Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership


The Ed.D. Program in Organizational Leadership develops visionary leaders who are creative agents of change in transforming their diverse organizations through collaboration, innovation, positive influence, strategic thinking and a profound commitment to lifelong learning.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Transformational Leadership: Create a vision of the future as an ethical agent of change, who mobilizes stakeholders to transform the organization.
  • Diversity: Integrate the strengths that individual and cultural differences contribute to create an organization that is equitable, respectful, responsive and morally accountable in a global society.
  • Collaborative Relationships: Build a culture of trusting relationships and purposeful involvement that supports critical and creative problem solving and decision making through effective communication and conflict resolution.
  • Political Intelligence: Generate organizational influence to ethically advocate for causes and changes that will advance the organization’s vision and mission.
  • Strategic Thinking: Construct a systems-oriented learning organization to develop, implement, and assess effective, futures-based plans that facilitate innovation, problem solving and continuous improvement.
  • Creativity and Sustained Innovation: Develop a culture of divergent thinking and responsible risk taking that harnesses the potential of available human capital to transform the organization.

Application Deadline and Program Start Dates

The start dates for the Ed.D. Program are offered twice annually in Fall I and Spring I. Applications close in July for Fall I and December for Spring I; the specific dates will be established by the university. The deadline for receiving the intent to enroll form will be two weeks after an offer of admission is extended. An extension may be granted for extenuating circumstances.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Doctoral Program in Organizational Leadership may be achieved by fulfilling the Admission by Prior Graduate Degree option which requires an earned master's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75 from a regionally accredited institution.

  1. Transcripts documenting successful attainment of a Master's Degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75.
  2. Submission of a portfolio consisting of the following: one essay or other written document that shows graduate level writing and analytical skills; a resume showing leadership experience, professional development, achievement awards or professional recognition; and a letter of intent explaining reasons for wanting to enter this program.
    1. Applicants with a GPA lower than 2.75 must submit additional evidence to demonstrate their readiness for doctoral level coursework. Additional evidence could include letters of recommendation and/or an additional writing sample.
  3. If the applicant is not in a leadership position, the letter of intent must explain their plans for how they will work with individuals and groups in an organization to bring about important change.
  4. All applicants must successfully participate in an intake interview with a doctoral faculty member designated by the Associate Dean.

Transfer Credit Policy

Transfer credits from other degrees or programs will not be accepted.

Course Waivers

Course waivers will not be permitted.

New Student Orientation

To acquaint students with the unique technology and instructional practices of the doctoral program, students will be required to complete a Doctoral Boot Camp prior to the first Immersion.  The Doctoral Boot Camp is a mandatory induction program designed for candidates to gain pertinent knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the EDOL program.  The Boot Camp experience is online. Students will complete portions of the orientation in Blackboard as well as attending a live online training the Friday before the beginning of their first Immersion. Attendance is mandatory. 

Degree Requirements

EDOL 700Transformational Leadership3
EDOL 705Organizational Communication and Conflict Management3
EDOL 706Team and Group Dynamics3
EDOL 707Organizational Theory and Development3
EDOL 708Strategic Thinking3
EDOL 709Assessment, Evaluation, and Accountability3
EDOL 720Creativity, Innovation, and Sustainable Change3
EDOL 721The Ethics and Politics of Decision Making3
EDOL 722Intercultural Aspects of Leadership and Diversity3
EDOL 723Innovation in Resource Management3
EDOL 724The Leader as Change Agent3
EDOL 750Writing for Research and Publication I2
EDOL 751Writing for Research and Publication II2
EDOL 752Quantitative Research Methods I2
EDOL 753Quantitative Research Methods II2
EDOL 754Qualitative Research Methods I2
EDOL 755Qualitative Research Methods II2
EDOL 780Transformational Change Field Experiences3
EDOL 790Developing the Dissertation Prospectus3
EDOL 791Dissertation I3
EDOL 792Dissertation II3
EDOL 799Dissertation Extension0
Total Credits57

Transformational Change Project

To integrate change theory into real world settings and provide an opportunity for clinical practice, each student will design, implement, and assess a Transformational Change Project (TCP), which will be operationalized in a real organization. The Transformational Change Project will be introduced and explored in various courses throughout the program, beginning with the first course, EDOL 700 Transformational Leadership. Field-based assignments in which students begin to work on projects and deliverables that will be used in their second year TCP will spiral through every content course in their first year.

