Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Graduate Programs

The Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies offers a broad range of graduate professional programs in educational leadership and policy. For complete program information, contact the department.

Graduate programs in educational leadership and policy studies promote the professional and intellectual development of practitioners, teachers, and scholars at all levels of education. The department offers Master of Science in Education degrees in educational administration (K-12), social and cultural studies in education, higher education, and educational technology, as well as Ed.D. and Ph.D. degrees in educational leadership and policy studies with concentrations in educational administration, social and cultural studies in education, higher education, educational technology, and policy studies.

Note: Prospective and current students should obtain the current degree requirements from the department.

Graduate Admission to the School of Education

Graduate programs in education are open to students with acceptable baccalaureate and graduate degrees whose academic records indicate that they can do successful work at the graduate level. Regular admission requires a grade-point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Individual departments may require additional information and may have more stringent admission and retention requirements.

Some departments may offer special provisional admission categories to students who may not qualify under traditional admission criteria. Departments that offer provisional admission require a grade-point average of at least 2.5.  Applicants must provide evidence of ability to work successfully at the graduate level, including experience in and commitment to the profession. Exceptions to established policies must be sought individually by petition to the Graduate Division of the School of Education.

See Admission in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog for more information.

Each department in the School of Education sets its own application deadlines.  Prospective graduate students should contact their departments for more information.


Graduate Admission

Applicants for all programs must submit the following materials:

  1. Graduate application.
  2. 1 official transcript from each degree-granting collegiate institution attended.
  3. Original Graduate Record Examination general test scores for all doctoral applicants (Ed.D. and Ph.D.). The GRE is not required for master’s applicants in educational administration, higher education, social and cultural studies in education, or educational technology.
  4. Statement of purpose/relevance of degree to career aspirations.
  5. 3 letters of recommendation evaluating the applicant’s capacity for rigorous graduate study and qualifications for leadership positions in education and related fields.
  6. A vita or resume.

Individual program concentrations may require additional application materials. Please consult the appropriate program advisor. The following application deadlines apply:

Educational Administration

SummerMaster’s and doctoral applicantsApril 1

Higher Education

FallMaster’s applicants who intend to enroll full-time and seek graduate assistantshipsearly January
FallMaster’s applicants who intend to enroll full time and seek graduate assistantships in housing onlyearly March
FallMaster's applicants who are working professionalsAugust 1
SpringMaster's applicants who are working professionalsJanuary 1
SummerMaster's applicants who are working professionalsMay 15
FallDoctoral applicantsJuly 1
SpringDoctoral applicantsNovember 1
SummerDoctoral applicantsMarch 1

Social and Cultural Studies in Education

FallMaster’s and doctoral applicantsJuly 1
SpringMaster’s and doctoral applicantsNovember 1
SummerMaster’s and doctoral applicantsApril 1

Educational Technology

FallMaster’s applicants interested in program on Lawrence CampusJune 1
FallMaster's applicants interested in program on Edwards CampusJuly 15
FallDoctoral applicantsJune 1
SpringMaster’s and doctoral applicantsNovember 1
SummerMaster’s and doctoral applicantsApril 1

Policy Studies

FallDoctoral applicantsJuly 1
SpringDoctoral applicantsNovember 1
SummerDoctoral applicantsApril 1

Submit your graduate application online. Supporting materials, such as the résumé, statement of purpose, writing sample, and letters of reference may be uploaded to the application. Original transcripts from degree-granting institutions and official test scores should be sent directly to the department:

The University of Kansas
Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Joseph R. Pearson Hall
1122 W. Campus Road, Room 421
Lawrence, KS 66045-3101


Ed.D. Degree Programs

The Ed.D. trains educational practitioners to understand and apply the most advanced knowledge to their work. All doctoral students must complete a program that provides a broad understanding of educational leadership and policy as well as a concentration in educational administration, higher education, social and cultural studies in education, or policy studies.

All Ed.D. students must complete a minimum of 27 hours in the major/concentration (e.g. educational administration, higher education administration), 9 hours of research, a 3 credit hour practicum or field experience, and a dissertation.  In addition, all Ed.D. aspirants complete a responsible conduct of research component that is integrated with the required coursework.

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.

A general description of each concentration is given here. 

Educational Administration

The educational administration concentration prepares teachers and administrators for school district leadership roles. Studies stress fundamental fields of knowledge and educational policy development necessary for effective leadership of school districts. The Ed.D. leads to licensure in Kansas at the district level. Students pursuing this degree from outside of Kansas should contact their licensing board to determine requirements for district level license. This concentration requires students to take classes in the summer.

Course plan:

Year 1
SummerHoursFallHoursSpringHours
ELPS 9563ELPS 9533ELPS 9543
ELPS 9483ELPS 8713ELPS 9513
 6 6 6
Year 2
SummerHoursFallHoursSpringHours
C&T 9033ELPS 9553ELPS 9583
ELPS 9453ELPS 9573EPSY 8703
 6 6 6
Year 3
SummerHoursFallHoursSpringHours
ELPS 9951Comprehensive Exams (Oral) ELPS 9951
Comprehensive Exams (Written) ELPS 9951ELPS 998 (Applied Statistics)3
 ELPS 9693ELPS 9992
 ELPS 9992 
 1 6 6
Year 4
SummerHoursFallHours 
ELPS 9993ELPS 9993 
 Defend Dissertation  
 3 3 
Total Hours: 55

Higher Education

The concentration in higher education provides current and prospective college or university staff members and administrators with theoretical and practical knowledge of higher education as a complex human activity. 

All EdD students must complete a period of continuous study.  Options for meeting this requirement are found in the course catalog.

Students must complete a written and oral comprehensive exam typically taken after all course requirements are completed.

Dissertation Requirements:

After successfully completing the comprehensive exam, students must enroll in 6 credit hours of dissertation per semester until the dissertation is complete or 18 credit hours are completed.  After 18 credit hours of dissertation are completed, a student must enroll in 1 hour per semester, until the dissertation is completed.  Post-comprehensive enrollment credit hours can include Dissertation Seminar (ELPS 989) or additional research courses.)