Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (Ed.D.)
Credit Hours
Max Transfer Credit
Class Type
Next Start Date
Aug 15, 2022
Years To Complete
Finish in as few as 3 years
Cost Per Credit

Become an effective leader with your online Ed.D.

Success lies in our ability to change – either by changing ourselves or impacting change around us. When organizations don’t evolve, they lose touch with their stakeholders and become ineffective. It’s time to make your mark on your organization or your discipline. Whether your goal is to drive your school district to meet critical benchmarks or improve accessibility to higher education. Changing yourself and addressing the challenges around you is your path to professional growth and increased opportunity.

Program Availability

On Site

No-Fear Dissertation

Finish faster with a jumpstart to your dissertation.

3-Year Completion

Finish your doctorate faster -- including one year for your dissertation.

Finish Faster

Transfer up to 24 hours of previously earned credit.

Post-Master’s Credit

Leverage your superintendent coursework to fulfill up to 25% of the required credits for PK-12 Educational Leadership.

100% Online Classes

Earn your degree around your schedule.

Relevant Curriculum

Keep up -- and stay ahead -- of an evolving industry.

Program Overview

Propel meaningful change to get results

Our Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (Ed.D.) helps you become an impactful leader. With a focus area in Organizational Leadership, PK-12 Educational Leadership or Higher Education Leadership, you will build upon your practical experience with enhanced research and leadership skills, in order to drive transformational change within your organization. 

With Franklin University’s Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Organizational Leadership, you will:

  • Apply research in order to impact organizational performance 
  • Use data to drive decisions and influence others
  • Develop the skills to provide effective leadership within complex organizations
  • Differentiate yourself as a top performer or educator

Take an interdisciplinary approach to leadership

As a doctoral student at Franklin, you’ll participate in core research and elective courses with doctoral students in business administration, healthcare administration and instructional design leadership. This interdisciplinary collaboration deepens your learning, informs your thinking, and enables you to demonstrate behaviors key to the role of an effective organizational leader. You’ll benefit from exposure to a broad group of professionals with perspectives rooted in disciplines other than your own, and be better prepared to lead and serve diverse organizations and communities.  

In addition to peer-to-peer learning, you and your fellow students will support one another throughout the doctoral experience. After your doctoral studies have concluded, your new-found professional network will endure, as a continued source of support.

Customize your dissertation to suit your professional needs

Different than a Ph.D., which is more theoretical in nature, the Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership is a practical degree that enables both subject mastery and in-field application. That means you’ll be prepared to apply doctoral-level research and problem solving to complex, real-world challenges. 

Whether you are a PK-12 administrator looking to boost your district’s reading scores, a higher education professional searching for ways to help grant recipients persist, or a military trainer trying to address a pilot retention issue, you’ll develop the skills you need to solve the problem. 

You’ll complete a dissertation in practice as part of a three-course sequence that comprises your last year in the program. As an opportunity for additional flexibility in completing your dissertation, you can choose to focus on a project you are currently engaged in at your workplace. You’ll use action research to document the current situation and propose an evidence-based solution. 

Build your leadership acumen

Through your core leadership courses, you’ll learn what it takes to effectively lead organizational change, evaluate real-world situations and recommend theory-based management practices to ensure success. You’ll explore, evaluate and interpret concepts for viability and assess the role of the change agent in the process. You’ll also gauge leadership and followership skills and attributes through theory and as applied to institutions. With a focus on critical thinking, you’ll examine optimal practices for effectively leading institutions, stakeholders and culture. You’ll concentrate on servant-leadership and other leadership competencies necessary for management of resources, projects and performance. You’ll also examine real-world cases that illustrate differing leadership practices, in order to improve the effectiveness of your leadership. 

Focus your learning 

Build on the five-class leadership core by choosing an area of focus based on your professional goals. Each focus area consists of two related courses. Choose from:

Organizational Leadership: Leading a high performing organization requires vision, passion and skill – whether you are a C-suite exec, a nonprofit manager or a military officer. At Franklin, you’ll find faculty advisors who will mentor you as you refine these leadership essentials throughout your doctoral journey. Earning your Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership at Franklin positions you to benefit from the experience of a university well-known for preparing leaders who excel in a wide variety of industries and organizations around the world.  

You’ll assess your own leadership strengths and weaknesses to develop a plan of action to develop and refine your leadership competencies. You’ll research well-known leadership theories and present-day leadership trends. Upon completion of the course sequence, you’ll use at least one research method to create a research-ready proposal. 

