Jun 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Educational Leadership, Ed.D.

Doctor of Education

The Educational Leadership doctoral program is designed to prepare current and future P-16 educational leaders to develop and nurture organizations that are designed to serve the diverse populations of southern California. Graduates of this program are prepared to serve as leaders in urban education with expertise to function in a global technological society. The program produces reflective practitioners aware of the complex challenges of curriculum, finance, organizational dynamics, and collaboration with local, state, and national stakeholders.

Students become more effective leaders by (a) solving problems from multiple perspectives; (b) using multicultural competence to interact with personnel, students and community members; (c) challenging assumptions to improve educational systems; and (d) learning to lead organizations toward respect of divergent viewpoints, learning styles, and ranges of ability.

Emphasis is placed on the expanding and changing role of education for social change to meet the needs of society. Graduate students in a learning cohort community experience an interdisciplinary approach to the study of educational leadership, teaching and learning, organizational development, management and research.

Graduates of the program are qualified for a variety of teaching and leadership positions in education and education-related settings, such as superintendent, central office administrator, school principal in P-12, or chancellor, president or administrator in community colleges or 4-year universities.

University Admission

Applications are reviewed annually and students accepted to the program begin study in the summer of each year. Students must file an application for Graduate Admission along with one set of official transcripts from the college/university where you earned your Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree. This includes bachelor’s degree(s) coursework, Master’s degree(s) coursework, and all post-baccalaureate or extension coursework.

Program Admission

In addition to the university application, prospective students must also submit a program application. Admission is granted on a competitive basis; meeting the minimum requirements qualifies an individual for consideration but does not guarantee admission to the program.

Requirements for admission will apply to all Ed.D. applicants and include:

  1. Evidence of completing an acceptable baccalaureate degree earned at a regionally accredited institution.
  2. Evidence of completing a master’s degree earned at a regionally accredited institution, or the applicant has completed equivalent academic preparation.
  3. A cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 in upper-division and graduate study combined.
  4. Good standing at the last institution of higher education attended.
  5. Demonstration of sufficient preparation for, experience in, and potential for educational leadership, including: successful experience in leadership in school, postsecondary, or community contexts, and/or policy leadership; academic excellence; problem-solving ability; technological proficiency; interest in critically assessing current educational policies and practices; and interest in improving current educational policies and practices.
  6. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores from the three sections of the General Test, taken within five years of applying to the Ed.D. program.
  7. Three letters of recommendation attesting to leadership and scholarship potential.
  8. A written statement of purpose reflecting an understanding of the challenges facing the public schools or community colleges/higher education in California.
  9. A writing sample from the applicant demonstrating the level of the applicant’s writing skills and their degree of readiness to embark on a writing intensive academic experience.
  10. A written statement from the applicant’s employer indicating support for the applicant’s doctoral studies, if applicable.
  11. A personal interview.


The program requires a minimum of 60 units of which 12 are dissertation units. At least 42 units must be completed in residence at the campus.

Doctoral students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in the program to be in good standing. Students who have a program grade point average below 3.0 in two successive terms will be academically disqualified from the program by the university.

The Ed.D. program is designed to allow students to complete all program requirements within three calendar years, including three required summer sessions. Students are expected to complete program requirements within five years after full admission to the program. Extensions of up to two years may be granted if the student is in good standing, there are compelling individual circumstances, and the student demonstrates current knowledge of research and practice in educational leadership.

After successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student will advance to candidacy and undertake the dissertation.

Continuous enrollment is a requirement of the program. If extenuating circumstances require that the student leave the program for a period of time, the faculty will consider an adjusted schedule and an individualized plan.

All courses must be completed:

Dissertation (12 units):

Complete at least twelve units from the following:

Qualifying Examination Paper

The qualifying examination paper shall include a rigorous written demonstration of student knowledge; the examination must be passed prior to the student’s advancement to candidacy. The examination will be due by the end of the fourth term in the program. The structure of the qualifying examination paper will be a definition of a problem of practice and a review of the literature that could serve as a preparatory chapter of the dissertation. Failure to earn a designation of “pass with reservations” or above after the second submission will result in dismissal from the Ed.D. Program.

Advancement to Candidacy

After being admitted to the program, passing the qualifying examination, and resolving all prior incomplete course grades on their program record, the student will advance to candidacy. The total time from admission until candidacy shall not exceed three years unless there are mitigating circumstances and the program faculty have approved the extension. An extension for advancement to candidacy shall not exceed one year.

Dissertation Proposal Examination

The dissertation proposal examination and oral defense evaluate the student’s readiness to proceed with the dissertation research. The dissertation proposal examination will consist of the first three chapters of the dissertation. It typically focuses on an examination of (a) an educational issue, (b) a practice or program, (c) an educational policy or reform or improvement, or (d) implementation studies within an educational organization or community setting.

The dissertation committee will evaluate the proposal. A determination of passing must be made by consensus of the committee. Passing this examination shall constitute formal approval for the candidate to proceed with the proposed dissertation research, subject to Institutional Review Board approval. Students may not defend their dissertation proposal with any open Incomplete grades on their academic record.


The dissertation shall be the written product of systematic, rigorous research on a significant educational issue. The dissertation is expected to contribute to an improvement in public P-12 or community college/higher education professional practices or policy, generally or in the context of a particular educational institution.

The dissertation shall identify the field-based research problem and question(s), state the major theoretical perspectives, explain the applied significance of the undertaking, relate it to the relevant scholarly and professional literature, set forth the appropriate sources for and methods of gathering and analyzing the data, and offer a conclusion or recommendation. It shall include a written abstract that summarizes the significance of the work, objectives, methodology, and a conclusion or recommendation.

The Dissertation Committee will minimally consist of a chair and two members. The dissertation chair will be determined by the joint agreement of the student and the proposed chair as approved by the Chair of the Educational Leadership Department. The chair and student will then select two other members.

The dissertation committee chair will provide primary supervision for the dissertation research and will be a fulltime faculty member at CSU Long Beach. The second committee member is a tenured, tenure-track, or adjunct faculty member of CSU Long Beach. The third committee member is a practitioner from a school district, college, university or public agency other than CSU Long Beach who holds a terminal degree (Ed.D., Ph.D., or J.D.). The Chair of the Educational Leadership Department may allow the replacement of a committee member, based on the evaluation of a rationale provided by the student or committee member making the request.

Final Examination Oral Defense of the Dissertation

The Dissertation Committee will conduct a final oral examination during which the doctoral student defends the dissertation. By unanimous vote the Committee may approve the dissertation and recommend conferral of the degree or may request minor and/or substantive changes. In the event that the Dissertation Committee requires substantive changes, the final vote of the Committee will be postponed until the changes are completed. The Committee may also vote to reject the dissertation, thereby ending the student’s participation in the degree program.