Online Doctorate in Educational Administration and Leadership

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Education Administration and Leadership

Take the next step in your education career

The online doctorate in Educational Leadership prepares you to face financial challenges and make sound management decisions.

Prepare to lead your school district and manage its finances with confidence by earning your doctorate in Educational Leadership online from PennWest.

This fully accredited program focuses on fiscal responsibility. It prepares you to face financial challenges and make sound management decisions for your schools. Experienced faculty will help you navigate key areas of education administration and leadership, such as operations management, problem-solving, decision-making and communication. Along the way you will develop competencies in human resource relations, applied research in the educational setting, and ethics and integrity in education leadership.

Designed for seasoned education professionals who are eager to take the next step in their careers, this program offers asynchronous delivery of online coursework. This allows you to earn a doctorate in education without stepping away from your professional or personal responsibilities. You will grow along with a cohort of classmates and graduate with a valuable network of professional colleagues.

The rigorous program leads to the state-approved Superintendent Letter of Eligibility (SLE). If you already hold the SLE credential, you may enter this doctoral program with advanced standing.

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Application Deadline: June 1, 2023


Percentage of current superintendents expected to retire or work in different positions within the next five years.

Fully Accredited

The Doctor of Education in Educational Administration and Leadership is accredited by CAEP, nationally recognized by ELCC and approved by PDE.

Nationally Ranked

Our graduate programs are consistently ranked among the best online programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Fast Facts


Average salary for school superintendents nationwide, according to AASA, The School Superintendents Association.


39 (Doctorate - Individuals holding the Superintendent Letter)

57 (Superintendent Letter + Doctorate)


100% online


Graduate Admissions

Start Terms:



Superintendent Letter of Eligibility Certification

What Does a Superintendent of Schools Do?

Think of the Superintendent of Schools as the CEO of a school district. Among other things, the superintendent coordinates and supervises all school operations and the selection, training, placement, promotion, transfers and termination of staff. He or she keeps track of spending and budgets, and advocates for funding based on need. The superintendent is also responsible for ensuring school policies are understood and followed, as well as resolving problems. An effective superintendent can make the difference between a high-achieving school district and a troubled one.

Graduate Outcomes

  1. Collaboratively lead, design and implement a district mission, vision and process for continuous improvement that reflects a core set of values and priorities that include data use, technology, values, equity, diversity, digital citizenship and community
  2. Advocate for ethical decisions and cultivate professional norms and culture
  3. Develop and maintain a supportive, equitable, culturally responsive and inclusive district culture
  4. Evaluate, design, cultivate and implement coherent systems of curriculum, instruction, supports, assessment and instructional leadership
  5. Understand and engage families, communities and other constituents in the work of schools and the district and advocate for district, student and community needs
  6. Develop, monitor, evaluate and manage district systems for operations, resources, technology and human capital management
  7. Cultivate relationships, lead collaborative decision-making and governance and represent and advocate for district needs in broader policy conversations
  8. Complete an internship under the supervision of knowledgeable, expert practitioners that engages candidates in multiple and diverse district settings and provides candidates with coherent, authentic and sustained opportunities to synthesize and apply the knowledge and skills identified in NELP Standards 1–7 (above) in ways that approximate the full range of responsibilities required of district-level leaders and enable them to promote the current and future success and well-being of each student and adult in their district
  9. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts of school finance and fiscal responsibility associated with school district leadership
  10. Identify and demonstrate appropriate educational research methodologies and know when to use them
  11. Articulate the relevance of research to course work and professional research

Admissions Requirements

Master’s degree in Education or a related field with a GPA of 3.50 or higher on a 4.00 scale (Students with a GPA between 3.00-3.49 may apply for conditional admission)

  1. Official transcripts from a Regionally accredited graduate institution
  2. Advanced Standing: For those who hold the Superintendent Letter of Eligibility  advanced standing credits will be applied toward the degree.  For those who have completed a comparable program at an accredited institution, the Letter of Eligibility certification will apply toward the degree.  All submissions will be reviewed.
  3. Two current letters of recommendation from those holding leadership roles that can attest to your leadership abilities/potential and experiences, and the ability to succeed in the program (must be on letterhead).
  4. Copies of all certifications:
    Ed.D. only Option should include Administrative Certification (i.e. Principal’s K-12 Certification) or Supervisory Certification (i.e. Curriculum Supervisor, Special Education Supervisor), and Superintendent Letter of Eligibility certification (refer to advanced standing). All submissions will be reviewed to verify that candidates meet the necessary state requirements as they pertain to certification.
    SLE + Ed.D. Option should include Administrative Certification (i.e. Principal’s K-12 Certification) or Supervisory Certification (i.e. Curriculum Supervisor, Special Education Supervisor). All submissions will be reviewed to verify that candidates meet the necessary state requirements as they pertain to certification.
    SLE + Ed.D. Option - Candidates must also meet the current Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements that are specified on the PDE website. These requirements include but are not limited to “evidence of six years of satisfactory school experience, of which three must be in a supervisory or an administrative capacity.
  5. A current resume or curriculum vitae. Please include current and past work experience related to administrative/supervisory role and scholarship (i.e. publications, presentations, etc.)
  6. A completed Applicant Data Sheet
  7. One page statement of career goals and degree objectives for pursuing the Ed.D. in Education Administration and Leadership
  8. Writing Sample addressing the following topic: What impact does leadership have on a system?  The committee will utilize a rubric to assess the writing sample in the following areas:  response and exploration of the question/prompt, key points, vocabulary and sentence structure, and mechanics. (1-3 pages)

The Power of PennWest

PennWest’s three campuses, California, Clarion and Edinboro universities, have been delivering award-winning online programs for more than 20 years. You’ll graduate with a degree from Pennsylvania Western University, completely supported by the expertise and community of learners on our brick-and-mortar campuses.

Flexible. Affordable.
Designed to Meet Your needs.
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