Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy

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Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy Overview

Are you looking to take the next step in your career as a senior educational leader?

This doctoral cohort in Educational Leadership and Policy is intended to shape highly competent leadership positions in school systems and other educational institutions. It is specifically designed for working professional educators who want to develop the intellectual and research skills that will help them refine their practice as leaders in educational systems.

The program concentrates on those elements of theory and research concerning leadership, policy, and social diversity that are of direct assistance in understanding and resolving problems and issues confronting educational practitioners.


Cohort Program

Key aspects of the cohort program approach include:

  • Cohort: Students move through the program as a cohort to encourage the development of networking and communication skills and the building of a collegial community of practice and quality connections between students and faculty. 
  • Sequence: 8 courses will be offered according to the following schedule: for the first two years there will be 2 courses held during 6 weeks in July-August; there will be 1 course each in the Fall and Winter terms. Comprehensive exams and thesis proposal development will occur at the beginning of year three; the remainder of year three will be devoted to thesis research and writing.  All courses will be held in the evenings to accommodate working professionals’ schedules.
  • Practice: Courses are based in the practice of educational administration and focus on reflective practice. Knowledge and theory are applied to address issues and problems the administrators are facing in their work.

We welcome applicants with diverse but relevant backgrounds.

For detailed information about the program, please consult the School of Graduate Studies Calendar.

At a Glance

Study Options
Full-time (4 years)

Program Requirements
Comprehensive Exam
Thesis Proposal

Funding and Tuition
For current information about tuition fees, funding, and financial support, visit Tuition & Financial Support.  

This program is not accepting applications for 2024-2025.


Ready to join one of the world’s top universities? Take the next step in your academic journey and start your application to graduate studies at OISE.

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Why I Chose Leadership, Adult & Higher Education

Shahidul Islam
Shahidul Islam (Master of Education 2020)

"If you are looking to analyze and address real-world problems in education, OISE is the place. At Leadership, Adult & Higher Education I developed my research skills and contributed to literature and policy that benefits schools and communities across the globe."

Admission Requirements

General Admission Requirements

Please visit the OISE Admissions website for detailed information about the application process, including general minimum admission requirements and supporting documents.

    Program-Specific Requirements

    • Master's degree in the area of Educational Leadership and Policy or an equivalent degree with high academic standing from a recognized university.
    • The applicant must be in a leadership position in education, or must have held a leadership position, or must demonstrate potential for leadership.

    All applicants must submit: 

    • Transcript(s) from each post-secondary institution attended.
    • Two letters of reference (one academic and one professional).
    • Resumé that provides clear and complete information about the applicant's work or field experience related to their proposed studies.
    • Answers to faculty admissions questions (applicants are to answer each question in an essay format). Please see questions in the next accordion.
    • In addition to the answers to faculty admissions questions, a supplementary writing sample is required, which will help the admissions committee to assess an applicant's readiness to succeed in rigorous coursework and to conduct systematic research for the EdD. Applicants typically submit a master's-level Major Research Paper or thesis as their writing sample. Applicants who do not have a Major Research Paper or thesis must provide a writing sample that showcases their ability to write clearly and analytically about educational issues. Examples include a master’s-level course paper, a policy document, and a professional publication.

    Applicants are to answer each question in an essay format. 

    • Please address the following (2000 words max): 
      • Describe your academic background, professional experiences, community service and other relevant experiences and accomplishments and how they relate to PK-12 Educational Leadership and Policy. If your academic background is not in education or a related social science field, you are encouraged to describe how your experiences have prepared you for the program. 
      • Discuss your research potential, prior research experience (if any), as well as any other related skills or experiences that make you a strong candidate for a research-stream program. This may include a master’s thesis, major research paper or other capstone project, and/or conducting research in professional, practitioner, or policy contexts. Discuss any prior experience with academic presentations, conferences and/or publications.  
      • Describe your research interests and/or state the problem of practice you wish to investigate and how. You should highlight the synergy between one or more of the program’s thematic areas (Policy, Leadership, Change, and Social Diversity) and your proposed research. You may want to cite core scholars or readings that orient you in this field. 
      • (optional) You are encouraged to speak to your academic and professional goals (after graduation) and how pursuing the EdD in Educational Leadership and Policy would advance these goals.  
      • (optional) The Educational Leadership and Policy program seeks to maintain a diverse, inclusive, and engaged learning community. You are encouraged to identify any ways that your identity (including--but not limited to--ancestry, culture, gender, race, religion, socio-economic status or other social identities) or life experience will contribute to this community. 
      • (optional) Is there any additional information you want to share with the Admissions Committee that will inform their review of your application? 
    • Indicate the faculty member(s) you would like to work within the program and why. How will the expertise of the faculty member(s) support your proposed research? Note you do not need to secure a supervisor prior to applying. Please take time to review descriptions of the Educational Leadership & Policy faculty members here (200 words max) 

