL 702 Leadership for Organizational Learning*
  • EDL 703 Leading Organizational Change
  • EDL 571 Design Thinking in Education
  • EDL 669 Leadership for Creative Problem Solving
  • EDL 620 Introduction to Action Research
  • EDL 621 Seminar in Educational Leadership: Leading Action Research and Inquiry II
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Connect with a Program Representative

Schedule time to meet with a program representative one-on-one.

How to Apply

Application Requirements

On the UK Graduate School application, please select Degree: Doctoral, Program: Educational Leadership

Standard graduate application requirements apply.

  • Professional Resume: This should provide your name, contact information, postsecondary education (all degrees, years awarded, institution names, emphasis area), work experiences, professional certifications, professional memberships, publications, research experiences, and Honors/Awards.
  • Personal Statement: Submit an up to 2-page personal statement addressing the following prompts. The paper should be double-spaced, in Times New Roman 12-point font.
      Why do you want to complete an Ed.D. in educational leadership studies?
       Why have you chosen to apply to this particular program?
       What are your interests related to current problems of practice that can be addressed through action research?
       How does this program align with your career goal as a leader and practitioner scholar?
  • DEI Statement: Please provide a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) statement. The statement should address multiple facets of how your values and experiences advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in your work. Your statement should reflect the relative importance of these issues to your work and reveal your personal commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The DEI statement should be one double-spaced page, with 1-inch margins and 12-point Times New Roman.
  • Academic Recommendation (Only email address required. Our system will ask them to upload their letter.): A recommendation from someone who has earned a doctoral degree and serves in an academic institution is preferred. This recommender should be able to speak to your ability to successfully navigate doctoral-level coursework and complete independent research.
  • Professional Recommendation (Only email address required. Our system will ask them to upload their letter.): Recommender should be able to speak to your creativity, ability to navigate systems, and critical thinking skills.
  • On-Demand Writing Assessment: Each applicant participates in an on-demand writing task as part of the application process. Schedule a date here.

Admissions Criteria

Standard graduate admission requirements apply.

  1. A graduate degree (M.A.) from an accredited college or university
  2. A GPA of 3.5 or higher
  3. Two recommendations (Only email address required. Our system will ask them to upload their letter.)
    At least 1 (one) from an academic reference, preferably someone who has earned a doctoral degree and serves in an academic institution. The recommendation should speak to your ability to successfully navigate doctoral level coursework and complete independent action research study.
    At least 1 (one) from a professional reference who can speak to your ability to lead, work as a team member, creativity, ability to navigate systems, and manage change within an organization.
  4. Completed a graduate-level basic statistics course with a grade of B or higher. 
  5. Completed a graduate-level basic statistics course with a grade of B or higher. 
    • Applicants to the Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership Studies must understand statistical concepts and the associated reasoning and critical thinking skills with those concepts such that they are prepared for our program’s advanced action research courses. Therefore, applicants demonstrate proficiency in basic statistical concepts and techniques that constitute the foundation of quantitative strands in action research. Students are required to show they have passed a course or met the requirement before August 15 the semester they start classes. Basic descriptive statistics, correlation, normal distributions and hypothesis testing (including correlation and regression) should be covered. An emphasis should be placed on exploratory data analysis and interpretation of results within the broad contexts of education and/or evaluation. You should provide an official course description or syllabus of the course. If you have not taken such a course, you may:
      •  Complete EPE 558 or EDP 558 before August 15th of the year of admission to Educational Leadership Studies. Increasingly, EPE 558 and EDP 558 are being offered online. Applicants and students should check with those departments to determine offerings each semester -OR-
      • Show proof of completion of the following Open Learning Initiative entitled “Statistical Reasoning,” found here: It’s self-paced and free for independent learners.

Program Contact

Beth Rous
Program Chair


Fall 2025

Application Due Date:
Start Date:

Distance Learning

Licensure & Authorization

Where you live matters when completing distance education activities. If you will live outside of Kentucky while completing your program, please check the Distance Learning Authorization & Licensure page to confirm that the program can be offered in your state or country, and if relevant, that it meets professional licensure requirements in your state. Please note: Admission and enrollment in a fully-online program can NOT lead to the issuance of a J-1 or F-1 student visa. 

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University of Kentucky has been approved to participate in State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

Student Support

Once you become a student, you will have access to a wide variety of academic support services to maximize your success. These services are available completely online to meet the needs of our online students.

Why UK Online


No test scores required.

One tuition rate

Pay the same online tuition rate, no matter where you live.

UK degree

Degrees are conferred by the University of Kentucky, an accredited university.

Grad tuition cap

Save money by paying for only 9 standard credit hours per semester, even if you take more.


Not only has the program given me an opportunity to collaborate with educational leaders from across the country, but it has also helped to change the way I think about addressing the challenges we face in public education.
Jesse Bacon
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