In Year 2, students will implement the TCP in selected organizations while enrolled in EDOL 780 Transformational Change Field Experiences, which will be a 16 week field experience. In EDOL 724 The Leader as Change Agent the students will deconstruct their experience implementing the Transformational Change Project. At their final Immersion in June of their second year, students will participate in a Transformational Change Symposium, in which they will present their findings, implications for practice, and recommendations for further research.

Advancement to Candidacy

In the second semester of their second year, students will participate in a faculty and cohort mentor review of their work to date. Students will present their analytical paper of their TCP experience along with a Transformational Change Leader Portfolio, which consists of their Transformational Leadership Development Plan, and their Transformational Change Project artifacts and analysis. Also, candidates will present their approved dissertation prospectus. Candidates who successfully meet all criteria required will be advanced to candidacy. Students will then be allowed to petition for a Dissertation Chair, and be permitted to register for Dissertation I.

Program Design

The Ed.D. Program is a rigorous program that is designed to serve the needs of working professionals.  Courses are organized around an 8-week format of online instruction. Individual online work and study will be augmented with extended activities through required participation in cohort meetings, immersion sessions, and synchronous online meetings or seminars. The learning environment is one of collaboration balanced with independent learning. Instructional strategies include experiential activities, large and small group activities, presentations, discussions, and opportunities for real world application. Additionally, online instructional strategies, including webinars focused on high levels of interaction between students and faculty, threaded discussions, journals, wikis, blogs, readings, videos, links to web research and resources, access to a digital library of books and journals, and the use of audio/video synchronous and asynchronous multimedia tools.

Writing Standard

Students in the Doctoral Program in Organizational Leadership must meet Graduate-level academic writing standards.  A writing pretest will be administered during the first writing course.  This test will be used to determine support strategies that will be initiated in EDOL 750 Writing for Research and Publication I.  Student work will be evaluated based on a writing rubric in that course.  The writing rubric will also be used in other courses and the student will be reevaluated in EDOL 751 Writing for Research and Publication II, which takes place in Summer II of the first year.  Students whose work does not meet standards will be expected to take advantage of the online tutorials available in the Online Writing and Math Center and follow through on other faculty recommendations to improve their writing.


Cohorts are a "laboratory for learning,” in which students work together to develop their leadership competencies.  Students will be assigned to an online cohort.   Each cohort will be guided by a cohort mentor, who is an adjunct faculty member and leading practitioner in the field.  These experienced leaders will mentor students in their career development and lead students in dialogue and practice around the application of theory and skills in the real world. Working in small groups, students will deepen their understanding, build collaboration skills, and practice teamwork. Cohort mentors will also coach and assess students as they create individual action plans to develop leadership competencies and serve as mentors in exploring and developing dissertation topics.  Students will meet  for half a day (four hours) each month, scheduling to be determined by the cohort members and mentor.  

Interdisciplinary Degree

The Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership is an interdisciplinary degree, integrating the latest theory and best practices from both Education and Organizational Leadership.  It will draw on both fields to produce transformational leaders who collaboratively design and implement innovative changes and creative solutions in their diverse organizations.

360 Degree Assessment

Each student will have the opportunity twice during the doctoral program for 360 degree feedback on their leadership performance skills.  In addition to a self-analysis, students will request colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates to respond to a confidentially administered electronic survey assessing their strengths and growth areas. Students will review the compiled results and develop a Transformational Leadership Development Plan (TLDP) to address growth goals over the course of the program.  The cohort leader will coach students on their plan and their progress in achieving personal goals.  This leadership performance assessment will be offered at the beginning of the first year and again during the second year.


The program includes three immersions, where all students in the Ed.D. program meet together virtually over three-day weekends; Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The Immersions occur over Labor Day Weekend, Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, and the last weekend in June.   Students and faculty will meet online to engage in extensive relationship-building with faculty and students program-wide, presentations by expert speakers, and in-depth engagement in learning. Immersions will introduce major themes for the coming term and culminate the learning from the previous terms. The Immersion sessions will also offer an opportunity to receive guided practice in mastering leadership competencies. Students will be able to dialogue with faculty and experts from the field about the content they are learning. Immersions also feature more exposure to research development in preparation for the dissertation and offer students the opportunity to get acquainted with faculty members who may serve as potential dissertation chairs.


The Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership program uses the best of online learning support through virtual cohort meetings, three immersion sessions a year, and synchronous online meetings or seminars.  University of Massachusetts Global commitment to learning requires that students be present and participate fully in all activities. For Immersion sessions, cohort meetings and online learning to be successful, everyone’s ideas, feedback and participation is imperative. It is required that students attend all sessions and be on time.