    Program Information


    Students must complete 4.0 core full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:

    • Designing Research Proposals in Educational Leadership and Policy (LHA3003H, 0.5 FCE)
    • Research and Literacy for the EdD Program (LHA3004H, 0.5 FCE)
    • Introduction to Research Methods for the EdD (RM) (LHA3005H, 0.5 FCE) or another research methods course.
    • Data Analysis for the Education Doctorate-RM (LHA3006H 0.5 FCE) or another research methods course.
    • Literature Reviews for the EdD Program (LHA3007H, 0.5 FCE)
    • People and Power in Organizations (LHA3040H, 0.5 FCE)
    • Doctoral Seminar on Policy Issues in Education (LHA3041H, 0.5 FCE)
    • 0.5 elective FCE. Explore ELP courses
    Comprehensive Examination
    • Students entering 2023 and later (full 2023 comps guidelines here): Successful oral defence of a written paper that critically reviews and synthesizes the literature related to the problem of practice to be addressed in the student’s dissertation in practice, selected by the student in consultation with the supervisor/advisor.  
    • Students entering before 2023 (full pre-2023 comps guidelines here; may also opt into 2023 comps guidelines): Successful oral defence of a written portfolio that emphasizes reflective practice.  
    • The comprehensive exam is typically taken at the end of Year 2, and must be taken no later than the end of Year 3. Students will be informed of their status (pass or fail) at the end of the oral exam. Students who are not successful in their first attempt will be permitted one additional attempt to pass.  
    Thesis (Dissertation in Practice)Proposal Hearing

    The thesis (dissertation in practice) is the culminating component of the Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership and Policy that shall include an identification and investigation of a problem of practice, the application of theory and research to the problem of practice, and a design for action to address the problem of practice. Specifically, the thesis (dissertation in practice) consists of original research in the form of a written proposal or plan for innovative and impactful educational policy, guideline, advocacy, development project, or activism within or beyond a traditional educational setting, aimed at improving practice at local, regional, national, or international levels.

    2021 Cohort Schedule
    Session Course
    July - August 2021 People and Power in Organizations (LHA3040H) and
    Research Literacy (LHA3004H)
    Fall 2021 Literature Review Course (LHA3007H)
    Winter 2022 Introduction to Research Methods (LHA3005H) or alternative research methods course 
    May - June 2022 Elective course*
    July - August 2022 Doctoral Seminar on Policy Issues in Education (LHA3041H) and
    Research Methods II (LHA3006H), or alternative research method course 
    Fall 2022 Elective course*
    Winter 2023 Research Proposal Development (LHA3003H)**
    May - June 2023 Elective course*
    July - August 2023 Elective course*
    September 2023 Comprehensive Exam (special session for the EdD cohort)
    Fall 2023/Winter 2024 Proposal hearing (Guidelines) (by Apr. 30, 2024)
    Thesis (dissertation in practice)
    2024 Onward Thesis (dissertation in practice) completion and defence (maximum time limit is 6 years)

    * Note: There are 3 sessions available to complete the 0.5 open elective course.
    **Note: not to be taken earlier in the program

    • Students are full-time and must maintain continuous registration full-time and pay full-time fees until all degree requirements, including the thesis (dissertation in practice), are completed.
    • Students cannot transfer between the EdD and PhD programs

    See a complete list of all courses offered in the Educational Leadership & Policy program.  

    See course offerings for the current term: please visit OISE’s Course Enrolment website

    Collaborative specializations provide graduate students enrolled in participating degree programs with an additional multidisciplinary experience as they complete their home degree program. 

    Learn more about the collaborative specializations offered to students in this program:

    Dissertation in Practice Guidelines

    Faculty in the Educational Leadership & Policy program have multi-disciplinary teaching and research expertise in a wide range of fields. 

    Our faculty's expertise includes, but is not limited to: 

    • Educational policy analysis and program evaluation
    • Whole system reforms
    • International comparisons of educational equity
    • Socio-economic disparities in academic achievement
    • Large-scale data analysis
    • intersections of law and education
    • School administration, philosophy and theory
    • Critical democracy and educational leadership issues

    Questions about the Doctor of Education Cohort?

    Administrative questions about admissions to future EdD cohorts:

    Administrative questions for current EdD students:

    Academic questions for current or prospective students:
    Prof. Anna Katyn Chmielewski-



    Ready to join one of the world’s top universities?

    Take the next step in your academic journey and start your application to graduate studies at OISE.