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American University’s School of Education produces graduates with the skills and knowledge to create equitable and excellent learning environments. AU faculty members, including researchers and distinguished scholars, produce cutting-edge research, lead innovative partnerships and outreach, develop relevant and evidence-based coursework, and effect positive change in the most vulnerable communities, both nationally and globally.

Located in Washington, DC, the School of Education is well positioned to train professionals in the highest levels of education organizations to use federal and state policies, education research, and organizational leadership to make an impact in the field. The School of Education Online brings the essence of DC culture right to your home. By engaging in class discussions inspired by the political rhetoric of DC, you’ll gain the necessary insight and tools to advance your career as you learn from faculty members who are on the cutting edge of education policy, teaching, and special education.

The Online EdD in Education Policy and Leadership program equips senior leaders with a deep understanding of education policies and education system improvement. In alignment with the School of Education’s vision of promoting equity in education, the Online EdD connects the next generation of highly effective education leaders across the country to unite around this common cause. Our faculty and administrators collaborate with prestigious education institutions throughout the U.S. and Canada to set the standard for education doctorate curriculum.

Prepare to advance your career and join a network of American University faculty, students, and alumni who are transforming education in the United States.

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Required Credits

40 credits beyond an approved masters degree

Program Goal

Graduates of the EdD program will be equipped with the skills every education leader needs to be effective, including strategic budgeting, collaborative inquiry, talent management, partnership building, learning science, and program evaluation. After completing their coursework and their Problem of Practice (PoP) dissertation, students will have the policy, leadership, and research skills necessary to serve in senior positions in school district central offices, independent schools, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, advocacy organizations, and more.

The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) Consortium Member 2019

The EdD program at American University is proudly part of the The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED). The vision of the CPED is to inspire all schools of education to apply the CPED framework to the preparation of educational leaders to become well-equipped scholarly practitioners who provide stewardship of the profession and meet the educational challenges of the 21st century.

2020 Deadlines

Online EdD applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants will be emailed directly to RSVP for an individual and group interview.

Rolling admissions

Priority Deadline
March 1 & May 10, 2020
Final Application Complete Deadline
June 14, 2020
Classes Start
August 24, 2020

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Information Webinar Sessions

Join our admissions team for a chance to learn more about our EdD in Education Policy and Leadership program. Ask any questions you might have around the application process or program requirements, meet a faculty member from the program and more.

Register For The Next Event


Course Schedule

To complete the online Doctorate in Education program, students must earn 40 credits beyond an approved masters degree, which includes three (3) required D.C. residencies, encapsulated in the EDU-798 course.


EDU 636 Education Law & Policy

This course is about everyday problem solving that includes thinking through a system before making an informed decision. By identifying and being able to frame a problem and addressing a root cause, students apply strategies to reevaluate current systemic barriers and create a new and practical way to address a possible solution.

School of Education system leaders present their problem of practice to students to demonstrate the variety of disciplinary and methodological approaches to educational inquiry. The course also reviews research and statistical methodologies.


EDU 765 Exercising Conscious Leadership

EDU 734 Education Policy Analysis


EDU 703 Designing Your Problem of Practice

Problems of practice center on individuals’ and institutions’ core values as they relate to diversity, inclusion, and equity and the difference between what we may aspire to versus what happens in K-12 environments. This course examines the disparate outcomes experienced by different groups and refers to these differences as systemic barriers. Through the systems thinking process students look at these disparities to identify what is valued, rewarded, resourced, and implemented that may or may not reflect those values, as well as unintended consequences that are contrary to their organization’s core values, and then recommend strategies that have the potential to lead to more equitable outcomes.


This course prepares students to engage in a meaningful inquiry process and establishes their skills to statistically analyze and report the results and findings for their dissertation. Students gain skills and knowledge to statistically analyze survey data as well as code qualitative data specific to conducted interviews. The focus of the course is on selecting and/or designing appropriate data collection instruments and protocols that are suitable to addressing the problem of practice, along with reinforcing and expanding quantitative and qualitative analytic strategies applied to dissertation research. Students are equipped to engage in systematic data analysis ultimately leading to solving the problem of practice.

This course surveys what education leaders need to know about learning sciences and provides an overview of approaches to administration, analysis, and interpretation of student-level, classroom-level, school-level, and system-level learning outcomes, attending specifically to issues of equity and educational opportunity. Students develop skills in implementation science as applied to problems of practice.

EDU 708 Building Teams & Growth Culture

School of Education system leaders present their problem of practice to students to demonstrate the variety of disciplinary and methodological approaches to educational inquiry. The course also reviews research and statistical methodologies.


EDU 711 Applied Research Methods II

This course provides a structured environment for students to explore partnerships between educational institutions and community organizations, families, government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations. Existing structural and institutional barriers make collaborative partnerships between schools/education settings and community groups difficult to attain, particularly when leaders lack the skills and competencies to bridge the gap. The course incorporates literature, case studies, and problem-based learning exercises and encourages students to consider assumptions of community stakeholders, to clarify and challenge their own assumptions, and to explore the opportunities and risks associated with cross-sector collaboration and partnerships.


Electives (3 credits)

The budget for any organization offers a glimpse into what efforts will be prioritized over a given period of time. The pursuit of excellence through equity in school systems may meet barriers in the budgeting process, as leaders allocate resources to best achieve district or system goals. Therefore, it is crucial that system leaders be able to strategically budget a district’s resources (time, money, and people). This course focuses on the tools, research, and best practices to help leaders be good stewards over an organization’s resources and deploy those resources to protect and maintain focus on district/system goals.

School of Education system leaders present their problem of practice to students to demonstrate the variety of disciplinary and methodological approaches to educational inquiry. The course also reviews research and statistical methodologies.


This course facilitates preparation of the doctoral dissertation proposal and achievement of candidacy and includes strategies for preparation of a project brief to present the Dissertation in Practice to the dissertation committee and other stakeholders. Students workshop components of their dissertation with other students and meet individually with their dissertation chair.

Technology Fee


May be taken by doctoral students who are advanced to candidacy with the approval of the faculty supervising the dissertation (or designee). It is a 9 credit course, but tuition is assessed at the 1 credit rate. The course is graded SP/UP and students will be deemed full-time. The Office of the Registrar must be notified when a student has advanced to candidacy.

Technology Fee