Online Doctor of Education
Leadership

All-in price:
$23,914
View Tuition Details
Application due date for November 15, 2021 term:
November 12
Estimated time to completion:
36 months
All-in price:
$23,914
View Tuition Details
Application due date for November 15, 2021 term:
November 12
Estimated time to completion:
36 months

Leaders aren’t born, they’re made — right here.

Are you ready to incite change? As a student in the Ed.D. in Leadership program, you will select an area of emphasis and pursue original research. You will partner with fellow professionals and learn to address real-world problems with evidence-based decision-making. Under the direction of a dissertation committee, you will develop five chapters that contribute to your chosen field. Accelerated pathways are available if you are graduated from an ACE master’s program or have an Ed.S. or are considered “All But Dissertation (ABD)” from another institution. Because the program is entirely online, it requires no residency, travel or lodging.

#10

This program was named the nation’s number 10 Online Doctorate in Education program by Intelligent.com*

Thinking of starting your journey?

Connect with an ACE enrollment counselor who can help you get started.

How you'll get there.

  1. Your first set of courses center around leadership; topics include ethical leadership, management of human capital, and organizational behavior and culture. Classes are ten weeks long, with some five-week courses.
  2. You will choose a focus of study that consists of six courses. You may choose from the list below, or you can customize a General Track that consists of the six courses most relevant to your goals.
    • Adult and Continuing Education
    • Curriculum and Instruction
    • Early Childhood Education
    • Educational and Community Organizations
    • Health and Wellness
    • Higher Education
    • Instructional Leadership
    • Literacy
    • Online Education
    • Public and Nonprofit Leadership
    • Second Language Instruction
    • Special Education
    • STEM
    • General Track
  3. You will also take a set of research courses. These courses not only explore research methods and applied statistics, but they also support you when you need it most: during the dissertation. You will be guided through conducting your own original research and writing your five-chapter dissertation. Unlike many other programs, the development of your dissertation is part of your coursework. With the help of your dissertation committee, these courses progress you step-by-step toward a finished dissertation.
  4. In your final term, you will defend your dissertation. Upon successful defense, you can publish your dissertation.

What you can expect along the way.

  • Quality instruction ACE is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • Customizable program Choose from over 10 focus of study options, or create your own general track to align to your goals.
  • Supportive approach to the dissertation ACE provides doctoral students support when they need it most: during the dissertation. You will complete your dissertation in a structured, faculty-supported course sequence,
  • Accelerated completion available If you have a master’s degree from ACE or an Ed.S. or All But Dissertation (ABD) from another institution, you can earn your Ed.D. more quickly.

What it costs

Our tuition and fees have nothing to hide. The total cost you see is your all-in price, without hidden fees, add-ons, and even textbooks. See if you can say the same about other institutions. Go ahead — we’ll wait.

Total Tuition

64 semester credits
x $306 per credit

$19,584

Fees

$100 Application Fee

$2,880 Technology & Library Fee
($45 per credit)

$150 Program Conferral Fee

$1,200 Dissertation Fee

$4,330

Total Program Cost1

$23,914

We're ready to help you get started!

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On average, see how ACE compares to other online universities.

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Based on information on each institution’s website as of April 9, 2020. Totals include tuition only for Ed.D. in Leadership or comparable programs provided and do not include fees or associated expenses.

Learn how we cut costs.

Partnerships save you more.

ACE has more than 1,750 education partners that provide a discounted rate and other partner benefits.

Learn about ACE partnerships.

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Meet your department chair.

Bryan Bailey, Ed.D.

Bryan Bailey, Ed.D.

Chair, Department of Leadership and Administration,
Department of Leadership and Administration

Read Bio

A degree you can count on.

We are, and have always been, accredited by The Higher Learning Commission— a federally-recognized accrediting agency. Accreditation ensures that an institution’s academic program meets or exceeds acceptable levels of quality and is the most recognized accreditation status for higher education entities. To receive and maintain HLC accreditation and affiliation approval, we must continuously undergo routine peer review cycles and provide proof that our programs meet or exceed HLC accreditation criteria and expectations of quality.

Courses

Ed.D. in Leadership

Explore the classes you'll take to fulfill this program's 64 semester credit requirement. For more information, a complete list of requirements, and course options, see the College Catalog.

Choose your focus of study.

