Description of the Program

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D) expands upon the foundation gained in study for the master's, specialist and/or licensure programs. It provides opportunities for candidates to develop breadth in understanding leadership, policy, and research methodologies, and also depth in one or several areas of specialization. The focus of this program is the refinement of students' understandings of leadership and policy development and analysis, ultimately culminating in the dissertation. The dissertation is meant to contribute knowledge of a critical issue in educational leadership.

Program Approach to Doctoral Study

Entering doctoral students who already possess a master's degree in Educational Leadership or a related field complete a minimum of 64 semester hours of graduate credit beyond the master's degree. Students with an educational specialist's degree enroll in a minimum of 42 semester hours beyond the specialist's degree. These semester hour requirements are minimum expectations for students' performance. Credit requirements are a function of the types of learning experiences needed by students to achieve their goals. Students may obtain the Ed.D. degree while also working concurrently on a principal or administrator license.
The nature of doctoral studies implies a high degree of individualized program development to reflect the personal, professional, and academic goals of each student. Consequently, each doctoral student admitted to the program works with an advisor and a program planning committee to develop a learning plan.

The Ed.D. degree differs from a Ph.D. program by requiring one or two less research courses. The Ed.D. program at UNC focuses on the application of theory and research to practice, while a Ph.D. program places a greater emphasis on pure theory and research. The Ed.D. is regarded as equal to a Ph.D. by school districts and universities across the nation. For individuals aspiring to obtain positions as educational researchers, a Doctoral Minor in Applied Research and Statistics can be obtained as part of the ELPS Ed.D. degree program, making the degree equivalent to a Ph.D.

Welcome from the Coordinator, Dr. Linda R. Vogel

Thank you for visiting the web site for the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Program at the University of Northern Colorado! The ELPS Program offers degrees at the master's, educational specialist, and doctoral levels and includes learning experiences to meet state standards for the Principal and Administrator Licenses. Our Teacher Leadership Certificate program and Doctoral Minor develop leadership capacity while providing for great flexibility in career goals. We are dedicated to culturally responsive teaching and leadership in all of our programs, including our Native American Innovative Leadership program.

We are fortunate to have a collaborative learning environment that emphasizes learning, teaching, and collegiality. Our faculty has a great deal of practical experience at all educational leadership levels to fully support and develop your leadership skills. We are dedicated to serving our students and ensuring their ability to lead positive change in the educational environment of their choice to improve the learning, achievement, and lives of children and communities.

Our program has been nationally ranked in recent years by U.S. News and World Report and is nationally accredited by the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC)/NCATE.  The University of Northern Colorado is also a member of the University Council for Educational Administration which is the leading national association for the preparation of educational leaders and offers many networking possibilities to our graduates.

Please stop by and visit us on the UNC campus in Greeley. If you have any questions about the program, please email We look forward to hearing from you!