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K12 EdD with Administrative Licensure

Application Deadline: 3/1/24

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Program Information

  • Program completion in 3 1/2 years (ten semesters)
  • All courses offered in the afternoon/evening hours (4:35 pm - 9:45 pm) for professional educators
  • Classes are 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
  • Competency-based practicum experiences in elementary and secondary schools 
  • Applications accepted once per year for a summer semester start

Program of Study

Throughout the program, students progress through a series of courses aimed at developing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to analyze and solve problems encountered by educational administrators and to prepare them to conduct a field-based capstone project. In addition to earning a doctoral degree, at the end of the program students will have met the requirements need to apply for a Utah State Board of Education (USBE) School Leadership license.

School leadership licensure students will complete eight courses and a corresponding practicum that support building knowledge for professional practice and skill sets as required by the University of Utah/USBE.


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At a Glance

Program Emphasis
Credit Hours
72 Credits
Application Deadline
Application Fee
Degree Conferred


Applicants must meet the following requirements

  •  Completed master's degree with a GPA of at least 3.00 
  • An active Utah Professional Educator License
  • Minimum three years experience teaching in a public, charter, or private school

We do NOT require the GRE test. 

Graduation Requirements 

  • Maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher 
  • Complete all program credit hours (minimum 69) 
  • Successfully complete required practicum experiences of ELP and the USBE 
  • Pass state licensure praxis exam as required by USBE
  • Recommendation for school leadership licensure will be upon completion of degree
  • Successfully complete a research/practice capstone project under the supervision of chair and committee

How to Apply

Upload the following under the appropriate sections on the Slate application.

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

Statement of Intent: (500 words or less

  • Describe why you're seeking this degree and your career aspirations.
  • How you see the ELP Ed.D. program fitting into your future
  • Describe your research interests and your personal motivation in educational leadership, how you envision your fit within the faculty and the department. 

Written Essay: Please respond to 1 of the 3 below. (1000 words or less)

  • The Department of Educational Leadership and Policy's Ed.D. is designed to support the development of educational leaders with a commitment to social justice and equity. Share your understanding of the concept of these concepts.
  • 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? 
  • Describe a significant professional accomplishment that required hard work and perseverance. Define what made this a source of accomplishment. What challenges Did you have to overcome to achieve your goal(s)?
  • What values and concerns represented in this accomplishment motivate you to pursue advanced study in educational leadership? 

Professional Resume 

Three Letters of Recommendation

  • Recommendations should be written by individuals who can speak to your leadership and academic ability and potential. We recommend that these letters be written by a current supervisor (required), former supervisor, district-level administrator, colleague, and/or a former professor. 

Copy of Utah Professional Educator License and copy of most recent educator evaluation will need to be emailed to Marilynn Howard at 



Research and Inquiry –9 credit hours for 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 – 9 credit hours (9) 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 

K12 School Leadership Specializations — 24 credit hours of specific licensure coursework to support required content and competencies. 

K12 Practicum – 12 credit hours of practicum seminar and field-based experiences that support the development of leadership practices through competency-based tasks, activities, and job shadows. 

Final Capstone— 15 credit hours during the third year of program. Students will progress through a sequence of courses aimed at developing knowledge and skills needed to analyze and solve problems encountered in educational leadership and to prepare them to conduct a field-based capstone project.

Course Descriptions

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.

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 7700 (3) Capstone Seminar

ELP 7989 (15) Capstone Research Project

The EdD Field-based Capstone Project provides EdD students with an opportunity to apply leadership and inquire knowledge and skills to problems of practice or policy issues. The project is intended to develop and apply students' academic and administrative skill set. The project should focus on a timely and significant problem or policy and make a meaningful contribution in the candidate's school, district, or other relevant organizational setting.

K12 School Leadership Licensure Course Descriptions 

ELP 7020 Systems Thinking and Student Support

This course solidifies students’ leadership perspective with adopting and developing the thinking and practices of systems and supports. Specific systems will include Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) for behavior and academics, school wide behavior management system (PBIS), teacher support, and a school wide culture that supports these systems.

