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Executive Doctor of Education in Leadership

Fast track your doctorate in education leadership.

The highly competitive Executive Ed.D. program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota accelerates your journey toward earning a Doctor of Education degree. 

This fast, affordable, online doctorate program helps you develop the foundational skills influential leaders need in executive-level positions across several industries.

To be eligible for this program, you must have a minimum of 10 years of professional experience, ensuring that participants possess a wealth of practical knowledge to enrich the learning experience for all.

The Executive Ed.D. program does not require a dissertation, making it the fastest path to a terminal degree and appropriate for those seeking leadership skills who do not aspire to a tenure-track teaching role at a post-secondary institution. 

In addition to exploring innovative management strategies, you’ll receive training on the legal, ethical, and social issues relevant to today’s business leaders.

Enroll in our program to become an indispensable leader with purpose, character, and integrity.

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per credit


start dates

2 years

completion time





per credit


start dates

2 years

completion time


Program Features

  • Our Ed.D. program takes a unique approach to assessment, moving away from traditional comprehensive exams and dissertations. Instead, you will engage in project-based learning and a capstone project that allows you to apply your knowledge and skills to real-world educational challenges.
  • Benefit from the guidance and support of our experienced faculty mentors. They will provide valuable insights, feedback, and support ensuring you receive practical and up-to-date knowledge.
  • The project-based capstone experience will be a defining feature of your journey, allowing you to delve deep into a specific area of interest.

What You'll Learn

  • Engage in complex critical thinking
  • Engage others with justice, empathy, compassion, and cultural competence
  • Create and nurture learning organizations
  • 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


Ready to apply? Learn about taking the next steps.

    • For the Executive Doctor of Education in Leadership, a minimum of 10 years of professional leadership experience is required.
    • Applicants may apply for admission to doctorate degree programs at any time during the year.
    • A master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, for which the 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
    • $250 non-refundable application fee
    • 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: tcadmission@smumn.edu

    Please reach out with any questions about the application process.

    Phone: (612) 728-5100

    Toll-free: (866) 437-2788

    E-mail: tcadmission@smumn.edu

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

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

  • 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 your education affordable.

Course Catalog

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

  • Leadership Theory
  • Organizational Development
  • Theories of Adult Learning

The course catalog provides complete information about course requirements.

Careers & Salary

Pursue advanced leadership roles as a vice president, director, or C-suite position in various fields such as finance, marketing, healthcare, sales, or government.

College Vice President


Financial Manager


Chief Executive Officer


Frequently Asked Questions

  • The Ed.D. degree is a practitioner-focused program 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
    Executive 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.

Sources and Disclaimer

  1. HigherEdJobs, Executive-Level Administrator Salaries at https://www.higheredjobs.com/salary/salaryDisplay.cfm?SurveyID=53 (visited May 10, 2023).
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Topo Executives at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/top-executives.htm#tab-1
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Financial Managers at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm (visited March 03, 2023).