PK-12 Educational Leadership: If you are a principal with aspirations of obtaining a district-level position or an experienced superintendent looking to raise the bar for yourself and those around you, you’ll find the expertise at Franklin to help you achieve your goals. From curriculum development and learning assessment provided through our International Institute for Innovative Instruction to long-standing teacher-preparation programs offered through our School of Education, Franklin’s reputation for creating high-achieving education professionals is reflected throughout the PK-12 educational leadership focus area. 

Successful leadership in the PK-12 educational setting requires a solid understanding of the technology currently used to enhance and supplement teaching, learning and leadership within educational systems. To facilitate your learning, you’ll examine and evaluate current trends and issues associated with educational technology, including social media, within the PK-12 environment. In the second course, you’ll build on concepts of transformational leadership by applying them to unique scenarios within your own professional situation. 

Higher Education Leadership: Learn to lead and innovate in the increasingly competitive higher education industry. While the reward of working in higher education is undeniable, navigating a multitude of challenges that range from rising tuition costs and lower completion rates to changing instruction models requires new thinking to be successful. As a doctoral student at Franklin, which is well-regarded for its accessibility, adaptability and responsiveness, you’ll gain fresh perspective as you are guided by mentors who have tackled issues similar to those that challenge you. 

You’ll focus on major theories of higher education leadership, in order to develop your own leadership skills. You’ll gain an understanding of various roles, both administrative and academic, with a goal of informing your decision-making process. You’ll also explore critical issues facing higher education in America including access, academic freedom, federal government policy, financial aid, diversity and the influence of business models on institutional strategy and practice. You’ll gain an understanding of the responsibilities facing leaders of community colleges, as well as private and public four-year colleges and universities. 

Differentiate yourself with a widely recognized credential

The Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership is a widely recognized credential that distinguishes you from other high performers. It can open the door to teaching at the university level, as well as numerous leadership positions. With its broad focus on organizational leadership, the degree also translates to a variety of for-profit and nonprofit industries, as well as the public sector and the military. Graduates of the program are not only effective leaders, they are able to coach and mentor others into leadership roles as well.  

Get 360-degree support

We’ve taken a comprehensive and systematic approach to our online doctoral program, which includes team-based curriculum development, doctorally qualified faculty, and student-centered activities designed for the working adult. You’ll receive robust academic support from a variety of resources, including a graduate advisor, faculty advisor, personal librarian and peers, as well as Learning Commons staff and your Dissertation Committee members. You’ll also enjoy a cohesive and robust graduate culture and cohort. Together, our practice-minded faculty and your fellow students will support, mentor, encourage and keep you accountable to the program – and to yourself. At Franklin, you’re never alone on your doctoral journey.

Transfer up to 24 credit hours

Want to complete your terminal degree in less than 3 years? Franklin grants up to 24 hours of prior-learning credit for previous doctoral work. If you earned more than 32 credits for your master’s degree, you can also transfer credit toward your doctorate with previously earned coursework in business, healthcare, instructional design or education. 

We honor your prior learning and make it easier to get credit for what you already know. Applicants who have completed post-master's superintendent coursework at other accredited institutions can qualify for up to 16 hours of credit toward the Ed.D. with a focus area in PK-12 Educational Leadership.

Succeed with our unique dissertation structure

If there’s such a thing as a no-fear dissertation process, Franklin has it. We’ve intentionally designed a dissertation structure to help you complete your dissertation step-by-step, beginning with your enrollment in the program. We’ve also built-in faculty mentoring and guidance, and peer-to-peer support so you’re never left to “figure it out” on your own.

Throughout the Ed.D. program, you’ll develop important research skills and the necessary writing prowess to complete and publish a dissertation in practice (DiP) as the culmination of your studies. Your DiP will showcase your ability to solve a challenge within the workplace using action research. As a part of the (DiP), you will test your hypotheses in the real world, or based on your findings, document a process to implement your solution. 

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Curriculum & Course Descriptions

58 Semester Hours
Research Core
GRAD 888 - Introduction to Doctoral Studies (1)

The doctoral colloquium is designed to build a community and ensure that learners have the support, motivation and guidance necessary to succeed in their doctoral programs. This first colloquia will also provide students with an overview of the doctoral program expectations, coursework sequence, doctoral student support services, as well as comprehensive exam and dissertation requirements. The first colloquium is designed to establish a learning community and graduate culture for the doctoral students at Franklin University. The doctoral colloquium will be held at the University's main campus in facilities that provide appropriate online interaction for out-of-state and international students.