Eighteen of your semester credits will specialize in a focus area of your choice. View the College Catalog for full descriptions.  You also have the option of customizing this program by selecting a General Track and choosing the six courses that best fit your needs.

  • Adult and Continuing Education
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Educational and Community Organizations
  • Health and Wellness
  • Higher Education
  • Instructional Leadership
  • Literacy
  • Online Education
  • Public and Non-Profit Leadership
  • Second Language Instruction
  • Special Education
  • STEM
  • Undecided

Leadership Courses  (24 semester credits)

1 semester credit
Students will undertake an examination of the rigors of advanced graduate study and reflect on personal strengths and challenges at the start of their program. Topics include: identity as scholar-practitioner, models of inquiry, self-assessment, and professional goals.
1 semester credit
This leadership course will focus on defining what leadership really means and how to employ the college's innovative spirit. Students will reflect on theory and real-life application of the leadership journey, discover personal strengths, and discover ways to lead effectively. This course will also establish residency for states that require a face-to-face presence.
1 semester credit
This first-year leadership seminar addresses an overview of the overall leadership experience and dissertation journey, focusing on growth, responsibilities, and expectations throughout the program. Students will also address the research process as they move forward, identifying individual concerns regarding methodology and the alignment of research components. Students consider how to think about the research elements in relation to successfully completing their concept paper and dissertation.  
3 semester credits
The course focus is on theory, research, and practices related to ethical administration. Students will assess ethical decision making and implications for policy.
3 semester credits
Students will examine principles and concepts of finance at local, state, federal, and international levels; strategies for maximizing and obtaining financial resources and economic issues of the third sector.
3 semester credits
Students will evaluate and compare different leadership and coaching models, analyze the relationship between leadership effectiveness and leadership coaching and determine appropriate-ness of each type of leadership and coaching for diverse settings.
3 semester credits
Students will design, develop, and implement models of strategic planning that exhibit innovation.
3 semester credits
The course emphasizes principles and practices of personnel administration, including recruitment, selection, evaluation, staff development, and employee relations. Students will evaluate best practices for working with volunteer boards, advisory councils, and external stakeholders.
3 semester credits
Students will model and promote responsible global citizenship. Culturally relevant pedagogy will be examined and critiqued.
3 semester credits
This course examines how structure, values, and behavior impact an organization and its culture. Students analyze how leadership theories can be integrated and applied into advanced leadership roles.

Research Courses  (22 semester credits)

1 semester credit
This course examines the importance of scholarly writing in your leadership practice, the foundation of how to write in a scholarly mode, and research strategies to support your doctoral writing. 
3 semester credits
Students will examine foundations of research design, data collection, analysis, and presentation. Students will assess ethics of education research and reporting.
3 semester credits
Students will examine basic principles in applied statistics. Topics include data types, organizing data, graphing techniques, probability concepts, measures of central tendency, measures of dispersion, normal and skewed distributions, and understanding the area that covers normal distributions. Understanding, applying, and interpreting the principles to simple hypothesis testing methods through a seven-step process is also covered. The course is designed to provide an introduction to statistical applications that can be applied in real-world settings along with providing an excellent foundation for entering into the more advanced statistical applications and analyses using SPSS.
3 semester credits
This course provides students with an introduction to different types of quantitative research methods and statistical techniques for collecting and analyzing quantitative data. Topics include the nature of research, sampling, hypothesis testing, variance (F-test), two samples t-test (independent and dependent), multiple samples test (ANOVA and repeated measures), assessment reliability and validity, threats to validity, and components of a concept paper (prospectus), proposal, and dissertation. The course concludes with a comprehensive overview, including answers students need to know and be able to explain in a proposal or dissertation defense.
3 semester credits
Students will compare qualitative research designs and application to real-world issues. Topics include data collection and analysis, as well as ethical issues in qualitative research.
2 semester credits
Students develop the following components under supervision of the course faculty member: benchmark concept paper, doctoral pre-candidacy application, and doctoral pre-candidacy approval.
1 semester credit
This course is designed for students to complete Chapter 2 of the dissertation proposal. Final approval of Chapter 2  by the course faculty member and the dissertation chair is required for successful completion.
1 semester credit
This course is designed for students to complete Chapter 3 of the dissertation proposal. Final approval of Chapter 3 by the course faculty member and the dissertation chair is required for successful completion.
1 semester credit
This course is designed for students to complete the Dissertation Proposal. In addition to completing Chapters 1-3, this course is designed to support students in obtaining DRR and IRB approval. Final approval of the Dissertation Proposal by both the course faculty member and dissertation chair is required for successful completion. 
1 semester credit
This course is designed for candidates to complete Chapter 4 of the doctoral dissertation in which they conduct the IRB-approved research study and collect and analyze the data. Final acceptance of Chapter 4 by the course teacher of record (TOR) and the Dissertation Committee is required for successful completion. 
1 semester credit
This course is designed for candidates to complete Chapter 5 of the doctoral dissertation in which they interpret the data findings from their research study and draw conclusions based on the results. Candidates also submit a full draft of the dissertation. Final acceptance of Chapter 5 and the draft dissertation by the course teacher of record (TOR) and the Dissertation Committee is required for successful completion.
2 semester credits
Students prepare, defend, and deliver the final presentation of their dissertation. Final dissertation approval and final completion of their doctoral portfolio are also expected. 
0 semester credits
This is a workspace for Ed.D. candidates to work on dissertation chapters collaboratively with their dissertation chair and committee members.

