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Dr. Latanya Daniels sitting at her desk

Be an Advocate for Change


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Learning

Our Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership and Learning prepares current and future K-12, higher education and adult education leaders to engage in and advocate for continuous improvement, systematic reform and social justice within educational institutions and communities. All courses can be completed online, plus a Summer Residency (face-to-face or online). Concentrations or program tracks include: Director of Special Education and Principal Licensure (PK-12), Higher Education Administration, Music Education, Leadership in Student Affairs, Adult Learning, and Learning Technology Leadership and Innovation.

The EdD Program provides professional preparation experiences for a variety of K-12 education careers, including peer coach, principal, central office leader or director, and superintendent of schools. The doctoral program also supports those in higher education careers, such as student affairs professional; tenure-track, adjunct and clinical faculty; chair; dean and administrator. We also support those interested in adult education careers, including adult basic education (ABE), community education and organizing, cooperative extension, health education, and social advocacy in non-formal sectors. You can also earn your Principal or Director of Special Education administrative licensure.

Students will be challenged to engage in critical thinking, consider and expand their perspectives, acquire knowledge regarding research and best practices in education, and act as allies and activists for educational reform and social justice. As graduates, you'll use the knowledge and effective practices to facilitate continuous improvement and systemic reform by collaborating with others to ensure equity, access and opportunity for all children and adults learning in educational and community settings. All for the common good.

Where You'll Learn: Students can participate either online or in person for all courses.

When To Start: The next doctoral cohort will start in the summer of 2024.

Online and On Campus

Learn on Your Terms

student using laptop computer

You Have Options

Flexible Learning for Your Life

The Doctoral program in Educational Leadership and Learning coursework has been developed to meet your scheduling needs and provides working professionals with the opportunity to obtain this doctoral degree while maintaining a reasonable work-life balance. During the fall and spring terms, students will participate in online core coursework with electives available online or on campus. Each summer students will gather for classes with members of their cohort during the last two weeks in July.


EdD Four-Year Plan

The 66-credit doctoral program consists of 45 credits of core courses and 21 credits of electives. See below for an example of a possible four-year plan. Students typically complete the program in four or five years.

Concentrations or program tracks include: Director of Special Education and Principal Licensure (PK-12), Higher Education Administration, Music Education, Leadership in Student Affairs, Adult Learning, and Learning Technology Leadership and Innovation.

Year Summer Fall J-Term Spring
Year 1

EDLD 916 - Education Leaders and Learners

EDLD 917 - Scholars and Researchers in Education

EDLD 918 - Social and Cultural Foundations of Education

Optional: Concentration Elective

Elective EDLD 919 - Leadership for Social Justice in Education
Year 2

EDLD 889 - Research Paradigms in Education

Optional: Concentration Elective

EDLD 904 - Qualitative Research Methods

Optional: Concentration Elective


EDLD 902 - Quantitative Research Methods

Year 3 EDLD 920 - Framing the Research Question EDLD 921 - Dissertation Proposal Design -

EDLD 905 - Analysis of Research Data

EDLD 922 - Dissertation Hours

Year 4 -

EDLD 915 - Leadership Narratives

EDLD 923 - Dissertation Hours


EDLD 924 - Dissertation Hours

EDLD 925 - Dissertation Hours

Alumni Highlights

Dr. Michael Lehan
2022 EdD Graduate
Dr. Penelope Dupris
2022 EdD Graduate
Dr. Timothy J. Berndt
2021 EdD Graduate
Dr. Ilah Raleigh
2022 EdD Graduate
Dr. Jose Luis Diaz Jr.
2023 EdD Graduate
Dr. Hassan A. Hassan
2023 EdD Graduate
2021 EdD Graduate
Headshot of Dr. Michael Lehan Headshot of Dr. Penelope Dupris Dr. Timothy J. Berndt Headshot of Dr. Ilah Raleigh Headshot of Dr. Jose Luis Diaz Jr. Headshot of Hassan A. Hassan Headshot of Sister Elizabeth Mirembe Nakku, EdD

Dr. Michael Lehan

"Education is an act of liberation, and I am thankful for St. Thomas' willingness to center my identity and encourage audacious educational pursuits. Through each phase of the program, there were opportunities for my cohort's individual humanity and truths to be acknowledged and celebrated. This provides an environment for nurturing, globally minded, informed, critically conscious leaders to liberate the minds and souls in which they interact."

Current Position: Senior Vice President & Head of School, IMG Academy

Dr. Penelope Dupris

"My doctoral degree…has helped me understand racial inequality and systemic issues our students of color face within education. As an assistant principal, I now have the capacity to disrupt barriers for our students of color. Never give up. Surround yourself with people that believe in you and your goals. Don't be afraid to ask for their support or encouragement."

Current Position: Assistant Principal, Brooklyn Center Middle and High School STEAM

Dr. Timothy J. Berndt

"The relevant and real-world experiences provided a deeper understanding and new perspectives in my development as an educational leader. I am forever grateful to the UST staff and accomplished faculty that guided me through my programs. I highly recommend this program to anyone seeking personal and professional growth in educational leadership."

Current Position: Dean of Students, Edina Public Schools

Dr. Ilah Raleigh

"I had an amazing experience in the doctoral program! Faculty and staff welcomed and supported me in bringing my full self to the experience, both professionally as an arts educator and personally as a Black woman. I found mentors and friends within this community of scholars and gained a greater understanding of my role and social responsibilities as an educator and leader."

Current Position: Director of Visual and Performing Arts, Blake School

Dr. Jose Luis Diaz Jr.

