Graduate School of Education

Ed.D., Leadership in Schooling

The Leadership in Schooling doctoral degree is designed to enhance a candidate's skills both as a researcher and as an instructional leader of PK-16 programs.  A doctorate in Leadership in Schooling empowers the individual to improve leadership, teaching and learning, and to explore innovative solutions to educational problems.  Students who enter this doctoral program will soon find that our emphasis on research and its application to practice will assist them in forming and investigating questions that are of personal, community, national, and international interest.

Combining Research and Practice

The doctoral program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell emphasizes the critical evaluation and application of research-based theoretical knowledge.  We pride ourselves on the fact that this combination of practice and research provides our graduates with more options than do programs that focus exclusively on either research or practice.  Our graduates are prepared to accept faculty positions in academia; they are equally prepared for leadership roles in PK-16 education and in private foundations and organizations which examine educational policy.

Program Faculty


Michaela Colombo

nehring picture

James Nehring


Stacy Szczesiul


Phitsamay Uy

Leadership in Schooling Students

The majority of our students are working professionals who complete the program on a part-time basis.  There is no residency requirement and we offer courses during the summer as well as fall and spring.  (Teaching Assistantships may be available for full-time students.)  Faculty in the Leadership in Schooling doctoral program strive to meet the individual needs and the professional interests of each student through close advisement and collaborative research seminars.

Leadership in Schooling Program of Study (48 credits)

Special Features of the Program

Doctoral students in the dissertation phase of the program gather with faculty on several occasions throughout each semester for joint meetings to discuss their research, policy issues related to preparing the dissertation, and to present their work to their peers for feedback.  These supportive seminars are highly valued by students, as they ensure program cohesion for students while they explore their individual research interests.

Leadership in Schooling doctoral students participate in the annual colloquium held at the Graduate School of Education.  Many graduate students have also presented papers at regional and local conferences.

Entrance to the Program

Each applicant must have a master of education degree or a master's degree in a field relevant to PK-16 education that prepares him/her for advanced study.  Additionally, applicants should have recent teaching and/or leadership experience in a PK-16 setting and be interested in research into and the role of leaders in schools.  Candidates who are interested in higher education administration should speak with the Graduate Coordinator before submitting an application.

After submitting your online application and fee, you are also required to send

  • A two-page admission essay explaining your experience in PK-16 education and your reasons for wishing to enter doctoral study 
  • GRE Scores 
  • Three letters of recommendation 
  • All official transcripts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should apply?

Individuals who seek to take a leadership role within a school district, or move into higher education to advance research into PK-16 leadership policies and practices.

I took the GRE before, do I need to take it again?

If you took the GRE within the last five years, have your scores sent to us.  If your scores are older than five years and you have an official score report, you submit it for our consideration.  No other standardized test is accepted.

What are acceptable GRE scores?

Your scores should be in the range of verbal 500, quantitative 500 and writing 4.5.  However, the admissions committee makes a holistic judgement based on all your submitted materials.

I work in higher education; is the Leadership in Schooling Program appropriate for me?

Probably not - this degree is focused on issues of leadership in schooling at the PK-16 level.

Who should I contact if I have questions?

Phitsamay Uy, Ed.D. is the Graduate Coordinator: Applicants are encouraged to make an appointment with her.

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