Expand the section navigation mobile menu
Photo of an african american woman sitting at a desk smiling out the window next to her


If you do not already have a completed cognate in your chosen area, please consider applying to that program and taking courses toward the completion of your cognate.


The goal of the Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (Ed.D.) is to develop effective leaders in organizational contexts cutting across many different paradigms to build greater professional coordination between different service organizations and varied global perspectives. The Ed.D. is a three-year, cohort-based program. Our objectives are to improve students’ skills and increase their knowledge of effective leadership through advanced study. This doctoral program will focus on practice and professional engagement, rather than research and theory. Graduates will excel in strategic leadership, human organizational development, social justice knowledge, interdisciplinary collaboration, and development and change in different organizational contexts.

This degree is designed to connect classroom and professional practice through internships, collaborative projects and field based research. Students will work with practitioners in the field using research to identify needs and assess existing programs and applying theory to develop and implement innovative programs. All classes are based on current and critical issues and include opportunities for application in the field. Because the issues facing organizations will not be faced or resolved in isolation, the more traditional compartmentalization of knowledge and skills has been replaced by embedding the learning into the context of professional practice. Issues will be studied within this context to address the interrelationships and dynamics that must be addressed to resolve problems in an increasingly complex world.

Program Coordinator:
Julia B. Smith, Ed.D.
475B Pawley Hall
(248) 370-4492
[email protected]

Administrative Assistant:
Ann Marie Lindstrom
480D Pawley Hall
(248) 370-3070
[email protected]

To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must submit all Graduate Application Requirements and additional requirements of the Department of Organizational Leadership by the published application deadlines.

Minimum requirements:

  • A master’s degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4 point scale (or equivalent);
  • A minimum of two years of professional experience; and
  • Meet all of the requirements as stated in the Graduate Catalog Oakland University and all of the Department of Organizational Leadership (DOL) requirements for admission. 

Applicants will be admitted to the Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership through the Graduate Office based on the recommendation of the DOL faculty following the process described below.

Complete the Oakland University Application for Graduate Study.

Complete the department of Organizational Leadership supplementary application, which includes:

  • a current professional resume/vita;
  • official transcripts of all degrees earned;
  • two letters of recommendation speaking to applicant’s leadership capacity; and
  • a written narrative of goals for obtaining the Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership.

The Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership is a 60 credit program designed to be completed in three years.

The curriculum includes the Doctoral Common Core (16 credits), Research Training (12 credits), Field Experience (12 credits), and a cognate (20 credits). All courses are 4 credits each.

Doctoral Common Core (16 credits) choose 4

  • ED 8410: Philosophical and Ethical Issues of Organizational Leadership
  • ED 8420: Advanced Politics and Policy in Organizational Leadership
  • ED 8430: Promoting Diversity and Social Justice in Organizations
  • ED 8440: Organizational and Adult Learning Theories and Building Professional Capital in Organizational Leadership
  • ED 8450: Motivation, Change and Innovation for Organizational Leadership
  • ED 8460: Principles of Organizational Leadership

Research Training

  • ED 8610: Program Evaluation
  • ED 8620: Gathering, Reading, Assessing and Communicating Evidence for Program Evaluation
  • ED 8630: Capstone Project Completion

Field Experience

  • ED 8953: Organizational Leadership Internship I
  • ED 8954: Organizational Leadership Internship II
  • ED 8955: Organizational Leadership Internship III

Students may begin the Ed.D. with the cognate requirement complete, or finish a cognate while pursuing the Ed.D.

What is the Capstone Project?
The Capstone Project is based on inquiry and evaluation that is tied to the projects and activities of the internship. The Capstone Project is an original, formal, and evidence-based written and oral presentation to both the Client and a Juried Review Committee (JRC) comprised of two OU faculty and your client.

When do classes meet?
All classes meet on weeknights starting at 5:30 pm to accommodate working professionals.

What is the deadline for applying?
This is a cohort program beginning every fall semester. Applications are due on May 1.

All applications for admission to the Ed.D. program begin with contacting Graduate Admissions at oakland.edu/grad/graduate-programs.

Is the GRE required?

Is financial aid available?
Students are eligible for financial aid, if they qualify. For full information on financial
aid eligibility and tuition rates, students should contact the Student Financial Services office at oakland.edu/financialservices.

I work at OU, is the tuition covered by my employee benefits?
Yes. After 1 year of full-time employment, you can take up to 8 credits per semester or 16 credits per fiscal year at no cost to you. For further information on the tuition benefit, please contact Willie Tuggle in University Human Resources at [email protected]. 

What is a cognate?
The Cognate is a minimum of 20 credits that provide an intellectual context for the field placement work of a student enrolled in the Ed.D. Program. The cognate requirement may be met by the successful completion of a post-master’s degree or certificate program as long as said program comprises 20 or more credit hours. Students may enter the Ed.D. program with the cognate completed, or complete the cognate concomitantly with Ed.D. course work.

The following cognate options are already in place, but more could be added. In addition, there is 
the opportunity to craft an individualized cognate.

Department of Organizational Leadership

Pawley Hall, Room 480B
456 Pioneer Dr.
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2730

Educational Leadership
Pawley Hall, Room 480D
(248) 370-3070
fax: (248) 370-4605

Human Resource Development
Pawley Hall, Room 475E
(248) 370-4109
fax: (248) 370-4095