Urban Education Leaders Program EdD

Doctor of Education in Urban Education Leaders Program

With Certification Eligibility for the NYSED School District Leader (SDL) Certificate

The Urban Education Leaders Program (UELP) is a 90-credit Ed.D. Program in Education Leadership, which is housed in the Department of Organization & Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. An executive-style leadership preparation program for aspiring urban school superintendents, central office administrators, and non-profit and advocacy organization leaders, UELP integrates historical and present-day research, theory, and practice to provide its students the knowledge and tools necessary to lead and transform complex educational systems in urban contexts and communities.

Continuing TC’s longstanding commitment to social justice, UELP students engage actively with the most persistent and pressing problems of practice in the profession and prepare to make a real difference in the lives of children and families. As the first and oldest educational administration program in the country, UELP is one of the nation’s preeminent leadership preparation program. By leveraging the expertise of TC’s distinguished research faculty, accomplished practitioners, and everyday experiences of our students, UELP is deeply committed to the scholarship of discovery, integration, teaching, and application in ways that are essential to effective and transformative leadership practice.

UELP is a part-time cohort program serving students who work-full time as mid-level or mid-career school administrators and have a combined 8-12 years of teaching and leadership experience. Our current cohort (admitted Summer 2017) has 13 students, several of whom are local (New York, New Jersey) and others who travel to TC from cities like Houston, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Tempe, Arizona for face-to-face class sessions held in the summer and the regular academic year. More specifically, students meet for face-to-face class sessions Monday through Friday for 2 weeks in July and one Friday and Saturday (one weekend) per month during the fall and spring semesters. The online learning platform, Canvas, is used for asynchronous course-related learning activities and communications between face-to-face class sessions during the regular academic year.

UELP also leads to NYSED School District Leader (SDL) Licensure.

A graduate student smiles while she makes a point in a discussion with her peers at TC.

Admissions Information

Doctor of Education

  • Points/Credits: 90
  • Entry Terms: Odd Year Summer Only; Available 2021


  • NY State School District Leadership

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): January 5
  • Summer/Fall (Final): February 5
* Program is not currently accepting applications. The next available application term will be Summer 2021.

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

  • GRE General Test
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
  • Must hold master's degree

Additional Details Regarding Requirements

Candidates should have:

  • Masters degree in education leadership, curriculum and teaching, or another relevant field
  • At least 8-10 years combined teaching and leadership experience
  • Significant administrative experience at the school or district level is preferred

Application requirements:

  • Transcripts of undergraduate and graduate study
  • Professional resume (history of professional employment, including positions held, dates of employment, and major responsibilities)
  • Personal statement of professional experience, career goals, and areas of interest for graduate study
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Acceptable performance on the GRE general test (verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing)

Course Requirements

The Urban Education Leaders Program (Ed.D.)

Co-Directors:  Dr. Jeffrey M. Young and Dr. Sonya Douglass Horsford
Program Office:  uelp@tc.columbia.edu
Website:  http://uelp.tc.columbia.edu

(Application code: ELUE) Ed.D. – Summer and school-year cohort program

Urban Education Leaders Program offers school administrators and other education professionals an opportunity to complete a rigorous doctoral program while continuing to serve in schools, school systems, and other educational contexts. The program is dedicated to preparing students for high-profile, high-need positions as leaders in education, especially in urban settings. The Teachers College faculty help to develop students’ knowledge and analytical skills. Through unique district-based internship programs, students have the opportunity to learn with and from the nation’s top education leaders. Academic study and hands-on leadership development inform each other as students examine the most urgent and significant challenges facing education leaders today. 

The objectives of the Urban Education Leaders Program are to:

  • Strengthen our students’ ability to lead educational organizations and systems that are purposeful, successful, and humane contexts for learning;
  • Help students develop skills and knowledge needed for the effective leadership and management of complex organizations in a global, technological, and culturally diverse society;
  • Stimulate inquiry and innovation around challenges in professional practice;
  • Broaden and deepen reflection about values, trends, and issues that affect the education enterprise;
  • Create and sustain a community of leaders committed to continuous learning and mutual support. 

Students pursue a coherent curriculum grounded in practice and combining the best of theoretical and professional studies.

Degree Requirements:

Students must earn 90 points of academic credit, complete a field experience requirement, pass a doctoral candidacy certification examination, successfully pass the New York State licensure examination, and defend a doctoral dissertation.

New York State Education Department has certification requirements that are needed for program completion and graduation which are listed under the Office of Teacher Education section of the catalog.

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