Educational Leadership

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

The Educational Leadership program requires all graduate program applicants to submit:

Applicants must present evidence of at least a 3.0 grade-point average in the last two years of undergraduate work. A grade-point average of 3.50 in prior graduate work is required of those desiring admission to enter a doctoral program. The best-qualified students will be accepted up to the number of spaces available. Special backgrounds and experiences may allow for conditional admission to those not meeting stated criteria, at the discretion of the program.

Applicants are required to submit a writing sample. Applicants should submit a writing sample that reviews and critiques an academic article related to education leadership or education policy that affects education leaders.

Official scores from the GRE, the Miller Analogy Test, or the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) from within the last 5 years are required for admission to doctoral programs.

Degree Requirements

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

All candidates for the M.Ed. degree will complete a minimum of 30 credits, with at least 18 credits at the 500 or 800 level, and at least 6 credits at the 500 level. M.Ed. students also must complete a capstone project/internship as described below.

The three designated emphases for the Educational Leadership M.Ed. are Teacher Leadership, School Leadership, and General Leadership.

Teacher Leadership (Online)

Required Courses
EDLDR 859Planned Change for School Improvement3
EDLDR 861Principles of Instructional Leadership3
EDLDR 801Introduction to Teacher Leadership3
EDLDR 802How Schools Work3
500- or 800-Level Selected Course in EDLDR3
500- or 800-Level Selected Course in EDLDR3
500-Level Selected Course in EDLDR3
500- or 800-Level Open Graduate Elective3
500-Level Open Graduate Elective3
Culminating Experience
EDLDR 894**SPECIAL TOPICS** (Capstone Inquiry Course - Capstone Project)3
Total Credits30

A total of 30 course credits, including EDLDR 894, are required. Further, 18 credits are required at the 500 level or higher, with six credits of selected courses in Educational Leadership and six credits of open elective credits. In total, at least six selected/elective credits must be taken specifically at the 500 level.

The final course (EDLDR 894) is a project-based course that represents the culmination of academic work toward the M.Ed. degree. Course requirements involve the development of a final capstone project focused on evaluation, analysis, or application of concepts first introduced and developed over the course of the student’s M.Ed. program. The project should be planned in coordination with an EDLDR faculty member who agrees to serve as the student’s adviser for this project and must reflect an appropriate degree of graduate-level scholarship, as determined by the adviser.

School Leadership (Online)

Required Courses
EDLDR 841Data Informed Leadership3
EDLDR 859Planned Change for School Improvement3
EDLDR 861Principles of Instructional Leadership3
EDLDR/C-S 551Curriculum Design: Theory and Practice3
EDLDR 480Introduction to Educational Leadership3
EDLDR 831Leadership for Equity and Diversity3
EDLDR 868The Principalship for Aspiring School Leaders3
EDLDR 876Law and Education for Educational Leaders3
EDLDR 873Money and Schools: Perspectives, Finance Policies, and Leadership3
Culminating Experience
EDLDR 595Internship (Capstone Project)3
Total Credits30

A total of 30 course credits, including EDLDR 595, are required. Further, 18 credits are required at the 500 level or higher, with at least six credits to be taken specifically at the 500 level.

The final course (EDLDR 595 ) is a project-based course that represents the culmination of academic work toward the M.Ed. degree. Course requirements involve the development of signature assessments focused on evaluation, analysis, or application of concepts first introduced and developed over the course of the student’s M.Ed. program. The project should be planned in collaboration with an EDLDR faculty member who agrees to serve as the student’s adviser and with a school principal who agrees to serve as the student’s mentor for this project and must reflect an appropriate degree of graduate-level scholarship, as determined by the program.

General M.Ed. (Residential)

Required Courses
EDLDR 480Introduction to Educational Leadership3
EDLDR 532Educational Leadership Doctoral Pro-seminar3
500- or 800-Level Selected Course in EDLDR Strand 13
500- or 800-Level Selected Course in EDLDR Strand 13
500- or 800-Level Selected Course in EDLDR Strand 13
500- or 800-Level Selected Course in EDLDR Strand 13
500- or 800-Level Selected Course in EDLDR Strand 13
500- or 800-Level Selected Course in EDLDR Strand 13
500- or 800-Level Selected Course in EDLDR Strand 13
Culminating Experience
EDLDR 596Individual Studies (Master's Paper)3
Total Credits30

A total of 30 course credits, including EDLDR 596, are required. Further, 18 of those credits are required specifically in Educational Leadership courses. Students should select 18 credits from 6 of the 7 EDLDR strands listed in the handbook.

