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Doctor of Education (EdD) - Portland, Oregon

Recruiting for a Portland cohort to begin in 2021. 

Meet Chris Smart, UP School of Education's Doctor of Education alumnus. Chris has been in the education field for over 20+ years. He is currently the Academic Vice Principal at Jesuit High School.

Application for Graduate Admission | EdD Recommendation Form | EdD Essay Form

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.

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.

Four 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 (preliminary administrator licensure courses)
(2) Organizational leadership and development (professional administrator licensure courses)
(3) Neuroeducation, or
(4) 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: preliminary administrator license, professional administrator license, neuroeducation, 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 initial/preliminary administrator licensure, neuroeducation, or HESA must select a different area of concentration in the EdD program.

Dedicated Faculty and Professional Network: Our full-time faculty hold doctoral degrees from leading national institutions of education, and our clinical faculty bring expertise and applied experience around the challenges of leading and learning. Our 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. Current graduate program tuition rates may be found here. There is no fee to apply to the program. All programs are eligible for federal financial aid.

Information, Consultation, and Advising Sessions: The application deadline to begin the on-campus EdD program in Summer (June) 2018 has passed.  The next opportunity to begin the EdD Portland (on-campus) program is Summer (June) 2019.  The review of completed applications will begin on November 1, 2018 for entry in Summer 2019.  Admission notification will begin in February 2019. Applications will continue to be reviewed through Spring 2019 until the Summer 2019 cohort is full; however, applications will close on March 15, 2019.  Check this EdD program page for updates.  The dates and times of upcoming information sessions are posted at the bottom of this page. For general questions about the EdD program or to RSVP for an upcoming information session, 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), neuroeducation, 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 (Preliminary Administrator Licensure)
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.)

Organizational Leadership & Development (Professional Administrator Licensure)
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.)

ED 585 Foundations of Cognitive Processes in Learning (3 cr.)
ED 586 Neuroscience and Learning (3 cr.)
ED 587 Neurobiological Aspects of Learning (3 cr.)
ED 588 Neuroeducation: A Cultural-Linguistic Translation (3 cr.)
ED 593 Readings and Topics in Neuroeducation and Education (3 cr.)

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 525 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 each 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 that he/she may progress to writing his/her 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 his/her 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

Application for Graduate Admission | EdD Recommendation Form | EdD Essay Form

The next opportunity to begin the EdD Portland (on-campus) program is Summer (June) 2019.  The review of completed applications will begin on November 1, 2018 for entry in Summer (June) 2019.  Admission notification will begin in February 2019.  Applications will continue to be reviewed through Spring 2019 until the June 2019 cohort is full; however, applications will close on March 15, 2019.

Admission Requirement

An earned master's degree in education or a related field from an accredited college or university recognized by the University of Portland is required for admission to the program. (International applicants: All foreign degrees will be evaluated by the University of Portland's International Student Services office).

Application Requirements

To be considered for admission, the items listed below must be submitted to the Graduate School. Please note that only completed applications will be reviewed.

1. Application form
Completed Graduate School online application form. There is no application fee.

2. Official Transcripts
An official transcript sent directly to the University of Portland Graduate School showing all college credit attempted and/or completed from each college and university previously attended. (Note: Transcripts from foreign universities must be in English or be accompanied by an English translation certified as authentic. Please contact the Graduate School at or 503.943.7107 with questions). Evidence of possession of a master's degree from an accredited institution recognized by the University of Portland is required. All official transcripts submitted become the property of the University and cannot be copied or returned to the applicant.

3. Three Essays
Candidates are required to write three essays. The doctoral program essay topics and instructions are listed below and on the EdD Essay Form. Essays may be submitted electronically (email attachment or as part of the online application).

EdD in Learning and Leading Essay Questions:

1. Each candidate brings his or her own set of personal and professional goals to the selection of a doctoral program. What are your goals? Provide an analysis of how those goals match the University of Portland's Learning and Leading doctoral program. Limit your response to no more than 500 words.

2. Discuss an area of professional interest that might become a topic of study within your doctoral program. Why is this area of study of interest to you? What contributions might your research make to the profession? Support your discussion with citations and references. Limit your response to no more than 1500 words.

3. The expectation of the doctoral program is a continuous commitment until program completion. Discuss how you will accommodate the schedule and rigorous academic expectations of the program. Limit your response to no more than 500 words.

4. Two Letters of Recommendation
We require two letters of recommendation to assess your ability to integrate research and theory, your potential for successful and timely degree completion, and your ability to provide ethical leadership for the field. The appropriate Recommendation Cover Sheet must accompany letters from the recommender.

Letters of recommendation are among the most important aspects of a doctoral application. The School of Education uses recommendations to assess a candidate's past accomplishments and determine potential for success. To present a well-rounded portrait of yourself as a candidate and a professional, we suggest that you request references from a former professor who is familiar with your academic ability, and a supervisor who is knowledgeable about your leadership and professional work.

5. Grade Point Average
Evidence of scholastic background that indicates ability to do satisfactory graduate work. Usually this is considered to be a minimum of a B average.

6. Résumé
Submit a current professional résumé listing positions that you have held for three months or longer, including your current position.

Please note: All application materials must be submitted to the Graduate School. To begin your application, go to the Graduate School's website. You are encouraged to complete your application as early as possible!

Admission Interviews
Qualified applicants with completed applications may be invited to interview with members of the School of Education School faculty. Applicants who are invited to an interview will be required to write an on-demand essay.

Technology Requirement
Candidates accepted into the program are expected to have their own computer and access to the Internet.

Receive Information Attend an Information Session