Doctoral Program

  • Doctoral Graduates

    Welcome to the Doctoral Program

  • Doctoral Cohort

Academic Programs

Program Overview

Convocation in Education Courtyard

Improving urban education is a national priority, and The Michael D. Eisner College of Education is a national leader in meeting this challenge. With support from the Carnegie Foundation, the Eisner Family, the U.S. Department of Education and others, the College is a leader in educational innovation and excellence. The College brings these same qualities to its new Doctoral Program (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership. This program will create a network of leaders, in separate PreK-12 and community college cohorts, who are committed to profound change for improving urban education.

This selective program is specifically designed to bring together highly motivated, reform-minded leaders. The program features:

  • A schedule designed for working professionals;
  • Separate cohorts for PreK-12 leaders and community college leaders so students can focus on the unique needs of their segment;
  • Preparation for advanced-level leadership positions, such as school superintendent, principal, college president or dean;
  • A collegial relationship with faculty and a chance to build relationships with change leaders in the field; and
  • A focus on research-based best practice to improve student achievement.

Students meet for evening classes once a week on campus at CSUN, in addition to attending occasional Weekend Seminars, participating in online activities, and conducting independent research.

Curriculum

The Doctoral Program faculty, in collaboration with our P14 community partners, has drawn from the latest research and what we know about best practice to design a challenging and relevant curriculum, tailored to the needs of separate PreK-12 and Community College cohorts. Students take courses with colleagues who are working in organizations much like their own, learning from each other as well as from professors and mentors in the field.

The Program of Study is 60 units in length and is designed to be completed in three calendar years (including summers). Classes are held one evening a week on the CSUN campus, from 5pm to 9:30pm. In addition, students participate in online activities; attend several Weekend Seminars each year; conduct field-based inquiry at schools/districts or colleges; and do independent research for the dissertation.

All students complete a dissertation based on a review of the literature and independent research on a problem related to educational leadership, student achievement, and school/community college improvement. Students are assisted in planning, researching and writing the dissertation through research methods courses, Weekend Seminars, and meetings with the chair of their dissertation committee. Students present a dissertation proposal to their dissertation committee at the end of Year II and their final dissertation at the end of Year III, if ready. Students are strongly encouraged to finish the dissertation within three years, but have up to seven years from beginning the program to complete it, if necessary.

Pre-Admission Advisement

Doctoral Program faculty are available to meet with individuals interested in finding out more about the program. For an appointment, please call the Office of Doctoral Programs at (818) 677-2403.

Parking fee information

Preparing for Study at the Doctoral Level

A business meeting with a man at a whiteboard

Doctoral study is an intense experience, with higher academic expectations, a stronger research focus, and a greater time commitment than other graduate programs. In addition to leadership experience, prospective students need strong academic, analytical, writing, and time management skills to be successful in the program. They should be interested in studying educational problems in depth, developing advanced-level knowledge and skills, and undertaking a major independent research project (the dissertation). They should also be prepared to make a major three-year time commitment for classes as well as intensive reading, writing, and research outside of class.

The Cohort Model

A business meeting

  • The program is based on the cohort model, in which a group of students moves through all classes and phases of the program together. Students benefit from:
  • Mutual academic, emotional, and logistical support for program success and timely completion;
  • Camaraderie and collaborative learning with experienced colleagues; and
  • Lasting personal ties and professional networks that aid in career development, ongoing professional growth, and reform initiatives across schools, districts, or colleges.
  • With its track record of success with cohorts in the Master’s Program, the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies is well-positioned to maximize the advantages of the cohort model in the Doctoral Program.

PreK-12 Leadership Cohort

The program is unique in offering two cohort strands: PreK-12 and Community College. There are different versions of each course for each cohort, with a small number of specialized courses taken only by PreK-12 or Community College Cohort students. This two-strand approach allows for courses that can specifically address the issues, needs and interests distinctive to each level of educational leadership, such as promoting instructional leadership for the elimination of achievement gaps and managing accountability pressures in public schools.

Students in the PreK-12 Leadership Cohort will generally be experienced school administrators. However, those who need to complete their Tier II Professional Administrative Credential may do so through an induction plan within the program. In addition to taking classes in school reform, leadership, and research methods, students engage in field-based inquiry and dissertation research to address school/district problems.

Community College Leadership Cohort

The program is unique in offering two cohort strands: PreK-12 and Community College. There are different versions of each course for each cohort, with a small number of specialized courses taken only by PreK-12 or Community College Cohort students. This two-strand approach allows for courses that can specifically address the issues, needs and interests distinctive to each level of educational leadership, such as promoting instructional leadership for the achievement of diverse community college students and developing organizational strategy, resource management, communication, and other skills to meet the Competencies for Community College Leaders of the American Association of Community Colleges.

Students in the Community College Leadership Cohort will generally be experienced educators interested in pursuing advanced leadership positions, such as dean or college president. In addition to taking classes in community college reform, leadership, and research methods, students engage in field-based inquiry that offers experience with college operations and improvement efforts.