Doctor of Education in Leadership


Program Details

City University of Seattle's Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership program equips leaders to address leadership challenges, produce data-driven solutions and teach sustainable business practices. This online program offers four concentrations to prepare leaders for a future in education institutions, nonprofit organizations, and private sector corporations:
  • organizational leadership
  • higher education
  • educational leadership for P-12 with superintendent or principal/program administrator certification
  • specialized study

CityU of Seattle's faculty members are leaders and practitioners in their field who provide rigorous course content and bring the concepts to life with pertinent stories that illuminate difficult-to-grasp ideas.

Flexible, Online Learning Options

CityU's fully online doctoral program in leadership offers a robust set of optional in-person elements including networking events, seminars, orientation, support and writing labs, and optional in-person residencies. Our flexible course schedule allows you to fit the program into your life while our schedule alignment services ensure your course load stays consistent and predictable.

You can finish the program in anywhere from four to five years, depending on your cadence. Let our talented advisors help you discover what our online doctorate in leadership could look like for you.

Where CityU Can Take You

Upon graduation, you'll have the necessary tools to assume a senior leadership position in an organization, university or public school system. Many of our graduates move on to impactful careers as superintendents, principals, program administrators, and corporate executives (C-suite).

Get Started Today!

If you currently hold a master's degree from an accredited university, CityU's online doctoral program in leadership can equip you to accomplish meaningful change in your district or organization. Start your future today by contacting a CityU advisor.


The Ed.D. program is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

* 66 Course Credits, plus the Dissertation Components
Pre-Entry Requirement (1)
LDRD 600
The Pre-Entry requirement is required but is not included in the program credits for degree completion.
Leadership Core Courses (18)
LDRD 606
LDRD 607
LDRD 609
LDRD 611
LDRD 613
Research Core Courses (15)
LDRD 617
LDRD 619
LDRD 621
LDRD 623
LDRD 625
Comprehensive Exams (6)
LDRD 680
LDRD 681
Dissertation (18)
Residencies (3)
LDRD 601
LDRD 602
LDRD 603

Concentration Area (30)

Organizational Leadership Concentration (30)
The Organizational Leadership concentration prepares current and future leaders to meet the challenges facing their organizations in a complex globalized workplace. Areas within the concentration teach leaders the skills they will need to generate trust, empower others, and implement innovative and strategic solutions. Through scholarly research, students will apply theoretical leadership models with collaborative decision-making to promote ethical and sustainable organizations. A broad knowledge of systems-thinking will prepare students to lead diverse organizational change that uses internal and external resources through stakeholder collaboration.
LDRD 630
LDRD 632
LDRD 634
LDRD 636
LDRD 638
LDRD 640
LDRD 642
LDRD 644
LDRD 646
LDRD 648
Higher Education Concentration (30)
The Higher Education concentration prepares graduates for leadership roles within colleges and universities, in particular in student development, academic support, academic leadership, and administration. Students will expand leadership skills to direct higher education programs, institutions, and agencies through analysis, self-reflection, and best practical application in the workplace. This concentration also provides broad knowledge of social, political, and economic forces at work in society as they relate to higher education institutions. Students become informed leaders through the utilization of scholarly research and theoretical models applied to experiential situations.
LDRD 648
LDRD 650
LDRD 652
LDRD 654
LDRD 656
LDRD 658
LDRD 660
LDRD 662
LDRD 664
LDRD 668
Educational Leadership Concentration - Superintendent Certification (30)

The Educational Leadership - Superintendent Certification concentration provides students with an individualized approach to learning. This specialty is designed for practicing district and school administrators and education leaders. The concentration is a natural fit for those on an executive leadership track in P-12 public and private schools, school systems, and other related organizations. In addition to a doctoral degree, students may simultaneously work toward Washington state certification as a superintendent.

EDLD 649
EDLD 652
EDLD 654
EDLD 656
EDLD 659
EDLD 681
EDLD 682
EDLD 683
Choose one of the following:
EDLD 641
EDLD 671
Choose one of the following:
EDLD 642
EDLD 672
Choose one of the following:
EDLD 643
EDLD 673
Choose one of the following:
EDLD 670
EDLD 680
Choose one of the following:
EDLD 674
EDLD 684
Educational Leadership Concentration - Principal or Program Administrator (30)
The Educational Leadership - Principal or Program Administrator concentration provides students with an individualized approach to learning. This specialty is designed for practicing education leaders and classroom teachers. The concentration is a natural fit for those on a leadership track in P-12 public and private schools, school systems, and other related organizations. In addition to a doctoral degree, students may simultaneously work toward Washington state certification as a principal or program administrator.
EEA 520
EEA 521
EEA 524
EEA 525
EEA 527
EEA 533
EEA 605
EEA 606
EEA 607
EEA 620
EEA 621
EEA 622
Specialized Study Concentration (30)
The Specialized Study concentration allows students to frame a degree focus in a specific area consistent with their current or anticipated field of interest or specialization. Students will develop the skills they need to generate trust, empower others, and implement innovative and strategic solutions in their field of concentration, demonstrating academic rigor and scholarly research throughout their course of study. Students can build on any prior graduate focus, augmented with courses from the several doctoral concentrations and from other CityU master’s programs to best design their proposed course of study. Students work with their advisor to identify the courses required for the specialized study concentration and document the rationale for the selections; this concentration proposal is subject to approval by the director.

