The PhD program in P-12 Educational Leadership: Today’s Schools Need Well Prepared Capable Leaders.


The mission of the PhD program in P-12 Educational Leadership is to further develop the capacity of educational leaders for the diverse and evolving needs of PK-12 educational environments. The PhD program in P-12 Educational Leadership engages PhD students in relevant, demanding curriculum focused on leadership capacity, which involves high levels of academic rigor, with a relentless commitment to social justice education, and a unique programmatic focus on literacy leadership.

Candidates who seek this specialized degree program often serve in a variety of school leadership capacities:  the assistant principalship, the principalship, school-level leaders, such as coaches, curriculum directors, instructional directors, assistant and associate superintendents, and superintendents, all of whom are required to understand, consume, and apply education research.

Applications are currently being accepted for the doctoral program in Educational Leadership & Research: P-12 Educational Leadership. Applications are considered once annually. The deadline to apply for Fall admissions is March 1st of the current year. The application must be complete with all requirement documents – only candidates with completed applications will be considered.

The PhD program in P-12 Educational Leadership is very competitive. A committee reviews all applications and applicants will be notified if they are accepted.  A follow-up interview may be required of applicants.

Program Structure

The curricular requirements for the PhD program in P-12 Educational Leadership include:

  • a core of 20 hours (6 hours of required courses ELRC 7299 & EDCI 7910 and 14 hours of research course work, planned with your major professor),
  • 24 hours in the primary area of P-12 Leadership specialization (previous LSU Educational Leadership graduate coursework may be accepted; other prior coursework considered on a case-by-case basis),
  • 12 hours of the Writing Pedagogy Minor coursework, and
  • a minimum of 9 hours of ELRC 9000 dissertation research.

Candidates must: 1) successfully complete a General Exam consisting of written responses to questions and a comprehensive oral exam; 2) successfully propose a Dissertation Proposal which is typically the first 3 chapters of a proposed dissertation study, including an oral defense of the proposal; 3) gain Internal Review Board (IRB) approval, and 4) complete a dissertation study, collecting, analyzing, and writing up research results and successfully passing an oral defense of the dissertation study.

Admission Requirements

Students pursuing the PhD program in P-12 Educational Leadership are expected to have a Master’s degree in an educational field, ideally in educational leadership; however, we occasionally accept students with a non-education Master’s; however, these students may be required to take additional coursework on a case-by-case basis. Candidates must have at least 3 years of teaching experience to be admitted.

In addition to the Graduate School requirements, the P-12 Educational Leadership program requires:

  • Minimum one-page letter of intent that explains the reasons why you are seeking a PhD,
  • Current curriculum vitae,
  • At least two professional letters of recommendation, and
  • Competitive scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), verbal, quantitative, and writing sections.



Financial Information


For More Information

Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, PhD
228 Peabody Hall

Email Dr. Sulentic Dowell