Educational Leadership (Post-Secondary) EdD

The EdD program meets the needs of educators who occupy positions of influence in schools, colleges, universities and health and community services. The class schedule accommodates the demanding schedules and life styles of practicing education professionals.

The EdD program provides a blend of rigorous coursework and original research. The program combines a critical analysis of education theories, an intensive scrutiny of current practices in their socio-cultural, political, multicultural and technological contexts, and the study of quantitative and qualitative research paradigms. This facilitates the planning and development of research and the opportunity to conduct high quality focused research directed at influencing practice, policy or theory.

The program culminates in a degree of the highest standard in the profession of education.


Goals of the Program

The EdD Program is intended to provide participants with structured and supported opportunities for:

  • The systematic acquisition and interpretation of a wide range of scholarly and professional literature pertinent to the advanced study of educational leadership and professional practice.
  • In-depth investigations of up-to-date research, state of the art practices, and grounded theory to forge knowledge with action.
  • Sharing and interrogating personal practical knowledge.
  • Integrating accumulated professional knowledge and scholarly inquiry.
  • Deep understanding of applicable research methods and advanced academic inquiry.
  • Conceptualizing, designing and implementing a research program for the generation of new knowledge that will satisfy the highest standards of academic and professional review.

Upon completion of the program participants will have conducted an original investigation that is a pertinent contribution to professional knowledge and practice.

Students complete:

EDUC 964-5    Seminar in Educational Theory

This course is determined in context with the program.

EDUC 961-5    Educational Governance and Reform

The nature and impact of recent wide-ranging systemic educational reform in several different countries are critically examined, through two major themes. One theme is the politics and dynamics of governance, with a particular emphasis on participatory forms of political life in a heterogeneous society. The other theme is the politics and culture of difference, and the development of community which respects these differences.

EDUC 960-5    Ethics, Law and Professional Leadership

This seminar examines the ethical and legal environment of professional leadership. Specifically, the course addresses moral issues and dilemmas embedded in professional practice including occupational and ordinary morality, issues of deception and honesty, informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, conflict of interest, individual and collective responsibility, inter alia. The course will use cases and personal experience as heuristics for learning.

EDUC 962-5    Leadership, Accountability and the Public Interest

The special responsibilities of leaders in educational institutions for accountability both to learners and to the wider community with respect to policies, practices and programs are the focus of this seminar. Contemporary approaches to program assessment and to ensuring cost-effectiveness in educational management are applied to cases emerging from student experience.

EDUC 950-5    Approaches to Educational Research

The broad paradigms encompassing much current educational research are examined, with emphasis on their philosophical and assumptional bases, as well as general ethical and methodological issues. Particular attention is paid to the critical reading of research and the implications for educational leadership. In addition, students begin to identify a research topic and to develop a defensible research orientation.

EDUC 983-5    Doctoral Comprehensive Examination

The examination is graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

EDUC 899-15*    Doctoral Thesis

Prerequisite: EDUC 983.

*Effective January 1, 2018, the unit value of EDUC 899 increased to 15 units from 10 units.

Faculty Sponsor

Admission Information

Program Prerequisites:

Applicants must meet SFU doctoral admissions requirements.

  1. One of the following:
    a) A master's degree from Simon Fraser University or its equivalent from a recognized institution, demonstrating strong academic performance, or

    b) A bachelor's degree, with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5/4.33 or a grade point average of at least 3.67/4.33(A-) based on the last 60 units of undergraduate/graduate courses from a recognized institution, or

    c) Completion of at least 75% of the course work units required for the relevant department's master's program, with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5. All graduate courses, whether completed at SFU or its equivalent from a recognized institution, shall be considered in the calculation.

  2. Submitted evidence that the applicant is capable of undertaking substantial original research. This is usually judged from letters of reference from qualified referees, and the completion of a master's thesis or other scholarly work (writing sample).

  3. Several years of exemplary and varied educational and professional experience, preferably in educational leadership.

Of particular value will be evidence that candidates not only have an interest in critical reflection on issues of leadership, but also are judged by their peers capable of providing distinctive leadership in their subsequent educational careers.

Students whose primary language is not English may be required to satisfy the University and the graduate program committee as to their capability in English (i.e. TOEFL / IELTS scores). Academic equivalency by country.

Frequently Asked Admission Questions on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

Program Format:

This program is designed for the working professional with a flexible schedule to accomodate your demanding lifestyle.

  • Cohort model, 20-25 students
  • Classes meet five or six times per term (typically every second or third weekend)
  • Classes are held on Friday evenings and Saturdays.
  • Students complete five 5-unit courses, a comprehensive exam, and a doctoral dissertation.
  • Students are invited to attend a three-day summer institute (July) which will allow for small group study, complemented by extended dialogue with professors, colleagues, and invited world class authorities.

Program Fees:

Tuition 2014/15              $4521.66/term

Other Fees
Recreation/Athletics             $71.06
Student Activity                    $63.59
Student Services                 $42.64
Graduation (first 3 terms)      $12.00
Universal Transit Pass      $120.00 (Students who do not live in the GVRD and are registered in off-campus courses can apply for an exemption.)

Extended Health/Dental – for information please go to If students have existing extended health and dental coverage, an opt out process is required if no further coverage is wanted.

On leave information (per term students)

On leave fees (special fees)

Fees are subject to change annually.  Please refer to the SFU Calendar for further information.

Admissions Contacts:

For admissions/course registration, contact Irene Burrell (; 778-782-8099). If Irene is unavailable, please contact other staff in the Surrey Graduate Programs office.

Learn more about the Faculty of Education Graduate Student Funding Policy.
Information about financial support is available from the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office.
Additional information can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page as well as in the Student Calendar.
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