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Educational Leadership, EdD

Earn an EdD in Educational Leadership at Azusa Pacific University

You’ll graduate from this 51-unit program in 3 years with an enhanced capacity to lead, inspire, and educate within K-12 educational settings. You’ll transform the schools and districts you serve. You’ll experience coursework taught and designed by current superintendents and faculty researchers, adding practical relevance to your studies. We’ll help you complete your degree through a streamlined, cohort-based program, with 16 in-person Saturdays each year, and a guided dissertation process embedded into the coursework.

Program at a Glance

The School of Education equips educators to lead and champion students in diverse educational settings.

Application Deadline

  • Priority deadline: May 1 
  • Regular deadline: June 1

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Program Information

  • Program Units: 55
  • Cost per Unit: $1,200
  • Base Cost: $59,109*


  • Azusa (Main Campus)
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Gain Hands-on Experience

  • Gain innovative, real-world leadership skills from our superintendents-in-residence. 
  • Develop robust research expertise to shape effective learning environments.
  • Explore relevant issues in education alongside a closely knit cohort.
  • Complete original research around your passions in education, with faculty support.
  • Learn to integrate a Christ-centered perspective into your professional practice.

By the Numbers

100 % of doctoral candidates complete their dissertations
93 % of students graduate from this program
100 % of incoming students receive financial aid

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Program Details

Azusa Pacific University’s EdD in Educational Leadership is a practitioner-based program that places emphasis on applied research that results in direct, positive change in K-12 settings. The program prepares scholar-practitioners who are equipped with the knowledge and skills to make a transformative impact on schools and districts and the lives of students in them.

Browse the tabs below—if you have questions, visit the Student Services Center page, and we’ll make sure you get the info you need.

Application Deadlines

Completed applications with all supporting documentation must be received by one of the following deadlines for fall admission into the Doctor of Education program.

  • Priority deadline: May 1 (apply by this date to receive full consideration for scholarships)
  • Regular deadline: June 1

Admission Requirements—Domestic Applicants

The university graduate and program admission requirements below must be met before an application is considered complete.

  • Graduate application for admission
  • $45 nonrefundable application fee
  • Official transcripts from all institutions leading to and awarding the applicant’s bachelor’s and master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and all post-baccalaureate study
    An official transcript is one that Azusa Pacific University receives unopened in an envelope sealed by the former institution and that bears the official seal of the college or university. A cumulative minimum 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) grade-point average on the posted degree is required for regular admission status. Provisional admittance may be granted to individuals with a lower GPA if competency can be shown through multiple measures.
  • Master’s degree in education or a closely related field from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • Two letters of recommendation, completed by individuals who have supervised the applicant and who can attest to the applicant’s potential for doctoral study and leadership
  • Evidence of five years of relevant professional experience. Applicants who lack appropriate experience but meet the other admissions criteria may still be considered for admission and, subsequently, complete experiences to broaden their base of practical experience.
  • Current professional résumé
  • Statement of intent. This should be a double-spaced paper, five to seven pages in length, that details the applicant's (a) educational goals, (b) short- and long-term professional goals, (c) professional activities, (d) research interests to be pursued in the program, and (e) reasons for choosing APU’s EdD in Educational Leadership.
  • Academic writing sample that demonstrates the applicant’s ability to write cogently and use research and professional literature effectively in developing ideas and arguments (e.g., a master’s thesis, a scholarly article published in a journal, a comprehensive course paper, or a major district report)
  • Valid California Certificate of Clearance (COC) or other appropriate California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) document
  • Successful admissions interview
  • Other evidence of potential for leadership as the applicant desires
  • In making an admission decision, the program faculty looks holistically at an applicant’s portfolio, including past academic performance (transcripts), statement of intent, references, academic writing sample, and professional experiences (résumé). In addition to required elements for the application portfolio, students may choose to submit an optional Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score (less than 5 years old) to strengthen evidence of academic potential. The GRE submission is typically useful for those who are early in their career and/or who have made significant strides after an undergraduate and/or graduate academic record that was not as strong as their current professional performance.