ENG 800 - Doctoral Writing & Research (3)

In this course, students prepare to be active participants in advanced professional and academic discourse communities by practicing the writing and research strategies associated with their chosen field of study. By calling attention to the conventions of research writing, the course provides students the analytical tools that will help them join ongoing scholarly conversations. Students will analyze and compose a variety of academic writing genres as they develop a literature review over the course of the term. They will also develop their presentation, peer review, proofing, and reflection skills in alignment with the standards of advanced academic study.

MTHD 803 - Intro to Quantitative Methods & Design (2)

Through this course, students will gain an overview of quantitative research designs and methods. The course starts with successful completion of the CITI training - the protection of human research participants, to move on to an introduction of quantitative sampling designs, data collection approaches, experimental versus non-experimental designs, and data analysis. Students will engage in practical hands-on experience with formulating a research question or hypotheses, discussing important ethical issues, designing sampling methods, collecting data, and analyzing data. They will learn how to examine validity and reliability issues and will be introduced to available software for conducting quantitative design. At the end of this course, students will be introduced to the research proposal to get a start on the guidelines required for their dissertation proposal.

MTHD 804 - Intro to Qualitative Methods & Design (2)

Through this course, students will gain an overview of qualitative research designs and methods. The course starts with an introduction to qualitative approaches. Students will become familiar with the narrative approach, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, and case studies. This course will introduce students to some of the critical works in qualitative research methods and design and give an overview of the historical progression of the field. Students will gain hands-on experience with observations, qualitative data collection, and qualitative sampling design. They will also get some introduction in qualitative data analysis, validity, reliability, and researchers' bias in qualitative work. At the end of this course, students will be introduced to the research proposal to get a start on the guidelines required for their dissertation proposal.

MATH 807 - Introduction to Statistics (2)

This course will introduce the concepts of descriptive statistics and probability distributions. Topics will include basic statistical terminology, statistical graphs, numerical summaries of data, probability concepts and distributions, and sampling distributions. The course is designed to allow students integrate statistical software of choice with the aforementioned concepts and to provide opportunities to interpret resulting outputs.

MATH 810 - Applied Statistics (3)

Applications of statistical techniques and methods will be explored, including fundamental statistical tests for central values, variances and categorical variables; regression analysis and general linear model. The emphasis will be on selecting and applying the appropriate statistical techniques as well as interpretation and reporting of results with the use of a major statistical software. The course is also designed to provide numerous opportunities to critique statistical techniques commonly used in empirical research articles.

MTHD 820 - Advanced Quantitative Research & Design (3)

This is an advanced course in statistics that covers complex analyses used in education and data-driven decision making. The course is designed to broaden and deepen student understanding of advanced statistics in multivariate techniques. The emphasis of the course is on practical application of concepts learnt. To this end, the course is developed to balance theory and application and provides numerous opportunities for application to practical problems. Students will also complete their second colloquia.

OR MTHD 822 - Advanced Qualitative Research & Design (3)

The advanced qualitative research course builds on the knowledge and skills students acquire in GRAD 805. This course leads students on an in depth treatment of qualitative research methodology, exploring its theoretical underpinnings and associated methods for design, data collection, interpretation, and reporting of results. Ethics are emphasized for each stage of research. This course will guide students to develop the methodology and data analysis for their dissertation proposal and research. Students will also complete their second colloquia if they had not enrolled in GRAD 820.

OR MTHD 824 - Advanced Mixed Methods Research & Design (3)

Through this course, students will familiarize with mixed-methods research and design. They will gain knowledge on the four different types of mixed-methods: triangulation design, embedded design, explanatory design, and exploratory design. Students will learn how to conceptualize their own study in terms of these different design types. They will gain hands-on experience on how to formulate a research question fitted for a mixed-methods design, collect some data, and analyze it. They will discuss and learn about challenges and advantages of mixed-methods designs. At the end of this course students will be able to work on their dissertation proposal.

Major Area Required
MGMT 875 - Change Mgmt & Organizational Development (4)

This course focuses on research and evaluation of the key theoretical concepts and practices central to the leading of organizational change initiatives. Students will evaluate real-world situations, cases and scenarios in order to recommend and justify theoretically-based change management practices to ensure ongoing organizational acceptance and effectiveness of these programs. Students will conduct scholarly research to explore, evaluate and interpret state-of0the-art change concepts for their viability in today's organizations. Students will assess the role of change agents as key players in the overall change process.