Focus of Study

Customize this degree by choosing a six - course Focus of Study to fulfill the remaining 18 semester credits.

Adult and Continuing Education 

3 semester credits
This course examines the theory and research of andragogy, with an emphasis on the historical influences, practical applications, and critical analysis. Topics include fields of practice, schools of thought, clarification of concepts, and emerging issues and challenges.
3 semester credits
This course examines a variety of learning and teaching strategies to enhance adult learning. Students analyze methods suited for adult learning in different settings, apply knowledge of adult learning theories, and explore ways in which adults learn critical thinking.
3 semester credits
This course focuses on theories and processes of measuring student learning in post-secondary educational settings to evaluate the effectiveness of academic programs. Students explore accreditation procedures and standards, instructional approaches, engagement strategies, and management of instructional environments.
3 semester credits
This course provides an introduction to the historical developments, theoretical perspectives, fundamental approaches, and real-world practices of evaluating adult learners. Students learn to apply a variety of methods to assess learning outcomes effectively and to analyze assessment data to improve teaching and learning.
3 semester credits
This course promotes the concept of leaders serving as role models of professional development for their staffs to achieve higher levels of performance within the organization. To do so, leaders must utilize effective strategies, programs, and services based on data-driven decisions and the needs of stakeholders in the organizational community. Emphasis is placed on the impact of relevant, high-quality, job-embedded, differentiated, technology-integrated professional learning opportunities aligned to organizational goals. The course also prepares leaders to serve as advocates for sufficient preparation, time, and support for colleagues to work collaboratively in job-embedded professional learning.
3 semester credits
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in adult education. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus of study on the professional field. 

Curriculum and Instruction 

3 semester credits
This course assists educators in the development of rigorous, appropriate, curriculum and instruction, with a focus on diverse-learner groups. Multi-model instructional strategies, culturally relevant pedagogy, differentiated instruction, and thematic, interdisciplinary unit planning are emphasized. Using a curricular framework, graduate students in this course will plan, evaluate, and adapt curricula experiences to build successful learning environments for all learners. 
3 semester credits
This course focuses on the major theories, strategies, and applications utilized in P-12 standards-driven learning environments. Participants review and apply current literature and educational research studies concerning standards-based curriculum, implementation strategies and tools.
3 semester credits
Educational assessments provide useful information on what students know and can accomplish. This course examines the purpose of various categories of assessment and tools of assessment, given at different organizational levels. Growth in assessment literacy will be developed while investigating appropriate feedback methods based on assessment data.
3 semester credits
In this course, students will analyze strategies crucial to the design and implementation of a school-wide or district-wide leadership initiative to support literacy development. Students will explore methods to improve a comprehensive range of literacy skills guided by research and current best practices. Specific principles and theories of reading instruction are compared and evaluated to identify best methods to support diverse learning needs. Students explore the scientific research base underlying different models of reading instruction, technology, integration and assessment.
3 semester credits
This course prepares educational leaders to serve as role models for creating, promoting, and conducting effective professional development for their staffs. Learners evaluate the merits of offsite professional development opportunities with goal-structured, job-embedded professional learning. Educational leaders utilize effective strategies, programs, and services based on data, student needs, and consideration of other stakeholders including teachers, parents, administrators, elected officials, and community members. Emphasis is placed on the impact of relevant, high-quality, differentiated, technology-integrated professional learning opportunities aligned to school or district goals. This course also prepares leaders to serve as advocates for staff to have the proper time and support to work collaboratively in job-embedded professional learning.
3 semester credits
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in curriculum and instruction. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus of study on the professional field. 