Admission Requirements—International Applicants

Azusa Pacific University is authorized under federal law by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of State to enroll nonimmigrant, alien undergraduate and graduate students. APU issues and administers both the I-20 and DS 2019 (F-1 and J-1 status documents respectively).

To apply for a graduate program at APU, the following requirements must be fulfilled in addition to meeting the domestic applicant and program-specific admission requirements specified above.

International applicants must also:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in English through a placement test with the Academic Success Center, or through a TOEFL/IELTS score that meets program-specific requirements. Refer to APU’s English proficiency requirements to learn more. Request that official test scores be sent to APU. All other forms of proof indicated in the English proficiency requirements must be submitted directly to International Services.
  • Provide a Graduate Affidavit of Financial Support (PDF) and a bank statement from within the last six months proving financial ability to pay for education costs through personal, family, or sponsor resources.
  • Submit a copy of a valid passport showing biographical data, including your name, country of citizenship, date of birth, and other legal information.
  • Get foreign transcripts evaluated. International credentials (transcripts, certificates, diplomas, and degrees) must be evaluated by a foreign transcript evaluation agency. View our policy and a list of approved Foreign Transcript Evaluation Agencies.

Send official transcripts to:

Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
[email protected]

What to Expect

After all admission materials have been received by the Student Services Center, the faculty or department chair reviews the applicant’s file. The applicant is notified in writing of the admission decision.


Upon invitation, doctoral applicants interview with at least two members of the doctoral faculty. The purpose of the interview is to meet the applicant, discuss educational and career goals, evaluate the match of the program to the applicant, and determine the applicant’s potential for success in the program.

Computer Requirement

Students must own or have ready access to a computer during their tenure in the program. The SPSS statistical software package is required of students in their research courses throughout the program. The Campus Store makes arrangements to enable students to purchase computers and software at economical rates on convenient terms. Often, the required purchase of the laptop and software can be budgeted into student loans. For further information, please contact the Student Services Center at (626) 815-2020.

Multiple financial aid options are available to make your doctor of education program affordable.

Delivering high-quality graduate programs takes a comprehensive support system. Your investment in an advanced degree or program includes a network of services and personnel who partner with you in pursuit of higher education. Below is a breakdown of some common fees associated with School of Education programs.

School of Education Fees

Tuition and Fees
EdD in Educational Leadership (per unit) $1,159
EdD in Educational Leadership dissertation continuation courses (per unit) $569
Audit (per unit) half-price tuition
Intent to Commence and/or Graduate Fee $100

View a complete list of university fees.

All stated financial information is subject to change. Contact the Student Services Center at (626) 815-2020 for more information.

Financial Aid

Several types of financial aid are available to graduate students. The resources range from federal loans and state grants to, for some graduate programs, fellowships and scholarships. For details about financial aid available for your program, please contact the Student Services Center at (626) 815-2020.

Military Benefits

Military members—and in some cases their spouses and dependents—qualify for financial assistance covering tuition, housing, and books. Azusa Pacific is a Yellow Ribbon University and Military Friendly School, so you can be confident that you’ll receive the benefits and flexibility you need to complete your education.

School of Education Scholarships

APU also provides information on numerous financial aid options for prospective School of Education students. Learn more about the aid opportunities available.

EdD Program Scholarship

Azusa Pacific University offers competitive scholarship support to doctoral candidates who demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities or leadership potential in K–12 education and who are committed to serving under-resourced schools and districts. Priority is given to current practitioners who are leading their schools and districts toward improved performance. Scholarship decisions are made at the time of admission, and no separate application is required. Continuous enrollment, good academic standing (minimum 3.5 GPA), and employment in K–12 education are required for annual award renewal for up to two years beyond the initial award year.

