Educational Administration - P-20 EducationDoctor of Education (Ed.D.)
*beyond the master’s is typical
Leading for Equity
The EDAD Ed.D. is an applied professional degree that prepares scholarly practitioners to lead continuous improvement for equity in educational organizations at all levels, P-20. Through coursework and a dissertation in practice (DiP) students will gain knowledge, skills, and dispositions to understand education from a systems perspective; to change the ways educational organizations reproduce structural inequalities; to integrate research, policy, theory and meaningful practice to serve the needs of diverse communities; and to enhance equity, inclusion, and effectiveness through sustainable improvement. This program is designed for educational leaders seeking to enhance their capacities to lead change at the school, district, university, system, or state-level and other educational settings and organizations.
The hybrid program, with online coursework interspersed with strategic face-to-face experiences, is designed around the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) principles and state and national educational leadership standards, including the Nebraska Department of Education and the National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP). The Ed.D. offers a combination of cohort-based learning and specializations in Higher Education and P-12 Leadership. Higher Education students have the option of concurrently earning a community college leadership graduate certificate. P-12 students have the option of concurrently completing the requirements for a district-level endorsement from the Nebraska Department of Education.
The goal of the Ed.D. program is for students to demonstrate excellence in these core areas of knowledge, skills, and dispositions through coursework and the DiP:
1. Understand the complex systems that create inequitable educational outcomes
2. Envision and articulate more equitable futures for institutions, students and communities
3. Critically engage in improvement science with stakeholders, using context-based inquiry, research and theory to create change
4. Embody social justice/equity leadership through their knowledge, dispositions, and actions
5. Lead educational change & continuous improvement to create more equitable outcomes for students at all levels
6. Practice life-long learning and self-reflection
The Dissertation in Practice (DiP) is a culminating, applied research project that focuses on a problem of educational practice. Unlike the PhD dissertation that generates original knowledge and builds or extends theory, the Ed.D. dissertation generates information that can be used to improve practice in a specific educational setting. Drawing on tenants of improvement science, the DiP should 1) identify an actionable problem of practice that exists in the students’ professional area, unit or setting, 2) develop a change based on the students’ professional knowledge and doctoral training, 3) implement and study the change effort systematically, and 4) report findings to both local stakeholders, the doctoral committee, and other professionals for whom the change might be relevant.
This program allows students to choose from three different areas to focus. Below are the three specializations which are available.
Community College Leadership
The Ed. D. in Educational Administration with a specialization in Community College Leadership allows students who are currently employed at a community college the ability to advance their knowledge in the field so that they can be more marketable when advancing in their career.
The Ed. D. in Educational Administration with a specialization in Postsecondary Leadership allows students who are currently employed at a college or university the ability to advance their knowledge in the field so that they can be more marketable when advancing in their career.
P-12 System Level School Leadership
The Ed. D. in Educational Administration with a specialization in P-12 System Level School Leadership allows students who are currently employed in an administrative position at a P-12 school the ability to advance their knowledge in the field so that they can be more marketable when advancing in their career.
P-12 System Level School Leadership with a Superintendent Endorsement
The Ed. D. in Educational Administration with a specialization in P-12 System Level School Leadership allows students who are currently employed in an administrative position at a P-12 school the ability to advance their knowledge in the field so that they can be more marketable when advancing in their career. This specialization is available with a superintendent endorsement.
Our Unique Program
Faculty with Real World Experience
- Students learn from faculty who conduct and share leading research on authentic school leadership challenges. These scholars are devoted their careers to teaching, researching, discovering, and sharing what works in school leadership.
- Students also learn from faculty with decades of real-world experience as school leaders. These leaders have walked the walk of school leadership as principals, superintendents, and more.
Learning to Address Real-World Challenges in P-20 Education
- Students apply their course knowledge to address real challenges facing P-20 education. In their culminating activity, a committee of experts assists students in producing a Dissertation in Practice that tackles an authentic dilemma or opportunity in their school community.
- Students form meaningful relationships with classmates, faculty, and others through a unique combination of face-to-face and online courses. Experiences such as the research residency seminars which are offered during the summer in a hybrid fashion, dissertation proposals, on campus conferences, and other events allow for a mixture of online and in-person learning.
- Students in the P-12 System Level School Leadership with a Superintendent Endorsement specialization complete an authentic internship experience in their districts with support from a field-based mentor and faculty member. Students learn from leading Nebraska superintendents in two dynamic, hands-on summer seminars, held at the Nebraska Council of School Administrators offices in Lincoln
Launching Your Journey
After attaining a Bachelor's degree, a minimum of 96 graduate semester hours is required to complete in order to receive a Doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Nebraska. The Ed.D.requires completion of a minimum of 45 semester hours to be completed through UNL, regardless of how many graduate hours you may have already acquired before admission. However, students are allowed to transfer some credit from previous graduate hours towards their Ed.D. Most students transfer 36 credits from a master's degree, leaving only 60 credits to be completed through UNL, 12 of which are dissertation hours.