Early Childhood Education  

3 semester credits
By exploring current trends in early childhood education, students examine public policy, research, professional development relevant to classroom practices, and program management. Students will apply guiding research practices currently utilized in the field. The connection between theory and emerging information will help to maintain relevance for the profession.
3 semester credits
This course examines classic and modern theories of child development and applications to real world settings. Students relate the theoretical foundations which guide key elements of early childhood educational practices to curriculum design, play, attachment and guidance.
3 semester credits
Through the formation of collaborative partnerships, roles across multiple early childhood settings are investigated. Theories and practices which guide relationships with families, community organization and advocacy organizations will highlight the leadership skills necessary to establish and maintain connections relevant to supporting the field of early childhood education.
3 semester credits
Focused on early childhood developmental issues, this course includes formal and informal approaches to assessing young children while diagnosing potential concerns which lead to informed instructional and intervention choices. Choices in curricula are aligned to needs to enhance student achievement.
3 semester credits
This course focuses on the role of advocacy and leadership for early childhood practitioners. Students gain knowledge on different levels of advocacy and how this supports students and families in the field. This course prepares students to take on leadership roles related to advocacy and professional development opportunities relevant to current issues in early childhood education. 
3 semester credits
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in early childhood education. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus of study on the professional field. 

Educational and Community Organizations 

3 semester credits
Students will analyze theories of collaboration, especially as applied to educational and community organizations. Students will propose partnership models for an educational or community organization.
3 semester credits
Students will design, implement, and assess examples of programs that apply emerging technology. The course will focus on issues associated with the interface of technology and people.
3 semester credits
This course provides a comprehensive view of advocacy strategies including polling, research, lobbying, and communicating with the media and stakeholders. Students will evaluate communication and best practices for public, nonprofit, and other organizational leaders working to influence political and policymaking processes.
3 semester credits
Students analyze funding sources and the process of applying for financial resources from organizations or agencies through grant writing. Students follow criteria to develop and critique requests for proposals.
3 semester credits
Students will analyze specific current and future public policies and conduct policy impact analyses. Students will evaluate best practices for working with local school councils, volunteer boards, advisory councils, and external stakeholders.
3 semester credits
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in educational and community organizations. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus on study on the professional field. 

Health and Wellness 

3 semester credits
This course examines culture, social norms, beliefs and values, ideology, and practices related to health choices. The students will research various diversity issues and how the issues will influence other areas of life. Through surveys and research, students will examine how choices are made regarding health and health-related behaviors including: perception and attitudes, awareness, prejudice, discrimination or aggression, social cognition, and relationships. This will provide a forum for determining action.
3 semester credits
Students will research and explore interactions between health factors as they influence lifestyle choices including social, political, economic, and personal. With the focus on practical application, students will research and examine potential interventions and strategies for overcoming barriers and the ethical implications for professionals practicing in health education. They will research theoretical concepts, practices, and principles of health education.
3 semester credits
As students study leadership in health education, they will utilize foundational approaches to guiding and educating individuals within the school and community settings. They will research and use data for decision making in their school and community. Relational skills are also evaluated as an example of how specific settings impact options and how a professional stance is established through ethical application of the laws governing healthcare practices.
3 semester credits
As technology is an integral part of the public health care system, students will research ways to deliver, analyze, and interpret data, including informatics/bioinformatics, clinical research, consumer and public health statistics. They will then learn how to teach and train the staff to use the different technology, helping to develop protocols to be established within the organization. These protocols will relate to compliance issues as well as inform stakeholders of their importance. Through research and discussion, the students will be guided to provide the appropriate selection of technology with the targeted population in mind.
3 semester credits
This course examines the role of finance and budgeting in educational institutions.  Students will explore topics such as sources of revenue, fundraising, and fiscal allocation techniques.  Public and private financial policies and their impact on educational organizations will be examined.
3 semester credits
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in health education. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus of study on the professional field. 

