Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership



admissions requirements

  • Masters degree from an accredited institution, indicated on an official transcript.
  • An overall grade point average of at least 3.0 for all graduate work undertaken beyond the bachelor’s degree.
  • Official transcripts as required by WMU.
  • Career and professional goals written narrative in which an applicant describes their professional goals, and how this doctoral program fits with those goals.
  • Graduate reference forms completed by the different individuals who can address an applicant’s ability to successfully complete doctoral-level work.
  • A professional curriculum vitae or resume.


"My studies gave me exposure to real- world research, which has made me much more confident in seeking a career in this field."Johnny Edwards, Ph.D. Student and Assistant Superintendent of Operations, Portage Public Schools (read more)


Program overview

Due to the increasingly complex tasks including research and data analysis within all types of educational institutions, there is a demand for strong, transformational leaders.

Applying theory to practice is an overall theme for the Doctor of Philosophy in educational leadership, with the case-study approach to learning used extensively. In addition to a small number of concentration related courses, an integrated "professional inquiry, research, and dissertation core" has been developed to increase the likelihood that students complete a Ph.D. rather than adding to the number of "all-but-dissertations" (ABD's) that exist in academia.

The EDLD concentrations require a minimum of 60 graduate credits, including 12 dissertation credits. If you are a working professional and able to take two classes per semester you can complete your doctoral work, including dissertation, in about 3.5 – 4 years.


Resources for current students (including multi-year course offering plans)

For program information visit the current educational leadership Ph.D. students page.


For more information about graduate or doctoral assistantships visit the graduate assistantships page or contact the Interim Department Chair, Dr. David Szabla.

Application information

Currently, the EDLD Ph.D. Program only admits for a start date in fall semester. The priority deadline for each fall semester is January 15; this is the only deadline for applicants who wish to be considered for a graduate assistantship (GA), in which you work up to 20 hours per week in exchange for tuition and a stipend.

A second deadline for fall semester is March 1; no graduate assistantship funding is available for any applications completed between January 16 and March 1.

Your application must be fully completed by January 15 or March 1 (not just submitted). We recommend you submit your application at least two weeks prior to the deadline to ensure recommenders have time to complete their recommendations by the deadline.

** As of March 2023, we are no longer accepting applications for the Workforce education and development leadership concentration; interested students are encouraged to consider the Ph.D. in Education and Human Development - Workforce Education and Development Concentration

Transcript requirement

An official transcript from the institution from which you received your bachelor degree is required to be sent to WMU, as well as a transcript from the institution(s) where any additional graduate level courses or degrees have been taken/completed. Applicants are not required to submit an official transcript for courses taken/completed at WMU.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to upload an unofficial copy of any graduate transcripts to their application in order to expedite the review process.

Official transcripts must be sent to from the issuing institution or via postal mail to: Office of Admissions, 1903 W Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5211.

Meet some of our students

Cost & Funding

Helpful links