Rossier Audiences

EdD in Educational Leadership

Class start date: August 21, 2017

Deadline Notification by
Round 1 December 1, 2016 February 15, 2017
Round 2 January 15, 2017 March 15, 2017
Round 3 March 15, 2017 May 15, 2017

Applicants who submit a complete application early will receive primary consideration for USC Rossier Scholarships.

Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership Checklist
Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership – Hawaii Cohort Checklist

Review the Application FAQs
Listen to the EdD Application Podcast

Application Requirements

 A complete application includes all of the following:

  • Online application
  • $90 non-refundable application fee
  • Resume (3 years of full-time work experience required)
  • Three essays
  • Official GRE test scores OR writing assessment
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Scanned copies of university-issued official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended (regardless of whether credit or a degree was earned)
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores (international applicants only)

Begin Application Process


Online Application

You must create an Apply Yourself (AY) account in order to apply to a graduate program at USC. Please set aside 45 to 60 minutes to complete the online application. Alternatively, you may save your information and continue it at a later date. If you are applying to multiple programs (including dual degrees), you will need to create a separate account for each application you wish to submit.

To begin the online application, visit the USC Graduate Admissions website.


A resume or CV highlighting your personal and professional experiences is required. Your resume should be detailed enough to help the Admissions Committee understand the various experiences – extracurricular, leadership, or volunteer – that have shaped your interest in the EdD program. Three or more years of full-time work experience is a prerequisite for admission to the program.

Essay Responses

Essay responses will be used to evaluate an applicant’s personal, professional and educational experiences and the ability to effectively communicate ideas and organize written thoughts. Applicants are required to submit three essays. Essays should be double-spaced and a maximum of two pages in length.

  1. Discuss your interest in the EdD program and how you believe it will help you to reach your short- and long-term professional goals.
  2. In considering your personal, educational, and employment background, in what ways do you hope or expect to contribute to the academic and professional community at USC Rossier?
  3. Choose a problem relevant to your intended field of practice. As an educational leader, discuss what kind of information you might need in order to address this problem and why such information is necessary and relevant to the problem you have identified.

Official Test Scores –OR– the Writing Assessment

A. Official Test Scores

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

All applicants are required to submit a valid score on the GRE general examination. There is no minimum score for consideration. If you take the GRE more than once, we look at your highest score in each section from each sitting. The GRE score may not be more than five years old.


International students whose native language is not English and who completed their undergraduate work outside of the U.S. are required to submit an official TOEFL iBT or IELTS score as part of their application. You must have taken the test within the past two years. In order to be a competitive applicant, you must receive a score at or above 100 iBT or 250 CBT.

Official test scores should be sent from the testing agency directly to USC. Only scores received directly from the testing service are considered official. USC does not accept self-reported test scores.

USC’s ETS school code is 4852. Applicants taking the GRE or TOEFL should use this code to ensure that USC receives your official test results. No department code is required.

If you are sending IELTS scores, please select “University of Southern California” from the list of schools available for official score submission.

B. EdD Writing Assessment

The EdD Writing Assessment is a timed online essay exercise that measures a candidate’s ability to demonstrate critical thinking skills in written form. In the Assessment, applicants will be presented with two position statements on issues relevant to educational leadership. The applicant will then have 30 minutes in which to compose a concise, well-reasoned response that either agrees or disagrees with one of the position statements. The Writing Assessment then becomes part of the application and is evaluated by the Admissions Committee in conjunction with the rest of the application materials.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required. Ideally, your recommendations should come from current and former supervisors who can comment on the value you have added to your workplaces, or former instructors who can describe your ability to perform well in graduate-level courses. Recommenders will receive an email with a password and directions to upload a letter. Recommenders must write a letter. Simply completing the recommender cover sheet will not suffice. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure recommenders submit an actual letter.

Official, Sealed Academic Transcripts

You may request and send transcripts prior to submitting the online application. You must send official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, regardless of whether or not credit or a degree was obtained. If the name on your transcripts is different than your current name, please include your current name on your transcript.

Electronic transcripts are preferred as long as they are from a U.S. institution. Please send transcripts to USC Rossier at

(NOTE: While the USC Office of Graduate Admissions also accepts electronic transcripts at, you do not need to submit transcripts to both offices. One copy sent to USC Rossier will suffice for your application.)

Hard copies should be sent to:

USC Rossier School of Education
Office of Admission and Scholarships
1150 South Olive Street
Suite 2100
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Financial Statement (for international students only)

If you are not a U.S. citizen or resident, you must also submit a Financial Statement/Verification of Funds document.

For more information about international student applications visit:

Review Timeline

Once your application is submitted and processed you will receive regular email updates (to the email address you provided on your application) indicating which documents have not been received. If you submitted a complete application by the deadlines listed above you will receive your admission decision by the corresponding notification date. In rare cases we may need additional information from you. If this is the case, our office will be in contact with you to ensure timely processing of your application.

Additional Admissions Criteria

Admission to the Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership program is competitive and selective. The Admissions Committee seeks candidates whose academic background, work experience, leadership abilities, and communication skills meet the demands of the program and show promise for a successful career as an educational leader.

Academic Background

The Admissions Committee looks for candidates whose prior academic work demonstrates the capability to succeed in a rigorous graduate program. An advanced degree (such as a Master’s degree or JD) from an accredited institution is required, without exception. Applicants whose prior study was outside the United States must have completed the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree.

There are no set prerequisite courses or majors, and prior coursework in education is not required. The Committee reviews performance in all prior postsecondary coursework.

Work Experience

Prior work experience is an important component of an applicant’s preparation. Entering students will have worked for at least three to five years on a full-time basis, including meaningful and progressive experience in education or a related profession. The Committee looks closely at employment history, weighing skills, aptitude for leadership, and knowledge of the education profession.

Leadership Abilities

The ideal candidate is ready to advance their career and assume a leadership role upon completion of the EdD. Competitive applicants will have a record of involvement and leadership in both their personal and professional lives, including campus organizations, civic endeavors, community groups, and/or professional associations.

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Contact Us

If you have any questions, please contact:

Ursula Worsham
Assistant Director, Office of Admissions and Scholarships
(213) 740-0224