VCU Bulletins

Leadership, Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Clark, Dr. Henry T.
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
(804) 828-3382

Cypres, Dr. Autumn
Department Chair, Educational Leadership
(804) 828-1940

Admission requirements summary

Leadership, Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

of entry:


Feb. 15

Special requirements:
At least three years of leadership experience in field of work, a professional vita/resume and artifacts as evidence of leadership required. Applicants must meet GPA and other general admission requirements of the Graduate School.

Detailed information about deadlines and the contents of the application packet is available on the Department of Educational Leadership’s Ed.D. in Leadership web page.


The purpose of the Ed.D. in Leadership is to provide leaders with authentic experiences, appropriate knowledge and skills, and opportunities for reflection that will enable them to succeed in organizational leadership positions. Three analytic lenses — equity, accountability and learning environments — will guide learning activities and enable students from varying backgrounds to consider learning through common perspectives.

Students will examine cases built around enduring questions in the field and examine these questions through three lenses: learning, equity and accountability. Questions will be explored through contrasting evidence from economic, systems, legal, human relations and political data and perspectives. The program content and assessments will correlate to common curriculum elements across perspectives.

Program features

The Ed.D. in Leadership is a 48-hour, 36-month program. Based upon principles of adult learning, the program has the following features:

Student learning outcomes

  1. At the beginning of the Ed.D. program, participants create an online digital portfolio site that consists of two elements: (a) a blog that provides a venue for reflection on their learning and (b) a collection of artifacts that attest to their learning as a leader, with each artifact specifically related to their involvement in the Ed.D. program. Participants populate both elements of the portfolio at their own discretion throughout the first year. In the concluding month of the first year in the Ed.D. program, participants individually present their portfolios to a review team of two faculty members who rate the quality of the educational experience as reflected in each participant?s portfolio.
  2. During the second year of the Ed.D. program, participants work in teams to complete evaluations of programs currently in use in their workplaces. Teams confer with workplace supervisors to develop goals and objectives, review literature related to the program they are evaluating, design an evaluation study, collect and analyze data, and develop conclusions and recommendations. The final products include a formal report, an executive summary and two presentations: one to the workplace supervisor and a second to the other program participants.
  3. Graduate students must be approved for degree candidacy status by the Graduate School to be eligible to receive a graduate degree. Participants who meet the following criteria are eligible for candidacy status, upon recommendation of their faculty advisers.
  4. Capstone project: Candidates collaborate in teams of three or four to design, implement, analyze and defend a study of an issue identified by an organizational client. Participating organizational clients describe the issue that they propose for study, and affinity groups of three or four candidates coalesce around issues of personal academic and professional interest, familiarity and expertise. Under the supervision of a faculty member with appropriate academic credentials, each team of students develops a response to the proposal of that team?s preferred organizational client. The team?s response contains a projected research design and time line. If this is accepted on behalf of the organizational client by the appropriate representative (referred to as ?the client? in the following), an informal contract agreement is signed. Candidates commence review of extant literature related to the issue and gather preliminary data utilizing sources identified by the client. This preliminary phase culminates in the defense of a capstone proposal to the team?s committee. Capstone committee members are graduate faculty members. Each committee consists of a chair, who is the supervisor of the team?s initial research activities, and two additional members. Once the capstone proposal is defended, the team begins to collect its own current data pertaining to the issue identified by the client. Each capstone committee member independently reviews the work of the team as work proceeds. After one semester of the capstone project, each team presents and defends to the capstone committee and the client separately an interim report, which may include a revised time line. If this interim report is approved, each team proceeds to complete the collection of data, analyze the data, draws conclusions on the basis of the data analysis and prepares both an executive summary and a full report on the client?s issue. Toward the end of the second semester of the capstone project, each team presents and defends both the executive summary and the full report to the capstone committee and the client separately.



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Last update: 2/10/2014

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