EDUC 801 - Leadership of Organizational Principles (4)

This core course focuses on leadership and followership skills and attributes through the lens of traditional and 21st century leadership theories, constructs and concepts as applied to institutions. Students will apply transformational and other state-of-the-art leadership theoretical underpinnings to real-world cases, scenarios and situations that involve optimal practices in leading individuals and organizations through leadership challenging scenarios and other situations. The course concentrates on the application of critical thinking to optimal practices in leading institutions, their stakeholders and culture for optimal effectiveness.

EDUC 802 - Teaching in Higher Education (4)

The course will study the teaching and learning philosophies, methods, and techniques in higher education. Topics will cover learning theories, instructional design models, instructional strategies, and evaluation of student performance. By the end of this course, students will develop their own teaching philosophy along with an instructional unit demonstrating their mastery of learning theories and instructional design models, selection of proper learning technologies in designing the instruction, and incorporation of appropriate instructional and assessment methods. In addition, students will also explore faulty careers in higher education.

EDUC 805 - Leadership of Organizational Resources (4)

This core course focuses on state-of-the-art leadership skills necessary for the effectiveness of today's leaders and managers. The course concentrates on the specific transformational, servant-leadership, and other leadership competencies and skills necessary for providing sound management of institutional resources, projects, and performance. Students will apply leadership theoretical underpinnings to real-world cases, scenarios and situations that involve effective and ineffective resource and performance management practices. The course concentrates on the application of critical thinking and decision-making in optimal practices for providing highly effective leadership in today's organizations.

Focus Area

Organizational Leadership:

MGMT 850 - Organizational Leadership (4)

This course addresses historical and current leadership concepts, theories and constructs. An emphasis will be on the application and assessment of transformational, servant and authentic leadership theories for us by both leaders and followers in 21st century business and academic settings. The course will challenge students to assess their own leadership strengths and weaknesses and produce an in-depth plan of action to develop and refine leadership competencies. Students will conduct substantive scholarly research to address and capture relevant and cutting edge leadership theoretical work for application in course assignments.

MGMT 845 - Organizational Behavior, Culture & Effectiveness (4)

This course is an advanced research seminar in the field of organizational culture and behavior. The seminar allows you to begin the process of substantive academic research and formal inquiry into these important theories and the implications of these for managers. The seminar will require the synthesis of critical thinking, analysis, research writing and evaluation. Students will develop a key deliverable that involves a research proposal in the fields of organizational culture and behavior and then conduct substantive research into the literature developed by others. The final project in the seminar is the development of a research ready proposal utilizing at minimum one research methodology.


PK-12 Educational Leadership:

EDUC 820 - Leading Schools in the 21st Century (4)

This course is key for students who have chosen the PK-12 educational leadership focus area that require a solid understanding of 21st Century technological skills as it applies to educational technology (including social media). After establishing a foundation and knowledge base of educational technology, students will learn about the most recent and innovative educational technology that can be utilized effectively for both learning and leading in the PK-12 educational setting. Through the lens of ensuring all students in the PK-12 educational setting are college, career, and life ready, students will analyze and learn how educational technology plays a vital role in this process. In addition, students will analyze and evaluate how to utilize the most recent educational technology tools with effective building and district leadership in the PK-12 educational setting. Finally, students will analyze and evaluate current trends and issues associated with use of educational technology (including social media) within the PK-12 educational setting.

EDUC 825 - Building & District Leadership Structure (4)

This course is key for students who have chosen the K-12 leadership focus and must develop expertise and practice in navigating the unique aspects of building and district leadership in K-12 structures. Concepts of transformational leadership developed through the Leadership Core will be leveraged in the examination of school level and district level issues. Students will be required to define problems within their unique professional situation and apply recognized leadership structures to promote a shared vision and establishes a professional learning community that focuses on the mission of ensuring that all students learn through the development of a culture of collaboration rooted in data based results.


Higher Education Leadership:

EDUC 840 - College & University Leader Structures (4)

This course provides an examination of leadership theories and structures in institutions of higher education. Focusing on major theories of leadership of higher education organizations that inform leadership practices, students will develop skills as practitioners in university leadership. By the end of the course, students will be able to understand the structure and function of university leadership structures from multiple theoretical perspectives. Students will gain an understanding of the management, leadership, and administrative roles of academic and student affairs offices in colleges and universities including personnel, program definition, research and teaching issues, and other functions of academic and programming oversight. Additional consideration to the roles, responsibilities, and leadership styles required will be examined for different organizational contexts. Through the linking of theory to practice, the class activities will lead students to develop skills as campus leaders and to empower them to make conscious, deliberate decisions, utilizing multiple, and at times divergent, theoretical frames.

