Education Leadership PhD

Doctor in Education Leadership

Thank you for your interest. At this time, we are not accepting applications for the PhD Program in Education Leadership because we are reviewing the curriculum and program focus. Please revisit our website for future updates.


Ellie Drago-SeversonWe wish a warm welcome to all of our future and current students as well as alumni who are visiting our website. Our Ph.D. Program in Education Leadership has a distinguished faculty whose mission is to prepare committed graduate students to serve as University Professors of Education Leadership. The Ph.D. Program in Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University is a full time doctoral program. We hope you find this site helpful.


Dr. Ellie Drago-Severson
Professor of Education, Director of PhD Program in Education Leadership

"There is great power in hope. With great hope, may our leadership work together raise our consciousness, amplify our abilities to support growth in students and adults in our care, and encourage and strengthen us to step forward courageously in leading for adult development. May it also help us to be more compassionate by deepening our understanding of how to support adult growth. May it enable us to listen differently and to lead by listening..."

Adapted from Leading Adult Learning (Drago-Severson, 2009)

Program Mission

Our mission is to support the development of professors of education leadership who will be prepared to grow aspiring and practicing school leaders and advance scholarship in the field. More specifically, our PhD program in Educational Leadership:

  • Sits at the nexus of national and international research, theory, and real-world practice
  • Focuses on building bridges between research and practice by employing qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches
  • Equips students with the necessary skills to investigate and respond in socially just ways to critical issues in education leadership from multiple, diverse perspectives
  • Supports and stretches aspiring scholars to redefine notions of education leadership, education leadership development, and education leadership research to care for the future of education
  • Provides a supportive, mentoring environment to develop critical thinkers, thought leaders, systematic and skilled researchers, and innovative scholars

This is how we develop aspiring professors in education leadership who can effectively prepare practicing and aspiring leaders to manage the complexity of leading in the 21st century. 

A graduate student listens to a student in her cohort.

Admissions Information

Doctor of Philosophy

  • Points/Credits: 90
  • Entry Terms: Every Other Year Fall Only

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): December 15
  • Summer/Fall (Final): December 15

* Program is not currently accepting applications.

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

  • GRE General Test
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
  • Academic Writing Sample
  • Master's degree required

Course Requirements

Education Leadership (Ph.D.)

Director: Professor Ellie Drago-Severson
Program Contact: Professor Ellie Drago-Severson, Director
Program Office: (212) 678-4163


(Application code: ELSR) Ph.D.

How can participating in a world-renowned institution that prioritizes research, theory, and practice help you influence the communities and contexts you serve? And, how can being part of this community help you to develop your leadership as you serve in schools, districts, organizations, and education systems around the world? Our Ph.D. Program aims to assist you in these vital tasks of leading and preparing leaders in the 21st century.

How can researchers, scholars, and professors of education leadership collaborate with you to help aspiring and practicing leaders develop the internal capacities that they need to teach, learn, and lead in an increasingly complex environment that constitutes the field of education today? If this is part of your professional and personal mission, our Ph.D. program is a good fit for you.

The Ph.D. program in Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University equips those who aspire to teach leaders—practicing and aspiring—in learning how to create schools, districts, organizations, and professional learning environments that support adult growth and organizational development.

The Education Leadership Ph.D. program is a 90-credit, full-time program that focuses on adult development, leadership development, and organizational development. Heavy in research methods, it prepares students to enter the professoriate in higher education institutions. If interested in the Ph.D. program in Education Leadership, please feel free to contact Professor Ellie Drago-Severson,, Director of this program.

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