Higher Education 

3 semester credits
Focused on examining statutory and regulatory compliance issues impacting institutions, this course is designed to heighten analytical skills to ensure an understanding of the intricacies influencing higher education in today's climate of globalization. The interrelationship between law and policy is explored through the use of case studies, partnerships, and community relationship serving to establish a context for practice with the governance of an organization.
3 semester credits
This course considers how to strategically manage human, financial, and data resources. Strategic thinking, planning, and development establish effective ways to 1) strengthen working relationships, 2) engage in financial practices which contain costs and advance the mission of an institution and 3) utilize data for continuous improvement. By comparing and evaluating institutional advancement strategies, activities are assessed to determine how they complement strategic priorities and goals, build and enhance program relevance, and add practical value.
3 semester credits
Dependent upon function and service, student affairs influences the relationship between adult learning and instructional outcomes. Leadership practices, as seen through theoretical lens, explore personnel issues, student support, success, and retention, and assessment options which guide decision-making. Consideration is given to ways student perspectives shape the college experience and how these can be leveraged for change.
3 semester credits
This course investigates critical issues and concerns, emerging roles and functions, and influencing factors helping to redefine the nature of higher education. Societal shifts are probed to determine relevancy. Trends in technology and instructional delivery become the frame for forecasting the possible future of higher education.
3 semester credits
This course focuses on the roles and responsibilities required of administration in higher education. Students investigate critical functions, societal shifts, technological trends, and how emerging roles are reshaping the foundations of higher education. Students also examine functions of and decision making within operations, financial options, human resources, marketing, and enrollment. 
3 semester credits
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in higher education. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus of study on the professional field.

Instructional Leadership 

3 semester credits
Students will design, implement, and assess evidence-based teaching strategies appropriate for the online course room. Students will demonstrate best practices for effective online teaching through course activities.
3 semester credits
This course focuses on the improvement of curriculum, instruction, and student achievement throughout diverse school and organizational settings. To make these improvements, leaders must first develop the skill set and knowledge base necessary to build leadership capacity among staff members. Instructional leaders can then collaboratively set learner-centered goals to promote higher levels of student progress, achievement, and post-secondary and college and career readiness.
3 semester credits
This course promotes the concept of leaders serving as role models of professional development for their staffs to achieve higher levels of performance within the organization. To do so, leaders must utilize effective strategies, programs, and services based on data-driven decisions and the needs of stakeholders in the organizational community. Emphasis is placed on the impact of relevant, high-quality, job-embedded, differentiated, technology-integrated professional learning opportunities aligned to organizational goals. The course also prepares leaders to serve as advocates for sufficient preparation, time, and support for colleagues to work collaboratively in job-embedded professional learning.
3 semester credits
This course emphasizes the importance of understanding state, federal, and other accountability standards in relation to the needs of learners within schools, school districts, and organizational communities. The focus of the course remains on identifying learners' academic strengths and areas in need of improvement to eliminate achievement gaps, improve achievement levels, ensure progress, increase graduation rates, and promote post-secondary and college/career readiness.
3 semester credits
Success is attributed to effective decision making, a skill required for professional and personal reasons. An essential ability required by leaders, decision making is a process which identifies critical elements of a choice to determine a course of action. The focus for this course considers ways decisions are made and how these techniques can be evaluated to improve outcomes. Specifically, the course addresses the development of skills to efficiently and consistently make informed decisions using data to maintain awareness of organizational needs, demographics, and performance levels. The role of collaboration in decision making is also a major focus.
3 semester credits
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in instructional leadership. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus of study on the professional field. 

