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Doctor of Education: Leadership

Transform as a leader.

Effective leadership starts with cultivating confidence in your proficiency and the ability to pass it on to others. The online Ed.D. program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers an innovative educational experience that prepares you for leadership in K-12 and higher education, business, healthcare, and nonprofits.

If you’re a professional with a master’s degree who wants to integrate leadership and scholarship, our doctoral program offers a transformative experience for you personally and professionally. No matter what field — or where in the world you want to make an impact — Saint Mary’s will empower you to lead with character and integrity.  

Enroll in our program to learn from renowned scholar-practitioners passionate about assisting you in developing your research and helping you contribute to the insights of your peers. You’ll find the support and resources you need to help you grow into a bold, confident leader. 

Become a leader in any field with our flexible online program —  and create meaningful change for both your career and those you lead.

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cost per credit


start dates

4 years

completion time





cost per credit


start dates

4 years

completion time


Doctor of Education: Leadership Program Highlights

  • Advance through the program alongside a close-knit group of peers from diverse careers and backgrounds, expanding your horizons and gaining valuable perspectives.
  • Learn from our full-time faculty of seasoned practitioners who bring real-world experience to the classroom, ensuring you receive practical and up-to-date knowledge.
  • Join a thriving community of over 500 program alumni, providing you with valuable networking opportunities and connections in the field.

What You'll Learn in Our Doctor of Education: Leadership Program

  • Engage in complex critical thinking
  • Create and nurture learning organizations
  • Engage others with justice, empathy, compassion, and cultural competence
  • Lead appropriate organizational change
  • Operate in a complex, global environment
  • Demonstrate leadership competencies

Virtual Information Session

Join us for an information session to learn more about the program, the application process, and more. We offer live information sessions where you can meet program staff, as well as an archive you can view on your own time.

Transform as a leader every step of the way.

Jamell D. Tidwell is no stranger to adversity. Hear how he overcame challenges, continues to achieve his goals, and connects to those around him in the Ed.D. program at Saint Mary’s.


Ready to apply? Learn about taking the next steps.

    • For the Doctor of Education: Leadership there is no minimum of professional leadership experience required.
    • Applicants may apply for admission to a doctorate degree program at any time during the year. 
    • A master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, for which applicant maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, is required for admission.
    • Applicants must demonstrate the language proficiency necessary for successful graduate coursework.
    • Applicants must complete an interview with the program administrators as part of the admission process.

  • Students with transcripts from universities outside the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada (except for the Quebec Province) must take and pass English proficiency testing.

    Saint Mary’s accepts:

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 72
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum score of 6.0
    • Michigan Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) with a minimum score of 74%
    • International Test of English Proficiency (ITEP) with a minimum score of 4.0 or Pearson Test of English with a score of 51
    • Duolingo with a minimum score of 100.

  • Your application must include the following items:

    • A completed application form
    • An official transcript issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor’s and master’s degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits. (An official transcript is one that is sent to the university by the credit-granting institution.)  
    • Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated on a course by course basis by a university accepted evaluation service, such as World Education Services, Educational Credential Evaluators, Educational Perspectives, or One Earth International Credential Evaluators and be deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. university standards.  
    • All applicants must submit a personal statement which includes:
      • brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience and,
      • statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and their reasons for seeking admission to this program and,
      • description of the areas which the applicant considers to be their strengths and areas in which the applicant wishes to develop greater strengths and abilities and,
      • personal information the applicant wishes to share.
    • Three letters of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability and,
    • A current résumé listing educational background and work experience.

    Official Transcripts should be sent to Office of Admission

    Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
    2500 Park Avenue
    Minneapolis, MN 55404

    Or electronically:

    Please reach out with any questions about the application process.

    Phone: (612) 728-5100

    Toll-free: (866) 437-2788


    • Fall 2023: Friday, Aug. 4, 2023
    • Summer 2024: Friday, April 5, 2024
    • Fall 2024: Friday, Aug. 2, 2024

    • Fall 2023: Aug. 28, 2023
    • Summer 2024: May 6, 2024

  • You can expect to be notified about your acceptance approximately two weeks following your completed application process.

Tuition & Fees

We help you find ways to finance your education. Talk to your Enrollment Counselor about scholarships, loans, and other ways to make education affordable.

Course Catalog

In addition to foundational courses, you’ll take courses such as:

  • Social Justice in a Global World
  • Leadership in literature
  • Legal issues in Education

The course catalog provides complete information about course requirements.