Doctoral Program Orientation

All students admitted to the doctoral program will participate in a doctoral program orientation before the start of fall quarter. Students can choose an entirely online orientation option or combination of meeting in-person in Seattle and completing subsequent online activities prior to the start of class.

During this orientation, students will learn more about the program, including course delivery, writing and research requirements needed for program completion. Students also will hear presentations from faculty, receive hands-on experience with the program's first course, and interact with faculty and fellow classmates at networking events and meals.

Times, activities, fees and travel details (for those visiting from outside of the area) will be provided as a part of the admissions materials.

Program Delivery

The Ed.D. program is offered entirely online with the option to attend two-day residencies in Seattle during the summer quarters.

Upon enrollment, all students become part of a cohort designed to foster "Communities of Practice" to learn to work in teams for the purposes of professional networking, group mentoring, and peer support.

Program Sections

The Ed.D. program is offered in three sections:
  • Section one - Students enroll in mandatory research and leadership core courses that build a foundation for further doctoral study. The core consists of 11 courses - six covering core leadership and five addressing necessary research skills. Once the last core class is finished, students should complete the first comprehensive exam.
  • Section two - Students select one of four program concentrations: Educational Leadership P-12 (with Superintendent or Principal/School Administrator certification), Higher Education, Organizational Leadership or Specialized Study. They must complete a series of courses related to the concentration and will complete a comprehensive exam at the end of the concentration.
  • Section three - Once the comprehensive exams are successfully completed, students may start working on their dissertations. The dissertation is a significant research project that will be completed in three parts: prospectus, proposal and final dissertation.
    • In the prospectus, students will present their intended research topic and describe their proposed methods for investigating their chosen problem.
    • In the proposal, students will have the opportunity to take a much closer look at their research problem and the relevant literature. They will propose a clear methodology for conducting their research.
    • In the final dissertation, students will report on the significance of their research and will prepare their findings for publication.


During the summers, students will complete three residency requirements in addition to their coursework. These residencies will focus on providing writing and research skills needed for success on the comprehensive exams and dissertation.

The first residency will focus on the skills needed to begin development of the Problem Statement, Purpose Statement, and Research Question sections of the Dissertation Prospectus.

The second residency will focus on the skills needed for composing literature reviews and methods sections of an applied dissertation in leadership.

The third residency will focus on the skills needed to prepare the findings and conclusions of the student's dissertation. Students will also plan for their defense and explore strategies for dissemination.

Program Entry Requirements

Students must have and/or complete the following entrance requirements to join the Ed.D. program:
  1. Hold a master’s degree from an accredited or otherwise recognized institution.
  2. Provide a resume/C.V. that demonstrates two or more years in a leadership capacity.
  3. Provide three references with name, title, email, and phone contact information for professional, academic, or other associates who can attest to the student’s ability to be successful in a doctoral program.
    • One reference must be a current supervisor.
    • For the Principal, Superintendent, and Program Administrator certifications, a second reference must be an Executive/District Administrator.
  4. Submit responses to the Admissions Statement Questions.
  5. Provide proof of English proficiency according to established university policy.
  6. Complete an interview with a member of the program faculty. Note: You will be contacted to schedule an interview once all of the application materials have been submitted.

Admission Procedures

The application for admission can be completed online and the applicant will then need to obtain official transcripts from previous institutions which should be sent directly to the admissions office at City University of Seattle. You will also need to complete the Doctor of Education in Leadership program admission packet.

Each applicant will then need to submit their resume/CV, references, and admissions statement.

Only when all of these items have been received will the interview with the program faculty be scheduled. Once the materials have been reviewed and the interview has been conducted, the program faculty will make a decision regarding program admission and notify the prospective student.

Application Deadline

Applications are accepted throughout the year, and fully qualified applicants are admitted year-round on a first-come, first-served basis. All applications for fall quarter start must be received by September 20. Candidates will be interviewed and admissions decisions will be made as applications are received. All admissions decisions will be completed by September 30. Late applications are taken into consideration and handled on a space-available basis.