Doctor of Education (EdD) - Portland, Oregon | University of Portland

Doctor of Education (EdD) - Portland, Oregon

Our next Portland-based cohort begins in summer 2024.

Meet Chris Smart, UP School of Education's Doctor of Education alumnus. Chris has been in the education field for over 20+ years and is currently the Assistant Principal for Academics at Loyola Blakefield.

Program Contact

Anne Rasmussen
Academic Specialist for Graduate Programs and Licensure

Receive Information  Attend an Information Session

The Doctor of Education (EdD) in learning and leading combines innovative coursework and faculty expertise with applied research and best practices. The EdD program is integrated into several regional and national partnerships, which offer students an edge in their professional preparation to have an impact as the next generation of leaders. These partnerships include:

Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED)—a consortium of universities selected for their innovative approaches and commitment to strengthening the EdD model.

The National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships (NNERPP)—a coalition of twelve national universities selected for their model programs of applied research and program evaluation services for P-12 school and district partners.

Multnomah County Partnership for Education Research (MCPER)—a partnership between the School of Education, Northwest Evaluation Association, and the six districts of Multnomah County to engage doctoral students in real-world experience conducting applied research programs and program evaluation to improve educational practice and policy in P-12 schools and districts.

Educational Leadership Network (ELN)—a leadership network governed by a board of local school leaders based in the School of Education that offers free or greatly reduced access to high quality professional development and professional networking through events held three-four times a year.

National Holmes Scholar Program—University of Portland is the first higher education institution in the pacific northwest to become a designated American Association of College for Teacher Education (AACTE), National Holmes Scholar Program.

The School of Education is Portland's premier institution preparing teachers and leaders. Shaped by the 200-year Holy Cross tradition, we affirm an ethos that each individual is a learner, that dignity and justice are achieved through education, and that education is a community responsibility. All programs in the School of Education are approved by the State of Oregon (TSPC) and accredited nationally (NCATE/CAEP), with distinctions in the areas of evidence-based programming, faculty experience, and community outreach.


EdD Program Overview and Strengths

Credits and Length: The 51-credit cohort program is designed to be completed in 3 years. Students enroll in 5-6 credits in 3 contiguous semesters (summer, fall, spring) during 3 consecutive years of study. Part-time options may be planned individually based on consultation and transfer credit. Career goals will determine the best track for each student.

Three Areas of Concentration Based on Your Professional Goals: EdD candidates select one of the following 15-credit concentrations to integrate into their program:

(1) School leadership and development (principal licensure courses)
(2) Organizational leadership and development (professional administrator licensure courses), or
(3) Higher education and student affairs

Nationally-Recognized State-of-the-Art EdD Core Curriculum: All students complete a 21-credit common curriculum that bridges theory, best practices, and applied research for immediate impact on the profession.

Transfer Credit Options: Individuals who have completed a post master's program in one of the following areas are eligible for transfer credit: principal license, professional administrator license, or higher education and student affairs (HESA). UP alumni of these post master's certificate programs have satisfied the corresponding 15 credits of area of concentration courses in the EdD program. For individuals who have completed a post master's program in one of these areas at another institution, up to 12 post master's credits completed within 5 years of application to the EdD program may be considered for transfer toward the area of concentration courses, upon approval by the Associate Dean. Graduate courses completed as part of a master's program are not eligible for transfer. Students who enter the EdD program with a master's degree in principal licensure or HESA must select a different area of concentration in the EdD program.

Dedicated Faculty and Professional Network: Full-time faculty hold doctoral degrees from leading national institutions of education, and clinical faculty bring expertise and applied experience around the challenges of leading and learning. The Educational Leadership Network, Teacher Leadership Network, and alumni network -- 7,500 strong --connect EdD candidates with opportunities for mentorship and leadership advancement.

Intentionally Small Cohorts: Students and faculty form learning communities around areas of interest, study, and research. Intentionally small cohorts begin during the summer session and progress toward faculty-led seminars that culminate in the prospectus and dissertation focused on applied issues in the field.

Accessible and Affordable: Courses are delivered on the UP campus one evening per week in the Fall and Spring semesters and twice per week during the day in the Summer semester. The School of Education offers programs at some of the lowest tuition rates in the metropolitan area. Review the current graduate program tuition rates. There is no fee to apply to the program. All programs are eligible for federal financial aid.

Doctoral Research Associate Fellowship: Working under the direction of the School of Education faculty, the Research Associate will engage in research partnerships with school systems in the Portland metropolitan area and assist in research methodology consultations, data summary and preparation tasks, and applies P-12 research projects. Research Associates will receive a fiscal-year (12-month, July through June) fellowship, renewable for up to three years during the length of doctoral studies. The fellowship includes full tuition scholarship and a stipend paid on an hourly basis. For questions about becoming a doctoral fellow, please contact

Information, Consultation, and Advising Sessions: The dates and times of upcoming information sessions are available in advance. For general questions about the EdD Portland program and questions related to transfer credits, please contact Anne Rasmussen at or 503.943.8257.

