EdD in Senior Leadership in K-12 Education

Blended delivery thesis-based degree program designed for practicing professionals


Doctor of Education - Senior Leadership in K-12 Education


Both online and face-to-face


Up to six (6) years to complete the program


Graduate Program Administrator:
Stacy Gooliaff

Academic Coordinator:
Dr. Catherine Chua

Please note that we are not accepting applications to the EdD in Senior Leadership in K-12 Education for 2021 admission.

This EdD stream involves investigation of problems of practice within the K-12 education context. The audience for this program is senior principals, district leaders, ministry personnel, policy makers, and government officials who are interested in: assuming leadership roles in the K-12 educational environment, becoming an expert educational consultant, and/or obtaining an advanced (doctoral level) qualification for career advancement. This EdD program incorporates state-of-the-art signature inductive pedagogies and pedagogical tools; in situ opportunities designed to facilitate the critical application of research and theoretical knowledge; a cohort model constructed on the principles underpinning communities of learners; a portfolio candidacy examination; and a choice of a thematic (investigation of a problem of practice) or field dissertation (potentially commissioned research undertaken in collaboration with a particular institution). This program is a combination of coursework and thesis preparation whereby the coursework scaffolds students’ learning, development of expertise, and scholarly activities required to undertake and write up research. The cohort approach features increased support from peers, instructors, supervisors, and potentially, from the field. Topic areas covered include: understanding leadership, culture, and organisational learning; effective leadership within complex communities and for contemporary students and schools; globalization, policy and governance; and building capacity for system enhancement and innovation. 

Program Details

  1. Program Delivery

    Notice re: Summer Residency 2021

    All EdD Summer 2021 classes will be moving fully online. There will be no on-campus Summer Residency. 

A registration package will be sent to new students after they have been admitted. Registration for the summer term will be available in late winter. Fall and Winter registration opens in the spring. Your Graduate Program Administrator will send more information about registration to you.

Fee details are available through the University Calendar. An explanation of fees is available on the Faculty of Graduate Studies' website.

As a Graduate Student you are expected to devote the time, effort, and energy necessary to engage in scholarship.  As a graduate student, you will determine the specific milestones and requirements of your program of study in consultation with the Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar and with your graduate supervisor. 

An integral part of the doctoral experience is working closely with a supervisor on the development and completion of a research project.  A graduate supervisor mentors graduate students through regular meetings and research training aimed at research, scholarship, teaching and professional development. Graduate supervisors support students in the timely completion of their programs.  As a Graduate Student, you are expected to meet with your graduate supervisor on a regular basis.  While each student-supervisor relationship is unique, graduate supervisors can assist graduate students in a number of ways: advising on course selection, applying for awards and scholarships, obtaining research funds, applying for teaching assistant and sessional teaching opportunities, developing track records in refereed publications and conference presentations, getting involved in leadership and service, and encouraging and supporting apprenticeship in a research community of practice (collaborative review of papers, grants, academic writing, and data analysis). 

In the EdD program a supervisor is normally appointed at the time of admission.

Candidacy Examination

Candidacy must be completed within 28 months from the program start date.

The Werklund School of Education Candidacy procedure falls under the Faculty of Graduate Studies Candidacy Regulations (effective Sept 1, 2014).  Graduate Programs in Education Council (GPEC) and the Faculty of Graduate Studies have approved new Werklund School of Education guidelines for Candidacy.

All students admitted as of September 1, 2015 fall under the new procedure.


The Doctoral dissertation is the focus of the degree program. In consultation with the supervisor, the student should formulate an appropriate thesis topic as early as possible in the program because the nature and type of proposed doctoral research will affect the time needed to complete the program.  The student’s research problem, research questions and the development of the research proposal will be tied to engagement in coursework and the preparation needed in order to complete the program. The thesis proposal must be approved by the supervisory committee before continuing towards candidacy. 
For guidance in preparing the research proposal, please refer to the Werklund School of Education Candidacy Requirements.
For guidance in preparing the final thesis/dissertation, please refer to the GPE Thesis/Dissertation Rubric and the Student Guide to the Dissertation Oral.

Ethics approval is required for all research projects involving the use of human subjects before data collection begins. Prior to submitting an ethics application, students are required to complete the TCPS 2 tutorial and upload the certificate of completion into their Researcher Profile in IRISS. Do NOT upload in the documentation section of a study. Register on theTCPS 2 website https://tcps2core.ca/register. When registering, be sure to use your institution email address (name @ucalgary.ca)

To initiate the ethics approval process, the student must submit an application to either the Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board or the Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board. Applications to the CFREB or CHREB are created and submitted online using IRISS. There are no paper application forms.

Doctoral students should consult the Faculty of Graduate Studies Handbook of Supervision and Examination - Part III: Doctor of Philosophy/Doctor of Education for details regarding supervision and examinations, including candidacy and thesis oral examinations.

Program Schedule

A list of required courses for the EdD Leadership in Post-Secondary Contexts program can be found below. Completion of additional and relevant coursework outside of the required courses may be discussed with your supervisor.

Please consult the Graduate Calendar for course descriptions.
Course outlines are normally posted in D2L 1-2 weeks prior to the start of the term.

Notice re: Summer Residency 2021

All EdD Summer 2021 classes will be moving fully online. There will be no on-campus Summer Residency. Please do not make any travel plans such as booking flights or accommodations. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

The Werklund School is a leader in online learning, offering robust programs and supports for students seeking alternate program delivery.  Staff and faculty are committed to ensuring the quality of this learning experience will meet the needs of our students and maintain the high standards we have become known for.

  1. Year 1

    Summer (fully online)

    EDER 719.30 Globalization, Policy & Governance
    EDER 705 Doctoral Seminar in Ed Leadership

    Fall (fully online)

    EDER 711 Advanced Research Methodologies

    Winter (fully online)

    EDER 712 Advanced Research Methodologies II

  2. Year 2

    Summer (fully onlne)

    EDER 719.31 L04 (50612) Building Capacity for System Enhancement and Innovation in Education
    EDER 719.14 L03 (50611) Advanced Study in Ed Leadership I

    Fall (fully online)

    EDER 707 L02 (75402) Collaboratory of Practice I

    Winter (fully online)

    EDER 708 L02 (15112) Collaboratory of Practice II

  3. Years 3-6

    The work completed in years 3-6 is variable and depends on your pace. Students have up to six years to complete their EdD program.


    Candidacy must be completed within 28 months from the program start date. 


    Your dissertation is the focus of your degree program. 

    Students enrol in Dissertation Seminar once you have successfully completed your candidacy exam and have begun to work on your dissertation. Dissertation Seminar is offered every fall and winter term. 

    Fall Terms (fully online)

    EDER 709 L01 (71672) Dissertation Seminar I

    Winter Terms (fully online)

    EDER 710 L01 (11684) Dissertation Seminar II

EdD studnets

Prospective students: how to apply

Visit our Future EdD students page for admission requirements and application details. A list of EdD specializations that we are accepting applications into is outlined on this page.

Visit our Future EdD page