Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration

Become a Change Agent for Education

Strong leadership, coupled with a deep understanding of how research, policy, and practice inform and disrupt educational systems, is necessary to transform our nation's multifaceted learning environments.

The doctoral program in Educational Leadership and Administration (ELA) prepares and develops scholar-leaders to become catalysts for change in diverse educational settings and contexts.

The ELA doctoral curriculum captures the program’s underlying values: leadership for equity, social justice, and school improvement. Tackling the pressing matters that school leaders face, our doctoral students apply theoretical, conceptual, and empirical knowledge to real-world problems of practice. They critique research, employ critical thinking and reflective practices, collaborate with peers, problem-solve, and analyze multi-source data.

Under the tutelage of professors who are staunchly invested in their growth, ELA doctoral students produce valuable research that positively impacts PreK-12 education. Graduates from ELA’s doctoral program move into leadership positions across local, state, and federal settings, where they advocate for and facilitate necessary educational change.





Work Together to Solve K-12 Challenges
Our rigorous cohort-based course content combined with research methods will engage you in critical problem solving, with four critical goals: Leadership for Equity and Social Justice, Leadership for School Improvement, Leadership for Change, and Research-based Practice and Practice-informed Research.


Convenient Schedule
Whether your cohort is fully online or meets in our off-campus classrooms, the EdD is designed to accommodate the schedule of working educators. Online cohorts attend both weekly synchronous meetings and engage in asynchronous connections. Off-campus classroom cohorts attend weekend classes on select Friday evenings/Saturdays.


Develop Your Skills
Develop your leadership skills through coursework, seminars, research associations with faculty and self-directed activities.


Faculty Lead the Way
Engage with faculty who not only excel at teaching and research, but also challenge students to ‘go beyond,' provide mentorship throughout the program, and provide support to maximize your learning.




The GW Advantage

Whether attending off-campus or online, a GW education is unlike any other. GSEHD students benefit from our unique location in the heart of our nation’s capital and the University’s extraordinary access to diverse school settings, leading national archives and libraries, research opportunities, international organizations, and faculty who are published researchers and hold extensive practitioner experience.

Our diverse student body comes together from across the country and around the globe, bringing a wide range of professional experience, skills, and enriching knowledge.





 Program at a Glance


Doctor of Education (EdD) in the Field of Educational Leadership and Administration


Educational Leadership

Course Delivery:

-Alexandria Center
-VSTC Campus (Ashburn)

Program Entry:

Cohorts are recruited for admission in Fall and Spring


Our Mission

The Educational Leadership and Administration program in K-12 Education develops educational leaders to thoughtfully lead schools and educational organizations in an ethically grounded manner and with a focus on equity. Our program develops graduates who understand how research and practice mutually inform each other and who apply those understandings in educational settings, in the context of an increasingly globalized system of schooling. Doctoral students will be challenged to think critically, collaborate, use reflective practice and communicate effectively in preparation to transform educational settings. By preparing our graduates to be scholar-leaders and school and system leaders, our graduates are ready to apply findings from educational research and to utilize local evidence to improve learning for students directly in K-12 settings.

The following requirements must be successfully fulfilled: A minimum of 48 credits, successful completion of a comprehensive examination, an approved dissertation proposal, and the defense of an original dissertation.
EDUC 6116 Introduction to Educational Statistics
EDUC 8120 Group Comparison Designs and Analyses
EDUC 8122 Qualitative Research Methods
EDUC 8240 Organizational Theory and Leadership in Education
EDUC 8268 Leadership Theory for Education
EDUC 8270 Fundamentals of Educational Planning
EDUC 8271 Education Policy for School Leaders
EDUC 8276 Seminar: Administration and Supervision
EDUC 8277 Advanced Instructional Leadership for School Improvement
EDUC 8280 Critical Review of Educational Leadership Literature
Advanced Research
3 credits of Level B Research Methods coursework in consultation with advisor.
EDUC 8998 Pre-Dissertation Seminar
EDUC 8999 Dissertation Research (taken for a minimum of 12 credits)
An approved dissertation proposal is required.
Comprehensive Examination
Successful completion of a comprehensive examination is required.



 Apply Now

GSEHD’s Office of Admissions invites you to apply for a spot in our program. Please review the following admission and financial information.

Ready to take the next step in your career? Review our step-by-step guide to applying to GSEHD >

To learn more about the program, admission process, and upcoming events, please connect with the GSEHD Admissions Team at or 202-994-9283.

Apply Now  Schedule Consultation with Admissions Counselor 

To be considered for admission, applicants must submit the online application form as well as the following required supporting documents. There is no application fee.

