Jun 21, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2023-2024 
USC Catalogue 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Educational Leadership (EdD)

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The purpose of the Doctorate of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership program is to build critically conscious leaders who can take actions to eliminate inequities that affect educational and learning opportunities and outcomes for children and adults in urban contexts. This three-year degree program is geared toward working professionals who aspire to advance and extend their reach as leaders in urban education. Admission requires an earned master’s degree and a minimum of three years of work experience in a related field; other earned terminal degrees may be considered in lieu of a master’s degree if they are eligible for advanced standing within the University.

Areas of Concentration

Students are admitted to the program under one of four areas of concentration: K-12 Leadership in Urban School Settings, Educational Psychology, Higher Education Administration, or Leading Instructional Change. Concentrations are not indicated on the diploma, which will read “Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership” for all concentrations.

Preliminary Review

The EdD in Educational Leadership preliminary review must be completed before the student has earned 21 units. Passing the preliminary review is a prerequisite to continuing in the program. The faculty governance committee will determine the preliminary review requirements and the process will be administered by the program office.

Dissertation in Practice Advisement Committee

Each student works with a three-member advisement committee, led by their committeee chair.

The committee chair must have a full-time faculty appointment in the Rossier School of Education. A second member of the committee must also have a full-time faculty appointment in the Rossier School of Education. One member of the committee may be external to the Rossier School of Education, such as a faculty member elsewhere or a full-time professional educator who holds a doctorate and brings strength to the committee in the area of the dissertation topic or methodology. If an external member is to be on the committee, this person must be nominated by the committee chair and approved by the director of the EdD program.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy is a formal action taken by the faculty of the Rossier School of Education. This action is based on passing the qualifying examination as part of the dissertation in practice.

Unit Requirement

The EdD requires completion of 60 units of course work. Students admitted with Advanced Standing complete a minimum of 43 units.


In consultation with advisers, students must complete 12 units of elective course work aligned with their areas of concentration.

Dissertation in Practice

The dissertation in practice is a doctoral capstone designed for practitioner-scholars to identify and address a problem of practice in the candidate’s domain of focus. A dissertation in practice shows technical mastery of a special field and skills of a practitioner-scholar. The student must be enrolled in EDUE 784a  (or EDUE 784b , EDUE 784c , EDUE 784d , EDUE 784z ) each fall and spring semester after admission to candidacy until the dissertation in practice has been approved. Seven units of dissertation in practice course work, including 1 unit of EDUE 784a and 1 unit of EDUE 784b, is required.

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