University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW)

Watson College of Education

Educational Leadership

Ed.D. in Education Leadership, Concentration in Higher Education

  • Ed D.


Dr. Kevin McClure
601 S. College Rd.
Wilmington, NC 28403

Program Statement

The mission of the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership is to prepare aspiring leaders to be informed, proactive, and reflective change agents to improve schools and institutions of higher education for the benefit of all students. The audience for the program includes (a) current B-12 public school leaders or aspiring school leaders who plan to move into school district leadership roles or who wish to improve their leadership practice through an education doctorate; (b) aspiring leaders from related disciplines who plan to move into school or school district leadership roles; and (c) aspiring leaders in the student support areas in higher education. Our students include school district leaders, school and college/university administrators, teacher leaders, and leaders working for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Program Goal

The primary goal of the program is to prepare effective educational leaders who are skilled managers, curricular experts, and research-based scholars. Each of these roles requires theoretical and practical knowledge, application of skills, and appropriate professional dispositions.

Program Overview

The Educational Leadership Doctoral Program is an Education Doctorate (Ed.D.) program designed for working professionals. The program includes three concentrations, Leadership in Educational Administration, Leadership in Curriculum and Instruction, and Leadership in Higher Education.

Courses are taught in a hybrid format blending face-to-face instruction with online instruction, eliminating the need for students to come to campus for classes each week. On-campus classes meet on alternating Monday evenings and distance cohorts meet on select Saturdays.
Courses are offered during three semesters: fall, spring, and summer.
Sixty (60) credit hours of coursework and dissertation study are required for degree completion.

Students will consult with an advisor to develop a program of study. Please see theProgram Requirements for more information about coursework. Please seeInternships and Directed Independent Studies and the Doctoral Student Handbook for more information about the internship and dissertation components of the program.

Program Highlights

The Educational Leadership Doctoral Program is an innovative program featuring:

  • A focus on research-based practice;
  • Effective use of educational technology;
  • A cohort model in the first year;
  • Opportunities for internships in international education, school/government, and business;
  • Coursework from the UNCW Cameron School of Business;
  • An applied dissertation study; and
  • Dedicated faculty with diverse backgrounds and expertise.
Meets ACPA Commission for Professional Preparation Standards: 
Meets CAS Standards: 

Number of Program Faculty

Full Time: 
Total Program Credit Hours: 
Average Time to Degree: 
4 years

Visitation Program



Entrance Exam: 
  • GRE
Assistantship Required: 
Assistantship Placement Assistance: 
  • Full time
  • Part time
Program Delivery: 
  • In-person
  • Online
  • Hybrid
Course Schedule: 
  • Evening
Comprehensive Exam Required: