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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.

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 dissertation 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 biennielly - every other year.

Registration for the summer 2017 cohort is now closed. The next cohort will begin in summer 2019, with recruitment beginning in fall 2018 and applications due December 15, 2018.

To listen to our recent live online WEBINAR on the Ed.D ExSEL program where faculty gave an overview of the program, discussed the upcoming ExSEL cohort, and answered questions, click on the blue box at right.


The Curry librarians are available to assist you with your research needs.  See the Curry Off-Grounds Library Guide for more information.

Program Life

"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




2015 Cohort                                                                                                2017 Cohort


Prerequisites and Admission Requirements

Admissions for the Ed.D. program will be accepted until December 15, 2016 for the fourth cohort which will begin in Summer 2017. 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 (1-2 pages)

Following a screening of application materials, selected candidates for admission will be invited to a mandatory assessment session with all faculty in February/March 2017 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.

Application Due Date

The application due date is December 15 with acceptances to be determined by late February.

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 Curry'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

Evidence Centered Leadership/Disciplined Inquiry Cohort Classes
SUMMER - Year 1 Fundamentals of Leadership Theory (3 cr.)
Cognitive Dimensions of Leadership (3 cr.)
FALL - Year 1 The Practice of School Evaluation (3 cr.) Visioning, Values, & Decision-Making in Ed Leadership (3 cr.)
SPRING - Year 1 Fundamentals of Research for Leaders in Education (3 cr.) Designing Learning Environments (3 cr.)
SUMMER - Year 2 Electives (6 cr.)
FALL - Year 2 Strategies for Research: Research Methods and Design for Leaders in Education (3 cr.) Optimizing Human Capital in an Organization (3 cr.)
SPRING - Year 2 Preparing the Dissertation Proposal (3 cr.) Developing Organizational Capacity (3 cr.)
SUMMER - Year 3 Capstone Seminar (3 cr.) Electives (3 cr.)
FALL - Year 3 Capstone (6 cr.)
SPRING - Year 3 Capstone (6 cr.)

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.

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

Contact Us

Pamela Tucker
Ruffner 274  

Falls Church
Sandra Mitchell

Locations Offered

  • Falls Church

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