To maximize learning and in fairness to colleagues, students should not ask to be excused from all or part of an Immersion session, synchronous online meeting, seminar or cohort meeting.  If an emergency (such as personal illness, death in the immediate family, job requirement, or childbirth and adoption) requires absence for part or all of an Immersion it is the student’s responsibility to contact the Associate Dean to determine a contract for making up the time and work.  If a student is required to be absent from a cohort meeting, the student will be responsible for discussing the absence and makeup contract with the Cohort Mentor in advance if possible.  Faculty may require that the student attend outside sessions related to the content missed which may involve additional expense. Absence from an online meeting or webinar must be arranged with the instructor in advance if possible and will require the student to complete makeup work with the course instructor.  Patterns of tardiness or absence may result in a cause for concern notice, followed by a disposition action plan, and can affect the course grade or continuation in the course or program.

Students may be dismissed from the program at the Dean’s discretion due to absence from required meetings.

Interrupted Enrollment

Although the university has an interrupted enrollment policy that applies to other programs, the School of Education has a separate policy for the Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership program.  If a student needs to interrupt enrollment from the program for personal or professional reasons, it will be necessary to complete the form entitled, Leave of Absence Application: Ed.D. Program, stating the reasons for the absence and the expected date of return. This form must be submitted to the Associate Dean for approval at least four weeks prior to the term in which the leave is requested.  

When a student interrupts enrollment in the Ed.D. program, course sequence and program design make it necessary to reenter the program at the same term a year or two years later, depending on the length of the leave. Students who interrupt enrollment for more than two years will need to reapply.  Interrupted enrollment/leave of absence does not alter the seven-year period for completion of Ed.D. degree requirements.


Each student is required to complete a dissertation that reflect scholarly research and competent academic writing that is rated as proficient on all criteria identified on the dissertation rubric.  The dissertation will be developed under the supervision of a Dissertation Chair and Committee of two additional members.  Dissertation Chairs and members must meet the criteria established by the university and submit all required documentation, including Curriculum Vita, NIH/CITI Certificate, and Transcripts from the Institution of Terminal Degree.  The student’s dissertation proposal must be approved in Quality Review prior to conducting the proposal defense.  After the student is authorized by the committee to collect data, an application must be approved by IRB before data collection can begin.

The dissertation is completed in EDOL 791 Dissertation I and EDOL 792 Dissertation II with continuing candidacy in 0 credit EDOL 799 Dissertation Extension until completion.  All requirements for the Ed.D. degree must be completed within a seven-year period from the start date of the first course.

Program Completion Timeline

It is expected that most students will complete the dissertation within one to two years after coursework, but the deadline for completion of all program requirements, including the dissertation, is seven years from the student’s program start date.  Interrupted enrollment/leave of absence does not alter the seven-year period for completion of Ed.D. degree requirements. After seven years have elapsed, coursework will expire.

Continuing Candidacy Fees

Students who have been advanced to candidacy are eligible to request a Dissertation Chair and register in EDOL 791 Dissertation I Dissertation I. At the conclusion of this course, students who have made satisfactory progress will register for EDOL 792 Dissertation II. Students who are enrolled in EDOL 792 Dissertation II and have not completed the Dissertation at the end of the term, will be granted an “SP” grade and will be permitted to continue until the Dissertation is completed or until the student’s seven-year program completion timeline has expired, by registering for 0 credit EDOL 799 Dissertation Extension course and paying the Continuing Candidacy Fee. Individual student accounts must be in good standing for a student to continue to engage the services of their Chair and Committee, as well as have access to University of Massachusetts Global Library.  This is also a pre-condition for moving on to Proposal Defense, Oral Defense, and Commencement Hooding Ceremony. Please see Tuition and Fees section for more detail on the Continuing Candidacy Fee.


Ed.D. Candidates will be permitted to participate in commencement ceremonies if they successfully complete the Oral Defense of their Dissertation not later than May 1 prior to Commencement.  Students receiving their degrees in subsequent sessions are entitled to participate in commencement ceremonies the following spring.

Clear Administrative Services Credential Option

University of Massachusetts Global offers the Clear Administrative Services Credential. Further information can be found under the Services Credentials section of the SOE catalog.  Contact Extended Education for further information by visiting their website at https://www.umassglobal.edu/academic-programs/extended-education or by calling 800-632-0094.  Please note a separate application with Extended Education is required to be enrolled in the Clear Administrative Services Credential program.