Skip to Content

College of Education

  • a smiling female adminsitrator

Doctor of Education - Education Systems Improvement

The 100% online Ed.D. in Educational Practice and Innovation with a concentration in Education Systems Improvement is designed to develop capacity for school, district, and higher education institution improvement with capabilities that include advanced understandings of inquiry and improvement science; organizational culture and change: transforming educational institutions and communities; economics and district finance; educational policy and reform; board relations; and systemic challenges and problems in urban and rural contexts. This program is ideal for leaders in K-12, community college and higher education.

This program is for educational leaders who seek to:

  • Develop as scholar practitioners with a strong foundation and strategies for education systems improvement.
  • Develop in-depth knowledge and understanding of district, state, and national policies.
  • Learn to use principles of improvement science to solve systemic problems of practice in their contexts.
  • Positively impact student achievement, student engagement, school climate, the overall educational experience, and social change.


Two pathways to complete the program:

  • Post-masters – Students entering the program after completion of a master’s degree will take 60 hours to complete the Ed.D.
  • Post-Ed.S. - Students entering the program after completion of an Ed.S. in Education Administration for Superintendency can complete the Ed.D. with an Education Systems Improvement Concentration in as few as 39 credit hours.


Special Tuition Rates


South Carolina Certified Teachers

All Other Applicants

Per Credit Hour $515* $572.25 
Estimated Total Tuition including Fees – 60 hour program $33,898* $37,333
Estimated Total Tuition including Fees – 39 hour program $22,330* $24,562

* This rate applies for SC resident certified teachers completing fewer than 12 hours per semester. Fall I and II together is considered one semester, Spring I and II together is considered one semester, and all summer sessions are considered one semester.

These fees and rates are subject to change and are effective for the 2020-2021 Academic Year.


Financial Aid

Most students in this program receive assistance through loans and other forms of aid. Complete your FAFSA to be considered for these aid programs.


Course Work

Courses are offered online in a convenient 8-week format.

Sample Program of Study (courses may vary)

Required Hours

  • Minimum of 60 hours required post master’s degree
  • Minimum of 39 hours required beyond the Ed.S. in Education Administration for students selecting the Education Systems Improvement Concentration. Students must have completed an Ed.S. in Education Administration that leads to Superintendency Certification to be eligible to complete the program in 39 hours.

12 Credit Hour Core

  • EDCS 720 - Introduction to Diversity and the Curriculum
  • EDCS 820 - Advanced Study of Diversity and Curriculum
  • EDET 709 - Applications of Learning Principles
  • EDLP 755 - Educational Policy Analysis

15 Credit Hours in the Concentration and Cognate

  • EDLP 754 - Advanced Educational Finance
  • EDLP 730 - Organization Theory and Systems Design in Education
  • EDLP 731 - Social/Cultural Contexts of Education
  • EDLP 732 - Applied Data Driven Decision Making in Education
  • EDLP 733 - History of Educational Reform

9 Hour Cognate (3 courses from below as approved by advisor)

  • EDLP 735 - Economics of Education
  • EDLP 736 - Ethics of Educational Leadership
  • EDLP 737 - Transformative/Anti-Racist Leadership
  • EDLP 751 - Advanced School Law

12 Credit Hours in Research

  • EDRM 723 - Classroom Assessment Methods
  • EDRM 801 - Principles and Applications of Educational Research
  • EDLP 734 - Action Research and Improvement Science
  • EDLP 808 - Field Problems in Educational Administration and Literature Review

12 Credit Hours in Dissertation Preparation and Writing


What is the application process like?

  • Official Transcripts
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation – Submit 2 letters of recommendation from people who can speak to your ability to matriculate into this doctoral program and complete a dissertation.
  • Personal Statement - Describe how the Ed.D. in Educational Practice and Innovation and your selected area of concentration is a good fit for you. The statement should include:
    • specific details describing how this program is a good fit for you
    • how the program supports your professional goals
    • an identified Problem of Practice for the Dissertation in Practice
    • any evidence of research methods, including action research, expertise.
  • CV or Resume
  • Recent Scholarly Writing Sample (e.g., graduate level paper from previous coursework or publication) with applicant as sole author and using American Psychological Association (APA) citations and references

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.