Program of Study

The formal course work supporting the tenets and goals of the Ed.D. program is organized around the components of an interdisciplinary foundations core, research, organizational leadership and a cognate area of study selected by the student designed to complement the major area of leadership studies and, at the same time, satisfy the individual needs of the student. All course work is offered exclusively at the Ashland campus.

Click here for the sequence of the program's courses.

Cognate Area

The cognate is an individualized specialty area of study encompassing the student's interests and needs, yet related to the major area of study, Leadership Studies. All students are required to complete a cognate area of study consisting of 15 semester hours in such areas as, but not limited to: the Superintendency, School Building Administration, Business Management, Curriculum, Theology, Professional Development, Gifted and Talented Education, and Higher Education Pedagogy. Selection of the cognate is reviewed with the student's adviser and program committee.

Often, courses applied to licensure in educational administration may be taken as part of the cognate. The educational administration licensure programs are described in the Graduate Catalog within the section "Master of Education (M. Ed.)." Doctoral students must meet with their adviser and the Director of Doctoral Studies to formulate the cognate portion of their program.


The purpose of the dissertation is to assure that the student will be capable of engaging in scholarly research and inquiry for the purpose of improving the practice of leadership (10 hours). The Dissertation is a document which demonstrates doctoral-level composition and format, inquiry methods and analysis, state-of-the-art knowledge and the application of leadership strategies from which other professional educators can benefit.

Integrative Foundations Core

Students in the Doctor of Education program begin their program of study as a cohort group during the summer semester following their admission into the program. During this time, students complete the necessary hours of initial core requirements.

Leadership Studies

The leadership studies component focuses on the role of the leader as professional in the human organization. The leadership core of required courses consists of four courses in Organizational Dynamics, two courses in Policy Analysis, and the Mentorship component. Emphasis is placed on the importance of organizational culture and the development of support for a shared institutional vision among professionals.


The research component encompasses both qualitative and quantitative research methods in order to establish the central importance of research and measurement as underlying threads connecting each facet of the doctoral experience. The interpretation and evaluation of literature in the field of leadership studies are inherent in all course work as well as essential to the completion of the dissertation requirement. Students will ultimately structure/design a study representative of a particular problem in actual practice and evaluate information collected from the study.