EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership

The Doctor of Education (EdD) in Organizational Change and Leadership is designed for current and emerging leaders who are looking to drive systemic change in their organization. These leaders include individuals who currently hold or are seeking leadership positions within colleges and universities, K–12 schools and systems, private firms, nonprofits and government organizations.

Delivered through a blend of online interactions and real-world experiences, the EdD program allows students to continue working full time while pursuing a degree that will distinguish them as organizational leaders. Students will explore how learning occurs in formal and informal workplace settings, examine effective strategies for facilitating organizational learning, and learn to create systems that produce more effective, adaptable and competitive organizations.

Coursework in the EdD program focuses on practices of motivating and supervising others, assessing organizational priorities and driving innovation through new technologies. Students will complete most coursework online and will attend an annual immersion weekend held on campus at the University of Southern California. The program culminates in a dissertation and longitudinal reflective self-assessment in which students demonstrate effective application of the program's theories and concepts.


Successful leaders know how to foster and sustain conditions within organizations that support continuous improvement. The EdD program curriculum focuses on preparing leaders who can facilitate conditions for organizational learning in order to create organizations that will be effective, adaptable and competitive.

Graduates will be equipped with the experience and expertise to:

  • Use principles and practices of learning and motivation to supervise others.
  • Drive innovation through technology-enabled and blended-learning formats.
  • Organize and deploy organizational resources, especially human and financial resources, to attain organizational goals.
  • Gather and interpret qualitative and quantitative data to assess the status of organizational priorities.
  • Create a culminating dissertation in practice that demonstrates effective application of the program's theories and concepts.
  • Assess and reflect upon their own skill as a leader and the performance of their team(s) and organization and modify their strategies as needed based on those data.

There are four themes that are addressed in each course. These four themes are: organizational change, leadership, problem solving and reflection.

Problem Solving Strengthens skills in evidence-based decision-making, effective use of data, program evaluation and assessment.
Leadership Addresses key skills, such as creating environments of inclusion and transparency, and establishing and communicating widely shared vision and goals.
Dispositions Develops fundamental characteristics of successful leaders, such as resilience and the courage to lead change.
Reflection Challenges students to contemplate the mission, process and outcomes of specific learning initiatives through targeted questions.

Program Requirements

The EdD program requires 60 units of coursework and can be completed in three to four years.

Students who currently hold a master's degree may be admitted with advanced standing and are required to take only 43 units in order to complete the program.

Students who do not have a master's degree but have substantial work and leadership experience will be required to complete the full 60 units of coursework over four years.

View a list of course descriptions.

EdD students participate in weekly, live online classes and complete coursework on their own time. Learn more about the online learning experience.

As part of the EdD curriculum, students will complete a Capstone experience. Learn more about the Capstone experience requirements.

On-Campus Immersion

While coursework for the EdD program is completed through a blend of online assignments and real-world experiences, students will be required to attend an annual immersion weekend held on the University of Southern California campus. This immersion experience will give students the opportunity to meet their classmates and professors face-to-face and complete various collaborative learning exercises designed to build essential leadership skills. Learn more about the January 2015 immersion.

Learn More


Overview | Courses | Capstone | Admissions | Tuition & Financial Aid