Executive Doctorate in Leadership Studies

The Executive Ed.D. in Leadership Studies is an interdisciplinary doctoral degree for working professionals and practitioners who would like to complete their doctorate within a condensed timeframe.  Through an executive delivery format, students can complete their doctorate within 2 years.  The Executive Ed.D. Program is designed to meet the needs of mid- to senior-level professionals who wish to extend their knowledge and expand their career opportunities.

The Leadership Studies Doctoral Program combines theory and practice with individual mentoring and applied research to train a new generation of reflective, ethical and effective leaders in P-12 schools, higher education, government, industry and human service organizations. High-quality academic content paired with individualized mentoring — both on- and off-campus, through workplace partners — stand as the hallmarks of Ashland University’s doctoral program in leadership studies. With a Doctorate in Leadership Studies, you will engage in a rigorous process of research, inquiry and site-specific practice.


  • Cohorts begin in May of each year.

  • Core classes are held at Ashland’s Columbus Center.

  • Core classes meet two Fridays (4p-8p) and Saturdays (8a-4p) per month, enabling students to work full time while completing their degree.

  • Classes are conducted year-round and in a hybrid format (online & face-to-face).

  • Core classes are completed across four semesters (16 months) with the remaining time devoted to the completion of the dissertation (varies depending on topic and depth of study).

  • Residency requirements are fulfilled during the summer and scheduled well in advance to minimize work interruption.

  • Cohorts consist of 5 - 15 students and draw from a diverse range of employment sectors (corporate, non-profit, healthcare, education, business, etc.).


Our faculty understands that students pursuing a doctorate in leadership studies lead busy lives. In an effort to facilitate the work-life balance of our students, we offer our courses in a hybrid format allowing for both face-to-face instruction and online learning.


Each year we accept a new cohort of students, which gives students the opportunity to learn and grow together. The camaraderie within cohorts sustains everyone’s momentum and provides a valuable network well after graduation. Through a competitive selection process, we look for cohort balance in personal characteristics, academic background, communication style and skill, leadership ability and cultural ability.


Many of our doctoral students work full time, so each student completes a change project on the job or in their community as a component of the program’s required field experience. Working with advisors over 12 months, you’ll delve into action-oriented research to determine needs and options. Then, you will plan, implement and evaluate your change project helping to resolve important issues within your chosen organization.  The mentorship project segues into each student's dissertation.


Through the dissertation, students engage in scholarly research and inquiry to improve the practice of leadership. The document will demonstrate doctoral-level composition and format, inquiry methods and analysis, state-of-the-art knowledge and application of leadership strategies from which other professionals can benefit.


Our graduates have continued their careers in a variety of areas including superintendents in school districts of all sizes, public and private, college deans and professors and business executives. With a Doctorate in Leadership Studies from Ashland University the possibilities are endless.

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