ELP 7120 Evidence Informed Leadership for Learning

The ability to “use data”—to gather, organize, analyze, and present data to plan, execute, and monitor school improvement—is increasingly recognized as a critical skill for education professionals. This course is designed to help education leaders learn the basic concepts of data literacy, applied data analysis, and data-informed decision-making to lead data use and equitable improvement planning within their organizations.

ELP 7230 Ethics, Law, and Policy

This course provides an introduction to the legal principles and laws affecting the administration and management of K-12 schools with an emphasis on special education law and policy.  The course will focus on the interplay of legal and ethical decision-making within leadership practice.

ELP 7250 Leadership for School Improvement

This course focuses on understanding and developing leadership knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to promote change in K-12 educational organizations, including school improvement tied to accountability policies. This course assumes that school improvement and organizational change seek to build equity and justice (or dismantle systemic injustice and inequities). The content of the course includes perspectives that inform how practitioners collaborate to design and plan organizational change, use a research base on implementation and effectiveness of previous change initiatives, respond to conflict about and resistance to change, build organizational capacity, and sustain people through change processes in the long-term.

ELP 7350 Leadership for Teaching and Learning

This course introduces students to concepts of instructional leadership with a concentration in applied practice in the areas of observation, evaluation and supervision. The intent of this course is to expose students to the theories, principles and practices of instructional leadership, adult learning theory and developing a positive, effective, school-wide learning environment.

ELP 7412 Designing and Leading Professional Learning

This course prepares educational leaders to develop powerful, research-based professional learning opportunities to generate equitable outcomes for organizational change and school improvement. Students will experience professional learning designs as they learn to select, design, and facilitate learning opportunities for individuals and groups in their schools.

ELP 7420 Leveraging Educational Resources

This course is designed to prepare students to utilize, manage and administer educational resources at the school level.  Students will examine the trends, issues, scope and practices of school finance, personnel administration and time management.  A focus will be placed on understanding the analysis of issues involved in the alignment of a shared vision and the planning and strategies to guide educational resource allocation.

ELP 7511 Leadership for Equity and Social Change

This course will focus on the learning of concepts from social justice leadership and culturally relevant practice; and how application of these concepts can change the discourse and practice of school leaders to help create a shared vision of equitable schools that promote a school climate and culture that is safe for all student’s backgrounds.

ELP 7710 K12 Practicum

The Leadership Practicum is the fieldwork experience for administrative licensure candidates. It combines a hybrid model seminar with field experiences that supports progress towards completion of all components designed to meet ELP Department expectations and USBE School Leadership Licensure requirements. 

Program Schedule with Summer Semester Start

Summer Fall Spring
Leadership for School Improvement Introduction to Inquiry Quantitative Methods             
Leadership for Equity and Social Change Leadership Theory Educational Policy
Summer Fall Spring
Ethics, Law and Policy Qualitative Methods Organizational Theory
Leveraging Educational Resources Evidence-Informed Leadership for Learning Leadership for Teaching and Learning
  Practicum Practicum
Summer Fall Spring
Capstone Seminar Capstone Capstone
  Systems Thinking for Student Learning and Support


Professional Learning

Practicum Requirements

  • Attendance at seminars, workshops and cohort meetings as scheduled each semester;
  •  Eight – ten full days (minimum two days each semester) engaged in job shadow with school administrator in a K12 school (elementary and secondary);
  • Leadership reflections as assigned in seminars
  • Ongoing progress and completion of a school-based leadership checklist of competencies, activities, and tasks.

Seminars, Workshops, Cohort Meetings

Seminars, workshops and cohort meetings will be scheduled each of the four semesters and may include guest speakers, panel discussions, skills practice, network opportunities and sharing of developing and established school leadership expertise.

School Site Practicums

Each student is expected to complete a minimum of two full days of school-based practicum during each semester with a practicum course.  Job shadows will be working side by side with a school administrator.

Leadership Reflections

Throughout the practicum, the student will complete various formats of reflection on various aspects of school leadership and their own leadership development.

School-Based Leadership Checklist

Students will be required to complete competencies, activities, and tasks as listed in the leadership checklist. The checklist items have been aligned to USBE competencies for leadership preparation.


Dr. Madeline Hafner - Ed.D. Program Director

Dr. Shari Fraser - School Leadership Licensure Director

Student Stories

Robert Guido

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