2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
    Jun 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Rural and Diverse Educational Leadership, EdD

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The Southern Arkansas University Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Rural and Diverse Educational Leadership terminal degree program is designed for professionals who are effective leaders and value diversity. The program provides doctoral-level training for building- and district-level administrators; two- and four-year college teachers and administrators; and community and government leaders with professional interests in primary, secondary, and/or higher education including economic factors, public health issues, and the impact on learning of local, regional, and state government policies. The program emphasizes the challenges and opportunities facing educators and leaders serving rural and diverse populations. The program takes an integrative approach to educational leadership, recognizing educators in rural and diverse communities must possess a depth of understanding of factors shaping students in rural schools, colleges, and communities.

Doctoral Program Policies

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Rural and Diverse Educational Leadership is a fully online program requiring candidates to earn 60 hours above the master’s degree.

General Requirements

  1. All Ed.D. Admission Requirements must be met and admission granted to the School of Graduate Studies and the program.
  2. Concurrent enrollment is prohibited.
  3. Because the program is fully online, no on-campus residency is required.
  4. Up to nine hours of approved coursework may be transferred into the program. Students must notify their advisor of their plan to transfer credits prior to registering for the first semester. The coursework must meet graduate school guidelines and be approved by the program director and the College of Education Dean.
  5. All transfer hours submitted for approved program credit must have been completed no more than 10 years prior to the completion of the Ed.D. program. Time limits will be monitored closely.
  6. Only grades of A or B are accepted in the doctoral course work. Doctoral students must maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher. Letter grades of C or below cannot be used toward the doctoral degree requirements.
  7. Courses may not be audited.

Academic Advisor

The advisor is the key individual with whom a student works and the faculty member who monitors the student’s progress toward degree completion. An advisor is assigned at the notification of admission. The student and advisor will create a plan of study. The advisor will make recommendations when (a) additional coursework is required for students seeking licensure; and/or (b) deficiencies are determined by the advising committee.

Comprehensive Exam Course

Comprehensive exams are given through the course Comprehensive Exams EDFN 7803 . Students may not continue in the program until the course is successfully completed with an A grade earned. If a student does not successfully complete the course the first time, it must be taken again the next consecutive full semester. Scoring below an A the second time will result in termination from the program and the student will be dismissed.

Admission to Candidacy

Students are required to apply for doctoral candidacy after successfully completing the course Comprehensive Exams EDFN 7803 .

Continuous Enrollment

Students must maintain continuous enrollment in the program. Failure to maintain continuous enrollment will result in dismissal from the program. Exceptions are considered by petition to the Graduate Council.


Students are required to take a minimum of nine dissertation hours. The dissertation research topic must be approved by the dissertation committee, which is comprised of up to four members including a) chair, b) methodologist, c) content expert, and d) member-at-large. The dissertation committee chair will guide and supervise the candidate through the dissertation process. To complete the dissertation, candidates will be required to successfully defend their research proposal, receive approval to proceed from the Southern Arkansas University Institutional Review Board (IRB), and successfully defend their dissertation by oral presentation. The oral defense is conducted by the dissertation committee and is open to invited guests of the dissertation committee and the candidate. Procedural direction for the dissertation process is outlined in the Ed.D. Handbook.

Length of Time to Complete a Degree

The degree must be completed within seven academic years from enrollment in the first course. Students anticipating exceeding the time limit because of extenuating circumstances (e.g. military deployments, health issues, etc.) may apply to the Graduate Council for an extension.

Course Requirements

Focus Area Courses (15 Hours)


*Required for Superintendent’s Licensure

Comprehensive Exam (3 Hours)

Dissertation (12 Hours)

Procedural direction for the dissertation process is outlined in the Ed.D. Dissertation Handbook.

Total Credit Hours: 60

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