Literacy 

3 semester credits
In this course, students will explore prominent trends and issues in literacy practices. Foundational theories and historical trajectories in literacy best practices will be examined and compared to current trends in the literacy field. Students will investigate complex issues that affect learners, as well as construct research topics to promote best practices in literacy. Students will critique policies, standards, and guidelines in literacy education. Students will design a final research-based project to address a current need in the literacy field.
3 semester credits
In this course, students will connect technology and literacy skills to meet the needs of diverse 21st century learners. Students will examine various forms of technology resources and collaborative tools to assess the effectiveness in improving literacy skills. They will analyze literacy development, writing, comprehension, critical thinking, and engagement in learners who are typical and atypical. Students will design a project to demonstrate the effectiveness of various forms of technology in the promotion of literacy. They also will critique the strengths and limitations of literacy methodologies and technological tools. Upon conclusion of the project, students will provide suggestions to inform curricula within organizations and in their current or future roles as educational leaders.
3 semester credits
In this course, students will evaluate the role of integrated curriculum to promote literacy development. This course analyzes current methods used to prepare learners to understand and engage with ideas that cut across multiple disciplines. Students will investigate four pedagogical approaches to addressing the issue of teaching students to read and write in the academic content areas: 1) cognitive, 2) sociocultural, 3) linguistic, and 4) critical thinking. The strengths and limitations of each approach will be assessed to construct a broadened, integrated perspective of literacy. Students will create integrated literacy unit and analyze the connection to best practices in the field.
3 semester credits
In this course, students will examine research-based assessment tools, intervention strategies, and protocols centered on literacy development. Utilizing research on systematic instructional practices, students will develop supports and identify essential skills, strategies, and concepts that promote differentiated instructional practices in the classroom. Students will learn how to choose and create appropriate literacy assessments, as well as analyze best practices for integrating assessment and intervention in response to outcomes in order to combat challenges in reading development.
3 semester credits
This course prepares students to be leaders that create and implement sustainable literacy programs that benefit all students. Literacy leaders will investigate evidence-based programs and strategies relative to the big ideas of literacy- phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension- for student achievement and school improvement. Additionally, students will develop skills necessary for making effective decisions regarding learners' literacy growth, teachers' professional development, and stakeholders' shared vision of a comprehensive and inclusive literacy program. Students will learn critical components to assemble a comprehensive literacy program committee that will evaluate the developed program's efficiency and effectiveness with raising literacy skills and comprehension.
3 semester credits
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study literacy. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus on study on the professional field.

Online Education 

3 semester credits
Students will compare theories of teaching and learning with applications to digital instruction. Content includes emerging technology and use of Open Educational Resources.
3 semester credits
Students will critique research on social presence and best practices for connecting through using technology with students or colleagues, as well as best practices for social media use within education organizations.
3 semester credits
Students will implement and assess the concepts of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for accessible online courses and compare models of instructional design.
3 semester credits
Students will analyze effective online teaching and assessment; evaluate and recommend Learning Management Systems; and advocate for professional organizations, which provide continuing development for online educators.
3 semester credits
Students will design, implement, and assess examples of programs that apply emerging technology. The course will focus on issues associated with the interface of technology and people.
3 semester credits
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in online education. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus of study on the professional field. 

Public and Nonprofit Leadership 

3 semester credits
This course provides a comprehensive view of advocacy strategies including polling, research, lobbying, and communicating with the media and stakeholders. Students will evaluate communication and best practices for public, nonprofit, and other organizational leaders working to influence political and policymaking processes.
3 semester credits
Students analyze funding sources and the process of applying for financial resources from organizations or agencies through grant writing. Students follow criteria to develop and critique requests for proposals.
3 semester credits
Leading and managing public and nonprofit organizations is based on transforming good intentions into an actionable plan based on data-informed decision making. Students form conclusions on how organizations achieve goals and formulate strategies to achieve positive outcomes. This course is also designed to assess major issues and challenges leaders face in the public and nonprofit fields.
3 semester credits
This course investigates the roles of stakeholders in various public and nonprofit organizational structures and how the type of organization may impact collaboration and collective action. Students explore the stakeholder's role in building and sustaining organizational effectiveness for the purpose of serving others.
3 semester credits
Board and volunteer development provide lifelines for most public and nonprofit organizations. Board members are a special type of volunteer, helping to guide the direction of public and nonprofit entities, promoting the organizations in the community, and ensuring the mission of service to others is fulfilled. Learning how best to work with the board and other volunteers is a critical aspect of public and nonprofit leadership. This course covers the fundamentals of board and volunteer recruitment and development.
3 semester credits
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in public and nonprofit leadership. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact on the professional field.

