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Ed.D. Degree


About the Ed.D. Program

Program Overview

Location: Hybrid - Biltmore Park

Prereqs: Masters Deg. GRE Not Required

Enrollment: Part-Time

App. Deadline: Feb. 1

Focus: PK-12, Comm. College, University

Personalized attention, centered on leadership

Virtual Open House

Tuesday, August 6, 2024: 5-6:30 p.m.

Join us at one of our upcoming virtual Graduate School Open House events on Zoom! You'll have the opportunity to learn more about Western Carolina University, understand the Graduate School application process, and meet key program representatives.

Register Today

WCU’s Ed.D. Program in Education Leadership is a Carnegie-influenced executive doctoral program that prepares skilled scholar practitioners to lead educational organizations in solving complex problems of practice. Western Carolina University has been selected as a member of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED).

CPED is an ongoing effort to rethink and redesign the professional doctorate in education to better serve those who aspire to practice educational leadership. Our mission is to develop educational leaders oriented toward continuous improvement, scholarly practice, collaboration, student-centered decision making, and equity and social justice.

An Executive Ed.D. for Working Professionals


The Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership at WCU is a rigorous professional doctorate focused on the needs of senior level educational leaders situated in three contexts: P-12 schools, Community Colleges, and Universities. Applicants in non-traditional contexts are also considered.

The program is designed for working adults who presently serve in a leadership capacity. Cohorts progress through the three-year program in hybrid courses that meet one weekend each month, reinforced and extended with regular online assignments and discussions. Fieldwork is embedded within each course, enabling students to apply their skills and knowledge to address authentic problems of practice. All applicants must currently be employed in a leadership capacity at an educational institution (or similar field). Our program does not offer assistantships and cannot sponsor student visas or employment. 

The Ed.D. program is a member of University Council of Educational Administration (UCEA).

Prospective Students

The curriculum sequence requires the completion of 53 credits, 44 of which must be taken at WCU. This will be completed by taking two core courses each semester (including summers) for 6 semesters, nine elective credits in the student’s concentration area, and the completion of a supervised disquisition (dissertation in practice).

Three-year curriculum

Face-to-face classes at Biltmore Park Instructional Site:
Summer 2024: June 7-8, June 28-29, July 26-27
Fall 2024: August 23-24, Sept. 20-21, Oct. 25-26, Dec. 6-7
Spring 2025: January 24-25, February 21-22, March 21-22, April 11-12
Summer 2025: June 6-7, June 27-28, July 25-26

Cohorts are hybrid with a face-to-face component once a month at Biltmore Park. Cohort size is limited, so admissions are competitive. Applications must be submitted online through the Graduate School's Application system. The application deadline is February 1. To apply, candidates must submit:

  • Application letter, including short and long-range objectives for completing the EdD
  • Resume highlighting leadership experience
  • Official transcripts for all graduate work, documenting a GPA of 3.5 (recommended)
  • At least three references (names and emails) who will complete an online recommendation

In addition, potential candidates for the cohort will be interviewed and asked to complete a writing exercise. Initial application review is complete in February. Applicants will receive a request for an interview by mid-February.  In person interviews for the 2024 cohort will occur at Biltmore Park on March 14 & 15, 2024. Admission decisions will be delivered by March 31.

Students who want to earn a superintendent's license must complete the requirements for a principal's license prior to applying for the EdD program.
WCU's Ed.D. program no longer requires a GRE score as part of the application

Please see current tuition information for students. Additional fees may be assessed for this program.

• Master's Level Principal License
• Doctorate Level Principal License
• Specialist Level Superintendent's License
• Doctoral Level Superintendent's License

Licensure Criteria


EdD Faculty

Left to Right: Dr. Cathy Andrews, Dr. Emily Virtue, Dr. Heidi Von Dohlen, Dr. Robert Crow, Dr. Kofi Lomotey, Dr. Joy Howard, Dr. Jess Weiler, and Dr. Dustin Evatt.

Emily Virtue

Associate Professor

Educational Leadership, Program Director

Cathy Andrews

Assistant Professor

Educational Leadership (MSA)

Aarti Bellara

Assistant Professor

Educational Leadership

Robert Crow

Associate Professor

Educational Leadership

Kofi Lomotey


Distinguished Professor, Educational Leadership

Heidi Von Dohlen

Assistant Professor

Educational Leadership, MSA Program Director

Jess Weiler

Associate Professor

Educational Leadership

Ed.D. Program Accreditation and Professional Memberships

The Ed.D. Program has been accredited and approved by agencies at the state and national level.

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