Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.)

Total units required for Doctorate: 60

Program Description

The Doctoral Program in Transformational Leadership is an award-winning Ed.D. program that represents a dynamic collaborative effort between the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Program in the College of Education and the Department of Public Policy and Administration in the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies. This program connects theory to practice for the purposes of impacting educational systems. 

Our degree focuses on preparing administrative leaders for California public elementary and secondary schools and community colleges and on the knowledge and skills needed by administrators to be effective leaders in California public schools and community colleges.

Our Cohort-based program is designed for working professionals, and classes are offered on Friday nights and Saturdays. Groups of students are admitted each year and take courses together. This creates several distinct advantages of group membership during graduate study which are intentionally fostered in the program:

  • Cohorts offer support to candidates and provide opportunities for members to learn from one another.
  • Cohorts establish professional ties that often last beyond the doctoral program itself; such networks are valuable in terms of continued professional support and growth.
  • Fostering and monitoring candidates’ progress is enhanced in cohorts. The group carries with it the expectation that all but the occasional candidate will complete the program successfully, including such standard benchmarks as the qualifying examination, advancement to candidacy, and completion of the dissertation.

Admission Requirements

The Ed.D. Program admits candidates who meet the academic requirements for the Ed.D. degree program and who possess personal qualities and professional experiences that suggest a strong potential for success as doctoral candidates and as educational leaders in preK-12, community colleges, and higher education.

Applicants must have:

  • An earned baccalaureate degree and master's degree or the equivalent from an accredited institution of higher education with a grade point average in upper division and graduate study of 3.0 or above;
  • Sufficient preparation and experience pertinent to educational leadership and a commitment to educational equity and racial justice;
  • Demonstrated educational leadership potential and skills including successful experience in school, postsecondary, community, and/or policy leadership;
  • Advanced writing and criticality to analyze literature and formulate a research agenda;
  • Demonstrated academic excellence, problem-solving ability, and an interest in assessing and bringing about improvements within current educational policies and practices.

Admission Procedures

Applicants must complete a university application by the posted application deadline date for the term applying. For more admissions information and application deadlines, please visit the Office of Graduate Studies website. Prospective doctoral students must file the following with the Office of Graduate Studies, Riverfront Center 215, (916) 278-6470:

Please note: The GRE requirement is suspended. If applicants send in GRE scores, the scores cannot be taken into consideration when making admissions decisions.

A complete application includes:

  • An online application that can be accessed at Cal State Apply
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Essay Responses 
  • Writing Sample
    • Important Note: Your writing in all cases should be your own original work and may not be written, in part or in whole, by a third party. The admissions committee will carefully consider both the content and the writing in its assessment of your candidacy for graduate study at Sacramento State University.
  • Resume or CV detailing education and professional experience
  • Statement of Support: A brief statement of support for your doctoral studies from your employer.
  • Unofficial Transcripts: Upload one set of unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation attesting to the leadership ability and scholarship of the candidate
  • Official Transcripts: Send one set of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, other than Sacramento State; official electronic transcripts sent directly from colleges/universities to or sealed official hard copy transcripts sent to:

Office of Graduate Studies
California State University, Sacramento
Riverfront Center, Room 215, MS 6112
6000 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95819

After an initial review of completed application, viable candidates will be contacted for an interview.

Unit Requirements

Each candidate will be required to successfully complete 60 semester units of coursework.  Each of the first two years call for completion of 18 units during the regular academic year and 6 units during each summer session. The third year of the program calls for completion of the dissertation which will entail 12 units.

The Ed.D. program is designed for completion of the degree requirements within three (3) calendar years (two semesters per academic year and summer study). The California State University, Sacramento Educational Leadership doctoral program is designed to allow completion of degree requirements within three (3) calendar years and four and a half calendar years (four years and one semester) will normally be acceptable.

Total time to qualifying examination and advancement to candidacy will not exceed three (3) years unless there are mitigating circumstances and the Ed.D. Program faculty has approved the extension; such extension normally may not exceed one year.