The final course (EDLDR 596) is a project-based course that represents the culmination of academic work toward the M.Ed. degree. Course requirements involve the development of a final capstone project focused on evaluation, analysis, or application of concepts first introduced and developed over the course of the student’s M.Ed. program. The project should be planned in coordination with an EDLDR faculty member who agrees to serve as the student’s adviser for this project and must reflect an appropriate degree of graduate-level scholarship, as determined by the adviser.

Doctor of Education (D.Ed.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

Expectations of candidates for both the D.Ed. and Ph.D. are high in the field of research competence and require the ability to identify and conceptualize a research problem for the thesis. The D.Ed. is more appropriate for those with career goals in administration and policy making. The Ph.D. is more appropriate for those with career goals in research and scholarship.

A minimum of 90 credits is required for the D.Ed., of which at least 30 credits must be earned in residence at the University Park campus. A maximum of 30 credits from a completed master’s degree earned at an institution that does not grant a doctorate in the student's major program may be accepted towards this minimum, subject to restrictions outlined in GCAC-309 Transfer Credit. A maximum of 60 credits beyond the baccalaureate from an institution that grants the doctorate in the student's major program may be accepted towards this minimum, subject to restrictions outlined in GCAC-309 Transfer Credit.

The 90 required credits, including transfer credits, must be earned in the following:

  • Major Field (48 cr.): In the Major Field Area, D.Ed. students are required to take a minimum of 48 credits in Educational Leadership courses and courses related to the graduate major field. These courses should be selected in consultation with the student’s adviser from a list of areas of concentration and courses that have been approved by the program to fulfill this requirement. If approved, transfer credits may be used to fulfill a portion of this requirement.
  • Minor or General Studies Group (15 cr.): A graduate minor can be taken in any approved graduate degree program offered at Penn State, or in one of the approved stand-alone minors. A general studies group may include up to 6 credits taken as part of previous master’s degree. These courses must be taken outside the EDLDR program. Selection of these courses should be done in close consultation with the student’s academic adviser.
  • Special Education Focused Course (3 cr.): a minimum of 3 credits concerning special education issues in a course approved by the program to fulfill this requirement.
  • Research (9 cr.):
    • 3 credits of quantitative research
    • 3 credits of qualitative research
    • 3 credits of research design or advanced research methods
  • Dissertation Research (15 cr.):EDLDR 600 or EDLDR 610.

Doctoral students must pass a qualifying examination, a comprehensive written and oral examination (the proposal defense), and a final oral examination (the dissertation defense). To earn the D.Ed. degree, doctoral students must also write a dissertation that is accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

Expectations of candidates for both the D.Ed. and Ph.D. are high in the field of research competence and require the ability to identify and conceptualize a research problem for the thesis. The D.Ed. is more appropriate for those with career goals in administration and policy making. The Ph.D. is more appropriate for those with career goals in research and scholarship.

A minimum of 36 credits is required for the Ph.D.:

  • EDLDR Course Work (15 cr.): A minimum of 15 credits chosen in conjunction with the student’s academic adviser from a list of areas of concentration and courses that have been approved by the program to fulfill this requirement.
  • Research Course Requirements (12 cr.):
    • A 3-credit course with statistical focus up to multivariate inference
    • A 3-credit course with focus on qualitative research methods
    • A 3-credit advanced course in either of the above areas (including course work in Mixed Methods)
    • EDLDR 585 Research Design: Implications for Decisions in Higher Education
  • Supporting Field (9 cr.): A minimum of 9 credits selected from outside of the EDLDR program. All supporting field courses should be at the 500-level or above; however, appropriate 400-level courses may be approved by the adviser. As noted above, a student may choose to have research as a supporting field and substitute additional research courses to fulfill this requirement.

Ph.D. students may not enroll in more than 6 credits of independent study.

