COVID-19 Guidance
In response to COVID-19, all courses are now online and employees are working remotely.

Educational Leadership

PhD in Educational Studies, Low-Residency

Our goal is to inspire the imagination and persistence 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 learn and grow as an educational leader with vision and the skills to put that vision into action.

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.

See the panel below for a list of courses you'll take when you start the program this summer.

Program Structure

Low-residency PhD program

45 Credits
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:
PhD in Educational Leadership Summer 2020
Students entering our PhD program this summer will take the following program.
phd in expressive therapies class presentation

PhD Application Deadline now May 15, 2020. Lesley University is keenly aware that the difficulties of COVID-19 restrictions are presenting many demands on applicants’ personal and professional lives.  We understand that these responsibilities may delay the completion of the application process. Below is updated information on submissions deadlines for current and prospective applicants and the upcoming Virtual Open House.

The faculty of the PhD Program in Educational Studies is currently reviewing the first pool of completed applications. Those applicants will receive their admission decisions by April 1st.  In response to COVID-19, the Graduate School of Education is extending a second application cycle through May 15, 2020.

We will be hosting a Virtual Open House on April 15, 6 pm-8 pm, EST (RSVP Please join this open house and learn more about our doctoral program and the application process. Virtual information 1:1 meetings with applicants are also available. 

The Graduate Admissions Office is available via email to answer any questions you may have. Please contact Debbie Mosher, at

You'll find information on how to apply at the bottom of each program page:

Educational Leadership Specialization
Human Development and Learning Specialization
Individually Designed Specialization
Jewish Educational Leadership Specialization

Not quite sure about taking the leap? Read Five Reasons to (Finally) Get Your PhD in Education. 

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:


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

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.

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.