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University Catalog


College of Education/College of Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies


California legislation (SB 724) authored by Senator Jack Scott and signed into law in 2005 authorized the California State University to offer the doctorate (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership.  The Doctor of Education degree offered by the California State University shall be focused on preparing administrative leaders for California public elementary and secondary schools and community colleges and on the knowledge and skills needed by administrators to be effective leaders in California public schools and community colleges. The Doctor of Education degree offered by the California State University shall be offered through partnerships through which the California public elementary and secondary schools and community colleges shall participate substantively in program design, candidate recruitment and admissions, teaching, and program assessment and evaluation. This degree shall enable professionals to earn the degree while working full time.

The California State University, Sacramento doctoral program represents a collaborative effort between two departments, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies and Public Policy and Administration, to provide an interdisciplinary program of study.  It also represents a partnership with area public schools and community colleges to develop a meaningful course of study and graduate experience.

The program is planned to meet the needs of working professionals who are engaged in the profession of education.  Accordingly, the program will incorporate a variety of innovative measures to facilitate student access. These consist of scheduling courses on a year-round basis, utilizing alternative course formats, including intensive, Friday evening, all-day Saturday, and “in-residence” summer seminars on-campus meeting times, and encouraging students to use their job-related problems as topics for research assignments.  The majority of the program classes will be held on the campus of California State University, Sacramento.  However, there may be sessions held with partner institutions in public schools and community colleges to host classes as appropriate.

The California State University, Sacramento doctoral program is organized as a cohort-based program. Groups of students admitted each year will take courses together. This creates several distinct advantages of group membership during graduate study which are intentionally fostered in the program:

  • Cohorts offer support to candidates and provide opportunities for members to learn from one another.
  • Cohorts establish professional ties that often last beyond the doctoral program itself; such networks are valuable in terms of continued professional support and growth.
  • Fostering and monitoring candidates’ progress is enhanced in cohorts. The group carries with it the expectation that all but the occasional candidate will complete the program successfully, including such standard benchmarks as the qualifying examination, advancement to candidacy, and completion of the dissertation.
  • Scheduling an outstanding program of doctoral study can be accomplished more readily for cohorts that have courses in common. Enrollments are predictable, and a course of study can be planned in advance in relation to the availability of highly qualified faculty.

Admission Requirements

The Ed.D. Program admits candidates who meet the academic requirements for the Ed.D. degree program and who possess personal qualities and professional experiences that suggest a strong potential for success as doctoral candidates and as educational leaders in pre K-12 or community colleges.

The Ed.D. Program requires the following of applicants for admission to the doctoral program:

  • an earned baccalaureate degree and master's degree or the equivalent from an accredited institution of higher education with a grade point average in upper division and graduate study of 3.0 or above;
  • sufficient preparation and experience pertinent to educational leadership to benefit from the program;
  • submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores- from the three sections of the General Test taken within five years of applying to the Ed.D. program;
  • demonstrated educational leadership potential and skills including successful experience in school, postsecondary, community, and/or policy leadership;
  • demonstrated academic excellence, problem-solving ability, and an interest in critically assessing and bringing about improvements within current educational policies and practices;
  • three letters of recommendation attesting to the leadership ability and scholarship of the candidate;
  • a written statement of purpose reflecting an understanding of the challenges facing the public schools or community colleges/institutions of higher education in California;
  • a personal interview; and
  • a statement of support for the candidate’s doctoral studies from his/her employer or, in cases where this is not provided, an indication of the candidate’s plan for meeting the demands of the program and his/her professional responsibilities.

Meeting these minimum requirements qualifies an individual for admissions consideration but does not guarantee admission to the Program. Admission will be granted on a competitive basis.

In any one academic year, a limited number of students may be admitted on an exception basis without meeting one or more of the requirements established for the Ed.D. program. The number of exceptional admissions shall not exceed 15 percent of those students regularly admitted to the campus’ Ed.D. program. The intent of this exception provision is to provide for students who demonstrate particular strength in the qualities and characteristics sought for public school or community college leadership and who, at the time of seeking admission to the Ed.D. program, do not meet all the specified requirements.

Admission Procedures

Applicants must complete a university application by the posted application deadline date for the term applying. For more admissions information and application deadlines, please visit Prospective doctoral students must file the following with the Office of Graduate Studies, Riverfront Center 206, (916) 278-6470:

  • an online application that can be accessed at;
  • one set of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, other than Sacramento State.

At the same time, each applicant must forward the following to the Ed.D. Program Office in the College of Education:

  • the Ed.D. program supplemental application;
  • GRE results no older than 5 years from date of application;
  • written statement of purpose;
  • resume detailing education and professional experience;
  • three letters of references (forms attached to the supplemental application);
  • one set of transcripts, including Sacramento State.