EDUC 845 - History of Higher Education (4)

The purpose of this course is to explore critical, challenges facing American higher education. The course explores the history of higher education, with an emphasis on the development of higher education in the United States, to present day challenges facing intuitions. It includes issues of access, accountability, academic freedom, financial aid, state and federal government policy, changing legal structures, teaching and learning in a digital age, student issues, diversity, and the influence of business models and values on institutional strategy and practice. This course also covers different educational systems (Community Colleges, Private Colleges, and Public Colleges) and the critical issues affecting their institutional type. Students will gain an understanding of their responsibilities, critical thinking, and explore current issues that affect managers in institutions of higher education. This course addresses interdisciplinary influences on leadership practice within learning organizations and focuses on recent developments that have broad implications for research and practice in educational leadership.

Major Electives

8 credits from levels 800-899 in the following subjects: ACCT, EDUC, HIM, HCM, HRM, IDL, MGMT, MKTG, MTHD, PUAD.

Dissertation/Dissertation in Practice Requirements
DISS 9000 - Comprehensive Exam (1)

This course is designed for students to prepare for, take and complete their comprehensive exam. Remedial strategies and actions will also be provided for students who do not successfully pass their comprehensive exam on the first attempt, with the opportunity for a retake during the six weeks of the course if the student chooses to do so.

At least 8 credits from the following courses:

DISS 9200 - Dissertation in Practice (1-4)

In consultation with the Dissertation in Practice (DiP) Chair and Committee members, the doctoral candidate will design and conduct research to complete the aims identified in their research prospectus, proposal and IRB application or as subsequently modified in line with recommendations from the DiP Chair and Committee members. This course may be repeated as necessary to earn sufficient credit or to finalize the DiP to fulfill requirements to earn the doctorate.

DISS 9400 - Defense of Dissertation (1)

Doctoral candidates will finalize all aspects of the Dissertation/Dissertation in Practice and make an oral defense of their design, methods and findings.

Optional Focus Areas

Students may complete 8 credit hours of a focus area to count within the Major Elective requirement. Only one declared focus area will print on the diploma.


8 credits from the following subjects: ACCT


8 credits from the following subjects: HIM


8 credits from the following subjects: HCM


8 credits from the following subjects: IDL


8 credits from the following subjects: MGMT


8 credits from the following subjects: MKTG


8 credits from the following subjects: MTHD


8 credits from the following subjects: PUAD

Microcredentials Align with Job Essentials

In today’s dynamic work environments, adaptive professionals thrive. A microcredential - either as a stand-alone course or integrated into your degree program - is a short, skill-specific recognition that enables you to demonstrate your competency in a distinct area. Like Franklin’s degree programs, microcredentials are aligned with market and industry demand to ensure what you learn can be put to use right away. Microcredentials are easily shared via digital badges and can be stacked to create a unique portfolio of in-demand skills.


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Career Opportunities


 Superintendents are responsible for the daily operation of school districts including the management of educational programs, spending, staff and facilities.


Professors primarily plan curriculum, conduct original research, and teach and test students, helping expand their knowledge within a particular subject matter or discipline.

Adjunct Faculty

Adjunct Faculty are contingent or contractual instructors who plan lectures, teach specific courses within a field of study, assess learning outcomes and advise students.

College Dean

College Deans manage the resources within an academic college, from budgets and faculty workload to maintenance and expansion of new and existing programs.

Corporate Director/CEO

Corporate Directors/CEOs are responsible for oversight of an organization, including determining and/or implementing initiatives and leading senior management. 


Consultants are paid experts who assess a particular problem, challenge or opportunity and provide strategic recommendations for action.

Community Health Director

Community Health Directors recommend and develop disease prevention and health promotion plans, as well as monitor and report on their effectiveness. 

Policy Analyst

Policy Analysts are researchers who work to raise public awareness of social issues and advocate for solutions with the intention to influence governmental action.

Employment Outlook


From 2021-2031 jobs in Organizational Leadership are expected to increase by 9%

All Occupations

6,510,256 jobs
7,077,673 jobs
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General and Operations Managers

2,512,817 jobs
2,705,137 jobs

Administrative Services and Facilities Managers

332,334 jobs
358,304 jobs

Source information provided by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI).

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