Traditional Ed.D. Program Pathway

Cohort Model

In the Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership, participants join as members of a cohort that collaborates as a professional and academic community of practice. This cohort structure provides ongoing support within the coursework and through the capstone-writing process. The program matriculates a new cohort every other year — in the fall semester of odd years (e.g., 2025, 2027). Cohorts of approximately 15-20 students take the majority of courses together and engage as a learning community.


In the fall and spring semesters for the first two years, students take two three-credit courses back-to-back on Tuesday evenings (4:30-8:30 p.m.). Courses are offered in hybrid format, with roughly two-thirds of the classes held in person at UConn Hartford and the other one-third conducted synchronously online. Summer practicums are also offered the first and second summers and generally include independent, remote work. One summer course core course is offered in hybrid format. A list of the courses can be found here.

Problem of Practice

Students usually enter the program with some ideas of what they would like to explore and study for their culminating capstone project. The problem of practice is a central piece of the entire Ed.D. program, often discussed in courses and serves as the basis for the capstone. Problems of practice often evolve (or change completely) over time, as students become exposed to new perspectives through readings and class discussions.


Instead of a dissertation, students complete a capstone research project. The capstone is centered on the student’s problem of practice. It typically entails a systematic, empirical analysis and a final document that mirrors the format and length of a research journal article. The capstone places particular emphasis on recommendations for practice given the research findings. Prior to engaging in capstone work, students must successfully write and defend a capstone proposal. A final cohort-based course, EDLR 6050, is taken in the fall semester of the third year; this course is designed to guide students through the development of their capstone proposal. The capstone proposal is usually 12-15 pages in length. Successful defense of the capstone proposal serves as the Ed.D. students’ doctoral General Examination. Because most all capstones involve research on or with human participants, students must obtain prior approval from the UConn Institutional Review Board (IRB). The student’s major advisor assists with developing the IRB proposal, which can be submitted after passing the capstone proposal. Student capstones must be successfully defended to the student’s advisory committee in order to graduate. Capstones are independent projects, although students must enroll in a minimum of nine GRAD 6950 “dissertation” credits in order to graduate.


Does the Ed.D. degree lead to a state certification?

No, the Ed.D. confers a doctoral degree and is not tied to state administrator certification. Students interested in obtaining the State of Connecticut’s 092 or 093 licensure should explore our UCAPP and ELP  programs, respectively.

How long does the program take?

Students take 2.5 years of coursework together as a cohort during fall, spring, and summer semesters. The last formal course for the cohort is in the fall of the third year -- a proposal development course that provides structured guidance on completing the capstone proposal. Most students can be ready to defend a capstone proposal at the end of that fall course, while a smaller set may defend later or (rarely) even earlier. After the 2.5 years of formal coursework, students work with their advisor and committee to complete their capstone. Due to the independent nature of the capstone project, program completion time varies from student to student. Generally, however, it takes about 4 years to complete all program requirements. Some students may finish earlier or later, depending on several factors, such as the nature and timing of the capstone study, whether work or other life issues take precedence over capstone work.

How much will it cost and are there scholarships available?

Course tuition and fees are established by UConn. Please see The Graduate School website for up-to-date schedules.

There are generally no scholarships available to students and graduate assistantships are very atypical as they require students to be employed at least 10 hours a week at the University. Students can apply for financial aid through regular channels. Many of our students work in school districts or a college setting that have tuition reimbursement programs.