Educational Leadership, Higher Education (Ph.D.)
Ready to serve and lead? Our Ph.D. program in educational leadership offers you the opportunity to specialize in P-12 school administration or higher education.
Our program provides the theoretical and practical background you need to excel. Whether your goal is to become an administrator in elementary and secondary education, or you choose to pursue a career as an educational researcher, consultant or professor of school administration — the University of Dayton is here to help you succeed. We prepare you to meet the challenges of a constantly changing educational landscape by using reflective inquiry to help you ask important questions and moral inquiry to ground your decisions.
If you choose to specialize in P-12 Administration, you may opt to take additional courses to meet the requirements for a principal's license and a superintendent's license.
If you choose to specialize in higher education, we offer a seven-course sequence probing the important literature, concepts and practices that define our field.
Applicants to the educational leadership (higher education or P-12 School Admin) programs should submit the following information in addition to the online application:
- Official transcripts from all previously attended colleges or universities must be submitted directly from the colleges or universities to the Office of Graduate Admission Processing. Hand-carried transcripts, official copies marked Issued to Student and unofficial copies are not acceptable.
- Three letters of recommendation from professors or employers.
- Official results from the GRE are required. Results must be submitted directly from the Education Testing Service to the Office of Graduate Admissions Processing. Applicants must achieve a score of 149 or higher on the verbal ability and a 4.0 or higher on the analytical writing sections.
- A 2-3 page essay stating why your personal goals, including your concentration of interest, are congruent with the objectives of the Ph.D. program, as stated in our mission statement. Please title the essay 'Application Essay.'
Additional requirements apply for international students.
Applicants for admission to the doctoral program must have attained a 3.25 grade-point average in a master's degree program.
Admission is on a rolling basis and closes when 20 applicants have been accepted and formally declared their intent to enter the program. Candidates who fulfill the requirements above will be invited to campus for an interview with the coordinator of the appropriate area of concentration and may be expected to submit a copy of a thesis or a major research paper for review by the interviewing faculty.
Preference in admission will be given to those applicants who have a demonstrated history of educational leadership and who have career goals consistent with the expectations of the University of Dayton doctoral program.
Program requirements can be found in the online Catalog.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my previous graduate course work count toward a Ph.D.?
After students are accepted into the program, they are allowed to transfer a limited number of hours with the approval of the doctoral committee and program officials. Acceptance of transfer credit is enhanced when courses have been taken at the advanced graduate level (i.e., post master's degree) and completed recently at an accredited university with evidence of excellent performance. For further information, please check the student handbook for the Ph.D. program in educational leadership.
What is the doctoral committee?
Ph.D. students work closely with a mentor who serves as chair of a four-member committee. The committee is formed during the first semester of enrollment, approves the program of study and monitors the student's progress through the entire program. The student's committee plays a pivotal role in comprehensive examinations and the dissertation. Ideally, a Ph.D. candidate is assigned a doctoral committee chair who has a line of research related to his or her research interests.
What can I do with a Ph.D. in educational leadership with a concentration in higher education administration?
Most of our students are looking for mid- and senior-level positions in non-academic areas of a college or university such as student affairs, housing and residence life, business affairs, alumni and development, enrollment management and athletics.
Is it possible to complete the residency requirement for the Ph.D. while continuing to work full time?
Yes. The residency requirement is completed in the first year of the doctoral program. Students are required to complete two courses for three consecutive semesters beginning in the fall semester of the entry year. After fulfilling this requirement, students may take one course a semester. None of the classes a student is required to take during the residency year begin before 4 p.m.
Are any courses offered online?
The majority of the doctoral courses are offered on campus. There are a few courses offered online and some students have taken up to two courses off campus or online through other universities.
Do all students in the PreK-12 concentration intend to be administrators in elementary and secondary public schools?
Most students in this concentration plan to work in district or school-level administrative positions. Other career aspirations have included professor, researcher, consultant, state education department employee, curriculum specialist and teacher leader.
Do all students in the PreK-12 concentration take the same courses as students in the Ph.D. program?
Students take the same courses in the core and in research. With the approval of their doctoral committees, they select preferred courses in the concentration, cognate and foundations courses.
Is it possible to obtain administrative licensing while pursuing the Ph.D. in educational leadership with a PreK-12 concentration?
Yes. Many of the Ph.D. candidates already have obtained a principal's license prior to becoming a doctoral student. However, students who have not and who desire to obtain administrative licenses can work with their doctoral committees to tailor their course work in the concentration and cognate to meet this objective. Obtaining licensing in conjunction with the Ph.D. may require additional courses.