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Program: Community College Leadership

Degree: Doctorate in Education
In the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development
Delivery Method: Off Campus

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Graduates of this education doctorate acquire competencies to lead community colleges and improving student outcomes. The program provides a unique opportunity for working professionals to complete the Ed.D. in three years. Additionally, the structure of the program allows professionals to balance work responsibilities with academic commitments.

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Program Description

Admitted doctoral students participate in a structured three-year program. Fall and spring semesters consist of two courses each, along with two courses each summer session. Additionally, a one-credit course is taught each term that allows students to begin the dissertation process early in the program. A tentative listing of selected course offerings is presented in the curriculum section below. Course delivery methods include virtual asynchronous and synchronous course meetings using NC State’s virtual technology platforms.

Key features of the upcoming cohort:

  • Faculty with national reputations in community college, higher and workforce education.
  • High-quality doctoral program from a research-intensive university.
  • Dissertation research development that begins in the first semester and continues throughout the coursework.
  • Executive format for coursework designed to meet schedules of working professionals delivered by faculty from a research intensive university.
  • Combining theory, research and practice while focusing on student success and data-driven decision-making.
  • NC State faculty commitment to mentor and individually supervise students.
  • Learning network among students, practitioners and the scholarly community.

Courses are delivered with the schedules of working professionals in mind and in a hybrid format, utilizing in-person meetings and virtual platforms supported by NC State.

Various supports of the Program are coordinated by the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research. 

Admission Requirements

  • Transcripts from all previous higher education institutions attended.
  • Completion of an NC State Graduate School application. Go to the following site for instructions:
  • Statement of Purpose (300-400 words): A concise statement about your academic and professional (work) background, your career goals and your reasons for applying to this degree program. Please be specific in explaining how this program fits your educational and career objectives.
  • Personal Statement (500 word limit): How have your background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue this degree? For example, if you grew up in a community where educational, cultural, or other opportunities were plentiful or especially lacking, you might discuss the impact this had on your development and interests. This should be a discussion of the journey that has led to your decision to see a graduate degree. Please do not repeat your Statement of Purpose.
  • Identify at least one thematic research area of interest from the following and explain why you have an interest in this area: completion and transfer, learning outcomes, labor market outcomes, equity, technology, and/or culture/organizational behavior.
  • GRE is optional (if submitted, completed within the last 4 years).
  • Processing fee of $75 to the Graduate School.
  • Resume/Curriculum vitae.
  • Three references from a leader in an organization, or supervisor, peer and/or faculty member.
  • Online North Carolina Residency Form (if claiming North Carolina residency for tuition purposes).

When completing the application be sure to select the right program from the drop-down list: > Adult and Community College Education> Community College Leadership> Summer I

Course of Study

All doctoral degrees in the College of Education require a minimum of 72 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. Most doctoral programs in the College of Education require a minimum of 60 graduate credit hours beyond an approved master’s degree.

Our doctoral program takes three years to complete, including a dissertation that begins in the first semester.


Thematic Research Areas

Select from the following areas in which to conduct research:

  • Organizational Behavior
  • Access
  • Completion
  • Transfer
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Labor Market Outcomes


A new cohort begins each summer I semester in May of each year.Year 1, Summer (6 credit hours)

  • EAC 711, Reflective Practice
  • EAC 700, Community College

Fall (7 credit hours)

  • EAC 802, Improvement Science
  • EAC 795, Workforce Development
  • Dissertation Seminar

Spring (7 credit hours)

  • EAC 824, Proposal Writing
  • EAC 701, Administrative Issues
  • Dissertation Seminar

Year 2, Summer (7 credit hours)

  • EAC 803, Research Methods I
  • EAC 704, Leadership
  • Dissertation Seminar

Fall (7 credit hours)

  • EAC 788, Research Methods II
  • EAC 787, Organizational Issues
  • Dissertation Seminar

Spring (7 credit hours)

  • EAC 803, Research Methods III
  • EAC 712, Change
  • Dissertation Seminar

Year 3, Summer (7 credit hours)

  • EAC 703 Program Planning/Evaluation
  • EAC 851, Internship
  • Dissertation Seminar

Fall (3 credit hours)

  • Dissertation Seminar

Spring (3 hours)

  • Dissertation Seminar

Meet our Faculty

Dr. Ken Ender
Professor of Practice

Dr. Devon Graves
Assistant Professor

Dr. Catherine Hartman
Assistant Teaching Professor

Dr. Audrey J. “AJ” Jaeger
W. Dallas Herring Professor

Dr. Mary Rittling
Professor of Practice

Dr. Diane Chapman
Teaching Professor

Additional Information

We welcome your application!
Sign up for a virtual information session.
Apply to the program!

Tuition and Fees