Ed.D. in Administration & Supervision

This highly competitive, top-ranked program has progressed the careers of well-respected and highly successful education leaders across Virginia and nationwide.

The Educational Leadership Program, also called ExSEL, prepares individuals who recognize that America’s future depends on imagination, creativity, disciplined inquiry, and team work. It is unique in its approach, deeply engaging a cohort of school leaders in a community of practice, similar to the environment they will then create for professionals in their own workplaces. This approach integrates knowledge and skills from a variety of relevant disciplines into a set of carefully designed learning experiences to transform individuals into evidence–based leaders.

Upcoming Information Sessions

Please join us to learn more about the Administration and Supervision Ed.D. program. We will be admitting new students to our Summer 2024 cohort!

“I picked UVA way back in 1986, and continue to choose The University for my studies because of its high reputation and excellent faculty. I have never been disappointed in the level of rigor of my coursework, my learning experiences, or in the faculty with whom I have developed relationships.”

– Maureen Boland, Principal, Rolling Valley Elementary

This is a part-time, cohort-based program located at our Falls Church Center with classes held primarily one Friday and Saturday per month for your convenience. Two courses per semester are completed during the first two years of the program and independent research on a capstone takes place during the second two years of the program. Our goal is to support our students in finishing the program within four years, so we keep our doctoral cohorts small so that we can provide individualized support to our students. A new cohort starts biennially - every other year.

The next cohort will begin in summer 2024, with recruitment beginning in fall 2023 and applications due January 15, 2024.​

Program Details

  • Prerequisites and Admission Requirements

    Admissions will be on a competitive basis with the following requirements for initial consideration.  

    • Online application for admission;
    • Transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work;
    • Outstanding record as an educator with evidence of 1) innovation in current leadership role, 2) demonstrated ability to mobilize others to improve education, 3) interest in reflection and inquiry, and 4) commitment to improving educational delivery for students;
    • Scores for the Graduate Record Examination (scores must be less than five years old);
    • Two strong references for doctoral work;
    • Evidence of strong writing ability - submission of a writing sample describing an example of your leadership in 2000 words;
    • Statement of professional goals (around 3 pages)

    Following a screening of application materials, selected candidates for admission will be invited to a mandatory assessment session with all faculty at the UVA Northern Virginia Center.  Activities will include an introduction to the program and Q&A, a case study exercise, a short speech on a leadership topic, an individual interview, and a writing sample.  Admission offers will follow this assessment session.

    Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required materials are submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be read and may be cancelled if left incomplete. Materials should be tracked using the checklist in the application.

  • Application Due Date

    We will next accept applications for this program for 2022.

    The application due date is typically January 15th with acceptances to be determined by late February.

    Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required materials are submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be read and may be cancelled if left incomplete. Materials should be tracked using the checklist in the application.

  • Degree Requirements
    • Completion of 72 credits, including at least 60 credits for courses other than the capstone dissertation project. A maximum of 18 credits from the master’s program may be applied to the program with the approval of the doctoral committee. A minimum of 36 credits (not including dissertation credit) must be earned from the University of Virginia;
    • Successful completion of twelve credits of the research sequence;
    • Successful completion of written comprehensive examinations as determined by the doctoral committee. The comprehensives must be completed before taking the capstone seminar and drafting the capstone proposal;
    • Completion of all capstone dissertation requirements, including defending a capstone proposal as determined by the student’s doctoral committee; gaining approval from the University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the protection of human subjects; carrying out a research study (capstone dissertation) appropriate to the field of specialization; and passing an oral final examination on the capstone dissertation. All other requirements must be completed before this defense;
    • All additional requirements as specified by the student’s doctoral committee and/or advisor;
    • Department or area of specialization requirements; and
    • Six core leadership courses will be organized in a sequence that covers leadership theory, problem framing, designing learning environments, and implementing transformative leadership practices. In addition a six-course sequence in disciplined inquiry will focus on the development of students as a practitioner-scholars who are skilled in research and problem solving. Electives will allow leaders to customize their program with an area of specialization, such as educational entrepreneurship or innovation in curriculum and instruction.
  • Funding Opportunities

    Students may apply for federal financial aid, including work-study. Information about federal aid programs, including applying using the FAFSA, can be found through Student Financial Services. Additional financial aid information can be found on School of Education and Human Development's Financial Aid webpage.

  • Typical Length of Study

    The Doctorate of Educational Leadership coursework is a two-year, part-time program.  Students vary in the length of time required to complete their capstone dissertation, but the cohort format and research course sequence is all designed to provide maximum support for a timely completion of the program.

    Full or Part Time:

    Course delivery is tailored to the needs of working professionals with weekend classes and summer residencies. Program coherence is sustained through online interaction and face-to-face contact on a monthly basis. The blended course delivery permits ongoing communication among peers and instructors while maximizing the utility of face-to-face class meetings.

  • Course Overview



    Core Leadership (Cohort)*​


    Research (UVA Ed.D.)*​


    • Fundamentals of Leadership Theory​

    • Leadership for Equity & Improvement​

    • Visioning, Values, and Decisionmaking​

    • Optimizing human capital​

    Sum 22​

    Sum 22​

    Fall 22​

    Spr 23​

    • Introduction to Inquiry + Lab of practice​

    • Survey inquiry + Lab​


    • Designing Learning Environments​

    • Developing high-performance organizations​

    • Politics, policy & advocacy​

    • [Comprehensive exam]​

    Sum 23​

    Fall 23​

    Fall 23​

    Spr 24​

    • Qualitative inquiry + Lab​​


    • Practical Evaluation​


    Sum 24​

    • Capstone seminar (Cohort)​

    • Capstone dissertation (Sum, Spr, Fall)​


    • Capstone dissertation (Sum, Spr, Fall)​

  • Sample Jobs After Graduation

    Graduates of this program typically serve public and private schools, state and federal education agencies, and other organizations serving the professional needs of educators.

  • Public Professional Licensure Disclosures

    As a member of the State Authorizations Reciprocity Agreement, the University of Virginia (UVA) is authorized to provide curriculum in a distance learning environment to students located in all states in the United States except for California. (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6)& 34 CFR 668.72(n)).

    Upon completion of the Ed.D. in Administration and Supervision program at the UVA School of Education and Human Development, graduates may be eligible for initial professional licensure in another U.S. state by applying to the licensing board or agency in that state. Please visit the University’s state authorization web pages to make an informed decision regarding which states’ educational requirements for initial licensure are met by this program. (668.43(a)(5) (v)(A) - (C))

    Enrolled students who change their current (or mailing) address to a state other than Virginia should update this information immediately in the Student Information System as it may impact their ability to complete internship, practicum, or clinical hours, use Title IV funds, or meet licensure or certification requirements in the new state. (34 CFR 668.402).

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.