Doctorate in Educational Leadership

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

National Louis University's Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) is a three-year, advanced practitioner-oriented professional preparation program for school district or system leaders. Though it officially targets endorsement for the superintendency, the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program prepares educators for a variety of roles in schools, districts, charter organizations, technical assistance organizations, policy and political organizations, and government.

Consider getting your doctorate of education in educational leadership at NLU if you:

  • Want to pursue your superintendent endorsement (formerly educational leadership certification) or other educational leadership credentials as stipulated by state or district requirements in your area
  • Are interested in a blended program where you experience online learning along with regular face-to-face meetings
  • Possess the desire and determination to complete your degree in three years

Combining structured curriculum through coursework and internship experiences, the program integrates theory, research and practice into a cohesive plan of study for educational leaders. The focus will be on:

  • Teaching and Learning
  • Change Leadership
  • Policy Analysis and Advocacy

There are two options for students admitted to the Doctorate in Educational Leadership (EDL) doctoral program.

  • Option One: Students seeking the superintendent’s endorsement in addition to earning the doctoral degree. Students choosing option one must hold an Illinois Professional Educator License endorsed for general administrative or principal licensure, Wisconsin Type 51, or other state-approved principal’s endorsement upon admission. Students admitted to this option must complete all 60sh of the program, including EDL690 Educational Leadership Internship, and are then eligible to apply for the Illinois or Wisconsin Superintendent Endorsement.

  • Option Two (available in Illinois and Wisconsin only): Students not seeking the superintendent’s endorsement. Students choosing option two may be admitted without an Illinois Type 75 or its equivalent, Wisconsin Type 51, or other state-approved principal’s endorsement. However, this option does not lead to endorsement, either principal or superintendent, upon completion of the program. Students admitted to this option must complete all 60sh of the program, including EDL690 Educational Leadership Internship, but are not eligible to apply for principal certification or the superintendent endorsement. In addition to admission requirements set forth by the Foster G. McGaw Graduate School, applicants for doctoral study in Educational Leadership are to document evidence of at least two years of leadership in the educational field. During the admission interview, the applicant is asked to share educational background, experience, career and research interests, and applicability of this program to the applicant’s goals.

Candidates may bring in up to 12 semester hours from another doctoral program if approved by faculty and not part of another
degree program that has been completed.

Employment of education administrators is expected to grow by about eight percent through the remainder of the decade. The expected growth is primarily the result of increased enrollments of school-aged children. The number of administrative positions will continue to increase as more administrative responsibilities are placed on individual schools, particularly with regard to monitoring student achievement. Student enrollment in post-secondary schools is projected to grow more rapidly than in elementary and middle schools.

NLU has a long-standing reputation for its education and teacher training programs, and is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Since 1886, NLU has trained thousands of educators and continues to graduate the majority of winners honored by Illinois’ two Golden Apple Foundations with one of the most prestigious teaching and leadership honors in the state.

The three-year educational leadership doctoral program is offered in a cohort format. Cohorts may meet one weekend per month in a weekend residency with classes held on Friday night, Saturday morning and afternoon. Cohorts are also offered in the more traditional model of meeting every week on a specified weeknight. All cohorts have a strong online presence using our Learning Management System for discussions, retrieval of materials, and submission of assignments. The dissertation is ongoing throughout the program and is complete at the end of the third year. In addition, the internship component is completed during the three years with students working closely with a faculty internship advisor and practicing superintendent.

Blended on-site with online courses, plus off-site cohort options

NLU's popular Ed.D. in Educational Leadership program is offered in Illinois campuses and Florida in a blended format that combines on-site courses with online learning. Most cohorts meet one weekend a month on Fridays and Saturdays to accommodate busy work and life schedules.

Building on its reputation for flexibility, NLU also offers classes at approved off-site locations throughout Illinois and Florida.

For more information about enrolling at any of our locations including Florida, connect with an Enrollment Specialist or Apply for Free today.

All applicants must meet NLU's general admission requirements as well as additional requirements specific to this program. Refer to the appropriate application checklist available online at

Get more information today about enrolling in in one of NLU's degree programs. Connect with an Enrollment Specialist or call 888.NLU.TODAY (888-658-8632).

Please note: The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) may change the state licensure and endorsement requirements at any time and without prior notice. Teacher candidates will be bound by the requirements in place when applying for licensure, not by the licensure requirements in place when beginning their program. That is, the state may specify that a new regulation is immediately applicable to all candidates with no provisions made for candidates who began their work on licensure under different regulations.


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of the city's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to six classrooms, this location features a conference room, a computer lab with high-speed Internet access, an extensive research library and comfortable student lounges.

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    NLU has a proud history of serving graduate students in southeastern Wisconsin. We currently offer all Wisconsin residents online programs in non-licensure education as well as a variety of business-related degrees.

    12000 West Park Place, Suite 100
    Milwaukee, WI 53224-3007
    (414) 577.2658
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