The Educational Leadership (EdD) program at App State

Take that final step. Be the change you want to see in education. As a terminal academic degree, the Educational Leadership (EdD) program at Appalachian State University is a natural extension for driven individuals to enhance leadership capabilities in teaching, research and administration.

The EdD doctoral program attracts professionals intent on making a difference. Through core leadership and research courses, you will learn to apply theory to practice to make educational systems more effective, more equitable and more sustainable.

Through professionally oriented concentrations, you will gain advanced knowledge in your disciplinary specialization and prepare yourself to assume higher levels of organizational leadership.

More information on Educational Leadership


  • Dean/associate dean
  • Provost
  • Department chair
  • Chancellor/vice chancellor

Degree details


Note: Not all courses listed may be delivered to App State Online students. Refer curriculum questions to the program contact.

Program information

  • Up to 30 credits waived for Appalachian EdS graduates; an EdS degree is preferred for applicants to the Higher Education concentration
  • Attendance to an on-campus orientation prior to the start of the program is recommended
  • Classes in this program will meet synchronously online two nights a week

Eligibility and program requirements


Applicants must:

  • hold a master’s degree from an accredited college or university or the Education Specialist from Appalachian.
  • have GRE exam scores no older than five years.

    Note: Applicants for the Educational Administration concentration must hold a Master of School Administration from an accredited college or university or the Education Specialist degree in Educational Administration from Appalachian; and hold or be eligible to hold a current NC superintendent’s license.

    Applicants who are not eligible to hold superintendent’s licensure, but do hold one or more degrees leading to licensure in the public schools may either:

    • Apply for a master’s degree in School Administration and then apply for the Doctoral Program upon receipt of the MSA, or
    • Have transcripts reviewed by the MSA coordinator. Courses needed to meet principal licensure requirements will be identified by the MSA program coordinator and will be taken in addition to, or as electives in, the EdD program and will be listed in the EdD program of study. The courses identified must be completed along with the required doctoral program courses to be eligible for licensure recommendation as a principal and superintendent upon completion of the EdD degree.

Admissions Exam:

GRE waivers are available if the applicant has

  • An earned graduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher; and
  • At least five (5) years of professional experience in education; or
  • An earned Education Specialist (EdS) degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher from Appalachian State University.

No exam waiver is automatic but will require review and approval by the Graduate School upon submission of a complete application. An approved waiver request does not guarantee acceptance into the program. A denied waiver request does not mean that a candidate is denied admission to the program, only that a standardized exam score is needed to more fully evaluate the application. Standardized test scores may be required for scholarship consideration.

Applicants whose graduate GPA is below 3.0 will be required to take the official general GRE exam in accordance with Graduate School policy.

Application requirements:

  • Completed online application to graduate school
  • Application fee
  • Unofficial transcripts (or evaluated transcripts for degrees and coursework earned outside of the United States) should be uploaded showing any completed degrees and coursework.
    Note: Official transcripts will be required prior to enrolling.
  • Resume
  • Four references
  • Letter of intent: Your letter of intent gives us a window into your history, motivation and goals for doctoral study, as well as your voice as a writer. It must be original work, and we will review it carefully as a sample of your writing ability. Please address the following, without exceeding five double-spaced pages. You may add an additional page for any references (using APA 7th edition citation style).
    • What energizes you to pursue a doctorate in educational leadership? How would earning a doctorate advance your personal/professional goals?
    • What educational problems are of greatest concern to you, given your context and standpoint as an educator? What experiences or theories have influenced your thinking about those problems?
    • A description of the issues or problems evident in your community that you believe can be addressed by relevant research skills and scholarly inquiry.
    • How would you describe your commitment to, and/or experience with, diversity, equity and inclusion in education? How does that experience inform your educational practice?
    • How would doctoral study and dissertation research help you lead educational change, especially toward greater equity and social justice?
  • Interview — applicants should arrange an interview in person or via telephone with the program director in advance of submitting their completed application.

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Out of state licensure

Appalachian State programs that lead to a professional licensure or certificate are intended to prepare students for licensure or certification in North Carolina. Check the Professional Licensure webpage for information on licensure requirements in other states.

Hear from an Alumnus

Fran Bates Oates

“The doctoral program helped develop in me a passion to challenge the known and explore the unknown for new discoveries. As a result of my interactions with this supportive faculty, I have increased my desire for inquiry. I am not only an educator; I am now an educational researcher with the responsibility to lead educational reform.”

– Fran Bates Oates