Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership

Program description

Due to the increasingly complex tasks including research and data analysis within all types of educational institutions, there is a demand for strong, transformational leaders.

Applying theory to practice is an overall theme for the Doctor of Philosophy in educational leadership in the Department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology at Western Michigan University, with the case-study approach to learning used extensively. In addition, a very integrated "professional inquiry, research, and dissertation core" has been developed to assist you in adding to your higher education knowledge base, and to ensure that such students complete a Ph.D. rather than adding to the number of all-but-dissertations.

The concentrations involve a minimum of 90 graduate credits. Most, if not all, of your previous graduate credits earned may be applied toward this total, leaving you with a completed master's degree with a total of about 54 to 57 credits, including 12 dissertation credits. If you are a working professional and able to take two classes per semester you can complete your doctoral work, including dissertation, in about three and a half years.


Application information

The normal admissions process has a deadline of January 15th, for students starting the program the following Fall (or summer if requested).

*However, for 2018, in an effort to meet the needs of working professionals (our primary student population), we are adding an additional admission cycle for students hoping to start their doctoral program in Fall 2018. The firm deadline for ALL materials to be received is May 1, 2018. If you are interested in applying, please contact Ms. Diane Bourgeois ( or 269-387-3893) who will explain the process for this special admissions cycle. 

*Doctoral Admissions interviews will be held on Thursday, May 17 or Monday, May 21.

Please contact the acting program coordinator, Dr. Donna Talbot, if you have any questions about this additional deadline.  

Program information

These are applicable for existing students in all concentrations:

Please contact Dr. Donna Talbot, the educational leadership doctoral acting program coordinator (2-18-18), if you have any questions about our high quality doctoral program.


"I would like to extend my gratitude to professors and staff at WMU. Your sophisticated intellect, unbridled dedication to the field, and seemingly unending fountain of knowledge provided inspiration and motivation throughout the course of my study. It has been a privilege and an honor to study with and learn from you." 
~ noted by Dr. Jill Van Hof within her dissertation acknowledgement page (and shared with permission).