Graduate Programs


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Educational Leadership

The Ph.D. programs in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (Cohort) at Purdue University develop leaders for the schools of Indiana and the nation. The graduate programs at West Lafayette offer preparation in educational leadership for PK-12 schools and school districts. The Cohort Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership concentrates on PK-12 superintendent preparation and features the use of hybrid distance learning technologies. Although it utilizes distance learning technology such as interactive video (WebEX) and on-line conferencing such as Brightspace to supplement class discussions, it is not an on-line degree program.

June 30th is the deadline for consideration for Cohort admission. Incomplete applications are not reviewed.



How to Apply


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Application Requirements

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For more information please see Purdue’s full application instructions.

To complete the application you will need:

  • Transcripts (copy) – Official transcripts will need to be submitted before the end of the first semester.
  • Statement of Purpose – 300 – 500 word essay. Articulate how this program will help you obtain educational and career goals
  • Resume
  • 3 letters of recommendation – Name and email addresses.
  • Writing sample
  • GRE (waived for 2021 Fall admission)
  • Credit card – application fee

Program Requirements

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The Ph.D. program involves a minimum of 60 semester hours, preliminary examinations, and a dissertation. Applicants are expected to have earned a master’s degree in educational leadership and/or hold a principal’s license.Courses in the cohort program are coordinated with superintendent licensing course requirements. Upon completion of Ph.D. or Ed.S. degrees, graduates are eligible for an Indiana District Administrator license for Superintendent. The program consists of a set of seven core courses in educational leadership. The program is designed so students will complete cohort doctoral core coursework in two and a half years. Students are expected to attend all cohort course courses in sequence throughout the program.

Cohort Doctoral Core Courses

  • EDST 51300 – Educational Facilities Planning (3 hours)
    Systems approach as a basis for planning, construction, and utilization of school facilities. Emphasis on providing facilities to enhance teaching /learning processes in meeting educational needs of diverse learners.
  • EDST 60800 – Business Management in Education (3 hours)
    Management and operation of the school business environment, critical trends and issues in the field, and the internal and external determinants of school fiscal policy.
  • EDST 61200 – Transformational Leadership (3 hours)
    Vision and ethics as components of transformational leadership. Understanding and developing the characteristics associated with transformational leadership.
  • EDST 61300 – Learning Environments (3 hours)
    Management of teaching and learning systems; diagnostic processes and evaluation.
  • EDST 61400 – Leadership for Community Collaboration and Development (3 hours)
    Place of the school district in the larger community. Emphases on building community relationships, communication to diverse audiences, and community development.
  • EDST 61500 – Educational Policy and Decision Making (3 hours)
    Legal, political, and economic relationships to education; policy issues and analysis.
  • EDST 61600 – Analytical Techniques in Educational Management (3 hours)
    Management functions and processes, including applications of technology; organizational change and development.
  • EDST 69500 – Internship – District Administrator (6 hours)
    The “practicum” in which theoretical and research-based work in the core courses is integrated with field-based work of the administrator by working with administrative mentors. A one-hour internship accompanies six of the core courses, for a total of 6 hours.

Supporting Courses

The program contains a sequence of 12 hours of research design and methods courses, 6 hours of related area courses, and 15 dissertation research hours. Students will schedule on a case-by-case basis additional electives and courses that may be required to complete the degree and license.

Supplemental Program Information

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Program Rationale

As a performance-based, CAEP-accredited preparation program, the curriculum focuses on the seven District Level National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) Program Standards for district administrators. Within that structure there is a heavy emphasis on visionary leadership, policy and planning, management and operations, learning environments, school culture, community building and ethical behavior. The core curriculum explores contemporary educational issues as they play out in urban settings, in suburbia, and in rural America. The reforms associated with the Every Student Succeeds Act (2015) demand that schools educate all students. Developing these schools requires school leaders with competencies in systems analysis, planning, fostering change, and building consensus and collaboration. Above all, these school leaders must first be educators with a compelling vision of what education can mean for students. The Cohort Doctoral Program strives to develop leaders with those qualities.

Cohort Format

Each year a select group of 8-10 students is admitted as a cohort. Students usually have two required on-campus Saturday class meetings for their core course each semester with weekly video-conferencing (WebEX) classes or on-line class discussions (Brightspace). Weekend on-campus summer courses are also required.

Tuition and Fees

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Current Tuition Rates and Fees * In-State Out-of-State
Tuition Rate $381.20 $494.20
Technology Fee $7.55 $7.55
Repair and Rehabilitation Fee $11.25 $11.25
Purdue Online (PO) Fee $50.00 $50.00
Total Cost Per Credit Hour $450.00 $563.00
Total Credit Hours 90 90
Total Program Cost $40,500.00 $50,670.00

*Tuition and fees are charges on a per credit hour basis and are subject to annual increase. Annual increases may change the total program cost.


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Course Content Information:
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