During the first, second, and third summers of enrollment, students in this program are required to attend one-week residencies in Lincoln. All other courses are delivered online. Upon completion of UNL courses, including an authentic, field-based internship, students are prepared to take the state-required PRAXIS Exam and upon passage, apply for superintendent endorsement in Nebraska. Students have the option of completing the program outlined here, which is part of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate entirely at UNL or in a program offered collaboratively between UNK and UNL.
Course Sequence for students enrolled prior to Summer 2022
Course Sequence for students enrolled after Summer 2022
"As a lifelong rural educator, access to the caliber of education offered to me by UNL-EDAD was a game-changer. I was able to pursue a doctorate while continuing to serve education in western Nebraska. The faculty modeled servant leadership by giving me access and flexibility to achieve this lifelong goal. The program challenged my thinking, helped me build capacity in research, and taught me that reflection and vision are the paths to growth and leadership. As I continue as a leader in education, the foundation built at UNL -EDAD drives my investment in our rural educators, students, and communities."
Julie Downing, Ed.D., Professional Learning Coordinator, Educational Service Unit 13 (Scottsbluff, NE)
"When pursuing a doctoral program, I wanted an experience that combined theory and research with practical application. The program of studies, guidance of the professors, and collaborative peers provided just that – an opportunity to learn the field of educational administration while focusing on areas that impacted my work as a principal and eventually a superintendent. The entire journey was highlighted by a dissertation that was grounded in theory and previous research but immediately applicable to my work as a principal. Not only was I able to contribute to the existing research with my study, but I was able to go back to my school and make a difference with my learning."
Clayton J. Theisinger, Ed. D., Superintendent, Putnam County CUSD #535 (Granville, IL)
The application deadline for Summer admission is January 15.
The Ed.D. program is designed to prepare scholarly practitioners in the P-20 educational setting to lead continuous improvement for equity in educational organizations at all levels, P-20. Our students who wish to focus on P-12 education, aspire to be superintendents, central office leaders, or administrators in Educational Service Units, etc. Other students who wish to focus on higher education strive to move into roles like higher education administrators or faculty positions a college/university.
Students considering doctoral work in Educational Administration often question the differences between the Ed.D. or Ph.D. To determine which is a better fit for you, consult the department's Doctoral Degree Information page.
Students interested in pursuing a career as a professor or researcher studying P-12 school leadership should discuss their career goals with Dr. Sarah Zuckerman, Dr. Deryl Hatch-Tocaimaza, Dr. Elvira Abrica, Dr. Marilyn Grady, Dr. Shavonna Holman, Dr. Scott Sturgeon, Dr. Jiangang Xia, or Dr. Taeyeon Kim prior to applying to a doctoral program. This discussion will help match a potential program of study with your career goals. All students are encourage to review faculty biographies to learn more about the faculty who teach in this program.
Graduate Admission Requirements
- Application for Admission with $50 non-refundable application fee.
- One set of transcripts.
- If the student’s native language is not English, verification of English proficiency is required.
- If International: upload copies of all college- or university-level transcripts or mark sheets (records of courses and marks earned), with certiﬁcates, diplomas, and degrees plus certiﬁed English translations.
- **Official documents are required from all students who are admitted and enroll. Photocopies of certiﬁed records are not acceptable. International students enrolled in other U.S. institutions may have certiﬁed copies of all foreign records sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies by their current school’s registrar office.
- If applicant is not a US citizen and expects an F or J visa: financial information.
- Applicants must also fulfill any additional requirements the department specifies at the time of application.
Major Admission Requirements
- Personal Statement:
- Nebraska's EDAD P-12 leadership program is built around the educational leader as a Visionary Thinker, Reflective Learner, and Servant Leader. Describe how you have exemplified these actions in your current or previous leadership roles.
- Explain your professional experiences and motivations for doctoral studies, specifically Nebraska's EdD program, which is focused on the educational leader as a Visionary Thinker, Reflective Learner, and Servant Leader.
- Describe a local problem, challenge, or opportunity that is unique to your context that might be addressed as part of your Program of Studies and dissertation. Share how Nebraska's EdD program would help you address this local challenge, problem, or opportunity.
- Writing Sample: Provide three writing samples that demonstrate your scholarly writing ability, for example, a term paper, thesis, or published article.
- Three recommendation letters