Doctorate of Education in Education Leadership

A group of students looking over a canyon

Preparing Future District Leaders

Upcoming Info Session

Wednesday, March 13th, 6 to 7 p.m. | Join the Meeting via Zoom

Prospective applicants are invited to join us to learn more about Western Washington University's Doctor of Education in Education Leadership Program. We look forward to seeing you there!

Program Information

Western’s Doctor of Education (EdD) in Education Leadership is designed for aspiring superintendents and district leaders, including assistant superintendents, executive directors and others in district-level leadership positions in the US and Canada.


The EdD program is comprised of two parts:

  • Part 1: the Superintendent certificate program coursework (32 quarter credits)
  • Part 2: 30 additional credits of coursework, 10 credit research sequence, and 15 credit dissertation

If you haven’t completed the Superintendent Certificate Program requirements:

You are eligible to apply for admission to the EdD program in fall quarter. Upon admission, you’ll begin with part 1 of the EdD program.

If you’ve already completed the Superintendent Certificate Program:

You have already completed part 1 of the EdD program and are eligible to apply to the EdD program for admission in Summer Quarter. Upon admission, you’ll begin part 2.



In Washington State each school district is required by law to have a superintendent. While the law does not require a superintendent to have a doctorate-level degree, the trend in hiring throughout the State shows that districts prefer a candidate who has achieved a doctoral degree.

Application Requirements

  • All applicants must complete the Graduate School's ApplyWeb application and pay the $100 application fee.
  • Within the application you will be prompted to upload an unofficial transcript from each institution attended. If admitted, you will be asked to provide official transcripts.
  • Additional application materials are specified below. Applications will not be forwarded to the department for review until all required materials have been received by the Graduate School.

Additional Application Requirements

All materials must be uploaded to your ApplyWeb application.

  • Resume: Within the application upload an up-to-date resume listing your current professional position.
  • Three (3) References: Within the graduate school application you will be prompted to request Letters of Recommendation.  Please follow-up with those individuals you have requested references from to ensure that they upload a narrative letter to accompany their reference form. Additionally,
    • Two of these letters should be from persons from whom you have taken previous coursework. If you are unable to contact previous professors, letters should be from individuals qualified to address your ability to be successful academically and professionally.
    • One letter should come from an education leader for whom you have worked.
    • Letters should address your 1. scholarship; 2. facility with written, oral, and interpersonal communication; 3. leadership and/or interpersonal skills and 4. your qualifications as a potential doctoral student.
  • Statement of Purpose: Within the application you will be prompted to upload a personal statement. This statement should address your scholarly and professional objectives, and how you believe your enrollment in Western Washington University’s Ed.D. program will advance these objectives. Your statement should be no more than two pages, single-spaced, and must include the following:
    1. A summary of your beliefs and/or values about leadership
    2. A description of your leadership or other life experiences that relate to graduate study in education leadership
    3. Your scholarly and/or research interests as an education leader
    4. The contributions you hope to bring to the Ed.D. program and the community of scholar-practitioners. NOTE: Statements that do not address these prompts will be scored lower.
    5. Professional/work-related report for which you are the sole author
  • Writing Sample: Within the application you will be prompted to upload an academic writing sample. Please provide one of the following:
    1. Academic research paper, master’s thesis, or published article; or
    2. Literature review; or
    3. Case study; or
    4. Paper presented at a conference or workshop where you are the sole author; or
    5. Professional/work-related report for which you are the sole author
  • If you do not have one of the above samples, please respond to the prompt below in 750 – 1,000 words:
    Decision-making has been characterized as the heart of education leadership. Less understood are how school and district leaders identify what issues to address; who, and with whom, to work on these issues; and on which resources to draw to inform their thinking. In many ways, this is true because the contexts of school and district leadership vary greatly. Using your professional experience as your foundation:

    1. Identify what you believe to be a substantive concern/issue/problem for your school and/or district.
    2. Describe why it is a concern and what kinds of formal and informal data inform your understanding of this issue.
    3. Discuss your school’s/district’s current response and who is engaged in that work.
    4.  Describe the resources (e.g. readings, professional learning/development, and community resources and/or consultants) your school/district is drawing on to address the issue.
    5. Conclude with what might be a positive and appropriate resolution.

Citations to readings and research are welcome but not required.

  • Education Certificates: Provide copies of currently held education certificates.