Degree Requirements

Educational Leadership program prepares leaders for real-world inquiry, giving graduates the ability to effectively use data and information to lead successful organizations. The doctoral program consists of a core curriculum in leadership studies, courses in a professional concentration, intentional internships and independent studies all organized to meet the needs of our students. We believe this individualized approach to learning contributes to the program's high completion rate, with 85% of our EDLR students completing the program. Learn more about learning outcomes here

Doctorate in Education (EdD)

Leadership Requirements (36 credits)

After an intensive summer introduction for the new cohort, participants in the doctoral program are involved in seminars that focus on the Leader as Self, Leader in Organizations, and Leader in a Global and Interdependent World. Students also engage in year-long projects, culminating in an oral leadership defense.

  • EDLR 6000: Leadership: Orientation 
  • EDLR 6050: Empower Leaders/ Social Justice 
  • EDLR 6210, 6220, 6230: Leader as Self 
  • EDLR 6310, 6320, 6330: Leader in Organizations 
  • EDLR 6410, 6420, 6430: Leader in Global World 

Research Requirements (30 credits)

The EDLR at SU includes a capstone Thematic Dissertation in Practice research component, requiring each student to conduct inquiry relevant to information needs of a learning organization. Students form thematic dissertation groups led by at least one doctoral faculty mentor and organized around broad, complex, organization-based issues or problems relevant to leadership. Lines of inquiry are tied to the professional concentration areas supported by the EDLR Program: K-12 leadership, Adult/Postsecondary/ Higher Education, Spirituality, Public/Non-Profit Leadership. The research concludes with a culminating project-based dissertation and leadership defense.

  • EDLR 6160: Research Methods 
  • EDLR 6170: Quantitative Methods 
  • EDLR 6180: Qualitative Methods 
  • EDLR 6190: Participatory Approaches to Social Inquiry
  • EDLR 6510, 6520, 6530: Thematic Dissertation in Leadership Practice

Concentration Requirements: (24-36 credits)  

Offering professional formation for practicing leaders, the concentration areas provide a variety of choices that allow participants to build upper-level skills aligned with their professional goals. Research in an area of concentration that is most meaningful to the student leads to real-life skill development.

  • Adult, Post-Secondary and Higher Education (24 credits): For current or future higher education leaders who would gain additional expertise in education finance and law, instructional leadership, adult learning and student development
  • Principal (36 credits):  For aspiring school leaders who wish to move into leadership roles; meets Washington State requirements for principal certification
  • Program Administrators (35 credits): For instructional leaders preparing for district-level positions in curriculum, special education, professional development and other areas
  • Spiritual Leadership (24 credits): For those who seek higher-level positions as religious leaders
  • Public/Non-Profit Leadership (30 credits): For leaders seeking options to strengthen skills in public agency management, policy development, and analysis, and for those whose work contributes to the efforts of non-profit organizations engaged in issues of social justice and global change. 
  • Health Systems Leadership (24 credits): For those working in healthcare administration who are interested in improvising their leadership and knowledge.

Learning Goals

As a result of successful completion of the Seattle University EDLR Program, graduates are:

  • Ethical leaders in service to their organizations and communities.
  • Reflective leaders who integrate theory and research for effective practice.
  • Competent professional leaders in their chosen fields.
  • Culturally competent leaders in an interdependent world.

Our goal is to educate who are:

  • value centered
  • committed to service and social justice for the common good
  • professional
  • reflective
  • holistic
  • interdisciplinary
  • creative
  • visionary
  • scholarly
  • effective interpersonally and as a leader in organizations 
  • committed to and possessing the conceptual knowledge and skills to lead in diverse communities and in the interdependent world

Student Outcomes

EDLR successful program graduates are able to:

  • Demonstrate ethical standards in all leadership practices.
  • Demonstrate responsiveness to the varying needs of communities and organizations and recognize the strengths of working with diverse populations. 
  • Develop practical leadership skills to build effective team-oriented approaches through collaboration and consensus building.
  • Exhibit leadership behaviors such as: effective strategic thinking, problem solving, reflection and community building.
  • Develop skills for designing, critiquing and implementing relevant research to affect practice, advance social justice, and enact effective change.
  • Create responses to changing community, organizational and group environments and problems.
  • Create appropriate and unique solutions and develop adaptive learning organizations. 
  • Demonstrate oral and written communication competency.