  • Prerequisite: Master's Degree

  • Resume
  • Transcripts from all previously attended colleges or universities
  • Statement of Purpose (500-750 word essay): Please address the following topics:
    • Your rationale for seeking further qualification in the field of Educational Administration at GW.
    • What knowledge, skills, dispositions, or experiences in leadership will you bring to the program? What has prepared you to assume an administrative role?
    • Evidence of equity-focused teaching or leadership experiences in your own professional setting.
    • Areas for growth you will seek to acquire during the program to prepare to be an effective educational leader.
  • Scholarly writing sample, which includes (a) references and citations to peer-reviewed work or legal documents; (b) analysis of a problem related to educational leadership, administration, law, or policy; and (c) academic formatting and style, which includes but is not limited to APA
  • Two Letters of Recommendation (one that speaks to the applicant’s writing and analysis capacity and another that speaks to the candidate’s contributions to teams)
  • Interview may be required

*Additional application requirements may exist for international applicants.

View more details about requirements 

    Applications are now being accepted for Fall 2024. We encourage you to apply as early as possible.

    Application Timeline Spring Fall
    Priority Deadline Aug 1 Nov 1
    Round 1 Deadline Sept 15 Dec 15
    Round 2 Deadline Nov 1 Jan 16
    Round 3 Deadline Dec 15 March 1
    Round 4 Deadline N/A May 1
    Round 5 Deadline N/A June 15


    For more information or to inquire about the next admissions cycle, contact the GSEHD Admissions Team at or 202-994-9283.



     Tuition & Financial Aid

    We know embarking upon graduate school is a big decision - due in part to the costs of attending. At GW, we understand the time and thought behind making graduate school work for you. Please take a moment to learn more about the options and opportunities available to help fund your graduate education.

    Learn more about scholarships, grants & financial aid   

    Graduate tuition is charged per credit hour, unless otherwise noted. This program requires a minimum of 48 credits.

    Rates vary by program and designated location of admission. Current tuition rates may be updated during the year.

     The tuition rate* for the off-campus EdD in ELA program is $1,230 per credit hour.

     The tuition rate* for the online EdD in ELA program is $1,230 per credit hour.

    Please note: Additional fees may apply for international students, late fees, etc. Current tuition rates may be updated during the year.

    *Summer 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

    View the current fee chart    

    Scholarships are available to eligible admitted students. Review eligibility requirements and learn more about funding your education >


    Natasha Saunders headshot
    quotation mark

    Being part of the program has been a life-changing opportunity. I have grown and continue to develop professionally and socially due to the meaningful learning I experienced. I entered the program with limited clarity and focus on my professional goals. However, as a result of the time devoted to deeper learning, I now see where I can make a difference in my educational community. 

    Coordinator for Secondary English Language Arts, Fairfax County Public Schools



     Career Outlook

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Services, top K-12 elementary leaders earned a median $98,980 annual salary in 2021, with jobs in the field expected to grow 6% by 2031.1

    1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Top Executives,
    at (visited May 25, 2023).

    ELA Career Opportunities
    small group of women strategize and make a list on a large white poster taped to the wall in a conference room

    Our graduates are leading in schools and districts across the nation. They serve as:

    • District Coordinators for Special Education
    • Assistant Superintendents
    • Superintendents
    • University Professors
    • Principals and Assistant Principals
    • Senior Literacy Specialists
    • Chief Human Resources
    • Development Officers
    Potential Employment Settings
    principal sits behind desk, student writes on paper on desk
    • Public, private or charter PK-12 schools
    • Higher education institutions
    • Government departments or agencies
    • Consulting organizations
    quotation mark

    As a student in this program, my knowledge and skills as a school leader grew tremendously and assisted me in ensuring the school communities I served positively moved the needle for student achievement. The faculty and staff were experienced and knowledgeable and helped prepare me for my prospective role as a K-12 school leader. I established meaningful relationships with peers and faculty who served as accountability partners and offered a wealth of feedback and support. 

    Principal, Hampton City Schools


    Dr. Shante Oniyide headshot



    Educational Leadership and Administration (EdD) Faculty

    Dr. Jennifer Clayton

    Interim Director of Accreditation; Professor, Educational Administration

    (202) 994-0757
    Dr. Kimberly Jamison

    Assistant Professor and Co-Program Director, Educational Leadership and Administration

    (202) 994-1828
    Dr. Christine Nganga

    Associate Professor, Educational Administration

    (202) 994-0957
    Dr. Kelly Sherrill Linkous

    Assistant Professor, Educational Administration

    Dr. Matthew Shirrell

    Associate Professor, Educational Leadership and Administration

    (202) 994-4515
    Dr. Abe Tekleselassie

    Professor, Educational Administration

    (202) 994-0132
    Dr. Rebecca Thessin

    Associate Professor, Educational Administration

    (202) 994-1342
    Dr. Leslie Trimmer

    Assistant Professor of Practice, Educational Administration

    (703) 299-0198



    Request Information

    Complete the form below to learn more about degree requirements, course descriptions, tuition, and more.