Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Program Objectives

Those students completing the degree requirements for the EdS or EdD will have met the academic requirements necessary for a Montana Class III Administrative license with a Superintendent endorsement.  (Additionally, a non-degree Superintendent Preparation program is available for those students who already hold a Master’s degree and Principal Licensure. Please see Superintendent Licensure). 

Program Flow

The Educational Leadership program courses are offered using blended delivery methods. Blended courses use a combination of distance delivery and face-to-face meetings. Many EdD program courses are blended such that the class meets for face-to-face instruction one weekend a month and online during the weeks in between meetings.

After admission to the EdD program, the applicant will be assigned a temporary advisor and should then meet with his/her assigned advisor. Actual courses taken during the initial stage will be based on the student's previous academic work and advisor/committee approval.

Program of Study

Doctoral Core (suggested) (18 Credit Hours)18
Advanced Educational Psychology
Leadership and Organizational Theory
Supervision & Instructional Leadership
Leading Social Justice
Education Policy & Politics
Special Topics
Superintendent Certification Required Courses (12 Credit Hours)12
The School Superintendent
Personnel and Collective Bargaining in MT
MT Finance & Facilities
MT Legal & Policy Studies
Research Required Core (9 Credit Hours)9
Educational Statistics II
Qualitative Educational Research
Quantitative Educational Research
Dissertation Credits (15 Credit Hours)15
Doctoral Thesis
Total Credits54


Each doctoral student's committee must consist of at least four approved members. The chair and one other approved member must be from the Educational Leadership faculty. Two other approved members will be selected based upon their ability to contribute to the student's studies leading up to and through the dissertation research. These two committee members must have academic credentials in the area of the student's program of study and be approved by the Head of the Department of Education and Dean of the Graduate School. For information regarding graduate representatives, please refer to the Graduate School policy.


The student should carefully select a chair after thorough conversations with the Educational Leadership faculty members that he/she believes might have an interest in his/her doctoral research and/or the ability to work with him/her towards generating a defensible dissertation. The committee as a whole is subject to approval by the Head of the Department of Education. The chair will advise students in selecting committee members and in understanding the dissertation process. The chair and at least one committee member will be the primary readers of the dissertation as it is being written. The importance of selecting the right chair cannot be overstated. However, chairs and members of the student's committee are subject to change. In addition, revision to the program of study can be made during the course of study with the committee's approval.

Comprehensive Examinations

Comprehensive examinations are required for completion of all EdD degrees in Educational Leadership. Students are expected to demonstrate mastery of the program of study and the ability to interact with the research in that area. Students should refer to The Graduate School's Policies and Procedures web page.

After completion of at least two thirds of the required coursework, EdD students will complete a written comprehensive exam. The exam is completed in writing and then orally defended in front of the entire Graduate Committee. Through the comprehensive exam, students will be expected to demonstrate: 1) the ability to integrate concepts from courses into a holistic viewpoint; 2) the ability to apply material to anticipated real-life situations based on the theoretical principles and concepts covered in classes; 3) the ability to critically read, analyze, and critique research; and 4) a readiness to move forward to create their own research.

Generally, there are two primary question areas: 1) Identification of a topic with the potential to contribute to the literature in Educational Leadership, and a critical evaluation of the research on that topic; and 2) Design a research project on the topic of interest. Students will be expected to demonstrate a mastery of aspects of both qualitative and quantitative projects (such as sampling, validity, reliability, data analysis).

Additional Doctor of Education Requirements

The Doctor of Education degree must meet the minimum requirements in the For Doctoral Students section of the Graduate School's website with the following exception: only fourteen (14) credits of dissertation are required. Additional requirements for the EdD degree beyond these minimums are available through the Department of Education. All EdD degree candidates are expected to be familiar with both The Graduate School's degree requirements and Department of Education degree requirements listed on the program's website.

Contact Information

Dr. Tena Versland, Program Leader
406-994-6799 Email:

Dr. Bill Ruff
406-994-4182 Email:

Dr. David Henderson
406-994-6424 Email:

Application Materials for the EdD in Educational Leadership

*Prior to applying for an Educational Leadership EdD program, applicants must have a Master's degree in education or a related topic, have gained at least three years teaching experience as a certified or licensed teacher, and possess a 3.0 undergraduate gpa. Those applicants who do not hold an administrative license will be required to take principal preparation coursework as prerequisites to many doctoral courses.

Complete the online application through the Graduate School Online Application System.

Applicants are to submit the following documentation during the application process:

  1. Completed Graduate School Application
  2. GPA calculation form: The form is provided during the application process. NOTE: We require a GPA of 3.00 for the last two (2) years of undergraduate course work.
  3. Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  4. Documentation of verbal and quantitative skills needed for the degree: The general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is required. Official scores can be sent to Montana State University (code 4488). There is no minimum score requirement. Applications are reviewed holistically and take into account all elements.
  5. Personal Essay: Suggested length is 2-3 typed, double-spaced pages. The applicant should briefly describe the following:
    1. Education and other educational professional experiences
    2. Research interests and experience including alignment with faculty interests and expertise and an example of research experiences using educational theory, research methods, and application.
    3. Professional goals
  6. Three (3) letters of recommendation:  (NOTE:  At least one of the three letters must be from the candidate's PRESENT direct supervisor in his/her educational field.) The letters should be from individuals qualified to assess the following:
    1. Knowledge in chosen field
    2. Motivation and perseverance toward goals
    3. Ability to work independently
    4. Ability to express thoughts in speech and writing
    5. Ability/potential for college teaching
    6. Ability to plan and conduct research
  7. Academic Transcripts: Applicants must provide Official transcripts verifying all Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree coursework. Unofficial transcripts may be uploaded during the online application process. Official transcripts must be sent from the Institution directly to the Department of Education Graduate Programs Office, 215 Reid Hall, PO Box 172880, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717.  Electronic transcripts are also acceptable as long as they arrive directly from the applicants’ certifying university.  Please have electronic transcripts sent to
  8. For International Applicants ONLY:  In addition to the above, International applicants will be required to submit the following:
    1. TOEFL or ACE level 7 - Applicants who are not U.S. citizens and not from countries where English is the official language are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language and a score a minimum 213 (paper version – 550, 60 for the iBT). This requirement may be waived if the applicant has earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution in the U.S. For more information on the International application process, see this link:
    2. International Student Financial Certificate 

Application Deadlines

Below is the deadline by which all of the application materials for the EdD in Educational Leadership must be submitted via the online application system. Students matriculate into the EdD program in the fall semester only. Applications to the EdD programs are reviewed once per year at the April 1 deadline. Applications received after the deadline may be reviewed for acceptance on a case-by-case basis.

  • Fall Semester:  April 1st

An early review deadline of February 1st has been set for those applicants wanting to be considered for Graduate Assistantships. Graduate Assistantships require students to work on campus 19 hours per week. Applications must be complete for an early review.

Contact Information

Micki MacGregor, Graduate Program Assistant
PO Box 172880, Reid Hall 215
Department of Education, Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717-2880 
Phone: 406-994-6786 Email: