Skip to main content
Sign In

School of Education and Human Development University of Colorado Denver

School of Education and Human Development

Doctor of Education, Leadership for Educational Equity (EdD)


Are you a practicing professional in education? Are you dedicated to school reform and educational equity for all students? Do you hold or intend to assume a leadership role in P-20 schools (such as teacher leader, principal, director, or superintendent,) higher education or a community-based educational organization? This doctorate degree is designed to position you for success.

This Leadership for Educational Equity (EdD) program reflects a cohort model, with courses scheduled to be convenient for your busy life - courses will generally be offered in weekend, hybrid (part face-to-face, part online), online and/or summer intensive formats. Students applying to this program must be prepared to join and follow their cohort in taking the prescribed coursework and experiences for three consecutive years. Core curriculum covers equity in urban and diverse communities, leadership and learning, and inquiry.

As a student in the program, you will be exposed to real-world problem-solving in schools, districts, colleges or community based educational contexts; context-specific best practices; interdisciplinary connections; public policy work; and innovative, applied inquiry. You will move through the program with a cohort of twenty students and an outstanding group of faculty, cultivating an environment of intellectual dialogue and of academic and professional growth. Students applying to this program should be aware of time expectations. Generally, a student should expect at least 15 hours per week outside of class time.

For the culminating portion of the program, you will participate in an internship and dissertation proposal course work, prior to completing your dissertation. Overall, you should be able to complete the degree in 3 years.

To complete the doctoral program, you will need regular access to a computer with a high-speed Internet connection, either at home or a convenient work location. Faculty, staff and students are required to use email as one form of communication, and web-based applications are used to complete work in many courses.

For more information, select from the above tabs and/or contact the Academic Services Center at or 303-315-6300 with questions.


A faculty admission committee will review your application in a holistic manner. We realize that all individuals have different strengths and challenges as well as a variety of experiential backgrounds. We recommend a 3.2 GPA in your graduate work, five or more years of experience in an educational P-20 or community-based context, and a strong interest in exploring problems of educational practice or pressing questions through inquiry in the EdD program. Detailed application requirements and instructions are available.

If you have questions about applying, contact Academic Services at or 303-315-6300.


The Doctor of Education, Leadership for Educational Equity (EdD) is a 54 credit-hour program comprised of courses in Equity and Diversity, Leadership and Learning, Research Methods and specific concentration areas. Candidates will be required to complete a comprehensive exam and a thematic dissertation. Successful applicants will join a cohort and move through the three-year program coursework as a group. The cohort model is designed to create a social network among candidates and facilitate the connection between theory and practice across a variety of professional contexts. Once accepted, students are required to stay in an assigned cohort throughout the duration of the EdD program.* Coursework begins during the summer term of each academic year. The course schedule includes: two courses in Equity and Diversity - 6 credit hours; four courses in Leadership and Learning - 12 credit hours; three courses in Research Methods - 9 credit hours; four courses in your concentration area - 12 credit hours; and, five courses in your thematic dissertation - 15 credit hours.

*If for any reason a student must leave an assigned cohort, we will attempt to integrate that individual into a subsequent cohort group; but, we can't guarantee a spot.

Courses are scheduled to accommodate working adults.  Students take two classes per semester, including summers.  Courses are offered in the evenings or weekends and are delivered in a hybrid format to better meet the needs of individuals with competing demands on their time.

EdD Student Handbook

If you have questions about program requirements, contact the Academic Services at or 303-315-6300.

Students applying to the EdD will select a focus of concentration.

  • The Executive Leadership concentration area is designed for professionals in various leadership positions in educational, community and non-profit organizations who wish to acquire learning and experiences related to personnel management, finance, accountability systems and evaluation, community relations, policy development, analysis and reserach. This concentration will support learning activities for individuals who hold or seek move into senior leadership positions inside school districts, community colleges, higher education policy organizations or community-based education organizations. Roles may include: director, deputy, superintendent or president. There are two options within the Executive Leadership Program that provide a path to licensure: (a) Administrative Leadership Program with an option for Administrative Licensure from the Colorado Department of Education, and (b) Principal Licensure Program with an option for Principal Licensure from the Colorado Department of Education. Students do not need to pursue licensure to take this concentration; it is optional. Faculty: Connie Fulmer, Rodney Blunck​
  • The Early Childhood Special Education/Early Childhood Education concentration area is designed to introduce students to issues and practices in early childhood special education/early childhood education and to prepare students to provide leadership to improve outcomes for children with disabilities across early childhood settings. The program will prepare students who can act effectively as administrators in districts, agencies and programs to improve outcomes of all children, including children with disabilities. The School of Education & Human Development is pleased to announce the awarding of funds from the U. S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs for our EdD program’s early childhood special education/early childhood education concentration area!  This federal grant, titled ECSELS: Early Childhood Special Education Leadership Specialists, will fund tuition and support for 10 EdD students over the next five years. All EdD applicants who demonstrate relevant experiences and an interest in early childhood leadership (including early childhood special education/early intervention) in their written statement will be considered for this tuition and stipend support. The funding also includes relevant supplies and conference travel costs for scholars.
    Faculty: Elizabeth Steed, Phil Strain, Barbara Smith.
  • In the Mathematics Education concentration area, students and faculty focus on teacher learning and professional development experiences. Specifically, projects investigate the ways that particular interventions used in professional development for mathematics teachers impacts their content knowledge and pedagogical practices in their classrooms. Work in this area is framed by a situative perspective of learning and incorporates mixed methods to answer questions around the ways particular interventions support teacher and student learning. Video data is prominent in both the design of professional development interventions as well as a major data source for analyses. Analytic methods vary based on the research question and grain size. Faculty: Heather Johnson, Ron Tzur
  • Professional roles in education are rapidly changing as learners’ needs evolve. The Professional Learning and Technology (PLT) concentration area brings together faculty and students seeking to support working educators in ongoing professional development (PD) and learning activities, helping them become more effective and productive in their jobs. The PLT focus addresses the PD needs of K-12 teachers but also those of higher educators and workplace learners. Applying principles of adult learning, instructional design and change leadership, we use a variety of methods (mentoring, coaching, site-based communities, e-learning resources, workshops etc.) to support professional growth and accountability. The PLT courses in the EdD program prepare you to assume leadership in professional learning programs at all levels (site-based, district- or organization-wide), applying the latest research and best practices of the profession. Faculty: Joni Dunlap, Nancy Shanklin, Laura Summers, Brent WilsonShelley Zion 
  • The Science Education concentration area prepares students to explore, understand, and think critically about the nature of science and science education from a largely research-oriented perspective. Students may elect to focus on environmental science education as an area of specialization within this concentration area through electives and discipline- specific research agendas. Faculty: Bryan Wee, Mike Marlow, Geeta Verma, Bud Talbot
  • The Urban Ecologies concentration area brings together several faculty members in interdisciplinary study of education in urban ecologies. Participating faculty members are aligned with the interdisciplinary concentration area as a whole, rather than specific threads or foci. The philosophical assumptions underlying work in this concentration area are: 1) Cultural groups are not monolithic, 2) Urban life and learning, including Pre-K-20 education, complex phenomena that benefit from the multiple lenses offered by multi-disciplinarity, and 3) Trans-nationalism characterizes the cultural experiences and political/economic realities of many communities in cities and contributes to the hybrid identities of residents. These assumptions contribute to a conceptual frame for investigating diversity within the city that is not focused on specific groups and is concerned with the influence of globalization on communities in general within the city. Experiences of and issues confronting different cultural and ethno-linguistic groups will be the key content of this concentration area. Faculty: Honorie Nocon, Alan Davis, Sheila Shannon, Rene Galindo, Kara Mitchell, Cheryl Matias, Margarita Bianco and Manuel Espinoza.

Careers for EdD degree holders include senior positions inside school districts, community colleges, higher education policy or community-based education organizations. Roles may include that of director, deputy, superintendent or president.

CU Denver School of Education &
Human Development

1380 Lawrence St., Denver, CO 80204 | Map It

University of Colorado Denver

© The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate. All rights reserved.

All trademarks are registered property of the University. Used by permission only.