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Doctorate (EdD) in Educational Leadership

EdD in Educational Leadership
Focus on Community College Leadership

The EdD program with an emphasis on Community College leadership is designed for accomplished professionals seeking to advance in leadership within the community college system. Community colleges play a large and growing role in the education of California higher education students, with roughly half of the students enrolled in higher education. Students would enroll in the EdD program in Educational Leadership. Many of the leadership courses include students from a range of educational and related settings, including a cohort of 5-10 students who are focused on community college leadership. In addition to the regular EdD coursework focused on leadership development, social critical theory in education, and research methods and dissertation development, students in this track will enroll in two seminars specifically focused on the issues facing leaders at community colleges:

EDUC 436: California Community College Finance, Politics, and Policy

California community colleges operate in between K-12 schools and state run universities: They have more autonomy than K-12 schools but less autonomy than universities. Community college leaders need to work with legislatures around state mandates and funding proposals, and knowing the history, politics, financing, and policy models are important. Community College leaders need to supervise and manage public dollars according to the appropriate laws, but also need to plan for funding changes associated with student growth and attrition, financial aid policies, and community bond measures. Understanding the California Master Plan for higher education and its history will help leaders place new initiatives and mandates in a broader context.

EDUC 427: Issues and Trends in Higher Education

This course will focus on current issues and dilemmas facing colleges to enable college leaders the opportunity to think deeply with peers about pressing issues. Topics will include, but not be limited to: Dilemmas surrounding remedial coursework; balancing vocational training and university transfer curriculum at community colleges; improving student transfer rates and retention at 4 year colleges; maintaining access while also managing budget concerns; helping faculty and student services staff manage issues such as English Language Development, undocumented students, as well as many others.

Distinctive Features

  • Designed for working professionals: The program is designed for accomplished professionals who seek to advance their careers to an executive level. Courses are taught in the evening by instructors who are also working professionals and provide opportunities for students to draw on their working experiences.


  • Closely mentored: When students pick a dissertation topic, they select a dissertation chair who works closely with them on the design, implementation, and analysis of their data.


  • Sequential course structure: Studies begin with a five-course sequence known as the doctoral core. This year-long sequence challenges students to develop the components of their dissertation proposal, including their problem statement, literature review, methods section, and conceptual framework. By the end of this sequence, students have a solid rough draft of their dissertation proposal.

Course Work

The course work is designed to prepare students to write a dissertation that is closely aligned with their interests. Students often select problems that arise from their work in the field. In addition to the doctoral core, all students take courses with a self-selected leadership focus. See the Requirements page for a list of courses required for this program; see the Course List & Descriptions page for paragraph-length descriptions of individual courses.

Career Opportunities

Created for accomplished working professionals, the EdD program prepares students to become successful leaders of organizations ranging from early childhood programs to nonprofit educational endeavors to institutions of higher education. Past graduates include a community college president; professors at state universities; public school principals; heads of independent schools; educational researchers; and executives at nonprofit organizations.


Last Updated: 7/26/17