Ed.D. in Education

Systems Level Leadership Emphasis P-12 Track
Iowa Superintendent and AEA Chief Certification

Iowa State University’s Ed.D. program is a member of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED). The 54-hour curriculum culminates in a dissertation in practice that is focused on “a persistent, contextualized, and specific issue embedded in the work of a professional practitioner, the addressing of which has the potential to result in improved understanding, experience, and outcomes” (CPED, 2020).

Application Deadline and Degree Completion

New cohorts begin every two years in odd-numbered summers. This degree is designed to be completed in three years. Candidates may be eligible to apply for Iowa Superintendent/AEA Chief licensure after two years, completion of 30 credit hours of required coursework and required 400 hours of clinical fieldwork.

Distance Delivery Format

To meet the needs of working professionals/administrators, Systems Level Leadership courses are delivered online. We use synchronous and asynchronous formats delivered via Zoom or WebEx with very limited face-to face expectations.

Face-to-Face Example: Candidates participate in the Iowa School Business Officials Academy at Iowa State and that may require on campus participation. The typical schedule would be two to three days in the spring semesters of years one and two.

Estimated Cost of Attendance (2022-23)

Most Ed.D. Candidates will enroll in 6 credits per semester.

Tuition: $3,528.00
Fees: $117.75
Total estimated cost for one semester of 6 credits: $3,645.75


The program begins with two years of cohort-based coursework and culminates with a dissertation in practice (DIP) in which each candidate demonstrates the use of critical inquiry to address a complex problem of practice.

This program is designed to prepare transformational, equity-focused district-level leaders. Candidates who complete the program are prepared to work as leaders in school districts, AEAs, departments of education, and a variety of other educational agencies.

In addition to Education Administration focused coursework, candidates complete a core curriculum to develop understanding of the scope, substance, and inter-relationship of the P-20 schooling continuum. The program’s cohort model aims to stimulate a shared learning experience among candidates, foster the development of professional networks, and encourage dialogue among emerging leaders across the educational system.

P-12 Systems Level Leadership Emphasis (years one and two)

  • EDADM 625: Social Justice Leadership in Organizations (3 credits)
  • EDADM 627: Transformative Instructional Leadership (3 credits) 
  • EDADM 626: Equitable School Finance (Academy) (3 credits) (see note below)
  • EDADM 636: Culturally Responsive Leadership (3 credits)
  • EDADM 635: Ethical Governance & Policy (3 credits)
  • EDADM 615F: Seminar: Leadership #1 in P-12 (3 credits)
  • EDADM 615B: Seminar: Research #2 in P-12 (3 credits) 
  • EDADM 637: HR & Fiscal Management (Academy) (3 credits) (see note below)

NOTE: Candidates have two required EDADM courses embedded in the Iowa School Business Officials Academy at ISU that may require on-campus participation. Typically, this would be two to – three days in the Spring semesters of years one and two.

Certification Requirements

All EDADM courses above provide clinical fieldwork hours toward Iowa Superintendent & AEA Chief Certification. In addition, ELPS 651 and 654 listed below complete the additional hours required to meet the 400-hour certification requirement.

Ed.D. Core (years one, two and three)

  • ELPS 651: Social Foundations of Education (3 credits) (with embedded field work)
  • ELPS 652: Organizational Theory in P-20 Systems (3 credits)
  • ELPS 653: Contemporary Issues of Equity and Diversity (3 credits)
  • ELPS 654: Scholar-Practitioner Inquiry (3 credits) (with embedded field work)
  • ELPS 655: Qualitative Inquiry in P-20 Education (3 credits)
  • ELPS 656: Statistics for P-20 Education (3 credits)

Dissertation (year three)

  • ELPS 657: Dissertation in Practice Seminar (3 credits with Major Advisor)
  • ELPS 699: Dissertation Research (9 credits, independent with advisor)

Total Credits: 54

Program Coordinator

Anita Micich

Assistant Professor of Practice

Department: School of Education


Systems Level Leadership Faculty

Douglas Wieczorek

Associate Professor

Department: School of Education


Joanne Marshall

Associate Professor

Department: School of Education


Dennis Wulf

Assistant Professor of Practice

Department: School of Education


Curriculum Map: P-12 Systems Level Leadership Program (Ed.D.)

Summer one (6 credits)

  • EDADM 625X Social Justice Leadership in Organizations (3 hrs)
  • EDAM 627X Transformative Instructional Leadership (3 hrs)

Fall one (6 credits)

  • ELPS 654 Scholar- Practitioner Inquiry (3 hrs)
  • ELPS 655 Qualitative Inquiry In P-20 Education (3 hrs)

Spring one (6 credits)

  • ELPS 656 Statistics for P-20 Education (3 hrs)
  • EDADM 626X Equitable School Finance (3 hrs)

Summer two (6 credits)

  • EDADM 635X Ethical Governance and Policy (3 hrs)
  • EDADM 636X Culturally Responsive Leadership (3 hrs)

Fall two (6 credits)

  • EDADM 615F Seminar: Leadership # I in P-12 (3 hrs)
  • EDADM 615B Seminar: Research #2 in P-12 (3 hrs)

Spring two (6 credits)

  • EDADM 637X HR & Fiscal Management (3 hrs)
  • ELPS 651 Social Foundations of Education (3 hrs)

Summer three (6 credits)

  • ELPS 652 Organizational Theory in P-20 Systems (3 hrs)
  • ELPS 657 Dissertation in Practice Seminar (3 hrs)

Fall three (6 credits)

  • ELPS 653 Contemporary Issues of Equity and Diversity (3 hrs)
  • EDADM 699 Dissertation Research (with major professors) (3 hrs)

Spring three (9 credits)

  • EDADM 699 (9 hrs) Dissertation Research

Total credits = 54

Need More Information?

Graduate Support Specialist