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Ed.D. in School System Leadership 

The EdTerps Learning Academy provides formal and informal training and professional development opportunities that encompasses current evidence-based research and practice related to instruction, policy analysis, counseling, and human development.

Mentoring and advising are an essential part of the program. Students meet with faculty and the academic program director to ensure that educational goals and career learning and development goals are met. Students should contact Dr. Douglas W. Anthony:


The Ed.D. in School System Leadership (SLSS) has a 60-credit, 15-course curriculum that develops leaders who can create and lead collaborative and inclusive system improvement initiatives.

  • Students work as a cohort over 42 months to identify, investigate, and solve real school system problems.
  • Specifically suited for students with the following backgrounds: School-Based Educators, Administrators, Principals, Principal Supervisors, Central Office Leaders (Associate Superintendents, Directors, Supervisors), and Program Coordinators.
  • Approved for Superintendent II certification by The Maryland State Department of Education. (The only program of its kind in the state of Maryland).
  • Can be completed in three years of continuous part-time enrollment. See Designation of Full-time/Part-time Status.

Program Features

  • 60 credits (post-Master’s)
  • 27 credits in 6 Core Topical Seminars (4 credits each)
  • 9 credits in Applied Research, Assessment and Evaluation courses (3 credits each)
  • 4 credits (2 courses) in professional inquiry and written communication
  • 5 Key Assessments
  • Extensive externship and portfolio requirement
  • 8 credits of Apprenticeship (Extensive externship & portfolio requirement)
  • 12 credits of Capstone credits (6 credits of EDUC828 and 6 credits of EDUC829)
  • Capstone Project focuses on improving or eliminating a real problem of practice within a school system.


Below is a listing of all program courses. For a detailed course description, that includes pre-requisites or co-requisites, see The Graduate School Catalog, Course Listing as follows: EDUC Course Descriptions 

Focus Areas Course Number Title
Core EDUC705 Education Policy Making and the School Leader
Core EDUC740 Managing Educational Organizations in a Diverse Society
Core EDUC747 Advanced Seminar on Instructional Improvement for School Leaders
Core EDUC760 The Human Dimension in Administration
Core EDUC767 Seminar on School District Leadership
Core EDUC770 System Innovation and Transformation Management
Core EDUC773 Seminar in School Finance and Resource Management
Research EDUC701 Applied Research and Data Based Decision Making for School Leaders
Research EDUC702 Applied Research Design for Education Leaders
Research EDUC888T Advanced Seminar in Improvement Science
Professional EDUC703 Conducting Library Research for Capstones
Professional EDUC704 Introduction to Writing for Education Leaders
Professional EDUC888 Applied Apprenticeship in Education
Evaluation EDUC828 Mid-Program Evaluation Portfolio
Capstone EDUC829 Doctoral Capstone

Registration Overview

  • See the sample plan of study, below. Students should use this as a guide to develop a plan with the academic program director. 
  • Actual course offerings are determined by the program and may vary. Students should note if a course has a pre-requisite or co-requisite.
  • Specific class meeting information (days and time) is posted on University of Maryland’s (UMD) interactive web service services, Testudo. Once on that site, select “Schedule of Classes,” then the term/year. Courses are listed by academic unit. 
  • The program uses specific section codes for registration that are listed on the sample plan of study.

Sample Plan

Courses delivered with a mix of online as well as five consecutive weekends during the semester with all-day in-person Saturday seminars.

Semester Year Offsite In Person Section Code Online Section Code Credits
Fall 1 PX** PU** 8-9
Spring 1 PX** PU** 8-9
Summer 1 PX** PU** 3
Fall 2 PX** PU** 8-9
Spring 2 PX** PU** 8-9
Summer 2 PX** PU** 3
Fall 3 PX** PU** 8-9
Spring 3 PX** PU** 8-9
Summer 3 PX** PU** 3


  • Features a blend of in-person and online learning.
  • Instruction provided by UMD faculty and professionals in the field.
  • Uses the semester academic calendar with classes held during fall and spring semester (16 weeks each) and Summer Session (two 6-week sessions).

In-Person Instruction

  • Instructors present dynamic and interactive seminar-style instruction. 
  • Classes are held Fridays and Saturdays at locations in the greater Maryland-Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, offering a focused, distraction-free learning environment. 
  • Students enrolled in a program that features in-person instruction are required to submit the University’s Immunization Record Form prior to the first day of their first semester/term. See Health Requirements

Online Instruction

  • Using advanced audio and video technology, UMD’s online learning environment delivers dynamic and interactive content. 
  • Featuring convenience and flexibility, online instruction permits asynchronous or synchronous participation.
  • Students attend lectures virtually (e.g., use of video technology, such as Zoom). 
  • Online lectures (lecture, slides, presentation, and Q&A interactions) are recorded and video-archived for student review.

Given that the program and key assessments are aligned to the NELP Standards here are a few of the competencies with expected mastery: 

  • Candidates understand the role and importance of a district’s vision and mission, as well as processes for evaluating and collaboratively designing a mission and vision. 
  • Candidates understand and demonstrate the capacity to evaluate, advocate, and cultivate equitable, inclusive, and culturally responsive instructional and behavior support practices among teachers and staff. 
  • Candidates understand the importance of and how to evaluate, design, and implement high quality curricula, the use of technology, and other services and supports for academic and nonacademic student programs. 
  • Candidates understand the importance of and how to design, implement, and evaluate a developmentally appropriate, accessible, and culturally responsive system of assessments and data collection, management, and analysis that support instructional improvement, equity, student learning and well-being, and instructional leadership.
Questions? Contact Us