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Educational Leadership Doctoral (EdD) Program

Program Benefits

The Graduate School of Education’s Educational Leadership Doctoral Program (EdD) is designed for those who want to take leadership positions in their communities and make a positive impact to foster change toward a more just society. Our focus is to develop leaders who anticipate and respond to the changing concerns and lifelong educational needs of community members, whether in schools, colleges, businesses, government organizations, or social service agencies. As such, we seek a wide range of candidates who are committed to creating and leading inclusive and diverse learning organizations with a focus on social justice. We are a consortium member of the Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate (CPED), a knowledge forum on the EdD designed to increase not only the rigor but also the applicability of a doctoral degree for the working professional.

Who is this program for?

This program is for working professionals who seek an advanced degree, a doctorate in education, to deepen their understanding of research and leadership, and to strengthen their communication skills in current or aspiring leadership positions. This program is for those who want to read, think about and understand education broadly from Pre-K to career. All students select a specialization area that represents the particular context in which they will work in the future. Specializations include Curriculum and Instruction, Administration, Postsecondary Education, and Special Education.

What kind of job can I get with an EdD?

Students with an EdD from Portland State will be qualified for a variety of leadership positions in various public or private contexts. As noted, our students focus on one of four specializations: Administration, Curriculum and Instruction, Postsecondary Education and Special Education. Most of our students are currently working in a setting related to their specialization as an educational leader or are seeking work in similar settings in schools or universities. Students find employment as educational leaders such as superintendents of school districts, directors of student affairs, curriculum directors in school districts, teacher educators in universities, and other leadership positions.

Program Format

Cohort model, core classes

All students work together as a group, referred to as a “cohort”, taking all EdD core classes together (27 credits over two years). Students have the opportunity to work with other students who are in different areas along the education continuum from Pre-K to educational administration to higher education professionals.

Cohort model, specializations

Students work in smaller groups or cohorts within each specialization (27 credits over two years) with one exception. The administration specialization is a cohort but may have a different schedule because students also work to receive their administrative license during the program.

Convenient scheduling for working professional

Our hybrid model includes face-to-face class sessions for six of ten weekends during the 11-week quarter term (Friday night and Saturday) with online work during the non-face-to-face weeks.

Online components

Our hybrid model for class scheduling allows students more time to fit the coursework into their busy professional life. The hybrid model also means some of the classes are online and others are face-to-face. In the case of the EdD, all classes meet for six weeks every other week during the term. Desire-to-Learn (D2L) online course management system eases communication. PSU’s library includes many online resources (e.g., catalog, databases, articles), which can support students’ research.

Writing support

The EdD program offers a writing support class each term to assist timely completion of the dissertation proposal and the dissertation, key benchmarks in the program.


Student learning is supported through the use of rubrics for key doctoral program milestones: core comprehensive exam paper, dissertation proposal, and dissertation.

Deadlines to support completion

The university residency and the core comprehensive exam paper requirements will be met by Winter term in Year 2. Residency (nine graduate credits per term) will be met by the end of the first year, and the core comprehensive exam must be passed by January 1 of the second year. (**Educational administration specialization residency requirement follows a more flexible format.). Passing these program requirements early leads to more timely completion of the program overall.


For additional information, please explore the program using the links on the left.