Program Contact

James E. Bartlett, II, Ph.D.
Director of Community College Leadership Doctoral Programs (Charlotte and Raleigh)

  Program inquiries:

Doctorate in

Community College Leadership

In the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development's Community College Leadership Program

Program graduates acquire competencies to lead transformational change in community colleges focusing on improved student outcomes. This doctoral degree (Ed.D.) is offered at two sites, one in the *Charlotte area (starting in even years), and one in *Raleigh (starting in odd years). The program provides a unique opportunity for working professionals to complete coursework in 27 months and the full doctoral degree in three years. The structure of the program allows professionals to balance work responsibilities with academic commitments.

*Virtual delivery of the program is in effect due to Covid-19.

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Important Dates
August 31, 2020
Raleigh-based Ed.D. Early Application Deadline

December 31, 2020
Raleigh-based Ed.D. Final Application Deadline

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.

The two courses offered each semester will meet on Fridays from 4 p.m.–9 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. on the odd numbered weekends of each month. During the fall and spring, courses meet in eight-week sessions so students can focus on one course at a time. Each course meets a total of four weekends. In the summer, courses meet in five-week sessions. Each summer course meets three weekends and has additional online content.

Key features of the upcoming cohort:

  • Program follows the principles of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) including a dissertation in practice.
  • Faculty with national reputations in adult, community college, higher and workforce education.
  • Integration of American Association of Community College leadership competencies within the curriculum.
  • Integration of Aspen Institute competencies for successful community college leaders.
  • High-quality doctoral program from a research intensive university.
  • Dissertation research development that begins in the first semester and continues throughout coursework.
  • Program completion in three years.
  • Executive format to meet schedules of working professionals.
  • Meets on selected Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year (some blended courses).
  • Meeting schedule is provided a year in advance.
  • Combines theory, research and practice.
  • Focuses on student success, equity and data-driven decision-making.
  • NC State faculty commitment to mentor and individually supervise students.
  • Innovative support through a cohort learning model.
  • Peer cohort students who are top professionals.
  • Learning network among students, practitioners and the scholarly community.
  • Dedicated full-time faculty members and community college leaders teaching courses.

Some courses may meet for part of the time in a hybrid format through an Internet web presence or in variations of Friday/Saturday offerings, while a few courses will be offered completely online. (Note: there will be occasional modifications of course offerings to maximize involvement of select NC State faculty or to have appropriate classroom space and technology support).

Dissertation development will start during the first course. Each student will have identified (with the assistance of the doctoral cohort director and other faculty) the specific NC State faculty member who will guide the student in the development, research effort and defense of the dissertation research.

This program is supported by the Envisioning Excellence Initiative, a partnership of NC State and the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program, supported in part by the John M. Belk Endowment.  Additionally, this program follows the CPED principles for education doctorates.

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.
  • 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. 

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-and-a-half years to complete, including a dissertation that begins in the first semester.


Thematic Research Areas

Select from the following six areas in which to conduct research:

  • Completion and Transfer
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Equity
  • Labor Market Outcomes
  • Technology
  • Culture/Organizational Behavior


Charlotte Ed.D. courses begin in Summer I, 2022
Raleigh Ed.D. courses begin in Summer I, 2021


Summer (six hours)

  • Reflective Practice
  • The Change Process

Fall (seven hours)

  • Improvement Science
  • Organizational Issues in Adult and Community College Education
  • Dissertation Seminar

Spring (seven hours)

  • Proposal Writing
  • Administrative Issues in Adult and Community College Education
  • Dissertation Seminar


Summer (seven hours)

  • Research Methods I
  • Leadership in Adult and Higher Education
  • Dissertation Seminar

Fall (seven hours)

  • Research Methods II
  • Community College and Two-Year Post-secondary Education
  • Dissertation Seminar

Spring (seven hours)

  • Research Methods III
  • Workforce Development
  • Dissertation Seminar


Summer (seven hours)

  • Evaluation
  • Internship
  • Dissertation Seminar

Fall (three hours)

  • Dissertation Seminar

Spring (three hours)

  • Dissertation Seminar

Additional Information

We welcome your application!

Tuition and Fees