Doctorate in Education

The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate


The Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership (EDL) is a practice-based program delivered at Miami University’s Voice of America Learning Center, and in the Columbus region in partnership with the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio. This 60 credit hour program, taught by EDL faculty, is for educational leaders working in P-12 contexts and institutions. The Ed.D. prepares democratically minded leaders who will engage with issues of equity, ethics, and social justice to create solutions to complex problems of educational practice. A dissertation-of-practice is the capstone of this Ed.D. program.

Miami University's Ed.D. program has been developed with the Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate Consortium, an international membership organization seeking to strengthen the quality and relevance of the educational doctorate.

Contact: Lucian A. Szlizewski, Ph.D. at for more information about the program and how to apply for admission.

Program Description

The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Miami University is aimed at practitioners in the P-12 educational field who seek to grow in their knowledge of school leadership, policy, and best practice while attaining a degree commensurate with their high level of scholarship and intellectual challenge. As this is a part-time student program for working adults, students take classes at the Central Ohio Educational Service Center, or other locations, in the Columbus region while continuing to work in their respective school leadership roles in surrounding public and private schools. Miami‘s partnership with these practitioners and the Central Ohio ESC will provide the highest level of relevant, challenging coursework and advising through to dissertation completion.

The Miami Ed.D. program seeks to prepare graduates with the adaptive skills needed not only to survive, but thrive in the 21st century global interdependent world and economy. P-12 practitioners understand that being a school leader today is far different from the past. While school and district leaders were formerly viewed as “keepers of the status quo,” today’s leaders are to be instigators of change with a vision that includes how to support a learning mission while making the best use of new technologies and limited resources. Central office leaders in particular must now communicate directly and effectively with diverse community members in culturally relevant ways, and be transparent about decision-making. The chain of command of today’s educational institutions has become more flattened causing people to feel more accessibility to district leadership, expanding leadership roles to seemingly 24-7 positions. Today’s school leader also feels the impact of widespread budget cuts requiring creativity to fund all the important programs impacting students.

Miami’s Ed.D. program is based in our department’s Seven Principles, which are also reflected in the program’s goals for learners in the Ed.D. program. These principles spell out the program’s emphasis on democratic leadership for socially just institutions that serve all families and students in a district or school, as well as the program’s emphasis on preparing graduates who can collaborate with multicultural families and diverse institutions in their communities. Finally, these principles spell out our priority of program graduates being prepared to generate professional knowledge which informs their future practice.

Course Requirements

Miami University Ed.D. Program Goals

1. The primary goal of this degree is to prepare democratic leaders who engage issues of equity, ethics, and social justice to create solutions to complex problems of educational practice.

2. Prepares leaders who can construct and apply knowledge to advance democratic principles to benefit diverse individuals, families, organizations, and communities.

3. Provides opportunities for leaders to develop and demonstrate collaboration and communication skills to work with multicultural, multilingual communities and to build partnerships with and for those communities.

4. Provides field-based opportunities to analyze problems of practice by integrating intellectual, moral, and craft knowledge to develop meaningful solutions.

5. Engages in the scholarship that integrates intellectual, moral, and craft knowledge, linking theory with systemic and systematic inquiry.

6. Emphasizes the generation and use of professional knowledge and practice in order to prepare leaders to transform organizations while navigating cultural, political, and policy contexts.

7. Inspires engagement with citizens and stakeholders, and embraces technology innovations for improving communication, curriculum, and leadership.

Program Requirements


  • Face-to-face instruction combined with hybrid and online forms of pedagogy
  • 12-credit core focusing on leadership, culture, curriculum, diversity and democracy
  • 8-credit major focusing on administration, social justice, and new media literacies for leadership
  • 17 credits of research and inquiry courses
  • 12 credits may be transferred in from other accredited institutions of higher education
  • Superintendent Licensure may be earned within the program cognate, or students may alternatively pursue another specialization
  • Dissertation-of-practice initiated in Semester 3 with EDL 774 and shaped throughout the student’s program, forming the direct focus of final three semesters

Courses and Planned Sequence:

Semester 1 – Summer 1

  • EDL 706 – Educational Leadership and Organizational Development (3 credits)
  • EDL 762 – Culture and Leadership in Education (3 credits)

Semester 2 – Fall 1

  • EDL 764 – Education and Democratic Society (3 credits)
  • EDL 771 – Educational Policy Analysis (3 credits)

Semester 3 – Winter 1

  • EDL 774 – Scholarship of Practice (2 credits) (begin dissertation inquiry process)

Semester 4 – Spring 1

  • EDL 765 – Curriculum Pedagogy and Diversity (3 credits)
  • EDL 782 – Social Justice and Transformation (3 credits)

Semester 5 – Summer 2

  • EHS 667 – Behavior Statistics (3 credits)
  • EDL 772 – Advanced Research Design (3 credits)
  • EDL 729 – Board Superintendent – Staff Relationships (3 credits)

Semester 6 – Fall 2

  • EDL 683 – Qualitative Research in Education (3 credits)
  • EDL 710 – Internship in Educational Leadership (3 credits)

Semester 7 – Winter 2

  • EDL 730 – New Literacies for Educational Leadership (2 credits)

