Leadership Studies Doctoral Program (EdD)


Program Details

The EdD in Leadership Studies is no longer accepting or processing inquiries or applications.

Please visit our Graduate Admission page for a list of other Xavier graduate programs.


The following deadlines have been established for applicants seeking to commence studies in the Spring (January), Summer (May) or Fall (late August) semesters:

  • Summer semester: April 1
  • Fall semester: April 1
  • Spring semester: October 1

All prospective applicants are encouraged to review the program website for additional information. You are also encouraged to attend an information session or contact the Program Director prior to submitting an application.

To be considered for admission as a degree-seeking student in Leadership Studies, please submit the following to the Office of Graduate Admission:

  • Completed application. Apply online where you can register for an account. Start your application by selecting "Leadership Studies Doctoral Program (EdD)."
  • One official transcript of all undergraduate and graduate work from regionally accredited colleges or universities. (Must be sent directly from awarding institution.)
  • Miller Analogies Test (MAT), Graduate Record Examination (GRE), GMAT, or LSAT score. (Older scores are acceptable as long as you can document official results.)
  • A personal statement (1,000-word minimum) addressing how you believe the Leadership Studies doctoral program will help you reach your short- and long-term professional goals.
  • Current resumé reflecting educational and work history, professional and volunteer experience.
  • Three letters of reference from individuals addressing your academic/professional potential for doctoral study.
  • Applicants must have an advanced degree (e.g. master's, JD, or PhD) with an overall minimum GPA of 3.0 from an accredited institution, without exception. Applicants whose prior study was outside the United States must have completed the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree and a master's degree.

Applications from individuals with degrees in any discipline are encouraged, and no prior coursework in leadership is required. Admitted students may be required to take a master's-level research course (Xavier's EDFD 507/08 suffices), if a comparable course is not reflected on previous transcripts, as a prerequisite for courses in the doctoral program's Leadership and Research cores.

Applicants who submit all required materials by the posted deadline will be reviewed by the Program Director, and those who meet stated requirements will be invited for an on-campus interview. Admissions decisions are communicated in writing via the email address applicants provide.


All applications for Financial Aid must be submitted through the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Students are encouraged to inquire about eligibility for financial assistance in the form of federal loans, grants and graduate assistantships. Not applying for financial assistance concurrent with program application may delay enrollment once an admissions decision has been reached. Some forms of financial assistance require a minimum of 6 credit hours of enrollment per semester.

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Program Structure, Cognate Options and Policies

The Leadership Studies doctoral program is a 60-credit hour program that includes:

  • Leadership Core: 15 credit hours
  • Research Core: 15 credit hours
  • Cognate: 15 credit hours in a specialized area of application and practice
  • Dissertation: 15 credit hours of dissertation advisement

Cognate credits may be taken in one or more of a growing number of specializations, including: Human & Organizational Development, Community & Non-profit Leadership, Health Services, Higher Education or K-12 Administration. Download the Leadership Studies program flier.


Students may take up to 6 credits each semester, consisting of a combination of leadership, research and cognate courses until they have met the core and cognate requirements. After that, students are required to enroll in at least 1 credit hour of dissertation advisement each semester in order to maintain continuous enrollment in the program until their dissertation is completed and they have met the 15-credit-hour requirement for dissertation advisement.


Students who have completed post-master's coursework equivalent to a doctoral program at accredited institutions may apply to receive some credit toward a portion of the fulfillment of the EdD leadership, research or cognate courses. Courses graded on a pass/fail basis, or the equivalent, will not be accepted as transfer credit. Petitions for transfer of credit will be evaluated individually and will only be granted with the recommendation of the Dean, Associate Dean, department chair or program director. At the appropriate time in the program, a qualifying assessment will be required before dissertation preparation may commence.


Students who take two courses per semester can complete the required course sequence in 7.5 semesters (a little over 2 years). An additional 18-24 months should be anticipated to complete the dissertation requirement, making degree completion possible in 3.5-4 years. Students who prefer to take only one course per semester can complete the degree in 6-7 years. Students are not locked into either course sequence, and are permitted to double up or take a hiatus at any point in their progress toward degree completion, provided they maintain continuous enrollment in dissertation advisement after completing the required courses.

Sample Courses

Developing Leadership Capacity: This capstone course in the doctoral Leadership Core integrates knowledge of leadership theory and practice through a systematic exploration of techniques for assessing and developing leadership capacity in individuals, groups, organizations and communities. Students will master state-of-the-art strategies for developing integrated leadership development programs targeting identified populations based on diagnostic assessment and interpretation of existing leadership capacities.

Ethical, Spiritual, and Character-based Leadership: Traditional justifications underlying leaders' deviation from ethical norms of behavior are interpreted through multiple philosophical lenses rooted in the moral psychology of leadership. Individual character strengths and virtues are explicated, as well as character flaws and the processes of self-deception that lead to leadership failure and leader derailment. Practical strategies for assessing and developing character strengths and overcoming character flaws rooted in unconscious dynamics of self-deception provide a framework for overcoming habitual patterns of destructive leader behavior and build leadership capacity in individuals, organizations and communities.

Dissertation: This is the culminating scholarly activity required for completion of the doctoral degree in Leadership Studies. Work on the dissertation commences with the selection of a faculty advisor to supervise the development and completion of an approved doctoral research project. A successful defense of the final dissertation is required for graduation. Fifteen total hours of dissertation advisement are required but may be spaced out over multiple semesters.

Tuition and Fees