Doctoral students must pass a qualifying examination, a comprehensive written and oral examination (the proposal defense), and a final oral examination (the dissertation defense). To earn the Ph.D. degree, doctoral students must also write a dissertation that is accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Dual-Titles

Dual-Title M.Ed., D.Ed., and Ph.D. in Comparative and International Education

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Educational Leadership and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Comparative and International Education dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Comparative and International Education Bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Comparative and International Education prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the degree they are enrolled in Educational Leadership. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Comparative and International Education, listed on the Comparative and International Education Bulletin page. Some courses may satisfy both Educational Leadership and Comparative and International Education degree requirements. Final course selection must be approved by the student's doctoral committee.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Educational Leadership and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Comparative and International Education program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both Educational Leadership and Comparative and International Education. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for doctoral committees, the doctoral committee of an Educational Leadership and Comparative and International Education dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the Comparative and International Education Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the doctoral committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Comparative and International Education, the member of the committee representing Comparative and International Education must be appointed as co-chair. The Comparative and International Education representative on the student’s doctoral committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their doctoral committee and reflects their original research and education in Educational Leadership and Comparative and International Education. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Joint Degrees

Joint J.D. / M.Ed., D.Ed., or Ph.D. with Penn State Law

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-211 Joint Degree Programs.

Penn State Law (PSL) and the Educational Leadership (EDLDR) Program offer a joint degree program leading to a Juris Doctor (J.D.); and either a Master of Education (M.Ed), a Doctor of Education (D.Ed) or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Leadership.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the joint degree program must apply and be admitted first to Penn State Law, and subsequently to the Educational Leadership graduate program. Admissions requirements and applications for admission for Penn State Law are listed in the J.D. Admissions section of the Penn State Law website. When applying to the Educational Leadership graduate program, applicants must include two letters of recommendation from Penn State Law faculty members and a career statement. Applicants to the joint degree program may submit LSAT scores instead of GRE scores.

Residency

Students will normally spend four semesters in residence at the Law School and as many additional semesters in residence as needed to complete the additional requirements for the pertinent EDLDR degree. Ph.D. students must arrange the sequence of semesters to ensure that they are in residence as full-time students in the EDLDR program for at least two consecutive semesters (Fall-Spring or Spring-Fall) excluding summer in a single twelve-month period.

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the J.D. program are listed on the Penn State Law website.

PSL: A maximum of twelve credits for EDLDR course work may be double-counted for credit toward the J.D. degree at PSL. Students must obtain a grade satisfactory to PSL for the course work to be credited toward the J.D. degree. The following EDLDR courses may qualify for credit in PSL:

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
EDLDR 533The Politics of Local School Districts3
EDLDR 565Personnel Management and Contract Administration3
EDLDR 568The Principalship3
EDLDR 569Decision Making in Educational Organizations3
EDLDR 573Public School Finance3
EDLDR 576The Law and Education3
EDLDR 577Law and Ethics in Education3

EDLDR: The courses that may be double-counted will be determined by the student’s degree program, and must fall within the limits set in GCAC-211 Joint Degree Programs.Normally a maximum of twelve credits of PSL course work will be counted for credit for the minimum requirements for a master’s degree, subject to approval by the student’s advisory committee.

Sequence

The sequence of courses will be determined by students and their advisers.

Recommended Program of Study and Advising

All students in the program will have two advisers, one from PSL and one from EDLDR. Periodic interaction between the two advisers is encouraged.

Tuition

Students will be charged the applicable PSL tuition to cover the J.D. program and the applicable graduate tuition to cover the EDLDR degree program. PSL tuition will be paid for the semesters in which the student is registered for PSL courses, and graduate tuition will be paid for the semesters in which the student is registered for graduate courses. A student may take up to one course (3 credit hours) per semester in the program where the student is not primarily registered without any change in tuition, but must pay additional tuition to the program that the student is not primarily registered if he or she wishes to take additional course work pursuant to that program during the semester.

Financial Aid and Assistantships

Decisions on financial aid and assistantships will be made by each school according to that school’s procedures.

