Apr 15, 2024  
2013-2014 Graduate Catalog 
2013-2014 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Educational Leadership

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Laurie A. Stevahn, PhD, Program Director
John Jacob Zucker Gardiner, PhD, Department Chair


This post-master’s program leads to the doctor of education (EdD) degree with a major in educational leadership.  The program is designed so that it can be completed within 3 years, but candidates have up to 6 years to complete the degree.  The program uses a cohort learning model and is designed to meet the needs of a very broad spectrum of leaders whose current or future careers include educational, organizational, or community leadership.  Coursework is scheduled to allow students to complete their degree while at the same time continuing full-time employment.  

A minimum of 90 quarter credits are required to earn the doctoral degree.  

Leadership core requirements for the degree total 33 credits across 3 years using a cohort model.  Each year builds upon the previous to promote and sustain an integrated approach to leadership development.  The first year focuses on the leader as self, the second on leadership for organization development and change, the third on leaders in a global and interdependent world. Summer course experiences focus on leadership for social justice, current leadership issues and trends, and leadership immersion in global/abroad or local /domestic contexts. 

Research requirements for the degree total a minimum of 27 credits and include opportunities for community-based applied research and participation in faculty-led research inquiry clusters organized around common themes of interest. The research strand culminates in the dissertation. 

Concentration requirements for the degree total a minimum of 27 credits in a declared area of professional focus. Professional concentrations include: (a) General (professional area of focus and courses are determined in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor), (b) Adult, Post-Secondary, and Higher Education, (c) Superintendent, (d) Principal, and (e) Program Administrator. Within the concentration, students pursue internships, may design independent study projects to meet specific needs, and will participate in expert modules facilitated by well-respected invited scholars/leaders in the field. A Washington State P-12 superintendent, principal, or program administrator certificate may be earned in those concentrations. 

A new cohort begins each year in the summer.

Admission Requirements 

Graduates of the doctoral program are leaders whose studies, internships, and research prepare them to live, work, and make a positive leadership difference in an ever-changing world.  Students will come from a variety of occupational fields including (but not limited to) education, healthcare, business, theology, non-profit administration, and consulting.  

The Seattle University doctorate in Educational Leadership is designed to prepare graduates who: 

  • Develop and strengthen leadership skills to build effective team-oriented approaches.
  • Respond to the changing needs of organizations and are effective in working with diverse populations.
  • Demonstrate professional skills such as strategic thinking, critical problem solving, effective communication, reflective practice, and community building, along with skills for designing, critiquing, and implementing research relevant to effective leadership practice and community change.
  • Demonstrate scholarly behavior.
  • Respond to changing environments and issues, solve new problems, and foster the development of adaptive learning organizations.
  • Demonstrate ethical standards in all leadership practices.

In keeping with the Seattle University Mission Statement, candidates of diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. The program does not discriminate against any person because of age, ancestry, color, ability, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. The best-qualified applicants will be accepted up to the number of spaces available for new students.  It is anticipated that a maximum of 22 students will be admitted for each cohort.

Admission to the program will be based on the following:

  • Application for Graduate Admission with the non-refundable application fee.
  • Official sealed transcripts from all graduate-level colleges and universities attended, sent directly to Seattle University’s Graduate Admissions Office.
  • An earned master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.25 (on a 4.0 scale) in all graduate-level coursework calculated from submitted transcripts. 
  • If the calculated graduate-level grade point average (GPA) is below 3.25, then official scores are required on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Miller Analogy (MAT) taken within the last 5 years.
  • International student declaration of finances form, if intending to apply for a student visa.
  • Two completed College of Education recommendation forms, one of which must be from a current or most immediate supervisor or mentor who will support the applicant during enrollment in the program.
  • College of Education self-evaluation form.
  • Minimum of 3 years of mid- or upper-level leadership experience (e.g., directing a program, supervising personnel, coordinating a project, leading a team, spearheading an initiative).  
  • Personal statement (no longer than two pages in length) that describes the applicant’s prior experience as it relates the mission of Seattle University and the goals of the doctoral program, the ability to effectively engage in doctoral-level studies and research, leadership supervisory experience, and involvement with social justice advocacy and organizational or social change.
  • Academic writing sample demonstrating satisfactory preparation for scholarly research and publication (e.g., graduate-level paper, scholarly publication, excerpt from thesis).
  • Current résumé.
  • Effective communication skills demonstrated in a face-to-face interview.
  • Basic technology skills demonstrated on-site at the time of the interview.
  • Applications must be received by the stated deadline date for priority consideration. All materials submitted become the property of Seattle University and will be maintained according to institutional records management practices.

In addition to the above detailed criteria, the program must ensure that all admitted applicants will be able to find support for their research interests through the program’s identified concentrations. 


Full-time residency is not required; however, 24 credits must be completed in the first four consecutive  quarters of the program, including EDLR 600 ; EDLR 616, 617, 618; EDLR 621, 622, 623; and EDLR 655. Doctoral students who do not complete all program requirements in 3 years (by the spring of the third year) must register for and pay a continuation fee beginning fall quarter following the conclusion of spring quarter of the third year and continuing during all subsequent quarters (fall, winter, spring, and summer) until and including the quarter when the student completes all program requirements. As long as a student is active in the program, enrollment every quarter is required. Formal leave may be granted for cause. Credit applied to the degree may not be more than 6 years old when the educational leadership program is completed. 

Transfer Credit 

Up to 15 credits of post-master’s graduate study may be transferred, if the credits meet Seattle University criteria: taken at a regionally accredited institution; completed with a minimum grade of 3.00 on a 4.00 American grading scale; taken for graduate credit; and course completion date is within 6 years of the date all doctoral degree work is concluded. Post-master’s graduate credit taken at Seattle University prior to acceptance into the program is also eligible for consideration within the 15 credits allowed to transfer. 

For students who have completed the College of Education’s Executive Leadership Superintendent Post-Master’s Certificate Program at Seattle University and are admitted into the EDLR Program, up to 31 credits of the superintendent program may be used to fulfill concentration and/or internship courses toward the 94-credit minimum requirement of the EDLR program with a declared superintendent concentration.

Credit at Seattle University

At least three-fourths of the applicable credits taken at Seattle University must be 500 level or higher. In any case, no more than 15 credits at Seattle University below the 500 level may be applied, and then only with specific advanced, written approval. (Inclusion in an approved graduate program of studies will satisfy written approval.)

Formal Degree Candidacy

An EDLR student is eligible for candidacy when 24 credits are completed successfully in the first four  consecutive  quarters of the program—including EDLR 600; EDLR 616, 617, 618; EDLR 621, 622, 622; and EDLR 655—and a program of study has been approved. 

Comprehensive Examination 

A 6-hour comprehensive exam is required of all students. It consists of a 4-hour exam which focuses on educational leadership studies common to all students and a 2-hour exam focused on each student’s area of professional concentration.

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