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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations

Program Overview

Bridge the divide between theory and practice while working closely with professionals from across the country through the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program at Vanderbilt University. The 36-month education doctorate is an innovative, cohort-based program designed to meet the needs of mid-career K-12 and higher education professionals.

Our intensive program allows you to pursue a doctorate while still continuing your full-time work through one of two academic concentrations: K–12 education leadership and policy or higher education leadership and policy. This model provides an academically rigorous approach that equips graduates with the skills and knowledge to make a positive influence in education policy and practice worldwide. 

In addition to an on-campus doctoral program in K-12 and higher education leadership and policy, Peabody also offers an online doctoral program in learning and organizational leadership. For information about our online program, please visit the Online Ed.D. in Leadership and Learning in Organizations.

 

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 prepares you to enhance the performance of educational institutions and organizations. Our model of education assumes:

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

Areas of Concentration

You’ll pursue one of two concentrations:
  • K–12 Educational Leadership and Policy —prepares you 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 you for leadership in higher education and policy-related settings including colleges and universities, government agencies, professional associations, research and consulting firms, among other learning organizations. 

 

Program at a Glance

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations

Program Director: Catherine Gavin Loss, Ph.D.
Admissions Coordinator: Rosie Moody
Admission Term: Summer
Credit Hours: 84, including 30 hours that must transfer in from a prior master's degree
Priority Application Deadline: December 31* for summer entrance

* Prospective students are highly encouraged to submit applications by the priority deadline. We will continue to accept applications after this date, but applications will be evaluated for admission and scholarships as space and funds are available .
Capstone Experience

Capstone Experience

The Ed.D. program culminates in a capstone during the third and final year of doctoral study. The capstone is a year-long independent research and analytic undertaking embedded within a group project.

The capstone project brings to bear the analytic abilities, professional understanding, contextual knowledge, and teamwork skills you’ll accrue throughout your Ed.D. program and more closely mirrors the challenges of contemporary education practice.

Capstone projects are developed each year by external capstone partners and guided by Ed.D. faculty. Previous Ed.D. capstone partners include:

  • Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tenn.
  • Austin Independent School District, Austin, Texas
  • Education Development Trust, Reading, U.K.
  • Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Ill.
  • GEAR UP Tennessee, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, Ky.
  • Kentucky Wesleyan University, Owensboro, Ky.
  • Lindsey Wilson College, Columbia, Ky.
  • Lynn University, Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tenn.
  • Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, Md.
  • Rhodes College, Memphis, Tenn.
  • South Bend Community School Corporation, South Bend, Ind.
  • Southern Association of Independent Schools, Norcross, Georgia
  • Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Tennessee State Board of Education, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Tennessee Technology Center, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Tusculum College, Greeneville, Tenn.
  • Vanderbilt Institutional Research Group, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.

Program Curricula

As a student in the Ed.D. program you will begin your studies with a cohort of approximately 20-25 highly qualified students from around the country. Together you’ll progress through a prescribed 3-year (36 months), weekend-based curriculum. Each year is divided into summer, fall, and spring semesters.

A full degree program comprises 54 credit hours, in addition to 30 transfer hours from an accepted master's degree, for a total of 84 credit hours.

Educational Leadership and Policy Curriculum (K-12)

Through required courses, you’ll focus on education reform, instructional leadership, educational accountability and assessment, research methods and data analysis, the social context of education, politics and governance, teachers and teaching, and resource allocation and deployment.

