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Ed.D. Program

The 36-month education doctorate (Ed.D.) at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College has evolved into one of the most recognized programs of its kind. This innovative, cohort style, executive doctoral program offers a weekend-based curriculum that blends theory and practice and is designed to meet the needs of mid-career professionals from around the country. Offered through Peabody College's Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, the Ed.D. program centers on the problems of educational practice and policy, and trains scholar-practitioners whose knowledge, leadership, analytical and management skills enhance the performance of educational institutions and organizations.

Ed.D. students pursue one of two tracks:

K-12 Educational leadership and policy —prepares scholar-practitioners for leadership in education and policy-related settings including elementary and secondary public, charter, and independent schools; district-level offices; research organizations; government agencies; professional associations; and consulting firms.

Higher education leadership and policy —prepares scholar-practitioners to lead and operate colleges and universities, government agencies, professional associations, and consulting companies.

The Ed.D. program's scholar-practitioner model assumes:

  • Theoretical knowledge is practical
  • Doing things right needs to be balanced by doing the right things
  • Scholar-practitioners should be informed by and be able to comprehend, critique, and apply research findings and theory to practice
  • Engagement with Peabody's faculty and dynamic research environment is professionally valuable and will influence your practice

The Ed.D. faculty comprises prominent researchers in such areas as education leadership, K-12 policy, school choice, the achievement gap, accountability and assessment, international education, financial aid, college access, and higher education policy. Faculty are engaged in the most urgent education issues of the day, and three national education research centers funded by the Department of Education are located on the campus.

During the third and final year of the program, doctoral candidates complete an Ed.D. capstone project. This year-long undertaking is an independent research and analytic activity embedded in a group project. Developed by external capstone partners and guided by Ed.D. faculty, capstone projects challenge students to integrate theories, concepts, and analytical skills learned throughout the Ed.D. program and apply them to the real-world problems of contemporary educational practice and policy.