Online Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Accreditation | Curriculum | Applied Research | Admissions | View the UNE Catalog

The UNE Education Department offers an online doctoral program in Leadership, with a focus on Transformative Leadership. This cohort program admits students each Fall and Spring. This Ed.D. in Educational Leadership will prepare you to transform self, organization, and community through focused, flexible study. You will become powerfully positioned to build allies with others striving for common outcomes as well as collaborate with individuals with divergent values and perspectives. This three-year program (including dissertation) is completed entirely online with no residency requirement.

Transform self . . .

Engage in leadership reflection activities to identify your strengths, pinpoint areas for growth, and align your individual development goals.

Transform organizations . . .

Draw from the tenets of organization development theory, critical social theory, and adult development to analyze and influence the culture of your organization.

Transform communities . . .

Refine your leadership stance to interact more fully with the communities you serve. Imagine the organization in which you work as an organic system that can respond to the needs of the community.

This program is well-matched for individuals working in:

  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Non-Profit
  • NGOs
  • Private Organizations
  • Public Agencies

Ed.D. Program Highlights:

  • 51-credit hour program
  • 100% online – no campus visits required
  • Learn on your schedule in a flexible study environment
  • Renowned faculty of practitioners, researchers & educators
  • Strong networking forum
  • No GRE required
  • Regionally accredited by New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC)


NEASC accredited

The University of New England is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC CIHE). NEASC is the nation’s oldest regional accrediting association whose mission is the establishment and maintenance of high levels of education, from pre-kindergarten through the higher education doctoral level. Accreditation is the review of the quality of educational institutions and programs. In the United States, accreditation is a major way that the public knows that an institution or program provides a high quality education.
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Course List

Year One
  1. EDU 801 Prep/Transformative Leadership (Credits: 3)
  2. EDU 802 Qualitative Research Methods (Credits: 3)
  3. EDU 803 Interpreting Empirical Data (Credits: 3)
  4. EDU 804 Technology & Organizational Transformation (Credits: 3)
  5. EDU 805 Managing Change (Credits: 3)
  6. EDU 806 Policy Analysis (Credits: 3)
Year Two
  1. EDU 807 Enacting Transformative Leadership (Credits: 3)
  2. EDU 808 Research Team Project A (Credits: 3)
  3. EDU 809 Research Team Project B (Credits: 3)
  4. EDU 810 Ethical Leadership (Credits: 3)
  5. EDU 811 Diagnosing Organizational Dynamics (Credits: 3)
  6. EDU 812 Dissertation Seminar (Credits: 3)
Year Three
  1. EDU 813 The Politics of Change (Credits: 3)
  2. EDU 814-817 Dissertation (Credits: 12)

Note: Candidates must complete the entire degree within five years. Under highly unusual conditions, candidates may petition for an extension beyond five years.

Full course descriptions

Applied Research

“Conducting and disseminating relevant research through integration of scholarship and practice.”

Graduate programs for practitioners focus on “applied research,” that is, asking questions or “problem-posing” in organizational settings. Dissertations are studies conducted by graduate students with the support of instructors, advisors and committee members, and a peer study group. They can be qualitative, quantitative, or used a “mixed methods” approach, depending on the question and the setting.

Dissertation: “An in-depth, rigorous examination of a particular issue that provides new knowledge and/or perspectives.” Dan Butin (2010).

The process: Cohort members explore possible research topics from their admissions essay through Year One. At the end of Year One (EDU 805), you will draft a pre-proposal to present to a team of instructors during the next term. You continue to develop your Proposal through Year Two. The formal “dissertation timeline” starts at the end of Year Two and carries through the end of Year Three.

Documentation and Timeline (see Course Map & Themes)

Topic Exploration Pre-Proposal Proposal presented to the Committee Data collection/Findings Final draft presented to Committee
Course EDU 801 EDU 807-809 EDU 812-813 EDU 814-817 EDU 817-onward
Document Annotated bibliography Three-section draft: Introduction, literature review, proposed method(s) Three-section revised draft: Introduction, literature review, method Four-section revised draft: Introduction, literature review, method, data Five-section final draft: Introduction, literature review, method, data, conclusion
Staffing EDU 801 Instructor EDU 807-809 Instructor(s) Instructors, 3 member committee 3 member committee 3 member committee
Study Group peer reviewers Study Group peer reviewers

Committee Structure:

Faculty advisors will supervise a graduate student team or “Research Group” of 4 to 5 members to support drafting and revision of text and data collection throughout the third year of the program. The Advisor serves as lead instructor, the second committee member supports the advisor by providing consultation and editing of student writing. This two-person team is responsible for dissertation development. The third member is selected by the graduate student and serves as the site-based or local resource. The three-person committee meets with your team for the Proposal and for the Presentation.

Course Structure:

During Year Three, Research Groups will meet online with their advisor and/or second committee member and with peer reviewers once each per month (two meetings per month, November to June). Structured support is one of the most important factors for successful (and timely) doctoral program completion.


This is a formal document that meets the standards for unpublished educational research. You will also craft a user-friendly “executive version” or “research brief” useful to your specific audience(s) or stakeholders, for example, a short description of your study with recommendations appropriate for a web-site or other organizational setting. This material generally is taken from the conclusion of the dissertation.


Butin, D. (2010). The education dissertation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.