Second Language Instruction  

3 semester credits
This course provides an understanding of the historical, political, social, cultural, and instructional concepts and issues that affect linguistically and culturally diverse learners in a variety of settings. Students will research and review local, state, and federal policies regarding entitlement and appropriate services for second language learners. Students will gain in-depth knowledge of language development and acquisition and design research based support and instruction for second language learners. U.S. and international program models are analyzed and current theories of Second Language Acquisition (SLA), bilingualism, and socio-cultural theories are explored for their pedagogical implications. Students will develop assessment instruments, select materials, and learn how to monitor learning outcomes to support and enhance the development of second language learners.
3 semester credits
Students in this course examine assessment approaches for second language learners within the larger framework of historical, social, cultural, and political contexts. Students will evaluate assessment tools and research historical theories in order to analyze the best practices in assessment of second language learners. Utilizing a variety of theoretical models related to second language acquisition and academic achievement, students 1) analyze the ways that second language students are diverse, 2) discuss equitable assessment of diverse learners, and 3) evaluate existing instruments for second language learners. Students examine and review relevant state or national standards for content matter learning and language proficiency and examine how those are assessed in mandated, large-scale assessment and in professional assessments (traditional and alternative). Students in non-traditional settings will examine how to align assessment methods with current professional standards for the field. Students will learn how to target certain learning outcomes by using critically evaluated materials.
3 semester credits
This course focuses on the methodology for teaching language and content to second language learners. Participants research and critically examine historical and current ESL and bilingual education program models, theories of ESL and bilingual instruction and literacy, first and second language acquisition, and transfer of skills and content knowledge between first and second language. Relevant federal, state, and local learning and assessment standards are researched, reviewed and applied to their instructional settings. Participants research and use various methods, approaches, and techniques, as well as discuss the selection, use, and evaluation of books, multimedia, and other materials in the first and subsequent languages to support second language learners across multiple professional settings.
3 semester credits
This course addresses growth opportunities for leaders as they increase their awareness of the need for advocates in the area of second language instruction in a variety of settings. Students will research policy and laws at the local, state, and national levels and reflect upon how they impact the second language learners in their current professional setting. Emphasis is placed on building the knowledge and skills required to share information on policies and trends with colleagues; to work collaboratively with others to advocate for second language learners and instructor rights, needs, and resources, and to represent and advocate for second language learners both within and beyond their current instructional settings.
3 semester credits
This course covers the following essential dimensions of linguistics and the acquisition of language: language and the brain, first and second language acquisition, major components of linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and sociolinguistics), cognition and learning, and communicative competence.  The course examines second language learners and their proficiency in oral, reading, and writing skills in English as well as the importance of the home languages as a foundation for learning a second language. Students get an overview of socio-cultural, psychological, and political variables that play a part in second language acquisition, which will translate to greater understanding of second language learners as they navigate the community and professional settings.
3 semester credits
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in second language instruction. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus of study on the professional field. 

Special Education 

3 semester credits
This course examines pedagogical principles of reading intervention through synthesis and application of current research findings. Learners will investigate diagnosis of reading disabilities, reading assessment strategies, and intervention principles. Struggling readers benefit most from intensive interventions that connect theory, research, and classroom practice. Students in this course will gain experiences utilizing a data-based decision-making process and evidence-based instructional models to individualize and adapt reading instruction and provide targeted support for diverse learners.
3 semester credits
This course highlights how technology and classroom design can be used to differentiate instruction. Assistive technology that can assist various learners, including students with disabilities, will be examined. Learners will investigate Universal Design for Learning (UDL) foundations and principles. The unique nature of each learner will be discussed, along with the way accommodations create learning experiences that maximize each student's ability to learn and progress. Students will analyze how assistive technologies can increase educational access and improve achievement for all individuals. Students will explore types of assistive technologies and resources, including but not limited to augmentative communication systems, mobility systems, and systems of information presentation and physical spatial design.
3 semester credits
In this course, students investigate differentiated instruction integration strategies grounded in research and theory. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of the reasons and assumptions underlying differentiation and methods to identify key indicators in a learning environment. Procedures for analyzing and applying differentiated instruction to improve learning outcomes for exceptional learners will be examined. Students will advance their knowledge, skills, and practice for effectively implementing differentiated instruction across diverse settings. Emphasis will be placed on response to intervention, formative assessment, and the development of strategies and interventions that target exceptional learners.
3 semester credits
In this course, trends in policy, law, and recent legal findings that have implications on Free and Appropriate Education, Least Restrictive Environment, and procedural safeguards are examined. The legal and civil rights of students receiving special education services are discussed in the context of the Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education, as well as in the context of each state's monitored progress on Part B and Part C indicators of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Monitoring of special education services compliance will be discussed and current practices in state districts will be examined. 
3 semester credits
This course covers methods and materials used in assessing and evaluating students eligible for special education services. Students will examine the principals needed to understand standardized assessment and the rationale for using curriculum-based measurement (CBM) within the broad context of special education programming. Students will analyze the development and utilization of specific assessments for instructional and placement decisions. Students will evaluate components critical to writing and maintaining IEPs, individual goals and the use of accommodations and modifications. Finally, students will explore the need for and the use of transition goals in planning instruction, related services, community experiences, and the acquisition of daily living skills as well as how to conduct a functional vocational evaluation.
3 semester credits
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study Special Education. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus on study on the professional field.

