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EdD in Education Policy and Leadership

Required Credits:

40 credit hours


School districts and other education K-12 organizations need senior leaders with a deep understanding of education policies and education system improvement. With its location in D.C., AU is well-positioned to help students learn how senior leaders can use federal and state policies, educational research, and organizational leadership to make an impact in the field. In alignment with the School of Education’s vision of preparing the next generation of highly effective education leaders, the EdD in Education Policy and Leadership program will complete the School’s spectrum of programming for novice and experienced education professionals.

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.

What makes American University’s online education programs unique?

Our faculty members have worked in the fields they teach, which means they know the importance of pragmatic and carefully studied policy for lasting widespread change. .

“No matter how brilliant or researched a policy idea is, the wheels always fall off if there’s weak implementation,” says Jason Snyder, Senior Professorial Lecturer, School of Education. “That’s why American University’s master’s in education policy and leadership focuses as much on putting policy into practice as it does on policy development.”

In other words, we meet passion with real-world, hard-won lessons to give students the best possible chance for success upon graduating, ensuring that they have the resources and tools required to bring innovation to the American educational system. We don’t doubt that our students can transform educational systems for the better, and that means we’ve worked hard to establish an education master’s program that marries the theoretical with the practical, the heady with the imperfectly real.

Application Deadlines


Priority Application Deadline

Application Complete Deadline

Class Start

Fall 2019

June 28, 2019

July 24, 2019

August 26, 2019

Sample Course Schedule 

To complete the online Doctorate in Education program, students must earn 40 credits, which includes two (2) required D.C. residencies, encapsulated in the EDU-798 course.


  • EDU-702 Collaborative Inquiry through Systems Thinking
  • EDU-631 Educational Leadership & Organizational Change
  • EDU-798 Residency (1 of 2)


  • EDU-703 Designing the Problem of Practice
  • EDU-610 Overview of Qualitative & Quantitative Research Strategies*

*Elective for students who have taken 610


  • EDU-634 Education and Public Policy
  • EDU-704 Diversity, Inclusion and Equity


  • EDU-790 Quantitative Research in Education
  • EDU-707 Leadership and Learning Sciences
  • EDU-798 Residency (2 of 2)


  • EDU-705 Strategic Resource Management
  • EDU-737 Partnerships


  • EDU-710 Primary Data Collection and Analysis Research Design
  • Electives (3 credits)
  1. EDU-735 Advocacy and Communication
  2. EDU- 696 Whole Child
  3. Human Capital/Talent
  4. Nonprofit Management
  5. Neuroscience
  6. K-12 to Higher Ed Pipeline


  • EDU-898 Doctoral Research
  • EDU-897 Dissertation Practice


  • EDU-899 Dissertation Defense

AU students in front of the capitol building in Washington D.C.

Who should choose this degree?

The EdD program is for the student who wants a career in research or academia, one that affects children and educators lives (and expands his/her impact as a leader). Students will be trained to be savvy users/consumers of research who solve problems of practice and work to continually improve upon them. Students are comprised of leaders who want to dive deeper into root cause analysis and system thinking.

Learn to Make a Difference

Interested in learning more about American University's School of Education?

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