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K12 EdD Program

Application Deadline: 3/1/24

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Program Information

  • Program completion in 3 years (nine semesters)
  • All courses offered in the afternoon/evening hours (4:35 pm - 9:45 pm) for professional educators
  • Classes scheduled one night per week in the fall/spring semesters and two
    nights per week in the summer semester
  • Cohort model provides peer support and guidance; in person
    classes at the University of Utah campus
  • Applications accepted once per year for a fall semester start

Program of Study

The Ed.D. program is designed to provide a strong academic and theoretical foundation combined with application to practice. Throughout the program, students progress through a series of courses aimed at developing the knowledge and skills needed to analyze and solve problems encountered by educational leaders and to prepare them to conduct a field-based capstone project. Students are encouraged to identify their own interests and expertise to build a program and research agenda.

The Department of Educational Leadership and Policy is committed to the development of leadership for social justice with an emphasis on the importance of access and equity for all student populations.

Research and Inquiry - 9 credit hours to be taken during the first two years of study
ELP 7030 (3) Introduction to Inquiry
ELP 7040 (3) Quantitative Research Methods
ELP 7060 (3) Qualitative Research Methods
ELP Academic Core – to be taken during the first two years of study
ELP 7440 (3) Educational Policy
ELP 7220 (3) Leadership Theory
ELP 7240 (3) Organizational Theory
ELP 7480 (3) Leadership, Diversity, and Social Justice Theory

K12 Specializations - 12 credit hours of elective courses to support research and knowledge development.

Final Capstone - 15 credit hours during the third year of the program, and additional semesters if needed. Students work with faculty to apply leadership and inquiry knowledge and skills to address timely and significant issues in educational practices or policy.

Graduation Requirements

• Maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher.

• Complete all program credit hours (minimum 51).

• Successfully complete a research/practice capstone project under the supervision of chair and committee.

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At a Glance

Program Emphasis
Credit Hours
Application Deadline
Application Fee
Degree Conferred


Application Process

Prospective graduate students apply for admission through the University of Utah online application system.

IMPORTANT: Under the Program Information section on the application, first choose your program of interest, which is Educational Ldrship & Policy EdD. Then, choose your area of emphasis, which is K12 EdD.

Requirements for Application

A completed master's degree with a GPA of at least 3.00.

Application Fee

For domestic applicants the application fee is $55, for international applicants, the fee is $65. You can pay your fee online through the Slate application system.

We DO NOT require the GRE test.

You will need to upload the following in the Slate system:

1. Statement of Purpose - The Ed.D. program is designed to provide a strong academic and theoretical foundation combined with application to practice. Students are encouraged to identify their own interests and expertise to build a program and research agenda.

Please describe the following in your statement (Limit statement to 500 words or less)

  • The reason for seeking this degree and your career aspirations upon completing an Ed.D.
  • How you see the ELP Ed.D. program fitting into your academic and professional trajectory.
  • A concise statement of your research interests and your personal motivation in educational leadership.
  • How you envision your fit within the faculty and the department.

2. Written Essay – Respond to one of the three areas below. (Limit response to 1000 words or less.) Please identify the question to which you are responding.

  • Our program is designed to support the development of educational leaders with a commitment to social justice and equity. Share your understanding of the concept of leadership for social justice and equity. Describe how you have demonstrated leadership and a commitment to social justice and equity in your professional life and how you plan to do so in the future.
  • Discuss a relevant issue in educational reform and leadership you have dealt with professionally. As you faced this issue, what options did you have? How did you resolve this issue and what did you learn from the experience? How did this experience help shape you as a leader in educational reform.
  • Describe a significant professional accomplishment that required hard work and perseverance. Define what made this a source of accomplishment as well as describe what challenges you had to overcome to achieve your goal(s). What values and concerns represented in this accomplishment motivate you to pursue advanced study in educational leadership?

3. Professional Resume - Include academic and professional information that demonstrates career development (i.e., leadership roles, professional activities, research, and/or volunteer engagement).

4. Letters of Recommendation - Three recommendations are required. Recommendations should be written by those who can speak to your leadership and academic ability and potential (i.e. a current supervisor, current employee or colleague, and/or by a district-level administrator).

Review Process/Interview – Selected applicants will be invited to interview with faculty members of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy as part of the final admission process.

All application materials must be provided on or prior to March 1.

Information Sessions - Information sessions are held via Zoom throughout the school year. Check back soon for a current list of dates.

For additional information about the Ed.D. program, please contact Dr. Madeline Hafner, the Ed.D. Program Director, at

If you have questions or concerns at any time please contact our Academic Coordinator, Marilynn Howard, at 801-581-6714 or


ELP 7030 (3) Introduction to Inquiry
This course provides students with an introduction to doctoral study and the practice of inquiry. Doctoral study requires the development of skills for inquiry and conducting high-quality research studies. Course topics include research paradigms, perspectives, and epistemologies; becoming intelligent consumers of research; developing research topics and questions; and understanding how theory is developed and tested through inquiry. Consistent with the values of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, this course emphasizes the role of inquiry in improving educational environments for traditionally underrepresented and underserved students.

ELP 7040 (3) Quantitative Research Methods
An in-depth introduction to the techniques, logic, and processes associated with research. Special attention given to the major components of quantitative research methods: problem definition, design, sampling, data collection and analysis techniques, and standards of rigor.

ELP 7060 (3) Qualitative Research Methods
Examines underlying assumptions in qualitative research methods and related research questions. Explores conceptual frameworks with data collection and analysis strategies. Students apply methods to field-based cases.

ELP 7220 (3) Leadership Theory
Dominant theories of organizational leadership and their application to educational settings. Research rooted in theories discussed and conducted in educational organizations.

ELP 7240 (3) Organizational Theory
Provides an in-depth examination of the major theories, concepts, and frameworks associated with educational organizations. Special attention is placed on the implications of these theories for the practice of educational leadership.

ELP 7440 (3) Educational Policy
Examines the major issues associated with policy analysis and the predominant streams of theoretical work in policy research. Provides a working foundation for the analysis of educational policy by placing students in a position to assess the merits of a variety of policy situations.

ELP 7480 (3) Leadership, Diversity, and Social Justice Theory
Social Justice is an awareness of structural or historical barriers that have precluded particular social identity groups from achieving in United States society. This course examines the role that K-12 and higher education has played in both providing and denying social justice to various groups and how leadership needs to address this for meaningful change.

ELP 7700 (3) Capstone Seminar

ELP 7989 (15) Capstone Research Project
This project provides EdD students with an opportunity to apply leadership skills to problems of practice or policy issues. It is intended to develop and apply students' academic and administrative skill set. Your workshould focus on a timely and significant problem or policy and make a meaningful contribution in the candidate's school, district, or other settings.

Program Schedule with Fall Semester Start Fall Yr. 1 Spring Yr. 1 Summer Yr. 1
Introduction to Inquiry Quantitative Methods K12 Specialization
Leadership Theory Educational Policy K12 Specialization

Fall Yr. 2 Spring Yr. 2 Summer Yr. 2
Qualitative Methods Organizational Theory Capstone Seminar
Leadership, Diversity and Social Justice
K12 Specialization 

Fall Yr. 3 Spring Yr. 3 Summer Yr. 3
Capstone (6) Capstone (6) Capstone (3)


Dr. Madeline Hafner - EdD Program Director

Marilynn Howard - Graduate Student Coordinator