STEM Leadership 

3 semester credits
This course provides a holistic overview of historical and current issues and trends impacting science education in today's global society. Emphasis is placed on the examination of diverse viewpoints and approaches to integrated science education to examine research-based integrative models and strategies for the improvement of student learning. Participants will examine current STEM education initiatives related to policy, method, and engagement. Critical and creative thinking, problem solving, and writing skills are emphasized. While using an integrated approach, this course spotlights content-rich components dedicated to biology, chemistry, and physics.
3 semester credits
The course will examine didactic strategies of pedagogy, andragogy, multiple intelligence theory, social learning theory and exchange theory to foster the innovative engagement of diverse learners. Emphasis will be placed on strategies related to the differentiation of instruction.
3 semester credits
This course will examine the integration of digital resources into the integrated science learning environment. Participates will explore digital resources and develop strategies for effectively integrating technology with didactic strategies to address the needs of diverse learners and enhance learning.
3 semester credits
This course examines best practice in developing curriculum to foster student learning in the field of mathematics and science. Emphasis is placed on curriculum theory, curriculum design, development of instructional manipulatives, and the implementation and evaluation of curriculum for didactic improvement.
3 semester credits
Building scientific understanding in students is essential to the STEM field. This course is designed to help students develop a deeper understanding of skills, including the role of critical questions and essential concepts.  Students break down common misconceptions in STEM as well as build on existing skills of observation, analysis of communication, assessments informing instruction, and understanding the role society plays in fostering scientific literacy and knowledge.
3 semester credits
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study STEM Leadership. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus on study on the professional field. 

General Track (18 semester credits)

Any six of courses from the courses above.

Admission Requirements

Ed.D. in Leadership

ACE General Admission Requirements

  • Complete and submit all application components including the admission application, the enrollment agreement, and the payment agreement.
  • Submit the nonrefundable application fee.*
  • Provide official transcripts from a regionally accredited institution indicating successful completion of the level of education required for entry to the program.**

*The application fee is valid for one year from date of submission.
**Additional evidence may be required to fulfill state requirements, including but not limited to verification of professional experience, test scores, or an interview.

Program Admission Requirements

  • Master's level (or higher) degree earned
  • Minimum grade point average 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for full admission
  • Submit a current curriculum vitae (preferred) or resume.
  • Submit a goal statement, demonstrating a clear expression of purpose and anticipated personal and professional goals. The statement needs to be two pages in length excluding the title and reference pages.
  • Complete an interview

A Note About Licensure:

While this program provides a comprehensive understanding of the intended program outcomes, it does not lead to licensure, certification, or endorsement. ACE offers several programs that do provide a pathway to licensure, certification, or endorsement and they can be found here.

1This is an estimated value of the cost for tuition and fees. Amounts may vary depending on number of transfer credits applied to the selected program hours or program pathway credit hours, the pace and satisfactory completion of the selected program or program pathway credit hours, receipt of, or eligibility for, institutional or non-institutional scholarship and/or grant amounts, and adjustments to tuition or fees as described in the Catalog Right to Modify Tuition section.

State of California Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF)

It is a state of California requirement that a student who pays his or her tuition is required to pay a state-imposed assessment fifty cents ($0.50) per one thousand dollars ($1,000) of institutional charges, rounded to the nearest thousand dollars, for the California Student Tuition Recovery Fund. For more information and to see if you must pay the state-imposed assessment for Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) click here.

For information on international transcript requirements, see the Admissions Information section of the College Catalog.

For English as a second language applicant information, see the Admissions Information section of the College Catalog.

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