Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Pursue doctoral-level research through field-based opportunities that address important issues of practice. Our Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED)-based Ed.D. program helps you take a deeper look at the systems and leaders that influence and guide our schools. Our Ed.D. program will prepare you for careers in executive leadership, higher education and policy centers.

The Ed.D in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies builds upon prior leadership training and requires a Master’s degree in an education-related field. You will take two years of coursework and, in year three, conduct field research in collaboration with partner schools and districts.

Our Ed.D. program is affiliated with the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED). This means we follow the best practices of the CPED, and provide exceptional coursework and learning opportunities to help you delve deeply into issues, theory and matters of practice surrounding equity and social responsibility.

Applications are currently under review, look for decision emails coming soon!

Applications Open In August

Explore Admission Requirements

Learning Outcomes

The program learning outcomes for the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies are as follows:

  • Self Aware: Reflective practitioners who seek and embrace critical feedback with the personal insight necessary to continuously improve and are willing to fully dedicate their knowledge, skills and passion towards becoming critically conscious scholars, researchers for social justice and transformative leaders.
  • Critically Conscious Scholar: Critical consumers of knowledge that base leadership and professional practice as a leader and scholar with historical and cultural awareness of the communities served by engaging indigenous and ancestral community contexts and empirical evidence to be an effective, ethical and equity-focused scholar.
  • Researcher Committed to Social Justice: Producers of critical and collective scholarly inquiry, application and development of new knowledge and practice that foster social justice and civic engagement and honor culture and community.
  • Transformative Leader: Culturally responsive leaders who center community perspectives and critique and challenge systems of oppression by moving research to action, advocating for community-based goals and/or assuming leadership or partnering with school, district and community leaders. Transformative leaders who promote inclusive, non-oppressive school contexts that serve the best interests of students, families and communities for a more equitable and socially just education system and society.

Program Requirements

To apply to our Ed.D. program, you must have a master’s degree in an education-related field. You must also have completed principal, teacher-leadership, or other formal leadership preparation.

Once you are in the program, you will need to complete 65-quarter credit hours and a Doctoral Research Project. This project is based on independent research supported in quarterly research seminars with faculty, and is focused on important issues of practice.


If you are approved to pursue certification for an Administrative License through the Colorado Department of Education (CDE): the Initial Administrator (Superintendent) License or the Initial Administrator (Director of Special Education) License, you must complete the optional six-credit hour administrator internship (300 contact hours) in addition to the Ed.D. program requirements. The University of Denver has not yet determined whether the program meets licensure requirements in a state other than Colorado or in any U.S. protectorates. If you want to pursue licensure in a state other than Colorado, contact the state’s Board of Education to determine whether the program meets licensure requirements.