Fulfillment of Degree Requirements and Graduation

All courses in one program that will count toward meeting the requirements of the other program must be completed before the awarding of either degree. If students accepted into the joint degree program are unable to complete the J.D. degree, they are still eligible to receive the EDLDR degree if all EDLDR degree requirements have been satisfied.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Educational Leadership Program (EDLDR) Course List

Learning Outcomes

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

  1. Demonstrate mastery of the student’s specific program emphasis area, which includes knowledge of primary and secondary literature related to research methodologies, programmatic research priorities, and implications of that research for professional practice. Assessed through methods and theory coursework.
  2. Students will design and carry out a research project that includes articulating an important and original question, analyzing appropriate literature, demonstrating conceptual and methodological creativity, and carrying out an original inquiry. Assessed through master’s paper.
  3. Demonstrate critical thinking about selected recent research in the program emphasis area through the description of an emerging scholarly theme/area, identification of specific publications that reflect it, and assessment of its strengths and weaknesses. Assessed through coursework and master's paper.
  4. Demonstrate standards of field in written and oral communication by requiring research presentations in several courses.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of research ethics issues including knowledge of ethical principles related to authorship, research reporting, data fabrication, plagiarism, conflicts of interest, peer review, data sharing and other areas of misconduct. Assessed through SARI examinations and participation.

Doctor of Education (D.Ed.)

  1. Demonstrate mastery of the student’s specific program emphasis area, which includes knowledge of primary and secondary literature related to research methodologies, programmatic research priorities, and implications of that research for professional practice. Assessed through candidacy and comprehensive exams (rubric).
  2. Students will design and carry out a research project that includes articulating an important and original question, analyzing appropriate literature, demonstrating conceptual and methodological creativity, and carrying out an original inquiry. Assessed through dissertation proposal and defense (rubric).
  3. Demonstrate critical thinking about selected recent research in the program emphasis area through the description of an emerging scholarly theme/area, identification of specific publications that reflect it, and assessment of its strengths and weaknesses. Assessed through written and oral candidacy assessment (rubric).
  4. Demonstrate standards of field in written and oral communication by (a) preparing a qualifying paper for Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy (b) preparing and presenting a written thesis proposal/comprehensive exam for the dissertation, and c) preparing and presenting the results of dissertation research in clear, concise oral presentations to an audience of peers. Assessed through qualifying paper, thesis proposal and dissertation defense.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of research ethics issues including knowledge of ethical principles related to authorship, research reporting, data fabrication, plagiarism, conflicts of interest, peer review, data sharing and other areas of misconduct. Assessed through SARI examinations and participation in EPS 585 and 586.
  6. Participate in conducting research with faculty, working on the boards of professional journals, teaching an undergraduate or graduate course, or other significant professional engagement as identified by the doctoral adviser. Assessed through faculty written evaluation, standardized assessment instruments, and/or other appropriate and clearly defined means.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

  1. Demonstrate mastery of the student’s specific program emphasis area, which includes knowledge of primary and secondary literature related to research methodologies, programmatic research priorities, and implications of that research for professional practice. Assessed through candidacy and comprehensive exams (rubric).
  2. Students will design and carry out a research project that includes articulating an important and original question, analyzing appropriate literature, demonstrating conceptual and methodological creativity, and carrying out an original inquiry. Assessed through dissertation proposal and defense (rubric).
  3. Demonstrate critical thinking about selected recent research in the program emphasis area through the description of an emerging scholarly theme/area, identification of specific publications that reflect it, and assessment of its strengths and weaknesses. Assessed through written and oral candidacy assessment (rubric).
  4. Demonstrate standards of field in written and oral communication by (a) preparing a qualifying paper for Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy (b) preparing and presenting a written thesis proposal for the dissertation , and c) preparing and presenting the results of dissertation research in clear, concise oral presentations to an audience of peers. Assessed through qualifying paper, thesis proposal and dissertation defense.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of research ethics issues including knowledge of ethical principles related to authorship, research reporting, data fabrication, plagiarism, conflicts of interest, peer review, data sharing and other areas of misconduct. Assessed through SARI examinations and participation in EPS 585 and 586.
  6. Participate in conducting research with faculty, working on the boards of professional journals, teaching an undergraduate or graduate course, or other significant professional engagement as identified by the doctoral adviser. Assessed through faculty written evaluation, standardized assessment instruments, and/or other appropriate and clearly defined means.

Professional Licensure/Certification

Many U.S. states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.

Contact

Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Kevin Paul Kinser
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Edward J Fuller
Program Contact

Barbara Lynn Duncan
200 Rackley Bldg.
University Park PA 16802
bld11@psu.edu
(814) 865-1487

Program Website View
Campus World Campus
Graduate Program Head Kevin Paul Kinser
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Edward J Fuller
Program Contact

Barbara Lynn Duncan
200 Rackley Bldg
University Park PA 16802
bld11@psu.edu
(814) 865-1487

Program Website View