Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy (International Education Leadership & Policy Field)

Students talking inside the OISE building at OISE Fall Orientation.
International Education Leadership & Policy Field
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy (International Education Leadership & Policy Field) Overview

Are you a mid-career professional working in an international education setting looking to create impact and mobilize new solutions to real-world problems? 

This online doctoral cohort is specifically designed for mid-career professionals who work for international organizations, governments, foundations and nongovernmental agencies looking to enrich their education and improve their practice. The program concentrates on those elements of theory and research that are of direct assistance in understanding and resolving problems and issues confronting educational policy makers, practitioners and leaders in international settings.


Cohort Program

Key aspects of the cohort program approach include:

  • Cohort model: a cohort-based model provides a more structured academic experience, sense of community and enhanced networking opportunities and access to student support.
  • Blended delivery mode: with short on-campus institutes and the majority of courses offered online, the blended delivery mode allows working professionals to work and study at the same time and balance their professional and academic pursuits.
  • Doctoral Research Institute: Students will meet for a two-week intensive program at the University of Toronto. These institutes will combine instructional modules with orientation, planning, leadership, and cohort building activities.
  • Sequence: 8 half courses will be offered over 3 terms each year. The third year will include a year-long Pro-seminar/Dissertation course with workshops and meetings on alternative weeks. The course will include modules on thesis writing and preparation; opportunities for structured peer review of thesis chapters; as well as specialized webinars on relevant leadership skills and topical issues in international education policy from guest speakers who are senior policy makers and researchers in the field. Comprehensive exams will occur at the end of year two; and thesis proposal development will occur at the beginning of year three; the remainder of the time will be devoted to thesis research and writing.
  • Thesis (dissertation in practice): The culminating component of the EdD, the thesis (dissertation in practice) includes the identification and investigation of a problem in practice, the application of theory, research and policy analysis to the problem of practice, and a proposed plan for action to address the problem of practice. The dissertation in practice will have meaningful generative impact on education practice and policy and be used by others in the field.

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.

Speak with our Team

Have questions about our program, admissions, financial support or career options after graduation? Our team has the answer you’re looking for. Contact us for one-on-one support.

Attend an Info Session

We host information sessions, open houses and tours throughout the year. Come discover what it's like to study at OISE. Explore campus and meet our community.

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 Information

  • 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.
  • In addition to the answers to faculty admissions questions, a supplementary writing sample is required, which will help the admissions committee assess an applicant's readiness to succeed in rigorous coursework and 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 with in 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)
  • Introduction to Research Methods for the EdD (LHA3005H, 0.5 FCE)
  • Data Analysis for the Education Doctorate-RM (LHA3006H, 0.5 FCE)
  • 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 chosen from 1000, 3000, or 6000-level courses as available online Explore ELP courses or
    • Individual reading course (LHA3052H) or
    • Practicum course (CIE1002H, 0.5 FCE)
  • Professional Seminar and Dissertation Workshop in International Educational Leadership and Policy (LHA3008H, 0.5 FCE)
Comprehensive Examination

Successful oral defence of a portfolio that emphasizes reflective practice.

Thesis Proposal Hearing



The thesis (dissertation in practice) is the culminating component of the Doctor of Education degree in International 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.

2022 Cohort Schedule
Session Course
Fall 2022 People and Power in Organizations (LHA3040H)
Winter 2023 Doctoral Seminar on Policy Issues in Education (LHA3041H)
Spring/Summer 2023 Introduction to Research Methods for the EdD (LHA3005H)
Literature Review for the EdD, Research Institute (LHA3007H)
Fall 2023 Data Analysis for the Education Doctorate II (LHA3006H)
Winter 2024 Elective course*
Spring/Summer 2024 Comprehensive exam
Designing Research Proposals in ELP (LHA3003H)
Research Institute
Fall 2024/Winter 2025 Proposal hearing
Professional Seminar/Dissertation Workshop in IELP (LHA3008H, year-long half-course, meeting bi-weekly)
 Thesis (dissertation in practice)
2025 Onward Thesis (dissertation in practice) completion and defence

* Note: Winter term in Year 2 allows students to complete one required elective course and prepare for their comprehensive examination. Electives can also be taken in other terms during 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 (Educational Leadership & Policy program)

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
Solving problems of practice with the Educational Leadership & Policy Doctor of Education (EdD) degree

Session Moderator: Dr. Sofya Malik, Assistant Professor - Teaching Stream, OISE, International Leadership and Policy EdD Program Coordinator

Panelists: Dr. Ahmad Jibran, Director Academics, The Punjab School System, Pakistan; Min (Caroline) Xu, Deputy Head of School (Academics) & Principal and Head of Hongqiao Campus, YK Pao School, Shanghai; Dr. Katherine Witherow, Associate Faculty at Royal Roads University, in the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership & Management program. 


Questions about the Doctor of Education (IELP Field) Cohort? 

Administrative questions about admissions to future IELP cohorts:

Administrative questions for current IELP students:

Academic questions for current or prospective students:
Prof. Karen Mundy -


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.