Semester 8 – Spring 2

  • EDP 690 – Program Evaluation
  • EDL 727 – Business Affairs and Physical Resources

Semester 9 – Summer 3

  • EDL 774 – Scholarship of Practice (2 credits)

Semester 10 – Fall 3

  • Comprehensive Exam

Semesters 11 – 13: Winter 3, Spring 3, Summer 4

  • EDL 850 – Dissertation Hours (16 total required)

Dissertation of Practice

As the culminating experience that demonstrates the scholarly practitioner’s ability to solve problems of practice, the Dissertation in Practice exhibits the doctoral candidate’s ability “to think, to perform, and to act with integrity” (Shulman, 2005). Students begin exploring topics and possible dissertation inquiry questions during their first year of coursework, and will begin to build competencies that will support the dissertation throughout the program. Students may choose from a range of formal learning projects as their dissertation of practice for the Ed.D; a students’ work environment and personal interests drive the posing of the dissertation question. The dissertation of practice should clearly reflect major themes studied within program coursework, and will be different for each student (or group of students working together). These themes could include examples of personal reflections related to views of curriculum, views of student learning, administrative, teaching, and/or learning policy and practices, and/or understandings of school reform and change. The dissertation of practice should be planned to be developmental and to allow the Ed.D. candidate to move his or her thinking forward, and to inform practice and creative solutions in educational institutions or contexts.

Examples of some Dissertation of Practice models from Ed.D. programs around the country.

Seven Principles of the Department of Educational Leadership

  • The primary goal of public education is to prepare leaders and students for the responsibilities of democracy and social justice.
  • Education is situated in the cultural, political, and moral contexts of institutions and societies.
  • Diversity is an essential element of education.
  • While the central focus of educational leadership must be the transformation of educational institutions, leaders must not only be able to transform organizations, but also navigate in the present environment.
  • Leadership is an intellectual, moral, and craft practice.
  • Leadership is a process of power-sharing rather than power-imposing; it works toward collaboration, emancipation, and empowerment.
  • Faculty and students must make a commitment to community. The building and development of community must not be assumed, but must be continuously nurtured and supported.

How to Apply

Applications for our first cohort of Ed.D. students are due FEBRUARY 1, 2015.

Application process:

Candidates must apply and be accepted by Miami University's Graduate School and the Department of Educational Leadership. The Graduate School requires an applicant to have a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 2.75 (or 3.0 in the last 60 hours).

Submit an electronic Graduate School application, including

  • a $50 non-refundable application fee;
  • two official transcripts from the school you obtained your undergraduate degree from and any other college or university at which you have done graduate work (Miami graduates do not need to supply Miami transcripts);
  • an autobiographical statement and professional vita;
  • a score from the Miller Analogies Test (preferred) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test; and
  • three letters of reference, one from current supervisor

To: Miami University's Graduate School

More information about our requirements

1. The autobiographical statement, submitted electronically with the Graduate School application, is intended to provide the admissions committee with information about your professional background and aspirations.

Your statement should include the following:

  • Briefly describe your professional experience since receiving your baccalaureate degree
  • Describe your interest in leaderships roles in education and give some examples of your leadership accomplishments
  • Describe your professional goals and explain how our doctoral program can help you achieve them
  • Describe one or two areas of interest for a dissertation study involving a problem of practice in your building, community, district, region or state
  • Explain how you satisfy your intellectual curiosity

2. In addition to the information provided in your autobiographical statement, the admissions committee requires a professional vita. It should include:

  • Educational background
  • Professional experience in education and other professional experiences
  • Leadership roles
  • Presentations and publications

3. The Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General

Test score is required for admission to the Ed.D. program. The MAT is preferred by the department. Scores must be less than six years old. The MAT may be taken at a college or university testing center or at the Miami University's Student Counseling Service. Call 513-529-4634 to schedule a test date at the Student Counseling Service.

Additional information about the MAT can be found here:

Additional information about the GRE can be found here:

4. Submit three references from colleagues, teachers, or peers who can attest to your professional work, potential for successful graduate study, and potential for making a positive contribution as leader in an educational context.

What happens after the application is submitted?

The Graduate School will evaluate your application to determine whether you meet the minimum university requirements. If you meet these standards, your application will be forwarded to the Department of Educational Leadership (EDL) for further consideration.

The Ed.D. Admissions Committee in EDL reviews the application, grades, letters of reference, test score, and autobiographical statement. Students who do not meet department standards are denied admission at this stage. Applicants who exhibit potential for academic success and who appear to have a good "fit'' between their goals and the department's program are invited to an interview with the Ed.D. Admissions Committee in February.

Applicants will be notified as soon as possible after the interview process about an admission decision.

Contact our Ed.D. Coordinator Lucian Szlizewski for more information. Dr. Szlizewski is a former Elementary and Middle School teacher, a Middle and High School Principal, and a former Superintendent. He has been in Higher Education for the past 9 years as professor, program director, advisor and chair.

Email Dr. Szlizewski for assistance and advice as you contemplate earning an Ed.D. with us at Miami University. Dr. Lucian A. Szlizewski -