Total registered time is not expected to exceed five (5) years, and extension beyond this period requires approval by the Ed.D. Program faculty.

Extension of the period for degree completion beyond the period of five (5) years is normally granted to students in good academic standing, not exceed a two (2) year period. Continuation each term after the extension is granted requires determination of satisfactory progress by the Ed.D. Program faculty.

Extension of the period by more than two years can be granted only under special circumstances and based upon criteria established by the Ed.D. Program faculty. Such extension requires (a) special approval in accordance with the procedures established by the campus and (b) evidence that the student has maintained currency in the field, including demonstrated currency in literature, coursework, and research.

Satisfactory Progress Toward Degree

Each Ed.D. student is expected to maintain satisfactory progress toward the approved academic objectives as defined by the Ed.D. Program faculty and the University. The student is expected to make satisfactory progress in accordance with the Ed.D. cohort structure and program of study through the time of Advancement to Candidacy. This requires that the student complete all courses and examinations satisfactorily and Advance to Candidacy within the period for each specified by the Ed.D. Program faculty. Satisfactory progress further requires that the student pass all required examinations within two attempts.

The normal expectation is that students will attend and participate in all required program components. Students who need to make-up assignments are normally given the opportunity to do so. In the event that a student’s lack of attendance/participation would cause him/her to fail to maintain a grade point average of 3.0, the student would be notified and counseled regarding requirements for satisfactory progress toward the degree. Systemwide criteria of satisfactory academic progress are provided in Appendix 5, Title 5 of California Code of Regulations: The Doctor of Education Degree §40512(c).

Students who need to take a leave of absence are typically provided two options. One is to take extra coursework to make up courses missed and return to their original cohort. The second is to join a later cohort that, at the time they return, is taking the classes that they missed. If a student goes on an approved leave of absence and a course is not offered upon their return, a modified version of the course can be offered as a substitute through independent study or a course substitution may be made, depending on the course requirement.

Criteria for Continuation in the Program

Students must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in the program and not have a grade point average below 3.0 in any two successive terms to be considered in good academic standing. They must also meet all the requirements of graduate students outlined in the University Catalog.

Students who fall below a 3.0 grade point average in any one term will be placed on academic probation and notified of this in writing.  Students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress may be officially disqualified from the program in writing in accordance with policies established by the campus and based upon the recommendation of the Ed.D. Program faculty.

To ensure that a decision to disqualify a student because of unsatisfactory academic progress is just, basic due process requirements will be met. Faculty will conduct a thorough review and consultation and will provide a written recommendation by the Ed.D. Program Director to the Graduate Division. The student may appeal the decision. A student who has been disqualified from the program will not be allowed to continue in the Ed.D. Program, enroll in doctoral level courses in the program, or register again in the Ed.D. Program without a formal application and re-admission to the University.

Program Requirements

Doctoral Core Requirements (48 Units)
EDD 600Transformational Leadership 13
EDD 602Policy and Practice for Educational Leaders I 13
EDD 623Educational Foundations3
EDD 604Introduction to Educational Research 13
EDD 607Community and Communication in Educational Leadership 13
EDD 608Diversity and Equity in Complex Organizations 13
EDD 609Human Resource Management for Educational Leaders 13
EDD 605Qualitative Research Methods 13
EDD 610Curriculum and Instruction Issues for Educational Leaders 13
EDD 601Organizational Leadership 13
EDD 603Policy and Practice for Educational Leaders II 13
EDD 606Quantitative Research Methods 13
EDD 613Finance and Budget for Educational Leaders 13
EDD 615Dissertation Proposal Seminar6
EDD 614Issues in Educational Leadership: Synthesis and Application3
Culminating Requirements (12 Units) 2
EDD 616ADissertation I - Seminar3
EDD 616BDissertation I - Research and Writing3
EDD 617ADissertation II - Seminar3
EDD 617BDissertation II - Research and Writing3
Total Units60