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Doctor of Philosophy in Education
Educational Leadership Concentration

The program leading to the Ph.D. in Education with a concentration in Educational Leadership is designed to prepare educational leaders for a wide variety of professional positions in PK-12 administration and supervision, higher education, and state and national policy making arenas. The goal is to prepare professionals who possess the knowledge and skills needed to provide leadership and to produce meaningful change in educational organizations with the underlying premise of social justice. A minimum of 48 credit hours are necessary to complete the coursework for the doctoral program in addition to a minimum of 12 dissertation credits.

Admissions Criteria:

Admission to the Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership is competitive and meeting the minimum requirements does not ensure admission to the program. The admissions committee reviews applications and considers a number of criteria, including a goodness of fit between student and faculty.

Individuals interested in applying for the doctoral program with a concentration in educational leadership must submit the following:

  • An ODU application to the University. Contact the Office of Graduate Admissions for applications. Applications for Graduate Study can be completed online or submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions (757-683-3685).
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate courses and degrees completed. To be considered for the program, applicants must have completed a Bachelor's and a Master's degree from regionally accredited colleges/universities. The master's degree should be in educational leadership or a related discipline. A minimum GPA of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) overall for the master's degree and in the major area of study is required.
  • Two original essays. The first essay should be approximately 1,500 words (including citations) discussing a current topic in educational leadership. This should be written as a research-based position paper (formerly submitted papers are acceptable). The second essay of approximately 500 words should state the candidate's qualifications, professional and career goals, and reasons for seeking the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. 
  • Three letters of recommendation from professional sources qualified to assess the candidate's suitability for study at the doctoral level. One letter of recommendation should be from a graduate advisor or faculty member with whom the candidate has studied and one should be from a current or former supervisor at work.
  • Official GRE scores taken within the last 5 years that indicate a total score of 1000 with 450-500 minimum on both the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections and a minimum of 4.5 on the analytical writing component. While these scores are recommended, other portions of the total application package will be considered.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must also submit current scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of at least 550.

Students interested in applying for Financial Aid should visit the Financial Aid Website at http://www.odu.edu/af/finaid/index.shtml as soon as possible. The Financial Aid Office also offers a payment plan.

Continuance Policy:
Students who receive a grade of F in any ELS course or receive a grade of lower than a B- in more than one class will be dismissed from the program by the Graduate Program Director.  Students who are dissatisfied with their grades may follow the Grade Appeals Procedure found in the ODU Graduate Catalog.  In the event a grade is appealed and changed to a B- or higher after a student has been dismissed from the program, the student will be reinstated.

Program of Study

Prerequisite Course: 
FOUN                                     722 Introduction to Applied Statistics and Data Analysis (or equivalent)

Research Core: (15 credit hours)  
ELS 831                                Accountability in Educational Leadership 
FOUN 812                             Advanced Research Design and Analysis
FOUN 813                             Advanced Program Evaluation
FOUN 814                             Advanced Qualitative Research
FOUN 822 or 823                Applied Linear Models or Analysis of Variance Applied to Research

Educational Leadership and Services Concentration Courses:  (18 credit hours)  
ELS 811                                Leadership Theory for Educational Improvement
ELS 815                                Leadership for Equity and Inclusive Education
ELS 821                                Policy and Politics in Educational Leadership
ELS 835                                Organizational Theory and Behavior in Education
ELS 876                                Ethics, Integrity, and Social Justice in Education
ELS 878                                Leadership for Teaching and Learning

Electives: (12 hours - choose 4 classes)*
ELS 864                                History and Philosophy of American Public School Reform
ELS 871                                Educational Systems, Planning, and Futures
ELS 873                                Advanced School Law
ELS 874                                Advanced School Finance
ELS 880                                Multicultural Curriculum Leadership and Globalization
ELS 883                                Contemporary Issues in Education

*With advisor approval, two of these courses may be substituted with courses outside of the educational leadership program to allow students to form cognate areas.

Capstone Course: (3 credit hours)
ELS 881     Dissertation Seminar

Dissertation: (Minimum of 12 credit hours)
ELS 899    Dissertation

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Karen L. Sanzo, Program Coordinator
Education Building, Room 120
Educational Leadership Program, Old Dominion University
Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0157   (757) 683-5163; Fax (757) 683-5756
E-mail:  ksanzo@odu.edu