University of Texas at El Paso Academic Catalog

Academic Catalog

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Administration

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree program in Educational Leadership and Administration offers students opportunities to develop the added knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for leadership roles in a variety of educational settings.

Typically, graduates of the doctoral program prepare for positions in three general career areas: (1) central-office and school-site leadership, (2) leadership in higher education and other educational settings, and (3) leadership in policy analysis and evaluation.

The unique features of this program include an emphasis on educational leadership issues in the U.S.-Mexico border region, opportunities for research and practice in cultural and linguistically diverse contexts, and a cohort program which provides doctoral students with a sense of community and mutual support.

For further information about the program, see the Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations website.

Application Process and Program Admission

Application Requirements: Applicants must submit the following required documents to be considered for admission:

  1. Graduate School Admissions Application (Online application available at with the application fee.
  2. Official transcripts showing completion of a master’s degree, an undergraduate degree, and other college or university coursework.
  3. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) official report.
  4. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) official report: Required for international students.
  5. Curriculum vitae/resume
  6. Three letters of reference, including at least one academic reference and one professional reference,
  7. Statement of Purpose, which highlights relevant experiences and skills, and explains how the program aligns with career goals.

Completion of a Master’s Degree: Students entering the doctoral program should have completed a master’s degree in Educational Administration or Leadership, or an equivalent field. For cases in which the degree was not in the field of educational administration or leadership, students can be required to enroll in master’s-level courses and other learning experiences as determined by the faculty advisor. Courses required to remove deficiencies or meet prerequisites will not count toward meeting doctoral degree credit-hour requirements. These requirements must be met before permission will be granted to enroll in the doctoral core courses.

Applicant Review Process: 1) Evaluation of completed application requirements. 2) Faculty Interview: Selected applicants will be invited to interview with faculty in the doctoral program, in order to determine final admission status. The purpose of the interview is to establish compatibility between the applicant’s goals and interests and the aims of the doctoral program.

Program Admission: Admission to the program is based on a variety of factors, including academic achievement, the probability of success in performing doctoral level work, and perceived fit with the cohort experience. Admission to the program is competitive. The number of applicants commonly exceeds the faculty resources available to provide an appropriate level of academic support for each new and continuing student. As a result, it is often necessary to deny admission to otherwise qualified applicants.

Pre-Admission Course Taking: Students are discouraged from taking courses prior to admission to the program and are cautioned that doing so will not be a factor in doctoral program admission decisions. However, if students wish to take courses, they cannot take core courses or research-methods courses.

Advising and Assessment of Students

The doctoral program director and the doctoral program faculty are vested with the responsibility of making key decisions regarding the doctoral program and related issues. Among these: the assignment of a Faculty Advisor to each doctoral student; review of requests to transfer up to six (6) semester credit hours upon entry into the doctoral program; and, approval of dissertation committees.

Degree Plans: A Preliminary Degree Plan will be prepared by the Faculty Advisor in consultation with the student and the doctoral program director. Any proposed modification to the Preliminary Degree Plan must be approved by the Faculty Advisor and the doctoral program director.

Transfer of Credits: No more than six (6) semester credit hours of work can be transferred from other accredited universities or from UTEP for credit toward the doctoral degree. Transfer of credit is subject to approval by the Faculty Advisor and doctoral program director. Transfer courses must be post- master’s, not for a specialist’s degree, and must fit well with the program.

Interim Review: All students will be reviewed by the doctoral program faculty following completion of the first year of the program. This interim review will address issues including overall progress in the program; course work performance to date; writing and clarity of conceptual thinking; commitment to the doctoral program; and potential research interests. The review is designed to reveal the doctoral nominee’s academic strengths and weaknesses and the probability of the nominee’s successful completion of the program through the doctoral dissertation.

Capstone Course: All doctoral students, prior to developing a proposal or beginning work on the dissertation, will be required to take the Capstone Doctoral Seminar (EDAD 6380), which takes the place of the Qualifying or Comprehensive Examination. This culminating course must be taken in the last semester of doctoral coursework. The course is aimed at ensuring that students are fully prepared to begin work on the dissertation and are able to demonstrate a range of skills and abilities, including an ability to frame a dissertation research question; undertake a thorough, focused literature review; make a decision regarding the type of research design that makes sense given the question; and define the type of data analyses appropriate for reaching certain conclusions.

Dissertation Process

Dissertation: Students cannot register for dissertation courses until they have successfully completed the Capstone Doctoral Seminar. A dissertation is required of every candidate. It must address a topic of educational significance, contribute to scholarship, derive from independent investigation in the major area, and be approved by the Dissertation Chair and Dissertation Committee.

Dissertation Chair and Committee: A student’s dissertation committee will be officially formalized after successful completion of all coursework and of the Capstone Doctoral Seminar. Typically at this stage, a student has selected a Dissertation Chair who will advise the student throughout the dissertation process. The Dissertation Chair replaces the Faculty Advisor, and may or may not be the same person as the Faculty Advisor. The Dissertation Chair, in consultation with the student and the doctoral program director, will appoint a Dissertation Committee. Committee appointments will take into consideration faculty academic expertise in the student’s specialization area and the program’s interest in maintaining workload balance among faculty. The Dissertation Committee shall include at least four faculty members (three faculty members from the Department of Educational Leadership & Foundations including the Dissertation Chair and one faculty member from outside the department). Students work with their Dissertation Chair and Dissertation Committee in planning, designing, and implementing independent scholarly research. The Dissertation Committee approves the dissertation proposal, advises the student on the research and writing of the dissertation, and conducts the final dissertation oral defense.

