Ed.D. In Educational Leadership

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The Ed.D. program in Department of Educational Leadership will prepare you to be an effective leader in an evolving 21st century educational environment. Graduates of our program assume mid-level and senior-level leadership positions in P-12 public and private schools, colleges and universities, and government settings. The program is geared toward working professionals.

We offer three academic concentrations:

Higher Education

Learning, Design and Technology

P-12 Superintendency (School and District Level Leadership).

The curriculum is divided into core or foundational courses, concentration specific, research, and applied dissertation coursework.  We emphasize coursework that is the scholarly underpinning for improved practice and research that is applicable for leaders to solve complex educational issues.  Doctoral students frequently work independently, but many courses embed collaborative assignments. The intentional sequencing of coursework, qualifying examinations, and advising are designed to culminate in an applied dissertation that addresses a specific professional problem of practice through research.

Admission requirements and course progression can be found in the Graduate Catalog.

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Why Choose Our Program?

Our University

UNC Charlotte is North Carolina's urban research university. It leverages its location in the state's largest city to offer internationally competitive programs of research and creative activity, exemplary undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, and a focused set of community engagement initiatives. UNC Charlotte maintains a particular commitment to addressing the cultural, economic, educational, environmental, health, and social needs of the greater Charlotte region. 

Flexible Study

Course delivery includes face-to-face, hybrid, and online meetings to meet the needs of working professionals.  Students can choose to enroll part-time or full-time. Students can anticipate completing the program within four years.  Many of the faculty integrate the use of technology as part of the learning process in their courses. Classes primarily meet on main campus in the evenings.  Students in the P-12 Superintendency concentration are in a distance education program that meets at Mallard Creek High School, which is approximately 10 minutes from campus.  Those students are in a traditional cohort program and enroll in two courses per semester that are offered on Wednesday evenings.

Expert Practitioners and Scholars

Our faculty include highly qualified scholars and practitioners with experience as principals, superintendents, and administrators.  They are highly productive scholars who are award- winning in their respective fields of study. Three of the research faculty members, Dr. Claudia Flowers, Dr. Chuang Wang, and Dr. Richard Lambert, were recipients of the prestigious Harshini V. De Silva Graduate Mentor Award.  This award is given to a member of the graduate faculty who is dedicated to the academic and professional development of graduate students through outstanding graduate mentoring. In addition, our faculty are recipients of prestigious research grants and frequently seek opportunities to engage students in their research.  They are noted as engaging students in reflective learning experiences, rigorous research, and high quality teaching.

Career Options

Many of our graduates have distinguished educational leadership careers in academics and administration.  They have held positions in P-12 public and private schools, college, and university settings such as professor, program director, executive director, associate provost, building level or district-level administrators, and college presidents.  Graduates have also opted to work in industry, non-profits, corporate, and government settings.

Cost Effective

The P-12 Superintendency concentration is highly cost effective with tuition offered at Distance Education rate per semester.  Fifty percent of the Learning, Design and Technology concentration is offered at the Distance Education rate.   Learn more about scholarship opportunities and financial aid here.


Graduates of the P-12 Superintendency concentration are eligible for North Carolina D-Level licensure.

Student Opportunities

Our students have opportunities to collaborate on research with faculty.  This work has been presented at various conferences including the North Carolina Association for Research in Education, the Association for the Study of Higher Education, and the American Educational Research Association.  Students have received notable grant, assistantship, and fellowship opportunities. Students have also received Teacher of the Year, Principal of the Year, and other notable awards in their professional settings while being enrolled in the doctoral program.

Students have opportunities during and after degree completion to demonstrate a broad understanding of their roles as educational leaders in the organizations they serve.  This is done through a critical understanding of theoretical concepts that undergird educational theory and behavior, leadership, emergent technology, and research. Our students are able to address problems of practice that face educational leaders including policy development and analysis, program management, and strategic educational leadership.

The Center for Graduate Life provides the support and community students need to meet the challenges they will face throughout their graduate experience. The Center offers professional development, career advice, skill development, and more. Virtual workshops are available on subjects such as graduate academic writing and research writing at the graduate level. 

The University Career Center provides services, programs, and support for students and alumni.

Student Dispositions and Program Expectations

Doctoral study is an intensive academic endeavor that requires a commitment to research, to prepare students for careers in educational leadership.  In general faculty expect that doctoral students will:

  • Have primary responsibility for the successful completion of their degree
  • Seek guidance from their advisor on course selection, research, dissertation committee, and resources for degree completion
  • Attend regularly scheduled meetings with their advisor
  • Communicate regularly with their assigned academic advisor (i.e., respond to e-emails within two business days, unless an alternative agreement is reached between student and advisor)
  • Be knowledgeable and compliant with program and Graduate School policies and procedures
  • Be prepared to substantively write

ED.D. Graduate Programs Contact

Email program inquires to edld-edd-program@uncc.edu.

Dr. Cathy Howell

Program director


Higher Education Concentration 

Dr. Ryan Miller

Program Coordinator


Superintendency Concentration

Dr. Walter Hart

Program Coordinator 


 Learning, Design and Technology Concentration

Dr. Florence Martin

Program Coordinator


Applications are being accepted. Apply here.