Why Us? | Ph.D in Education Leadership Program | Education Leadership | Organization and Leadership

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Ph.D in Education Leadership Program

In the Department of Organization and Leadership

Why Us?

Welcome and thank you for your interest in the Ph.D. program in Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University.

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.

Our 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.  You will develop methodological expertise (qualitative and quantitative) to explore questions that will enhance the field of Education Leadership. In addition, you will be mentored in utilizing theories, analytic tools and strategies to shape contexts that build and improve schools, districts, and education more broadly. Put simply, you will develop your research, theoretical and practical skills to make meaningful contributions to the field of Education Leadership and the practice of it. 

Increasingly, as a field, we are coming to understand that we must: 

1)    Prepare leaders who are not only able to “manage” schools, but who are architects of adult learning and development in their schools, districts, organizations, and systems, and
2)    Understand how to use data as integral to effective decision making, leadership, and increasing student achievement.

We not only support our students to achieve these goals, we provide true mentorship that is unparalleled in quality among doctoral programs of education. Throughout the program our students gain the tools, skills, and networks they need to be successful scholars, practitioners, researchers, and faculty at a wide variety of institutions and organizations around the world. 

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. Dr. Ellie Drago-Severson is the Program Director of the Ph.D. program.


Degree Type & Credit Requirements

Experience of Applicants

Curriculum Focus


Is this an Online Program

Time to Complete


Ph.D. in Education Leadership

Ph.D. (At least 90 credits, depending on course of study)

Some contact with leadership and a Masters in a related field

Leadership development to work with preparation of principals and superintendents. Prepares students to enter the professoriate and to conduct research.

Full-time only


4-7 years

Dr. Ellie Drago-Severson, Program Director

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