The D.Ed. in Educational Leadership is a professional degree program focused on concepts and issues of educational practice. It is appropriate for those who seek careers as educational leaders in schools and other education service organizations (e.g., superintendents, principals, educational specialists). This is a relatively structured program of study requiring a minimum of 90 credits of coursework (some of which may include previous Master’s-level work). The final dissertation, thesis, or project should demonstrate thoughtful application of theories and concepts to problems of practice in educational leadership.

The basic requirements of the D.Ed. program coursework include:


Major Field: 48
General Studies/Minor: 15
Research: 9
Dissertation Research: 15

At least 30 of the required 90 credits must be earned at the University Park Campus.

Off Campus and Transfer Credit

From the Graduate Bulletin:  A maximum of 30 credits beyond the baccalaureate at an accredited school not granting the doctorate in the student’s major program may be accepted by the Graduate School in partial fulfillment of the requirement for a D.Ed. degree at Penn State.

The accepted credits must be no more than five years old, appear on an official graduate transcript, be of at least B quality, and be deemed acceptable to the student’s academic adviser. Requests to transfer courses should be submitted and approved early in the student’s doctoral program. Additional restrictions may apply to transfer credit. For additional information, visit http://www.gradschool.psu.edu/current-students/transfer-credits/.

Program Plan

D.Ed. students, in close consultation with their academic adviser, will design a program plan for degree completion early in their program. This program plan will indicate which courses will fulfill all course requirements in the Major Field Area, as well as the General Studies/Minor Area, and the Research requirement. The purpose of the coursework is to provide the breadth and depth of knowledge in the field of educational leadership, to prepare students to pass their written comprehensive examination, and to develop the research skills to conceptualize, develop, and complete a satisfactory thesis or project.