Unit Requirements

Each candidate will be required to successfully complete 60 semester units of coursework.  Each of the first two years call for completion of 18 units during the regular academic year and 6 units during each summer session.  The third year of the program calls for completion of the dissertation which will entail 12 units.

The Ed.D. program is designed for completion of the degree requirements within three (3) calendar years (two semesters per academic year and summer study).  The California State University, Sacramento Educational Leadership doctoral program is designed to allow completion of degree requirements within three (3) calendar years and four and a half calendar years (four years and one semester) will normally be acceptable.

Total time to qualifying examination and advancement to candidacy will not exceed three (3) years unless there are mitigating circumstances and the Ed.D. Program faculty has approved the extension; such extension normally may not exceed one year.

Total registered time is not expected to exceed five (5) years, and extension beyond this period requires approval by the Ed.D. Program faculty.

Extension of the period for degree completion beyond the period of five (5) years is normally granted to students in good academic standing, not exceed a two (2) year period. Continuation each term after the extension is granted requires determination of satisfactory progress by the Ed.D. Program faculty.

Extension of the period by more than two years can be granted only under special circumstances and based upon criteria established by the Ed.D. Program faculty. Such extension requires (a) special approval in accordance with the procedures established by the campus and (b) evidence that the student has maintained currency in the field, including demonstrated currency in literature, coursework, and research.

Satisfactory Progress Toward Degree

Each Ed.D. student is expected to maintain satisfactory progress toward the approved academic objectives as defined by the Ed.D. Program faculty and the University.  The student is expected to make satisfactory progress in accordance with the Ed.D. cohort structure and program of study through the time of Advancement to Candidacy.  This requires that the student complete all courses and examinations satisfactorily and Advance to Candidacy within the period for each specified by the Ed.D. Program faculty.  Satisfactory progress further requires that the student pass all required examinations within two attempts.

The normal expectation is that students will attend and participate in all required program components. Students who need to make-up assignments are normally given the opportunity to do so. In the event that a student’s lack of attendance/participation would cause him/her to fail to maintain a grade point average of 3.0, the student would be notified and counseled regarding requirements for satisfactory progress toward the degree. Systemwide criteria of satisfactory academic progress are provided in Appendix 5, Title 5 of California Code of Regulations: The Doctor of Education Degree §40512(c).

Students who need to stop-out are typically provided two options. One is to take extra coursework to make up courses missed and return to their original cohort. The second is to join a later cohort that, at the time they return, is taking the classes that they missed.

Criteria for Continuation in the Program

Students must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in the program and not have a grade point average below 3.0 in any two successive terms to be considered in good academic standing. They must also meet all the requirements of graduate students outlined in the University Catalog.

Students who fall below a 3.0 grade point average in any one term will be placed on academic probation and notified of this in writing.  Students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress may be officially disqualified from the program in writing in accordance with policies established by the campus and based upon the recommendation of the Ed.D. Program faculty.

To ensure that a decision to disqualify a student because of unsatisfactory academic progress is just, basic due process requirements will be met.  Faculty will conduct a thorough review and consultation and will provide a written recommendation by the Ed.D. Program Director to the Graduate Division.  The student may appeal the decision.  A student who has been disqualified from the program will not be allowed to continue in the Ed.D. Program, enroll in doctoral level courses in the program, or register again in the Ed.D. Program without a formal application and re-admission to the University.

Requirements - Doctorate - Educational Leadership

A. Doctoral Core Requirements (48 units)

Year 1


EDD 600*

Transformational Leadership


EDD 602*

Policy and Practice for Educational Leaders I


EDD 604*

Data-Based Decision-Making In Educational Leadership


EDD 605*

Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods I


EDD 607*

Community and Communication in Educational Leadership


EDD 608*

Diversity and Equity in Complex Organizations

Summer Session Year 1


EDD 609*

Human Resource Management for Educational Leaders


EDD 610*

Curriculum and Instruction Issues for Educational Leaders

Year 2


EDD 601*

Organizational Leadership


EDD 603*

Policy and Practice for Educational Leaders II


EDD 606*

Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods II


EDD 611*

Legal Issues for Educational Leaders


EDD 612*

Student Services in Education


EDD 613*

Finance and Budget for Educational Leaders


EDD 614*

Issues in Educational Leadership: Synthesis and Application

Summer Session Year 2


EDD 615

Dissertation Proposal Seminar (Passed Ed.D. Qualifying Examination and instructor permission)

B. Culminating Requirements (12 units)
  • Passage of Qualifying Examination before the start of the dissertation
  • Successful dissertation proposal defense


EDD 616*

Dissertation I - year 3


EDD 617*

Dissertation II - year 3 (Completion of EDD 616)

*Admission into the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership Program and instructor permission.

Contact Information

Carlos Nevarez, Program Director
Su Jin Jez, Associate Program Director
Phone: (916) 278-2282
FAX: (916) 278-2281