"I cannot speak highly enough of the doctoral program in Educational Leadership and Learning at the University of St. Thomas. This program provided me with remarkable experiences that allowed me to grow personally and professionally. I valued the program's focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The coursework challenged me to develop strategies for creating inclusive and equitable learning environments. I enthusiastically recommend the doctoral program in Educational Leadership and Learning at the University of St. Thomas to anyone looking to advance their career in education and make a meaningful impact in their community."

Current Position: Director of Bands & Associated Faculty, Education, Wagner College

Dr. Hassan A. Hassan

"I had a wonderful experience in the doctoral program! The faculty and staff welcomed and supported me to grow personally and professionally. I am forever grateful to the University of Saint Thomas for giving me a world-class education and experience, which is relevant to today's world."

Current Position: Principal of Banaadir Academy, Minnesota Transitions Charter Schools

Sister Elizabeth Mirembe Nakku, EdD

"My career trajectory can be attributed to the excellent preparation I received at University of St. Thomas. As an international student, the EdD program I pursued at St. Thomas provided a real possibility to think critically about the social and educational problems from our own context. Due to the collegial atmosphere, I felt extremely supported at each phase of my doctoral studies by the faculty and fellow students. Ultimately, the rigorous training and supportive atmosphere I received from my excellent mentors not only helped me excel through the doctoral program, but have continued to guide me as I teach, mentor and lead my own staff members and students. I highly recommend this program."

Current Position: Dean Faculty of Education University of Kisubi, Uganda


Our faculty make their marks through teaching, research, professional engagement and mentoring.

Headshot of Aura Wharton-Beck

Dr. Aura Wharton-Beck

Director, K-12 Administrative Licensure Programs

Dr. Wharton-Beck joined the School of Education in 2018 after 36 years as an educator and school administrator. She has received awards as a school principal and researcher advocating for equity. Her areas of expertise include K-12 school leadership, arts education, race, diversity, equity and inclusion.

Dr. Aura Wharton-Beck
Headshot of Dr. Jayne Sommers

Dr. Jayne Sommers

Director, LSA MA Program

Dr. Sommers' areas of expertise include higher education leadership and the field of student affairs. Her specific areas of interest include holistic approaches to undergraduate student wellbeing, the role of mindfulness and self-care in student affairs work, social justice in higher education, and intersectionality in student affairs work.

Dr. Jayne Sommers
Headshot of Fr. Jean-Pierre Bongila

Fr. Jean-Pierre Bongila

Director, MA in Education Leadership

Dr. Bongila is a champion of building cultural bridges of learning and understanding. His most recent book, "Developing global positioning leadership: learning experience in Cuba" (2018), deals with the pedagogy of study abroad. He is the recipient of the 2017's International Citizen Educator Award from the International Leadership Institute (MN).

Fr. Jean-Pierre Bongila
Latanya Daniel posing near windows

Never Afraid of a Challenge

Latanya Daniels

As a high school principal at Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis, Latanya Daniels worked on many issues, including violent altercations on school property, graduation rates and a frustrated staff. During her time there, math scores increased and U.S. News & World Report named Patrick Henry the third best high school in Minnesota.

Dr. Latanya Daniels graduated from the St. Thomas EdD program in 2019 and has since gone on to become the Assistant Superintendent of Richfield Public Schools in Minnesota.

Latanya Daniel's Story

Uganda Study Abroad 2022

Leadership in the International Context

Group photo of students in Uganda with a Tommie banner

Examine Leadership Theories and Practices

"Traveling to the Global South, Uganda, as a part of EDLD 869: Leadership in Educational Contexts was a transformative experience. Winston Churchill describes Uganda as 'The Pearl of Africa,' and I observed first-hand the beauty of the people and the country. What I remember most is the kindness shown by individuals in Uganda and the importance of relationships and connections. The University of St. Thomas and EDLD 869 provided such an incredible opportunity to focus on 4 core areas of learning including governance, healthcare, education, and politics/economy in Uganda. The best part of engaging with these core areas was immersing myself in the culture of Uganda, not simply observing. I look forward to partnering with leaders in Uganda as learning from one another shall only enhance my own practice in leadership and my role as an educator. I highly recommend studying abroad! -Annie T.

Group of St. Thomas students in Uganda holding a Tommie banner

Immerse Yourself in a Host Country

"The EDLD 869 Leadership in International Context provided me with a hands-on educational experience and supported my growth as a leader. We learned through experiences and observations in the private and public primary and secondary education schools, private and public colleges, with tours of hospitals, the parliament, the economy/tourism by taking a safari, and the full immersion in the culture. The University of St. Thomas and its partner, the University of Kisubi, developed a program that developed ongoing leadership skills and to be an ambassador for our partnerships across the world. I will be forever grateful for this experience and the memories!" -Kelly W.

Group photo of St. Thomas students at the Equator

Grow as a Leader

"The Leadership in the Educational and Global Contexts of Uganda course was one of the most enriching educational opportunities I have had to privilege to engage with. Being able to immerse myself in the Ugandan culture while examining our course on-site learning through leadership theories and practices gave me new insight that I know will be used in years to come in my career. The relationships built between UST colleagues, and those we partnered with in Uganda, are ones I hope to remain for many years to come as we work together in collaboration toward the advancement of the common good." -Korto D.

Ugandan safari animal

Advocate for Sustainable Change

"Uganda was one of the best experiences of my life, and each day felt like I was in a dream. I learned so much about myself, the world, and other people. The lessons I learned will stay with me, and I am forever positively changed. I am already excited to travel back to Uganda next summer." -Kennedy R.