Required Courses

Summer 1
  • EHLP 8110 Advanced Leadership Theory and Behavior
  • EHLP 8120 Advanced Learning and Performance in Organizations
Fall 1
  • EHLP 8130 Advanced Organizational Theory and Behavior
  • ELP 8150 Leadership for School Improvement
Spring 1
  • EHLP 8810 Decision Analysis I—Logic of Systematic Inquiry
  • EHLP 8140 Social Context of Education
Summer 2
  • EHLP 8851 Decision Analysis II—Quantitative
  • ELP 8210 Resource Allocation and Deployment
Fall 2
  • EHLP 8820 Decision Analysis III—Qualitative
  • ELP 8220 Educational Accountability and Student Assessment
Spring 2
  • ELP 8230 Politics and Governance in Education
  • ELP 8240 Education Law
Summer 3
  • EHLP 8830 Decision Analysis IV—Program Analysis and Policy Evaluation
  • ELP 9330 Teachers and Teaching
Fall 3
  • EHLP 9340 International Issues in Education Policy
  • EHLP 9992 Capstone Experience
Spring 3
  • ELP 9500 K-12 Seminar
  • EHLP 9992 Capstone Experience

Higher Education Leadership and Policy Curriculum

Through required courses, you’ll focus on colleges and universities as organizations, the college student experience, research design and data analysis, the academic profession, public policy and higher education, history, finance, and higher education in international contexts.

Required Courses

Summer 1
  • EHLP 8110 Advanced Leadership Theory and Behavior
  • EHLP 8120 Advanced Learning and Performance in Organizations
Fall 1
  • EHLP 8130 Advanced Organizational Theory and Behavior
  • HLP 8250 Advanced Postsecondary Access
Spring 1
  • EHLP 8810 Decision Analysis I—Logic of Systematic Inquiry
  • EHLP 8140 Social Context of Education
Summer 2
  • EHLP 8851 Decision Analysis II—Quantitative Research
  • HLP 8210 Advanced College and University Management
Fall 2
  • EHLP 8820 Decision Analysis III—Qualitative Research
  • HLP 8220 Public Policy and Higher Education
Spring 2
  • HLP 8230 Advanced Nature and Function of Higher Education
  • HLP 8240 The College Student: Advanced
Summer 3
  • HLP 9310 College and University Finance
  • EHLP 8830 Decision Analysis IV—Education Policy and Program Evaluation
Fall 3
  • EHLP 9340 International Issues in Education Policy
  • EHLP 9992 Capstone Experience
Spring 3
  • HLP 9500 Education Law
  • EHLP 9992 Capstone Experience
Program Curriculum

Faculty

The Ed.D. faculty comprises prominent researchers and teachers in K–12 and higher education leadership and policy. Faculty research interests include education leadership, K-12 policy, school choice, the opportunity and achievement gap, accountability and assessment, international education, financial aid, college access, and higher education policy.

Angela Boatman
  • Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Higher Education, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
John M. Braxton
  • Professor of Higher Education, Emeritus, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Marisa Cannata
  • Research Associate Professor, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Mark Cannon
  • Associate Professor, Department of Human and Organizational Development
  • Associate Professor of Education Leadership and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Xiu Cravens
  • Associate Dean for International Affairs, Associate Professor of the Practice, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Robert Crowson
  • Professor Emeritus of Education, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
William Doyle
  • Associate Professor of Public Policy and Higher Education, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Ellen Goldring
  • Professor; Patricia and Rodes Hart Chair; LPO Chair, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Carolyn J. Heinrich
  • Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Public Policy and Education, International Education Policy and Management, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Brian L. Heuser
  • Associate Professor of the Practice, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
  • Vice Chair, University Faculty Senate
David Laird
  • Assistant Professor of the Practice, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Catherine Gavin Loss
  • Associate Professor of the Practice, Associate Dept. Chair; Coordinator of the Ed.D. Program, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Christopher Loss
  • Chancellor Faculty Fellow (2016–18)
  • Associate Professor of Public Policy and Higher Education, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
  • Director of the M.Ed. Program, Higher Education Administration
  • Associate Professor of History
Brenda McKenzie
  • Senior Lecturer in Higher Education Administration Student Affairs, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Joseph Murphy
  • Associate Dean, Special Projects, Office of the Dean
  • Professor of Education; Endowed Mayborn Chair, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Christine Quinn Trank
  • Associate Professor of the Practice of Organization Leadership, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Matthew Patrick Shaw
  • Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Education, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
  • Assistant Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School
Claire Smrekar
  • Associate Professor, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Adela Soliz
  • Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Public Policy, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations