Graduate Program Educational Leadership

PSU Educational Leadership doctoral student studying

Educational Leadership Doctorate Overview

Our doctoral program in educational leadership provides working professionals with an in-depth understanding of what it means to be a leader in their field. Through our graduate program's in-person and online course offerings, you will deepen your understanding of research and leadership, and strengthen your 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. Students with an EdD from Portland State will be qualified for a variety of leadership positions in various public or private contexts. Most of our students are currently working in a setting related to their specialization as educational leaders or are seeking work in similar settings in schools or universities.

Degree Details

  • D
    Total Credits
    Start Term
    Varies by Specialization

Educational Leadership Doctorate: Why PSU?

Portland State’s doctoral program in Educational Leadership expands the capacity of formal and informal educational leaders for providing leadership that makes a positive and significant difference in the lives of the members of the communities and professional fields they serve.

The EdD program seeks to balance concept acquisition, critical reflection, engagement with social justice, and skill development within a supportive and challenging educational framework. This perspective is derived directly from our College of Education Guiding Principles, the Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate’s (CPED) Working Principles for the Professional Practice Doctorate in Education, and the doctoral program learning outcomes.

Our core and specialization coursework reflects our philosophy delivered through a cohort (group) learning environment. To support working professionals, the EdD Program provides a hybrid model including face-to-face and online learning environments where students work individually and in groups to learn.

What can I do with a Doctorate in Educational Leadership?

Our graduates have gone on to work in competitive roles in positions including:

  • Chief academic officer
  • Chief learning officer
  • Education administrator
  • Community college instructor
  • Director of student services
  • Student affairs professional
  • Fundraising director
  • Education consultant
  • School principal
  • School dean
  • Superintendent
  • Social services director
  • Community service manager
  • Curriculum writer
  • Research writer
  • Community education leader

Program Specializations

We have an integrated doctoral program defined by specializations: Administration (K-12); Curriculum and Instruction (PreK-12); Postsecondary Education; and Special Education. Please refer to our Admissions page for more information.

  • The Administration (K-12) specialization is designed primarily for individuals who wish to increase their skills in the leadership and management of educational organizations and the study of educational policy in a K-12 setting.
  • The Curriculum and Instruction (PreK-12) specialization focuses on strengthening the leadership of those who seek to impact curriculum, teaching, and learning across an array of educational settings.
  • The Postsecondary specialization emphasizes the development of postsecondary educational leaders equipped with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to leverage and sustain inclusive and transformative learning environments and organizations.
  • The Special Education specialization emphasizes program leadership in school, community, and other agencies serving special needs of youth and adults.


  • ED 620 Doctoral Studies Proseminar
  • ED 630 Principles and Practices of Learning
  • ED 640 Organizational Leadership Theory and Research in Education
  • ED 650 Educational Policy and Politics
  • ED 660 Foundations of Research Paradigms & Methods
  • ED 661 Qualitative Research in Education
  • ED 662 Quantitative Research in Education

Students will complete a minimum of 27 hours of coursework in their specialization, complete a comprehensive examination, dissertation, and must fulfill the residency requirement after admission to the doctoral program.


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).