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College of Education

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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.


Three pathways to complete the program:

  • Post-master's – Students entering the program after completing a master’s degree will take 60 hours to complete the Ed.D.
  • Post-graduate certificate - Students entering the program after completing a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Leadership will take a minimum of 45 hours to complete the Ed.D.
  • Post-Ed.S. - Students entering the program after completing  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.

View the full course requirements for each pathway.


Special Tuition Rates

Tuition Rates

South Carolina Certified Teachers

All Other Applicants

Per Credit Hour $515* $572.25 
Estimated Total Program Tuition including Fees – 60 hour program $33,898* $37,333
Estimated Total Program 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.

These fees and rates are subject to change and are effective for the 2023-2024 Academic Year. See Specially Priced Online Degree Programs information on the fee schedule and the Graduate One Rate estimated cost to attend based on averages across all university programs.


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.



Courses are offered online in a convenient 8-week format.
View the full course requirements for the program.


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 and what led you to believe this is a problem in your work.
    • any evidence of research methods, including action research, expertise.
    • For those applying to the Education Systems Improvement concentration, in addition to all of the above, you should also include in your personal statement:
      • your potential to positively impact social justice and equity outcomes
      • your high propensity for and/or experience with producing innovation (however you define it)
      • your leadership experience 
  • 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.


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