Career Outlook

The Ed.D. program at Saint Mary's prepares you to pursue leadership opportunities across every industry, sector, and field. Our graduates have become university presidents and vice presidents, development foundation vice presidents, senior management, school superintendents, professors, teachers, and principals. There are no boundaries.

Chief Executive

$213,020 per year*

Training and Development Manager

$120,130 per year*

Academic Dean

$96,910 per year*

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The Ed.D. degree is designed to allow you to transition into a leadership position within your professional area of expertise, or expand your professional profile and opportunities to work in teaching or leadership roles in education, business, healthcare, or training. Traditionally, the Ph.D. degree is primarily research-focused for those planning to teach and research full time.

  • Upon graduation from the Ed.D. in Leadership program, you’ll receive the credential of doctorate or doctoral degree. You’ll be referred to as a Doctor of Education, and your signature line can include Ed.D. after your name.

  • You can complete coursework in less than three years. You then move into the comprehensive exam and dissertation. You can complete the entire program (coursework, comprehensive exam, and dissertation) in four years. Program policy requires that the full program be completed in eight years or less.

  • The particular day of the week and start time may differ with each course in the program. Each course will meet in-person one evening per week for seven class sessions plus one online session at some point during each course.

  • The online model follows the same curricular path as the in-person model, however, the majority of the coursework is completed online. You’ll complete most coursework during the year via full online course delivery (spring and fall semesters) and participate in three annual weekend residencies plus online coursework (summer semester).

    During the spring and fall semesters, you’ll take part in fully online courses that meet using technology such as live and recorded video meetings, written or video discussions, and others.

    The summer residency is four days long and is typically held over a weekend at the Minneapolis Campus in mid-July. The residency allows you to engage in a deeper sense of community and network professionally with faculty and peers during course activities, meals, and formal and informal gatherings.

  • Both. There will be course activities and assignments that can be completed at your leisure. You’ll also be expected to join online group work and discussions at prearranged days and times.

  • Examples:

    • A Phenomenological Study of how Individuals Experience Re-employment After Being Laid Off
    • A Comparison of Student Open-ended Written Comments in Traditional to Online College Course Evaluations: a Quantitative Content Analysis
    • Differing Conceptions of Past Practice in Wisconsin Public School Contract Negotiations: a Phenomenographical Study

  • Yes! Many students take both online and in-person courses.

  • The comprehensive examination (comp exam) is taken at the culmination of coursework and before starting your dissertation. The comp exam is an integrative experience requiring you to demonstrate mastery of concepts studied during the core courses and apply these concepts to your profession. You’ll have 15 days to provide a written response to three question prompts. You then meet with your chair and committee members for an oral defense, a conversation about your exam responses, allowing you to provide additional context and rationale to defend your work.

    Comp exam workshops are provided throughout the program to prepare you for this process.

    • If you want to provide school leadership within private, parochial, or select charter school settings that do not require administrative licensure, the Ed.D. in Leadership program would be a great fit for you. However, this program is not designed to lead to administrative licensure for K-12 public schools.

  • After determining your chair and committee members, you’ll work with your chair on determining your research question and methodology before moving into the Proposal Development course. 

    During this course, you’ll collaborate with your chair, course faculty, and peers to emerge from the class with a proposal you are ready to defend. This process will keep you on track with your research and writing and provide a support structure of clear goals and deadlines for completion. 

    Once your proposal has been accepted, your adviser and committee will support you throughout your dissertation’s data gathering, writing, and defense phases to give you the push you need to get to the finish line and graduate.

  • As a graduate of the Ed.D. program, you will join a network of alumni leading organizations across the United States, Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean. Our students and alumni work in schools, businesses, nonprofits, and healthcare institutions worldwide. Within Minnesota, our alumni are leaders in businesses such as Mayo Clinic, 3M, General Mills, Wells Fargo, and more. They also serve as administrators and educators in public and private early childhood, K-12, and higher education institutions.

  • Yes. This variety lends to the uniqueness of our program. You’ll learn from the experiences of your peers at the same time you are learning from our faculty and the discoveries you make through your own research. Your perspective will be broadened as you examine leadership and organizational development through the lens of not only education but healthcare, government, business, non-profits, and more.

News and Information from the School of Education


Sources and Disclaimer

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational and Employment Statistics at (visited March 4, 2023).
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Training and Development Managers, at (visited February 14, 2023).
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Postsecondary Education Administrators, at (visited March 03, 2023).