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Doctor of Education in Leadership Studies

Program Goals and Components

Graduation from a doctoral program is not a sole function of successful completion of course work. The Leadership Studies Ed.D. Program has five basic goals which highlight the competencies that must be achieved and documented through the successful completion of five basic program components listed below.


  • GOAL 1: Candidates will demonstrate interdisciplinary knowledge required to lead a system toward transformational change in 21st century organizations.
  • GOAL 2: Candidates will understand, implement, and evaluate research-based theories and models for developing leadership capacity.
  • GOAL 3: Candidates will analyze and evaluate professional development required to affect high achievement of all participants in the organization.
  • GOAL 4: Candidates will demonstrate dispositions necessary to create collaborative communities.
  • GOAL 5: Candidates will analyze and evaluate data for trends, problems, and implications in planning and implementation of programs.



1.      Interdisciplinary Foundations Core Courses

In the first two years, students take a rigorous core curriculum that covers leadership theory; quantitative and qualitative research methods; management of complex organizations with attention to power, politics, culture, and influence; diversity and social justice; policy analysis and development; strategic resource allocation and development; program evaluation, and research proposal development. Transfer courses will typically not be accepted in this category.

2.      Cognate Concentration Courses

In the third year, in consultation with the student's academic advisor students specialize in at least one area of interest such as educational leadership, educational technology, business administration, health administration, higher education administration, public health, nonprofit administration, or another interest proposed by the student. In some cases the cognate selection may also support add-ons to current professional licensure or certification. Previous graduate coursework, related to the leadership cognate areas, that has not been used as a part of another degree program, endorsement, or certification may also be considered for transfer credit (up to a maximum of 12 hours). Extending previous graduate coursework that may or may not have been used in a previous advanced degree may be possible via independent study work or a special topics seminar (for a maximum of 6 credit hours) with approval by the academic advisor and program director.

3.      Internship Experience

To apply academic learning and experiences outside of the college classroom students will make arrangements (with their advisor's approval) to gain practical (and unpaid) leadership experience with an organization in alignment with their cognate area.  This experinece will be designed for minimal conflict with a student's current work schedule. Transfer credit will typically not be accepted in this category.

4.      Evaluation of Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions for Leadership

Candidates will be scheduled for written and oral examinations of their content learning. Examinations or major projects assigned at the end of each course during the first year have a dual purpose: (a) contribution to course grades as indicated in the course syllabi, and (b) indication of potential for success in moving forward with the doctoral degree program. Students who perform poorly on one of these final course evaluations will be contacted by the program director to determine eligibility for continuing with the doctoral program, regardless of the grade obtained in the foundation course. During the third year as all coursework nears successful completion a comprehensive written and oral examination of the coursework from the first three years will be scheduled. The defense of the dissertation proposal is a major portion of this comprehensive examination.  Successful completion of each of these examinations, with interventions as needed, will qualify the student to begin enrollment in the last six hours of work on the dissertation.

5.      Leadership-Relevant Dissertation

Candidates will engage in rigorous investigation of original research regarding a problem area in leadership personally identified with advisor approval and supported by guidance of a committee of LSUS graduate faculty and researchers. Transfer credit will not be accepted in this category. The dissertation requirement is described in further detail on the Dissertation Page on this website, in the Leadership Studies Handbook, and in the Leadership Studies Dissertation Handbook.