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Doctor of Education in Leadership Studies


What is typically the difference between the two doctorate degrees: Ph.D. and Ed.D.?

The Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) and the Ed.D. (Doctor of Education) are both terminal degrees for most academic areas of study in higher education. The Ed.D. is typically a degree for practitioners, whereas the Ph.D. is typically focused on theoretical foundations and the conduct of research.

The Ed.D. degree is often related to professional experience in educational organizations. Graduates with an Ed.D. degree often have interest in returning to higher levels of employment in their current career field, or obtaining employment as instructors in institutions of higher education. Ph.D. graduates often have interest in pursuing deeper research agenda related to their field of study, and may also seek employment as instructors in institutions of higher education.

Some Ed.D. programs require a culminating major project with emphasis on issues related to the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of practitioners in their career field. A dissertation is not typically required for most Ed.D. degrees. The Ph.D. typically requires a period of residency spent on the college/university campus engaged in full-time study, along with the creation of a dissertation. The dissertation is typically designed to represent the results of intensive critical inquiry and research into a specific phenomenon related to a field of study as a contribution of new knowledge to the field of study. Some Ed.D. programs (such as the Leadership Studies, Ed.D. program) require completion of a dissertation with or without residency. 

What are the minimum qualifications for admission into the Leadership Studies Ed.D. Program?

The minimum qualifications include an earned master's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, preferably a minimum of three years of work experience, graduation examination score results in at least the 50th percentile, or supporting evidence of a minimum of three years full-time professional experience which must be judged pertinent and approved by the Leadership Studies Director. The admissions process is considerably selective in an effort to increase likelihood of success.

How do I apply to the program? The application process for the Leadership Studies doctoral program requires you to apply to both

(a) The LSUS Graduate School with specific items (official transcripts, graduate application, graduate examination scores documenting position within at least the 50th percentile) 

(b) to the Program Director (with letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and resume) and to the Leadership Studies Doctoral Program (by contacting the program director). Details are provided HERE .

How are students selected for the Leadership Studies Ed.D. Program?

After you have submitted all required materials to both the Graduate School and the Leadership Studies Program Director, you may qualify for an interview with the program faculty. The most successful doctoral candidates must hold a master's degree with at least a 3.0 GPA, have demonstrated leadership potential, and are prepared to set aside time and deliberate efforts to participate in intensive study while also engaging in other full-time obligations such as work and family commitments. Decisions for admission are made by the program faculty and are ultimately based on the content of the submitted documents and a successful interview. The admissions process is considerably selective.

How long does it take to complete the Leadership Studies Ed.D. Program and is a dissertation required?

This program is designed to allow students to complete coursework within 3 years with as much as one additional year to complete the required doctoral dissertation, for a total of 4 years. Candidates who need more time to complete the dissertation have up to an additional 3 years, if needed, but must enroll in at least 3 semester hours of dissertation study for each semester until completion.

Can I transfer in credit hours I have already earned elsewhere?

If the credit hours (taken withing the last eight years) have not been applied toward another degree or certification/licensure and the course content matches the curriculum in the Ed.D. Program it is possible to transfer in approximately 12 hours of graduate course credit. There is no guarantee that hours will automatically transfer. The final decision is made by the program faculty once you have been admitted to the program.

Do I have to leave my current position in order to be in the Leadership Studies Ed.D. Program?

The Ed.D. Program requires you to take courses with a cohort of other students who were admitted to the program at the same time-beginning in the fall semester. The program is designed for working adults so there are no expectations for you to leave your current position. You will need to identify at least one week-day per week when your employer will permit you to leave work early enough to attend classes during the fall and spring semesters. During approximately two 5-week sessions in the summer semester, leaving work early two week days may be necessary and/or full-day Saturday classes may be scheduled. Vacation times should be scheduled to avoid conflict with class attendance. During the third year arrangements will be made for a non-paid internship with the fewest possible interruptions to your regular daily schedule.   

What days and times are courses typically offered for the Ed.D. Program in Leadership Studies?

Efforts will be made to hold classes on one intensive weeknight per week from 5:30 p.m. to 9:40 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters.

During the summers, two 4-week sessions may be held with one class in June and the other in July. For example, with this scenario there could be one class offered in June on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m followed by class in July on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.  Other week nights are possible and the cohort typically will get an opportunity to provide input on days and times.  During the first two years summer classes may also have 15%-20% of the content delivered in an online format.  

During year 3 most of the cognate courses will be provided via online delivery.  

During year 4 doctoral candidates work independently in close and frequent consultation with their dissertation chair and committee members to complete the dissertation experience.

Can I get any additional endorsements to add to my current license/certification?

Additional endorsements or "add-ons" are possible dependent upon the current license or certification held by a candidate. In most cases these add-ons can be pursued during the third year in the cognate areas. Candidates should consult with the program director and the chair of their doctoral committee to pursue possibilities. For example, Louisiana Type A or B licensed educators may add a Technology Facilitator, or Technology Leader endorsement.

Will the Leadership Studies Ed.D. Program directly assist in job placement when I am finished?

The Leadership Studies program will not seek to make any job placements upon successful completion of the Ed.D. degree; however, recommendations for outstanding students will be readily provided. The Ed.D. Program plans to provide many networking opportunities with educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and corporate entities throughout the region. In some cases Guest Lecturers in Residence from various organizations will be available to share their expertise and introduce candidates to what they seek in an outstanding leader for their agencies. As we seek to provide a top-notch doctoral program we will support the advancement of top-notch individuals into a competitive job market that seeks leaders such as the ones who will graduate from our program.

Where are classes/courses held?

Most classes/courses in the Leadership Studies Ed.D. Program are held in the Business, Education, and Human Development (BE) Building on the north east side of the LSUS campus. Courses during the first two years are offered in a hybrid delivery system of approximately 70% face-to-face class meetings, and the rest online. The face-to-face class meetings are enhanced by online discussion forums, guest speakers with expertise in the field, and study group sessions with cohort members.

Is financial aid available for the Leadership Studies Ed.D. Program?

Financial aid is available for students who are eligible.  Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form available at, then check the LSUS Financial Aid Office web page for more details.  Meanwhile the current LSUS tuition and fees are certainly competitive and within the reach of most working adults seeking a terminal degree.