Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership with a Concentration in P-12 School Leadership

For general inquiries about the program, please contact edleadership@colled.msstate.edu.


Program Overview

The program for Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership with a concentration in P-12 School Leadership is designed for experienced professional educators interested in leading and managing schools, school districts, educational associations, foundations, and state departments of education.  Program candidates learn state-of-the-art executive skills, applied theory, ethical decision making and problem solving, organizational structure and function, systems analysis, strategic planning, curriculum assessment and improvement, human resource management, school law, school finance, facility design, and public relations.

The program prepares licensed school leaders for executive level leadership roles and opportunities while also advancing their knowledge as scholars and educational researchers.

We are currently accepting applications thru March 1st, 2022 for the fall 2022 cohort.


Admission Criteria

To be eligible for admission to the program, the applicant must hold a master's degree from an accredited institution, meet the basic requirements specified for graduate students at Mississippi State University, demonstrate interest in the mission of P-12 schools, and demonstrate academic proficiency based on the following indicators:

  1. grade point average (GPA) of 3.40 on a 4.00 scale on previous graduate degree(s);
  2. GRE score results;
  3. letter of endorsement from superintendent and two other letters of reference;
  4. statement of purpose;
  5. administrator's license and evidence of current and continuing school administration experience;
  6. résumé; and
  7. interview

Leading and Managing in Educational Environments30
EDA 8163Public School Finance 13
EDA/HED 8223Seminar in Administration 13
EDA/HED 8283Educational Leadership 13
EDA/HED 8353Applications of Theory to Educational Administration 13
EDA 8413Human Resources Administration in Education3
EDA 8423Law and Ethics in Educational Leadership3
EDA 8433The Superintendency3
EDA 8443Politics and Policy in Educational Leadership3
EDA 8453Instructional Leadership3
EDA 8463Technology and Communication in Educational Leadership3
Applied Research
Select a minimum of five of the following:17
EPY 6214Educational and Psychological Statistics 
EPY 8214Int Educational and Psychological Statistics 
EPY 9213Multi Analysis in Educational Research 
EPY 9263Applied Research Seminar 
EDF 9373Educational Research Design 
EDF 9463Qualitative Data Collection in Education 
EDF 9473Qualitative Data Analysis and Presentation in Education 
EDA 8473Introduction to Research in Educational Leadership 
Dissertation Research
EDA 9000Dissertation Research /Dissertation in Educational Leadership (hours and credits to be arranged; minimum of 20 hours required) 220
Additional courses if needed
EDA 8210Internship in Supervision and Administration 33
EDA 8323Educational Facilities Design3
EDA 8190Workshop in Educational Leadership3
Total Hours67-76

1 These courses must be completed at MSU. Many of these courses require prerequisites. The specific number of courses in Educational Administration required for a particular student may vary depending on previous degrees and experience.

2 The student's dissertation research must address problems particular to elementary, middle, or secondary education administration. In addition to successfully completing at least five applied research courses, students are expected to demonstrate competency in research skills in one of two ways: (a) submit a research paper to a peer-reviewed journal or (b) present a research paper at an annual meeting of a regional or national association conference/meeting.

3 Required for students lacking school district-level work experience.

The program is 67 hours, and may be completed in 3-3.5 years.

The program is delivered in a hybrid format (a combination of online and face-to-face instruction) with most on-campus class meetings taking place on Saturdays.

Administrator license or equivalent credential or qualification is required for consideration.

Yes. Provide a copy of your transcript to the Program Coordinator to determine eligibility for transfer credit.

Click here to learn more about tuition, fees, and expenses. 

Click here to learn more about possible scholarships or other funding opportunities.