EdD in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Please note: This program is on moratorium for the 2016–2017 academic year. We are not accepting new students into the program at this time.

Each year, the department admits a limited number of students who have earned the master’s degree and are seeking a demanding program of coursework and supervised inquiry into important questions.

The doctoral program in educational leadership and policy includes three strands, though doctoral core courses are taken in common: PK–12 school and district leadership, higher education administration, and educational policy, both national and international.

Massachusetts state licensure as a principal or superintendent may be acquired at either the EdM, CAGS, or EdD levels with additional coursework, including supervised field experience.

Doctoral students take several advanced seminars focusing on policy analysis and research methods as well as a number of elective courses reflecting their special interests. Each student must pass a comprehensive examination consisting of an extended policy analysis before proceeding to the dissertation and is expected to write a dissertation of publishable quality that represents a significant contribution to policy and practice in education or training.

Doctoral students are expected to take at least four courses in research methods, one of the School of Education’s Intellectual History of Education courses, and the program’s doctoral sequence.


Core Coursework (40 cr)

  • SED AP 701 Doctoral Colloquium (2 cr)
  • SED AP 702 Research Colloquium in Educational Leadership and Development (2 cr)
  • SED AP 761 Organizational Analysis (4 cr)
  • SED AP 771 Advanced Policy Seminar (4 cr)
  • SED AP 999 Dissertation Advisement (8 cr, while researching and writing the dissertation)
  • SED RS 654 Foundations of Educational Inquiry (4 cr)
  • SED RS 750 Proposal Development Seminar (4 cr)
  • One doctoral-level seminar on the Intellectual History of Education (4 cr)
  • One graduate course in Quantitative Research Methods (4 cr)
  • One graduate course in Qualitative Research Methods (4 cr)

Elective Coursework (16 cr)

Students select four elective courses for a total of 16 credits. Elective coursework is chosen in consultation with an academic advisor.

Residency Requirement

Every doctoral candidate must spend a minimum of two consecutive semesters in residence at Boston University. Residence is defined as registration for a minimum of 12 credit hours at the University during each of two consecutive semesters. Summer terms may be considered one semester. Some students meet this requirement through serving as a teaching assistant in two courses.

Research Dissertation

Each candidate must demonstrate the ability to make a significant contribution in his or her field and to report this contribution successfully in a doctoral dissertation. The dissertation, written under the supervision of a faculty committee, must be based upon original research about a significant topic in the field. Students enroll in at least 3 credits of dissertation advisement each semester after completion of other coursework.