Fall 2020 Guidance
In response to COVID-19, university courses and operations remain predominantly online for fall.

Educational Leadership

PhD in Educational Studies, Low-Residency

Inspiring the creativity to improve teaching, learning, and leading.

Educational leadership involves creative intelligence and systems thinking. In this program, you’ll learn to use new knowledge and strategic planning to initiate, facilitate, support, and sustain school and district improvement. You’ll grow as an educational leader with vision and the skills to put that vision into action. 

During your studies, you'll conduct novel research and create new knowledge, all drawn from your personal and professional experiences. With faculty mentorship, you'll create a dissertation that explores your area of scholarly interest and inquiry. We'll encourage you to engage in evidence-based thinking and self-reflection that will foster development throughout your career.

And by joining this low-residency program, you'll join a close-knit community of diverse learners who co-construct knowledge and support each other throughout residencies and online coursework.

This program is appropriate for traditional leaders, such as superintendents and principals, and others, such as instructional coaches or department heads. Our alumni go on to a variety of leadership positions in K-12 education, as well as to positions in higher education.

Graduate Program Inquiry Form

Program Structure

Low-residency PhD program

45 Credits
Summer 2020 Residency Update for New and Returning Students

For the well-being of our community, and in keeping with federal and state health and safety guidelines related to COVID-19, we have made some changes to our upcoming residencies for this program.

New Students

We have decided to delay Residency I of our new cohorts until the spring and launch the fall semester with two required online courses: Nature of Inquiry and Quantitative Research Methods. Program directors and faculty advisors will meet with new students during the fall semester.

Returning Students

Returning students will engage in a virtual summer residency, completing core courses and other benchmarks. While we will miss being together in our much-loved face-to-face residency, we look forward to seeing each other in our virtual courses and community gatherings. We will communicate more details in the coming weeks.

PhD students outside in caps and robes, about to attend their hooding ceremony

After completing 36 credits of your required coursework and receiving doctoral committee approval for your qualifying paper you’ll then advance to year three. In year three, you will take the final 9 credits, which are devoted to helping you write your dissertation proposal and dissertation. The program of study concludes with a public defense of your dissertation, doctoral committee approval, and graduation. 

Gain Skills and Expertise
Our PhD in Educational Leadership program prepares you to:

Charles River with Boston skyline in the background

Cambridge, MA

Cambridge is located in the heart of a dynamic urban area near a variety of institutions and organizations, where you'll benefit from a unique concentration of diverse learners and teachers from all over the world. We are close to a number of other universities, where our doctoral students routinely participate in research and educational events.

Average salary for education professionals with a doctoral degree in New England (Source: Burning Glass Labor Insight)
Superintendents and other hiring managers across Massachusetts prefer to hire Lesley graduates. With a combination of theory and practice, our graduates are prepared for leadership positions on day one. (Source: Radius Global Market Research)
Top Schools
Massachusetts ranks as the best state to work in education, with some of the highest performing schools and best salaries in the country, according to US News.
Stephen Gould
Educational Studies
Dr. Stephen Gould
Steve is director of the Educational Leadership PhD program. He has over 30 years of experience as an assistant superintendent, principal, and teacher, and served on the Massachusetts Elementary School Principals Association for over 10 years. His expertise includes leadership development, organizational development, team building, strategic planning, and executive coaching.
Where You'll Work
Graduates of our PhD program are prepared for rewarding careers in a range of settings, including:
PhD in Educational Studies Programs


Total approximate cost for this PhD degree program. Tuition and fees are for the 2020–2021 academic year.
Educational Leadership
  • Tuition
    $1,050/credit x 45
  • Fees
    PhD Matriculation Fees
    Residency Fees
    Registration Fees
    Degree Completion Fee
  • Total
Estimated Cost

Review all graduate tuition and fees, and what they cover.

Tuition and fees are subject to change each year, effective June 1.

Apply Now

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Your degree is an investment, and we're committed to ensuring its value. That's why we offer the best education programs in Massachusetts, at competitive tuition rates.
We'll help ensure your degree is as affordable as possible. Use our step-by-step guide to apply for federal and university funding. Scholarships, grants, Work-Study, and loans. It’s all right here.

Next steps to apply

Ready to get started? We're here to make the application process as smooth as possible. Just answer a few quick questions, and get your customized application guide.