Sep 28, 2023  
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin

Educational Leadership, EdD


Dr. John R. McConnell III
Professor and Chair, Department of Educational Specialties
Associate Professor
Location: Claxton Building, Room 304A
Phone:  (931) 221-7757


Dr. Andrea Lee
Assitant Professor
Doctoral Coordinator
Phone: (931) 221-7098
Location: Claxton Building, Room 206

The doctoral program in Educational Leadership is designed for professionals working in schools or other institutional settings. Program faculty are committed to the creation and study of environments that promote lifelong learning for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. The program is designed for working professionals attending the university part-time to complete the program in three years. Students can choose from concentrations in (a) Higher Education Administration, (b) K-12 Leadership, (c) Socioscientific Studies, (d) Literacy Studies or (e) Nurse Educator. Students may complete several additional courses and be eligible for TN administrator licensure.

The program requires 60 credit hours, a comprehensive examination and a dissertation. There are 39 hours of core courses, 9 hours of approved concentration area courses, and a minimum of 12 hours of dissertation research. Students typically take two courses each spring and fall and three courses each summer. Specific graduation requirements are provided below. Courses are conducted online or in hybrid format; face-to-face sessions are offered either on weekdays at or after 4:30pm. Students may attend on-campus class sessions remotely via web conferencing software.

The doctoral program in Educational Leadership aims to enhance the knowledge and competencies of leaders so they may provide optimal conditions for the education of youth and adult learners. The program is designed to enhance intellectual understanding of leadership theory and policy, deepen leadership capacity, and position students for elevated organizational responsibility. The objectives of the program are to prepare leaders who (a) are inquiring, reflective practitioners; (b) are competent in identifying and solving complex problems; (c) understand the multitude of leadership and organizational theories and techniques related to their professional settings; (d) value, encourage, and facilitate the professional development of self and others in their organization; (e) value, understand, and support diversity in their organizations; (f) make contributions to the profession; and (g) make data-driven decisions.

Austin Peay State University is a member of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate, which is the knowledge forum on the EdD. It has a membership of over 100 schools of education in the United States and Canada that working collaboratively to improve professional preparation in education at the highest level.

This program is intended to prepare practicing educational professionals to draw on educational theory and research, and the expertise of colleagues and faculty, to address the pressing problems of practice facing educational leaders today. Those with an EdD may work in a variety of higher education institutions, K–12 district- and school-level settings, private schools, non-profit organizations, businesses, and government. This program is not intended to prepare educators for tenure-track faculty positions in research-intensive universities.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the College of Graduate Studies requirements of an application fee and all official transcripts, the Educational Leadership Doctor of Education program requires:

  • A master’s degree from an accredited institution;
  • A minimum cumulative graduate GPA of 3.00;
  • Resume or curriculum vitae;
  • Problem of Practice Essay: Using APA format, describe the specific problem of practice you are interested in investigating during your doctoral study. Discuss the potential underlying causes for, or contributing factors related to, this problem and one or two strategies for change that might result in more equitable outcomes for the students or adults in your context. Include citations and references (not to exceed 750 words); 
  • Scholarly writing sample: Provide an example of your academic writing, with citations and references (e.g., scholarly publication, paper from a graduate course);
  • An interview via videoconferencing software with the doctoral admissions committee.

Applicants who are seeking TN instuctional leader licensure must submit additional components, which can be found on the MAED in Educational Leadership Studies page.


Some University Programs have additional requirements and information included in the Program Handbook.  Program Handbooks, which are incorporated into herein by reference, are available by selecting the following link: Doctor of Education