To schedule an individual consultation and advising session with the Associate Dean, Dr. Bruce Weitzel, please contact Julee Ryan at

EdD Program of Study and Concentrations

The EdD program in learning and leading offers four area of concentration options: school leadership and development (preliminary administrator licensure]), organizational leadership and development (professional administrator licensure), and higher education and student affairs. The program develops leaders who apply knowledge of research and practice to advance individual and organizational learning in a socially just manner. The program aims to develop lifelong learners who are able to integrate research and theory and provide leadership for the field, which is in alignment with the School of Education's emphasis on inquiry and scholarship for service. The EdD program of study consists of 51 credits segmented into doctoral core courses (21 credits), area of concentration courses (15 credits), and prospectus and dissertation courses (15 credits).

Doctoral Core Courses (21 credits)

ED 600 Introduction to Doctoral Research (3 cr.)
ED 601 Advanced Qualitative Research (3 cr.)
ED 602 Advanced Quantitative Research (3 cr.)
ED 603 Research for Evaluation and Action (3 cr.)
ED 610 Cultural and Institutional Perspectives on Education: Individual, Community, and Society (3 cr.)
ED 611 Essential Ideas in Education: History, Philosophy, and Change (3 cr.)
ED 614 Adult Learning, Group and Organizational Dynamics (3 cr.)

Area of Concentration Courses (15 credits in one concentration)

School Leadership & Development (Principal License*)
ED 544 Human Resource Development and Management (3 cr.)
ED 545 Leadership and Organizational Change (3 cr.)
ED 546 Policy, Ethics, and the Law (3 cr.)
ED 547 Resource Allocation, Finance and Management (3 cr.)
ED 548 Supervision for Instructional Improvement (3 cr.)
*Note: Additional license requirements and coursework beyond the 15 hour EdD concentration is required for principal licensure in Oregon. Check with your program contact for details of an extended academic plan if considering this EdD area of concentration for a possible licensure outcome.

Organizational Leadership & Development (Professional Administrator License*)
ED 552 Leadership for Sustaining the Vision (3 cr.)
ED 553 Leadership for Instructional Improvement (3 cr.)
ED 554 Leadership for Effective Data Driven Decision Making (3 cr.)
ED 556 Effective Leadership and Management in the Socio-Political Context (3 cr.)
ED 557 Ethical Leadership and Moral Imperative for Inclusive Practice (3 cr.)
*Note: Additional license requirements and coursework beyond the 15 hour EdD concentration is required for professional administrator licensure in Oregon. Check with your program contact for details of an extended academic plan if considering this EdD area of concentration for a possible licensure outcome.

Higher Education & Student Affairs
ED 520 History, Organization, and Student Personnel in Higher Education (3 cr.)
ED 521 Student Career Development and Planning (3 cr.)
ED 522 Legal Issues in Higher Education (3 cr.)
ED 523 Developmental Theory, Identity and College Populations (3 cr.)
ED 528 Foundations of Counseling and Student Affairs (3 cr.)

Prospectus and Dissertation Courses (15 credits)

ED 621 Dissertation Prospectus (5 cr.)
ED 622 Dissertation Seminar (2 semesters, 2 cr. each semester)
ED 698 Dissertation Defense (0 cr.)
ED 699 Dissertation Research (2 semesters, 3 cr. each semester)

Course descriptions are available in the University of Portland Bulletin.

The Prospectus and Dissertation Process

Pre-candidacy evaluation. In the first two years of the program, students complete core and area of concentration courses that lay the foundation for the completion of the dissertation. During the sixth semester, students submit a Qualifying Paper that presents a critical literature review of scholarship pertaining to the topic area they wish to study for their dissertation. The Qualifying Paper is a required step in the process towards development of a Dissertation Proposal.

Post-candidacy evaluation. In the second year of the program, doctoral committees are established to support student's independent research.

Prospectus Defense. Once a student's doctoral committee is established, the Chair and Committee Members review the student's Qualifying Paper and determine if the student may progress to writing the Dissertation Proposal.  The student then prepares a prospectus for an oral defense to the doctoral committee. The focus of this defense is to ensure that the student's dissertation project is well-conceived and the student is prepared to begin conducting the proposed research independently.

Dissertation Defense. Upon completion of the dissertation, an oral defense is conducted by the candidate to their doctoral committee. The purpose of the defense is to confirm three elements of the dissertation: (a) the candidate's mastery of methodology employed in the dissertation study, (b) the appropriateness of findings in relation to the methods employed, and (c) the clarity of communication.

Educational Specialist (EdS) Option. Students may complete only the coursework portion of the EdD and graduate with an Educational Specialist (EdS) degree. The EdS is proposed as a completion alternative for students who are unable or who are not recommended to advance to dissertation candidacy.

Program Admission and Application

The next opportunity to begin the EdD Portland (on-campus) program is Summer (June) 2024.  The review of completed applications will begin on November 1, 2023 for entry in Summer (June) 2024.  Admission notification will begin in February 2024.  Applications will continue to be reviewed through Spring until the cohort is full; however, applications will close on March 15, 2024.

There is no fee to apply to the program. Review the current graduate program tuition rates

Review all admission requirements.

Apply for Admission