EdD in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

This program is presently on moratorium.

Each year, the program 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: P-K–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 the EdD level 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 each student is expected to write a dissertation of publishable quality that represents a significant contribution to policy and practice in education or training.


Pro-Seminars (8 credits across two semesters; completed in Year 1)

  • SED ED 800 Doctoral Pro-Seminar 1 Theories of Teaching, Learning, and Equity (4 cr)
  • SED ED 801 and Doctoral Pro-Seminar 2 Educational Foundations and Systems (4 cr)

Two-semester pro-seminar designed to develop a common conceptual understanding of Schools, Educational Institutions, Communities, Educational Foundations, and Systems and Theories of Learning and Teaching, with Social Justice being a unifying theme throughout, across all Wheelock EdD students.

Research and Teaching Apprenticeships (minimum: 6 semesters)

  • At least 1 teaching apprenticeship: CT 700 Doctoral Teaching Apprenticeship (0 cr)
  • At least 3 research apprenticeships: SED RS 799 Doctoral Research Apprenticeship (0 cr)
  • Remaining apprenticeship foci determined in consultation with student’s doctoral advisor

Research (minimum: 16 credits)

  • Qualitative (Required)
  • Quantitative (Required)
  • Mixed methods
  • Advanced research course
  • Additional courses may be required by programs

Specialization Courses (minimum: 24 credits)

  • 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)
  • Electives selected with doctoral advisor (12 cr)

Qualifying Tasks—ED 900 Qualifying Tasks (0 cr)

  • Participation in a research project culminating in a formal write-up and presentation at a Doctoral Student Research Symposium at the end of the student’s second or third year. The research report will include a statement of the student’s contribution to the research. Work will be evaluated by the student’s Qualifying Committee.
  • Completion of a literature review and an oral defense of that review on an area of the student’s field of study where there is a problem/challenge/gap in the literature and identifying one or more promising practical or theoretical approaches. Work will be evaluated by the student’s Qualifying Literature Review Committee.

Dissertation Proposal

  • Preparation of written proposal for dissertation research
  • Oral defense of proposal to Dissertation Committee

Dissertation Study and Oral Defense (minimum: 12 credits)—SED ED 999 Dissertation Advising

  • Dissertation which can take one of two forms: Traditional or Alternative format with three publishable articles
  • Oral Defense of dissertation findings to Dissertation Committee

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.) The residency requirement may be met by holding a research or teaching assistant position or being employed at Boston University 35 hours or more per week and registering for a minimum of 8 credit hours for two consecutive semesters. For additional information, students should contact their academic advisors.