May 25, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Organizational Leadership, Doctor of Education

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Department of Organizational Leadership
480D Pawley Hall  (map)
(248) 370-3070 • Fax (248) 370-4605   

Julia B. Smith
475B Pawley Hall
(248) 370-4492

Eileen S. Johnson
480B Pawley Hall
(248) 370-2627

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Graduate Catalog Addendum  



Program description

The goal of the professional doctorate (Ed.D.) in organizational leadership is to develop effective leaders in organizational contexts cutting across many different paradigms to build greater professional coordination between different service organizations and varied global perspectives. Through rigorous scholarship and application of interdisciplinary content knowledge, graduates with an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership will excel in (a) strategic leadership, (b) human organizational development, (c) social justice knowledge, (d) interdisciplinary collaboration, and (e) development and change in different organizational contexts.

This professional doctorate in organizational leadership is designed to connect classroom and professional practice through internships, collaborative projects and field based research. Students will work with practitioners in the field using research to identify needs and assess existing programs and applying theory to develop and implement innovative programs. All classes are based on current and critical issues and include opportunities for application in the field. Because the issues facing organizations in the next century will not be faced or resolved in isolation, the more traditional compartmentalization of knowledge and skills has been replaced by embedding the learning into the context of professional practice.  Issues will be studied within this context to address the interrelationships and dynamics that must be addressed to resolve problems in an increasingly complex world.

The Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership is designed to be field-based to meet the needs of leaders across different organizational contexts, and to draw on the strengths of practitioner training that has been identified in the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate, integrating internship experience with classroom learning.  Graduates of this program will be prepared in leadership in the areas of education, health care, legal institutions, and other non-profit organizations, along with collaborative programs across different professional schools at Oakland University.

Admission terms and application deadlines

Before an applicant’s file can be reviewed for full program admission, all application documents must be received in Graduate Admissions by the semester deadlines listed below.

Students are admitted in the fall semester only. Applications will be accepted until July 15 for the following fall semester.

Application requirements

To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must submit all Graduate Application Requirements and additional department requirements by the published application deadlines:

  2. Additional department application requirements
  • a master’s degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4 point scale (or equivalent);
  • a minimum of two years of professional experience; 
  • a current professional resume/vita;
  • 2 letters of recommendation speaking to applicant’s leadership capacity; and
  • a written narrative of goals for obtaining the Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership

Admission review and assessment

Admission to graduate school at Oakland University is selective. In making admission recommendations to Oakland University Graduate School, each department assesses the potential of applicants for success in the program by examining their undergraduate records, goal statement, letters of recommendation, prerequisite courses and any other admission requirements established by the academic department.

Finalists will be selected based upon a review of the criteria below, as well as the personal statement:

  • Graduate grade point average (minimum of 3.0)
  • Undergraduate grade point average
  • Quality of writing in goal statement
  • Appropriateness of goals to the degree
  • Evaluation scores of letters of recommendation

Degree requirements

The Professional Doctorate in Organizational Leadership degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of a minimum of 60 credits beyond the master’s degree in an approved program of study: 16 credits in the doctoral common core, 12 credits in field experience, 20 credits in the cognate, and a 12 credits in research training for the capstone project.

Post-masters credits that are not part of an awarded post-masters degree or graduate certificate may be reviewed individually according to Oakland University’s graduate transfer credit policy.

Course requirements

d. Cognate (20 minimum credits)

Students who have been awarded a post-masters Graduate Certificate from Oakland University or another accredited university may reduce the cognate credit requirement up to16 credits for the EdD degree.  Graduate credits that are not part of an awarded post-masters degree or graduate certificate will be reviewed individually according to Oakland University’s transfer credit policy. Cognate plans are available in the areas of K-12 School Leadership, Leadership in Higher Education, Non-Profit Administration, Health Care Administration, Human Diversity and Social Justice, Lean Leadership, Central Office Administration, and Human Resources Development.  More information on the courses in these plans can be obtained by contacting the program coordinators.