To view specific requirements and coursework information, visit the current academic catalog:

Who is this program for?

Azusa Pacific’s EdD in Educational Leadership is for educators in a K-12 environment who seek to expand and deepen their knowledge while enhancing their capacity to lead, inspire, and educate. Students in our program are typically principals or other school-site administrators, teachers, district personnel, superintendents, and counselors.

Is there a PhD option?

We do not currently offer a PhD in educational leadership, as the EdD is a better fit for practitioners who wish to earn a doctorate. The PhD has a long history within academia and has traditionally been pursued by those who wish to enter research-based professorial roles. The EdD is a newer designation for doctorally prepared scholars and is appropriate for those who wish to engage in research and scholarship while continuing to focus on their practice as an educational leader. Individuals holding an EdD in Educational Leadership can also engage in research and join the professoriate as well, particularly in programs that prepare students for practice in education.

When and where are classes held?

The doctoral program is primarily face-to-face, with additional online components provided to enhance learning opportunities. Students attend intensive Saturday classes at the Azusa campus six times during the fall and spring 16-week sessions and four times during the summer 12-week session. For a full schedule of class meetings times, please contact the program director.

What does the Saturday class schedule look like?

Classes are scheduled to run from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays. Each semester, the schedule changes based on the classes and units enrolled.

As an example, here is a sample schedule of classes for the first semester:

Tuition and Fees
Time Cost
8-9:30 a.m. EDL 702 Proseminar
9:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. EDL 710 Developing the Leader Within
12:45-3:15 p.m. EDL 760 Dissertation Milestone: Proposal A - Nature of Inquiry and Chapter 1
3:30-6 p.m.

EDL 761 Introduction to Educational Research 

When do I start on my dissertation?

As a student, you will begin crafting your research question and will form your dissertation committee in your first semester of the program. Students continue to work on each chapter of the dissertation in a “dissertation milestone” course every semester until the completion of the program in three years.

What is the cost, and are scholarships available?

View current information on tuition and fees above.

The Educational Leadership EdD program offers competitive scholarship support to doctoral candidates in our program who demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities or leadership potential in K–12 education and who are committed to serving under-resourced schools and districts. Priority is given to current practitioners who are leading their schools and districts toward improved performance. Scholarship decisions are made based on admission materials, and no separate application is required. Applications received by May 1 also receive priority consideration for the scholarships.

The School of Education also offers two additional scholarships to which students can apply after admission. These require a separate application; information about these scholarships is given to students upon request after admission.

If you have questions, we’re here to help! Connect with a representative who can walk you through the program details and application process.

Contact Your Admissions Representative

Additional Program Contact

Stacy Kula, PhD, chair and director, [email protected], (626) 815-5363

Department of Educational Leadership


(626) 815-5374


Department of Educational Leadership
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000

Student Services Center

Contact (626) 812-3016 or [email protected], and visit for details on the admissions process, financial aid, and class registration.

International Services

International students should contact +1-626-812-3055 or [email protected], and visit

  • Azusa Pacific University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

Featured Faculty

Stacy Kula

Stacy Kula

Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Educational Leadership

Gregory Plutko

Gregory Plutko

Assistant Professor and Superintendent in Residence, Department of Educational Leadership

Ying Hong Jiang

Ying Hong Jiang

Professor, Department of Educational Leadership

Career Outlooks and Outcomes

Marlene Bicondova smiling

Restorative Justice in Schools: A San Bernardino Educational Leader Upholds Students’ Promise and Potential

Marlene Bicondova, EdD ’19, the director of positive youth development for the San Bernardino City Unified School District, has helped implement practices of restorative justice in schools to reduce bullying by offering responsibility for offenders and restitution for victims.

Note: This information is current for the 2024-25 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.
*Base Cost (cost per unit x program units) is provided to aid in program comparison only.
All stated financial information is subject to change. View Tuition tab above.