Dissertation Proposal: Students enroll in Dissertation Research (EDAD 6398) to develop a dissertation proposal. The dissertation research course (EDAD 6398) must precede the dissertation writing course (EDAD 6399) and the student cannot enroll in these courses simultaneously. Students continue to enroll in EDAD 6398 until the proposal is approved by the Dissertation Committee. Dissertation Committee members indicate their approval of the proposal by signing the Dissertation Proposal Defense Form. After successful completion of EDAD 6398, students advance to doctoral candidacy. Once the dissertation proposal has been approved, the doctoral candidate will enroll in EDAD 6399- Dissertation Writing.

Dissertation Defense: In the semester in which a doctoral candidate intends to defend the dissertation, the student must be enrolled in EDAD 6399- Dissertation Writing. A satisfactory final oral defense of the dissertation is required. The Department of Educational Leadership & Foundations will publish the time and place of this examination. College of Education faculty members are encouraged to attend, and the exam is open to all members of the University community and the public. Dissertation Committee members indicate their approval by signing the Dissertation Defense Form that is then submitted to the Graduate School. A majority of the Dissertation Committee members must approve the dissertation. The results of the review are then communicated to the student.


At the beginning of a student’s last semester, she or he must complete a Graduation Application Form, have it signed by the Doctoral Dissertation Committee, and submit this form to the Graduate School along with the appropriate diploma fee. Students are strongly encouraged to visit the Graduate School at the beginning of the semester in order to ensure compliance with all required deadlines. Once all program requirements are met, the candidate will be awarded the degree of Doctor of Education.

Degree Requirements

Credit Hour Requirements:

The minimum credit-hour requirement is 60 semester credit hours beyond the master’s degree. Students may be required to take additional courses to address particular needs or specialization interests. Take note that courses completed as part of an earlier master’s or certification program cannot be transferred into the doctoral program. Minimum credit hours shall be distributed in the following way:

Doctoral Core Courses21
Specialization Area Courses12
Research Design and Methodology Courses9
Field-Based Learning3
Capstone Course3
Total Hours60

Degree Plan

Doctoral Core (21 credit hours):

The doctoral program core consists of seven courses. All core courses require a grade of C or better.

EDAD 6300Intro to Doctoral Program3
EDAD 6301Hist & Phil Foundations-Educat3
EDAD 6304Organizat'l Theory/Development3
EDAD 6309Seminar-Educational Leadership3
EDAD 6310Eval/Acctability/Policy Analys3
EDAD 6318Soc & Symbolic Borders in Ed3
EDRS 6302Educational Research Methods3
Total Hours21

Specialization Area Courses (12 credit hours):

After the completion of the core, students—with guidance and approval from their Faculty Advisor and the doctoral program director—will identify an area of specialization in their doctoral work corresponding to the degree program concentrations, and will select courses related to this area.

Specialization Area Courses for Central Office and School Site Leadership
Select four courses from the following:12
Educational Finance
Sem/Decision Making/Prob Solv
Adv Legal/Ethic Aspects Leader
State/Local Educ Fin Policies
Educ Leadership In Metro Areas
Multicult Diversity-Edu Leader
Race, Ethnicity, and Schools
Leadership & Advocacy Educ
Schl Organiz, Reform & Renewal
Educational Finance
Educ Facilities Management
Central Office Administration
Specialization Area Courses for Higher Education Leadership
Select four courses from the following:12
EDAD 6379Org. Change in Higher Ed.3
EDAD 6383Diversity in Higher Education3
EDAD 6385Ethics of Leadershp in Educ.3
EDAD 6387Higher Educ Policy Analysis3
EDAD 6391History of Higher Education3
EDAD 6392The Community College3
EDAD 6393Higher Education Law3
EDAD 6394Higher Education Governance3
EDAD 6396Higher Education Finance3
EDAD 6397Student Development Theory3
Specialization Area Courses for Leadership in Policy Analysis and Evaluation
Select four courses from the following:
EDAD 6306Sem/Decision Making/Prob Solv3
EDAD 6307Adv Legal/Ethic Aspects Leader3
EDAD 6320Power, Politics, and Policy3
EDAD 6322Race, Ethnicity, and Schools3
EDAD 6330Leadership & Advocacy Educ3
EDAD 6370Grad. Wkshp. Ed. Lead. & Admin3
EDAD 6385Ethics of Leadershp in Educ.3
EDAD 6387Higher Educ Policy Analysis3
EDAD 6393Higher Education Law3
EDAD 6394Higher Education Governance3
EDAD 6396Higher Education Finance3

Electives (6 credit hours):

Additionally, students select two courses within the department or from other academic units of the university that will add to their specialization area, under guidance and approval from their Faculty Advisor and the doctoral program director. Educational Leadership and Foundations courses must be at the level of 6300 or higher. Other UTEP courses must be at the 5380 level or higher. Courses taken to attain prior academic degrees are not accepted as electives.

Research Design and Methodology Courses (9 credit hours):

Students enroll in nine hours of coursework in the areas of quantitative and qualitative research design and methodology. These courses help students develop the skills and knowledge needed to carry out effective independent research during the dissertation phase of the doctoral program.

EDRS 6315Qualitative Research Methods I3
EDRS 6318Quantitative Rsrch Methods I3
Select one from:3
Qualitative Resrch Methods II
Quantitative Rsrch Methods II

Field-Based Learning (3 credit hours):

Students enrolled in the program are expected to complete three semester credits in field-based learning activities which are designed to provide opportunities for practical application of the theoretical concepts acquired in core and elective courses. The three courses available to satisfy this requirement are:

EDAD 6350Internship In Leadership I3
or EDAD 5389 Schl Superintendent Internship
or EDAD 6389

Capstone (3 credit hours):

EDAD 6380Capstone Doctoral Seminar3

Dissertation (6 credit hours):

EDAD 6398Dissertation Research3
EDAD 6399Dissertation Writing3