Program Requirements

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the Ed.D. program, candidates are required to:

  • Complete a minimum of 90 credit hours. Up to 30 credit hours from an approved graduate degree program may be considered for transfer.
  • Complete the program’s core requirements, comprised of a minimum of 60 credit hours, including research methodologies and the dissertation.
  • Pass a comprehensive exam, and write and successfully defend a doctoral dissertation proposal and doctoral dissertation.
  • Satisfy the residency requirement by completing at least 9 credits of core courses each semester for two consecutive semesters.

Core Curriculum Requirements

All candidates are required to:

  • Complete the program’s core curriculum, which includes 20 courses totaling 60 credits.
  • Register for 9 credits each semester and be continuously enrolled to meet the core requirements, with the exception of the first summer, which requires candidates to register for 6 credits.
  • Take the core courses offered in this curriculum; courses taken at other institutions may not be used as substitutes.
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 ('B') or higher each semester to continue in the program.

Ed.D. Executive Leadership Requirements*

DEXL 701 Doctoral Studies Seminar (3)
DEXL 702 Contemporary Issues in Executive Leadership (3)
DEXL 703 Research Methods and Design (3)
DEXL 704 Leadership and Cultural Change (3)
DEXL 705 Field Experience I (3)
DEXL 706 Applied and Action Research (3)
DEXL 707 Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods (3)
DEXL 708 Field Experience II (3)
DEXL 709 Public and Human Relations (3)
DEXL 710 Assessment, Evaluation, and Organizational Improvement (3)
DEXL 711 Field Experience III (3)
DEXL 712 Public Policy, Law, and Ethics (3)
DEXL 713 Executive Leadership and Shared Governance (3)
DEXL 714 Field Experience IV (3)
DEXL 715 Finance and Resource Development (3)
DEXL 716 Human Resource Development and Continuous Improvement (3)
DEXL 717 Guided Dissertation Seminar I (3)
DEXL 718 Leadership and Diversity (3)
DEXL 719 Guided Dissertation Seminar II (3)
DEXL 720 Guided Dissertation Seminar III (3)
Total (60)

*Includes approval of the final dissertation document by the program director.


  • DEXL 721 Guided Dissertation Seminar IV (3)*
  • DEXL 722 Guided Dissertation Seminar V (3)*

*Requires permission of the dissertation chair and program director to register.

Degree Completion Time Limit

Candidates in the Ed.D. Program must finish the degree within six years of completion of the first course in the program. The time limit is inclusive of any leaves of absence taken by a candidate.

School District Leader, Advanced Certificate

Program Overview

The School District Leader (SDL) Advanced Certificate program serves as an additional component of the Ed.D. program. The SDL Advanced Certificate program is for qualified individuals interested in leadership opportunities such as superintendent, associate superintendent, or other district-level administrative positions.

School District Leader Advanced Certificate Admission Requirements

In addition to the materials and credentials outlined in the general admission requirements and Ed.D. admission requirements, individuals applying for admission to the School District Leader program must meet the following prerequisites and provide verification:

  • Possess a valid School Administrator/Supervisor (SAS) certificate or School Building Leader (SBL) certificate from an approved program
  • Have three or more years of teaching, pupil personnel services, and/or school leadership experience
  • Completion of the Child Abuse Identification Workshop and School Violence Prevention and Intervention Workshop (if applicable)
  • Completion of the Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination Prevention and Intervention workshop. The workshop can be completed during the program and must be completed prior to graduation.

In accordance with New York State Education Department requirements, candidates in the SDL program will be required to take and pass the New York State SDL Licensure Exam, successfully complete a minimum of 60 credits of graduate study, which includes 30 transfer credits from an approved master’s degree program and 30 hours of additional coursework provided by this program.

After July 1, 2016, to comply with New York State regulations, all doctoral applicants seeking School District Leader certification must provide St. John Fisher College with official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Millers Analogy Test (MAT), or the Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST).

For specific information regarding the School District Leader certificate, please contact Dr. Jeannine Dingus-Eason at (585) 385-8002 or

Program Courses

The SDL Advanced Certificate component is integrated within 13 existing courses in the Ed.D. program, and one 3-credit district level internship (DEXL 723). The courses were specifically chosen to provide a sequence that addresses the district-level knowledge, skills, and experiences that will prepare persons holding building-level certification to apply their knowledge and skills to the district level.

Doctorate in Education: Executive Leadership (Ed.D.)

For More Information

(585) 385-8064