Satisfactory academic progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the term used to denote a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a certificate or degree. Federal regulations require the Office of Financial Aid to monitor Satisfactory Academic Progress for all financial aid recipients each semester.

Students who fall behind in their coursework, or fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average and completion of classes, may lose their eligibility for all types of federal, state and university aid. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional details.

Good academic standing

All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing throughout the entire course of their graduate program. To be in good academic standing, a graduate student must make satisfactory progress toward fulfilling degree requirements, including the completion of critical degree milestones as set forth by the academic program. The student must also maintain a minimum semester and overall GPA of 3.0.

Good academic standing is a requirement for:

  • Holding a Graduate Assistantship
  • Receiving a fellowship or scholarship
  • Advancing to candidacy for a graduate degree
  • Going on a leave of absence
  • Obtaining a graduate certificate or degree from Oakland University.

Additionally, graduate students must meet all department academic standards which may be more stringent than the minimum set forth by the University.

Graduate students who are not in good academic standing for any reason are subject to probation and/or dismissal from further graduate study.

Related program information

Academic advising

Student advising will be the responsibility of the Program Coordinator in the Department of Organizational Leadership.  Students who select a cognate outside of the department will also be advised by a faculty member from the appropriate department.  The role of the advisor will be to assist the student in selecting the appropriate courses and provide guidance for the appropriate cognate area of study with support from individual departments.  Students will also benefit from the career advising that they will receive from professionals during their internship experiences throughout the program.

A yearly departmental review of student progress will take place with a focus on coursework, internship experiences, progress toward Capstone Project, and satisfaction with the program.  The review will include a review of transcripts as well as reports from the internship advisor.  Progress will be evaluated and each student will be informed of their status in the program. 

Capstone Project

The completion of quality capstone research is a requirement for the professional Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership degree from the Oakland University. In addition to the research courses embedded in the curriculum, students register for Capstone Project (ED 8630). Students will undertake original capstone research that will be conducted usually starting at the end of their first year and continue throughout the  time in the program, culminating with an original formal written and oral presentation to the client and to a juried review committee. The Juried Review Committee will be responsible for providing oversight, guidance, and final approval of the Capstone Project. Juried Review Committees are comprised of three faculty, consisting of (1) the Capstone Faculty Advisor, (2) a faculty member from the student’s cognate area, and (3) the student’s Internship Advisor.

The evaluation research, established and monitored by program staff, involves research and analysis of an issue currently being experienced by a local educational, governmental or non-profit entity. The evaluation research will be designed and implemented in coordination with the client and will include the following:

1) the executive summary,

2) statement of the problem(s),

3) description of methodology used to analyze the problem,

4) results of strategies or products developed to address the problem(s),

5) conclusions, actions, and implications, and

6) formal presentation of the research and recommendations to the client and a juried review committee.

The final manuscript for the capstone research should be a minimum of 35 double-spaced pages of text (APA Style) plus preliminary and supplementary pages.

Continuous enrollment

The continuous enrollment policy for doctoral students requires continuous registration of graduate students for at least 1 credit each semester in the academic year to maintain an active graduate student status. This includes semesters in which the comprehensive qualifying examination and the preliminary dissertation proposal oral defense are completed, and for each subsequent term (fall and winter) until all the degree requirements are met and the dissertation is submitted to Oakland University Graduate School.

Some agency and graduate assistantship eligibility may have course-load requirements that exceed the minimum registration requirements of the Continuous Enrollment Policy (e.g., Veterans Affairs, Immigration and Naturalization for international students, and federal financial aid programs). Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to register for the appropriate number of credits that are required for funding eligibility and/or compliance as outlined by specific agency regulations under which they are governed.

Time limits

The maximum time limit for completing an Ed.D. degree is no more than ten years from the term of the first course enrollment in the doctoral program.

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