The Doctorate

Edd program with president

Tomorrow’s leaders will be those who thrive in a diverse, complex, technologically advanced world. The San José State University Ed.D. curriculum focuses on real-life case learning and engages in rigorous inquiry in core areas needed for leadership success in efforts to reform schools, engage communities and increase student achievement.

Program Overview

  • Official Title: Ed.D., Educational Leadership
  • Format: Cohort
  • Length: 3 years / 9 semesters
  • Units: 60
  • Start term: Summer
  • Application window: November - April
  • Program Modality: Hybrid and Fully Online Options
  • MA-to-EdD Program Pathway: 4 years / 10 semesters

MA-to-EdD Program Pathway

In collaboration with the Department of Educational Leadership, students in the M.A. Higher Education Leadership and M.A. Emancipatory K 12 School Leadership Programs may pursue the 4-year M.A.-to-Ed.D. Program. Students in this pathway are permitted to start the Ed.D. Program in the final summer of their M.A. Program, which will enable them to complete the Ed.D. Program in 3 years. Current M.A. students who qualify do not have to submit an application to Cal State Apply and pay the processing fee; they only need to submit all the requirements needed at the program level. If interested, please fill out the Google Form to convey your interest in this pathway. The Ed.D. Program Director will reach out to you and provide additional guidance and support for a smooth transition from the M.A. to the Ed.D. Program. Please attend an Ed.D. Program information session to learn more about the Ed.D. Program.

Initial Eligibility and Requirements

The Ed.D. program is designed to admit candidates who meet the academic requirements for rigorous doctoral study and who possess personal qualities and professional experiences that suggest a strong potential for success both as doctoral students and as educational leaders. Also, per CSU Chancellor's Office policy, our Ed.D. program is intended to prepare educational leaders for California’s PK-16 education system. Hence, international students are not permitted to enroll in our program since we assume that they will return to their home country and not serve California's students. However, if they intend to stay in the US and serve in California's PK-16 education system upon completion of the program, they may be admitted if they are qualified. 

Meeting the minimum requirements qualifies an individual for consideration but does not guarantee admission to the program. Additional candidate qualifications proposed by SJSU district partners include strong oral and written communication skills, organizational aptitude, and excellent problem-solving ability. The Ed.D. program requires the following of all applicants for admission to the doctoral program:

  • The applicant holds an acceptable baccalaureate degree and master's degree earned at a regionally accredited institution of higher education, or the applicant has completed equivalent academic preparation as determined by the Office of Graduate Studies & Research
  • The applicant has attained a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in upper division and graduate study combined.
  • The applicant was in good standing at the last attended institution of higher education.
  • The applicant has demonstrated sufficient preparation for, experiences in, and potential for educational leadership, including successful experience in school, postsecondary, community, and/or policy leadership; academic excellence, problem-solving ability, and technology proficiency; and interest in critically assessing and improving current educational policies and practices.
  • The applicant, if born and educated in a country in which the native language is not English, has demonstrated English-language proficiency by achieving a SJSU-published minimum score on one of the three accepted English-proficiency exams.

Curriculum & Course Requirements

View an overview of our course requirements below. More information about each of these courses is available on the SJSU Catalog website. In addition to these requirements, our program includes an optional two-week global studies component that will provide students with an opportunity to further deepen their understanding of equity and justice from a global standpoint and learn other systems, challenges, and solutions. For a sample 3-year program roadmap, check this document

  1. Educational Leadership: Theory and Practice (4 courses, 12 units)
    • Educational leadership: theory and practice
    • Leadership, diversity, and culture
    • Leadership, complexity, and systems thinking
    • Education policy, equity, and school reform
  2. Organizational Behavior and Adult Learning (3 courses, 9 units)
    • Organizational behavior and change in education
    • Leadership for learner-centered organizations
    • Communication for educational leadership
  3. Contexts for Education Leadership and Schooling (4 courses, 12 units)
    • Politics of education and financing of schooling
    • Assessment, testing, and evaluation: Contexts and implications for school change
    • Education and leadership in a global context, including an optional international trip
    • Specialized seminar series in educational leadership
  4. Research Methodology: Tools for the Scholar-Practitioner (5 courses, 15 units)
    • Educational research
    • Qualitative methods in educational research
    • Proseminar I: Doctoral studies and research in education
    • Proseminar II: Doctoral studies and research in education
    • Proseminar III: Doctoral studies and research in education
  5. Dissertation (12 units)

Frequently Asked Questions

Steps to Apply

We are now accepting applications for the 11th cohort of SJSU's EdD Leadership Program which begins Summer 2024. For full consideration, please submit all documents by the April 10, 2024 deadline.

Applying to the Ed.D. Program is a two-step process. Admissions take place on a rolling basis, so we recommend that you submit the department application materials as soon as possible. Please note that the Ed.D. Application and CalState Application deadlines may be different. To consider your interest in the EdD program, please submit your Ed.D. Application by the Ed.D. deadline. All of the following must be completed by the admission deadline to be considered into the Ed.D. program:

Step 1 | Apply to SJSU Graduate Admissions & Program Evaluations (GAPE)

  1. Visit to create your application profile and pay the $70.00 application fee.

  2. Submit one set of officially sealed transcripts from each college where you studied. No Professional Development Transcripts will be accepted. Transcripts must also include narrative if work was completed at a non-graded institution. Transcripts can be sent either by mail or by email. All international transcripts need to be officially evaluated for equivalency.

    If your university offers official electronic transcripts, we will accept. Electronic Transcripts can be emailed to:

    Hard copy transcripts can be mailed to: 

Graduate Admissions & Program Evaluations
San Jose State University
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192-0017

Step 2 | Apply to the Ed.D. Leadership Program

Submit the following information by email to  

  1. Ed.D. Application Form [pdf].

  2. One set of unofficial or scanned transcripts for each college or university attended.

  3. Three (3) letters of recommendation attesting to your leadership ability and potential for success in a doctoral program.  Letters should be completed with our recommendation form [pdf] and one of the letters should be from your school district or employer indicating support for participating in doctoral studies. Recommendation letters should be submitted directly from the person writing the recommendation letter.

  4. Current professional resume or curriculum vitae that includes leadership experience and/or leadership strengths as indicated through job experiences, administrative credentials, and/or other evidence of leadership capacity and practice; not to exceed 4 pages.

  5. A written statement of purpose, which explains your reasons for pursuing doctoral studies in educational leadership. Please indicate your history and background and some of the core commitments and principles, which drive your career goals. Also discuss some of the challenges facing education and educational leadership in California, nationally, and globally; 2-3 pages maximum, single spaced.

  6. A writing sample of your individually authored research, reports, and/or papers (maximum of 20 pages). Your writing sample should be single authored and include citations and references. The writing sample is intended for you to demonstrate ability to craft a meaningful argument on an education-related topic and to cite research/literature to support your view. A PowerPoint presentation does not meet this requirement. 

For full consideration, please submit all documents as soon as possible. Applications received after the April 10, 2024 deadline will be considered until the Summer 2024 cohort is filled. Documents should be submitted to


Additional Resources

For information about financial aid opportunities, internship and job opportunities, research opportunities, and more, visit our Student Resources webpage.