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University of Missouri Statewide Cooperative Doctor of Education

EdD: An innovative
cohort based program in
Educational Leadership

Offered through the MU
Department of Educational
Leadership & Policy Analysis
in cooperation with partner
universities across the state

The Missouri Statewide EdD has an outstanding reputation amongst its graduates - 97% would refer prospective students to the program. The program has been lauded by a number of organizations for its innovative delivery, cohesive curriculum, and rigorous standards, and is one of the 21 Phase I institutions in the Carnegie Foundation Project on the Education Doctorate, a national dialogue about the educational doctorate.

Based on an integrated curriculum, this degree is delivered in cohort format with both face-to-face and web-enhanced instruction. Students take courses during summer sessions at MU's campus in Columbia, as well as fall and spring courses at a regional partner university. It consists of 34 hours of coursework and 12 hours of dissertation.

Potential students must have a Master's degree and relevant experience. New cohorts of students are admitted every 2 years, and more than 80% of candidates graduate with an average time of just over 4 years.

The emphasis of the EdD Program is on developing effective, thoughtful, and reflective practitioners who are competent in identifying and solving complex problems of practice in educational settings. As a program dedicated to the development of these scholarly practitioners, graduates will:

  • Know foundational and current theories and perspectives in leadership theory and practice, organizational analysis, educational policy, and content and context of learning.
  • Know the importance of being responsive to issues of social justice including power, privilege, and difference.
  • Know how to identify and analyze problems of practice.
  • Know the value of reflective practice.
  • Know theories and research behind teams and group dynamics.

In addition to developing knowledge that is informed by theory and empirical research, content themes are integrated with practice emphasizing real-time application in the work setting so that graduates will:

  • Be able to provide effective leadership to their respective organizations.
  • Be able to work collaboratively to achieve organizational goals with a diverse set of stakeholders.
  • Be able to address problems of practice through the use of data, both pre-existing and by utilizing data collection methods of their own.
  • Be able to engage in reflective practice in order to implement change in their professional practice and within their organizations.
  • Be able to respond to issues of social justice within their organizations and communities.

The EdD curriculum provides four critical lenses essential to Educational Leadership, and the Research, Inquiry, and Evaluation tools needed to put that knowledge into practice.

  • Leadership Theory and Practice
  • Organizational Analysis
  • Educational Policy
  • Content and Context of Learning

Instruction methods vary to enhance your learning. You will meet face-to-face for a traditional classroom experience, work in teams for a collaborative and dynamic experience, and have online classes to help with busy schedules. All classes are problem-based and provide opportunities for real-time application in practice. The culminating experience as a scholarly practitioner is the dissertation.


  • Summer Semester (7hrs)

    • Organizational Analysis for Educational Leadership
    • Educational Leadership Inquiry I: Change, Diversity, and Ethics
    • Team Building and Group Dynamics
  • Fall Semester

    • Leadership Theory & Practice  
    • Leadership Theory & Practice Application: Leaders and Data 
    • Professional Seminar I: Research Design  
  • Spring Semester

    • Qualitative Methods in Educational Research I [3hr]
    • Educational Leadership Inquiry II: Research, Ethics and IRB 
    • Professional Seminar I: Research Design

Year Two

  • Summer Semester

    • Policy Analysis for Educational Leadership
    • Quantitative Methods in Educational Research 
  • Fall Semester

    • Educational Planning and Evaluation
    • Educational Leadership Inquiry III: Data Reporting 
    • Professional Seminar II: Advanced Research Design
  • Spring Semester

    • Content and Context of Learning
    • Educational Leadership Inquiry IV: Data Driven Decision Making 
    • Professional Seminar II: Advanced Research Design - Prospectus Development 

Faculty members from all five campuses across the state are a part of the EdD Program, over 20 of which are doctoral faculty and can serve as your doctoral advisor. Faculty research interests span across a variety of topics including:

  • Educational Equity & Access
  • Assessment in Public Schools
  • Teacher Professional Development
  • Leadership and Change
  • School Reform

Take a look at a few faculty bios representing the five partner universities:

  • Sandy Hutchinson

    University of Central Missouri

    EdD in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis, MU

    Research/Practice Interests

    • Rural Education
    • School Leadership
    • Ethical Issues
    • Women in Leadership
  • Bret Cormier

    Missouri State University

    EdD Executive Leadership, University of Texas at Austin

    Research/Practice Interests

    • Social/structural inequalities and public policy on the achievement gap
    • Social justice
    • Leadership in education
    • School to prison pipeline
    • College and career readiness
    • Organizational behavioral design
  • Pilar Mendoza

    University of Missouri

    Doctor of Education in Education Policy and Leadership, University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA

    Research/Practice Interests

    • ·       College affordability (student debt, financial aid)

      ·       College student retention

      ·       Academic capitalism (industry-academia relationships, commodification of knowledge, competition)

      ·       Comparative and international higher education


  • Timothy Wall

    Northwest Missouri State University

    EdD in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis, MU

    Research/Practice Interests

    • Assessment
    • Accountability
    • Data Analysis
    • Equity
    • Leadership
    • Policy Analysis
    • Social Justice
    • Teacher Effectiveness
    • Teacher Education Policy
  • Paul Watkins

    Southeast Missouri State University


    Research/Practice Interests

    • Electronic Portfolios and their impact on student learning
    • Walk Through Teacher Evaluation Systems
    • Developing Web-based Instructional tools

Thanks to statewide collaboration, everywhere is close by. Nearly everyone in Missouri is within 75 miles of a program location where you will take courses during the fall and spring semesters.

Faculty from MU and partner institutions collaborate as program instructors, and each partner institution has a faculty liaison that is responsible for program coordination on that campus. Students from each partner institution form a site cohort that will advance through the degree together.

Am I an ideal candidate?
If you are a practicing educational leader ready to enhance your leadership skills and career opportunities
Can I continue working?
Yes, the program is designed for leaders who work full time, enabling you to apply new skills immediately
EdD or PhD?
EdD focuses on the art and science of applying theory to practice, the PhD prepares one for academic research (more...)

Frequently Asked Questions

ELPA EdD Mature Program Award Central Region Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate Consortium Member Since 2007

"The cohort program was so powerful. My team was my support.
They pulled me through the hard times academically; I was a better student after
considering multiple perspectives. I am thankful to have been a part of this."

Tina Sheppard

Director of Residential Life, (Missouri S&T)

"We were a learning community in the truest sense of the phrase,
with faculty guiding the process and students learning with and from one another.
It was among the most meaningful experiences of my professional life."

Kent Porterfield, Cohort 1

Vice President for Student Development, St. Louis University

"This has been the most challenging and most rewarding graduate
program I have been a participant of. Thank you to all the professors whom
I respect so much. The instructors make this program so special."

Gretchen Guitard

Director of Curriculum & Professional Development

"I had the most enjoyment this summer, working with my team.
While we had our share of 'constructive conflict', we survived as a result
of some hard work, good food, and much laughter."

Lori Wilcox

Cohort 5

EdD: An Innovative, Unique Program in Educational Leadership

  • 97%
    graduate referral rate
  • 80+%
    graduation rate
  • 78%
    of Missouri served
  • Cost Effective, High-Caliber Education
  • Accessible across Missouri through our Partners
  • State-Wide Networking Opportunities
  • PK12 and Higher Ed Focus Provides a P20+ view
Resources for Faculty
and Current Students
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