Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (online)

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership online (EDL online)
The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership online (EDL online) program at USC Rossier prepares you to apply research and theory as a leader of K-12 classrooms, schools and districts. Students who complete the program earn an EdD degree.

The program is designed to accommodate your schedule as a working professional. You can earn your EdD degree online in three years, while training to become a critically conscious leader with the skills to address inequities in education that affect learning opportunities and outcomes.

Program Overview

The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership online program provides students with an in-depth look at the foundational issues that impact urban education. In addition, you will receive practical guidance that you can use in your career. With the assistance of faculty, you will apply research to real-world challenges, and acquire experience to help you achieve your professional goals.

Candidates interested in earning an online doctorate in educational leadership at USC Rossier must have a master’s degree, a minimum of three years of relevant full-time work experience and leadership experience.

The EDL online program is only offered for the K-12 Leadership in Urban School Settings concentration.

Apply Learn More
USC Rossier School of Education

Curriculum Overview

The EDL online program empowers you with knowledge and skills in six core competencies:

  • Accountability
  • Critical Reflection
  • Diversity and Equity
  • Ethics
  • Learning Organizations
  • Research and Data

While you earn your EdD degree online, you will learn to critically reflect on the way your worldview and position in society supports or impedes your ability to lead effectively. You will examine the foundations of equity as well. Students are trained to analyze institutional oppression and develop strategies to advance equity in education.

As you progress towards your online doctorate in educational leadership, you will also address professional challenges. You will learn to foster organizational improvement and ensure compliance with laws, policies and mandates. In addition, the curriculum includes using evidence-based research to assess effectiveness and improve practice for all learners.


The EDL online program focuses on K-12 Leadership in Urban School Settings.

Learn more >


The coursework required to earn your EdD degree online consists of four components: core courses, concentration courses, research methods courses and the dissertation in practice.

Component Classes Purpose
Core Courses 6 Acquire broad knowledge on the USC Rossier mission, program purpose and program competencies.
Concentration Courses 4 Gain in-depth understanding specific to your career goals and develop inquiry skills to be used in the dissertation in practice.
Research Methods Courses 2 Understand how quantitative and qualitative research tools are used in educational research and learn to critique and design research studies.
Dissertation in Practice 3 Conduct action-oriented research to solve a problem of practice.

Dissertation in Practice

To finish your EdD degree online, you will complete a dissertation in practice, a doctoral dissertation with a more practical focus than a traditional dissertation. Under the guidance of faculty in your concentration, you will apply relevant research methods to tackle a problem of practice that impedes access to equitable educational opportunities and outcomes.

The purpose of the dissertation in practice is to equip you with the knowledge and skills you will use to address existing problems in your workplace well beyond your completion of the program. The dissertation in practice for the K-12 Leadership in Urban School Settings concentration is in the format of a five-chapter dissertation.

Online Learning Experience

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (online)

Courses in the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership online program are conducted live in a real-time virtual classroom environment. The live sessions are facilitated by faculty and include highly interactive and engaging discussions where you will collaborate with other students pursuing their EdD degree online. Prior to attending live sessions, you will complete assignments submitted through the learning management system.

Career Paths

Upon completing your online doctorate in educational leadership, you will have the necessary skills to lead at high levels in education administration. As an expert in the issues affecting urban school settings, you’ll be qualified for the following types of positions and organizations:

  • Pre-K-12 administration (site or district levels)
  • Superintendent
  • Deputy/Assistant Superintendent
  • District Director/Coordinator
  • Site Principal
  • Other administrative positions
  • Education-related non-profit organizations and foundations
  • K-12 policy-related organizations
  • K-12 related social services agencies
  • Higher Education: teaching and/or administrative position in K-12 Administrative or Teacher Education

Related Programs at USC Rossier


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.

Learn More

Estevan R. Hernández, ME Estevan R. Hernández, ME
Senior Assistant Director
Office of Admissions and Scholarships
(213) 319-6572