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Frequently Asked Questions

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree offered through the Eriksson College of Education at Austin Peay State University aims to enhance the knowledge and competencies of leaders so they may provide optimal conditions for the education of youth and adult learners. The program is designed to enhance intellectual understanding of leadership theory and policy, deepen leadership capacity, and position students for elevated organizational responsibility. The objectives of the program are to prepare leaders who (a) are inquiring, reflective practitioners; (b) are competent in identifying and solving complex problems; (c) understand the multitude of leadership and organizational theories and techniques related to their professional settings; (d) value, encourage, and facilitate the professional development of self and others in their organization; (e) value, understand, and support diversity in their organizations; (f) make contributions to the profession; and (g) make data-driven decisions.

Austin Peay State University is a member of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate, which is the knowledge forum on the Ed.D. It has a membership of over 100 schools of education in the United States and Canada that work collaboratively to improve professional preparation in education at the highest level.

Our program is cohort-based, which means that the cohort will take the same two or three courses each semester. As part of a cohort, participants will support the success of all members by actively participating in facilitated discussions and working collaboratively on certain class activities and assignments and peer review of papers.

Students will take 12 hours of statistics and research courses, including quantitative and qualitative methods. These courses will support the design and implementation of original research (i.e., a dissertation study) related to educational leadership. Our Ed.D. program requires a traditional dissertation that contributes to knowledge or practice in education.

The doctoral program in Educational Leadership is designed for professionals working in schools or other institutional settings (e.g., K12, higher education, non-profits, businesses, and military and government). Program faculty are committed to the creation and study of environments that promote lifelong learning for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. The program is designed for working professionals attending the university part-time to complete the program in 3 years. Students can choose from concentrations in (a) K-12 Leadership, (b) Higher Education Administration, and (c) Nurse Educator.

Completing a doctoral degree is an intense, time-consuming endeavor. Over the course of 3 years, students must commit to attendance at an orientation in early August (i.e., prior to Years 1, 2, and 3).

The program requires 60 credit hours, a comprehensive examination, and a dissertation. There are 39 hours of core courses, 9 hours of concentration area courses, and a minimum of 12 hours of dissertation research. Students will typically take two courses each spring and fall and three courses each summer. Courses are conducted face-to-face, online, or in hybrid format; face-to-face courses are offered on weekdays at or after 4:30 pm. Students may attend on-campus class sessions remotely via web conferencing software.

The standard duration of this cohort-based program is 3 years (i.e., 36 months).  The dissertation, which is undertaken in the third year, can sometimes take longer than 1 year to complete. Students will work closely with their doctoral committee chair to ensure timely progress through program benchmarks.

No. This is a cohort program so students must begin when the cohort begins, which is currently each fall. We do not admit early or allow students to take courses early. 

Classes will be offered on campus or in an online/hybrid format. Courses are 16 weeks in fall and spring and 5 weeks in the summer. Each fall and spring, students will typically take one online course and one on-campus hybrid course. Students may attend on-campus class sessions remotely via web conferencing software.

The Ed.D. program allows up to 9 post-master’s degree credit hours to transfer from a nationally or regionally accredited institution, which must be approved by the program coordinator. If students have a recent education specialist degree from APSU, they may be able to substitute 6000-level courses (e.g., EDUC 6030). Any transfers or substitutions will allow students to take fewer courses in some semesters but will not shorten the overall program length of 3 years. Students must have earned an A within the past 6 years for courses they wish to transfer or substitute.

Graduates of a Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate-inspired program are:

  • teachers—who improve the lives of their students, the culture of their schools, and the development of their profession;
  • innovators—those who create and implement new ideas within and beyond their own contexts;
  • leaders—who work to ensure the success of everyone within and beyond their reach;
  • change agents—who persistently work to make things better;
  • disrupters—who challenge the status quo; and
  • collaborators—who make everyone they are working with feel valued and included. (https://www.cpedinitiative.org/graduate-profiles)

This program is intended to prepare practicing educational professionals to draw on educational theory and research, and the expertise of colleagues and faculty, to address the pressing problems of practice facing educational leaders today. Those with an Ed.D. may work in a variety of higher education institutions, K–12 district- and school-level settings, private schools, non-profit organizations, businesses, and government. This program is not intended to prepare educators for tenure-track faculty positions in research-intensive universities.

Dr. Sherri Prosser, Program Coordinator

Have a question that isn't addressed? Email us at leea@apsu.edu.