The Esteves School of Education offers a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.).

“Research shows that the leadership skills needed today are different from in the past, and preparation programs must adapt in order to better train people for leadership positions.” (Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today: Preparing Effective School Leaders in New York State, a publication of the New York State Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department).

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program at the Esteves School of Education is designed to develop visionary educational leaders who are reflective and ethical practitioners and who will create learning communities where all children experience a sense of belonging, discover the excitement of learning, and demonstrate achievement individually and collaboratively. This program prepares graduates for roles as school district leaders and for leadership positions in educational coordination and policy making at local, regional, and statewide levels.

Giovanni Virgiglio

After reaching the position of superintendent of schools, Giovanni Virgiglio still wanted to learn. As a candidate for an Ed.D. at Russell Sage College, he’s having just the experience he hoped for. Read more about Superintendent Virgiglio’s experiences in Sage’s Educational Leadership program.

The EDL program is designed for fully engaged public school leaders, independent school heads, charter school leaders and those with statewide responsibilities in educationally related organizations. Candidates for the program are those individuals working in a leadership role and ready for expanded responsibilities, seeking the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills, or interested in immersion in a community of practitioner scholars examining current issues and research. The program serves primarily K-12 leaders from New York and surrounding states in the northeast and is designed to allow for continued employment throughout the seven semesters required for completion. Careful work with school and community leaders is intended to assist in increasing the numbers of highly qualified candidates from under-represented populations who enroll the doctoral program.

Since 2007, the EDL program has graduated 140 students in ten cohorts. Eighty-one percent (81%) of our students graduated on time and 85% of those who entered the program eventually graduated. The national average completion rates for humanities doctoral program is approximately 50% graduation within ten years.

To meet the mission of Russell Sage College (To Be, To Know, To Do), the program of study for the Doctorate in Educational Leadership will:

  • provide advanced study in leadership and change theory for candidates entering significant leadership roles in school districts or other areas of broad educational influence;
  • kead to the creation of exceptional, inclusive learning communities in the schools and districts served by our graduates;
  • generate a forum for women and men of differing races and ethnicities to convene and challenge themselves as they investigate the effects of race, poverty, gender, and special needs on the achievement of children;
  • develop knowledgeable, engaged leaders who, as scholar practitioners, are skillful in the act of inquiry;
  • produce reflective and active educational leaders who respect the past but are not constrained by it in their thought or action on behalf of learners;
  • become a model of school-university cooperation in leadership development;
  • ignite and disseminate research-based decision-making and problem-solving for school districts in need.

Each candidate will intern throughout the first three semesters, experiencing the annual cycle of school district leadership functions. The internship competency areas relate specifically to the coursework of the semester. Candidates will serve the internship in two carefully selected school districts of varying socioeconomic status, one of which may be the district in which the candidate is currently working.

Area school districts, BOCES and other educational organizations provide research sites and work with program faculty to identify significant problems of practice for each cohort’s dissertation, ensuring that Ed.D. candidates’ work is grounded in the real world. These partnerships provide relevancy for the research, build capacity for the school districts, and generate model university school district relationships.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate competence individually and to work collaboratively as a member of a research team, to apply the research findings in the field, to understand the complex nature of the issues and problems that schools face, and to draw upon the richness and breadth of the university curriculum. The resulting research will not only address significant and real problems, concerns or questions, but will contribute to the knowledge base in the area of leadership practice.

Degree Requirements

Candidates for the Ed.D. will complete 106 credits of graduate study, 46 of which must be completed in the Russell Sage College doctoral program. Those credits include core coursework, an experiential component integrated throughout the program, and culminating research activities. The program is designed to be small; a maximum of 20 part-time candidates will be accepted. They will proceed through the program as a cohort that begins every Fall semester. The seven semester program design includes summer residencies, weekend format courses, online components, and interaction with state and national experts.

The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership is housed on Russell Sage College’s Albany campus. For New York City students, courses are held in Manhattan for fall and spring semesters and in Albany during summer residency weeks. All students benefit from state-of-the-art classrooms, and small and large group meeting spaces. Additionally, extensive online resources including Google, Moodle, databases, and journals support the online coursework of the candidates.

LiveText e-Portfolio System
The Esteves School of Education requires all students to subscribe to Live Text, an electronic portfolio system.

Program Summary

  • EDL 715 – Educational Leadership: An Endeavor of Human Interaction: 4 Credits
  • EDL 735 – School District Leader Internship I: 2 Credits
  • EDL 720 – Leadership of Learning Communities: 4 Credits
  • EDL 736 – School District Leader Internship II: 2 Credit
  • EDL 745 – Introduction to Research Methods: 1 Credit
  • EDL 725 – Accountability and Leadership for School Districts: 4 Credits
  • EDL 737 – School District Leadership Internship III: 2 Credits
  • EDL 730 – Law, Policy, Values: Decisions, Planning and Change: 2 Credits
  • EDL 741 – Foundations of Inquiry I: 1 Credit
  • EDL 746 – Research Methods I: 2 Credit
  • EDL 742 – Foundations of Inquiry II: 2 Credits
  • EDL 747 – Research Methods II: 2 Credits
  • EDL 743 – Foundations of Inquiry III: 1 Credit
  • EDL 752 – Diversity and System Leadership: 1 Credit
  • EDL 755 – Doctoral Research I: Problems of Practice: 4 Credits
  • EDL 756 – Doctoral Research II: Problems of Practice: 3 Credits
  • EDL 756 – Doctoral Research II: Problems of Practice: 4 Credits
  • EDL 744 – Foundations of Inquiry IV: 2 Credits
  • EDL 748 – Research Colloquium: 2 Credits
  • EDL 750 – The System Leader: 1 Credit
  • EDL 771 – Dissertation Writing I: 1 Credit
  • EDL 772 – Dissertation Writing II: 1 Credit
  • EDL 773 – Dissertation Writing III: 1 Credit
  • EDL 774 – Dissertation Writing IV: 1 Credit

For those students who need extended time to finish doctoral research:

  • EDL 770 – Doctoral Research Continuation: 2 Credits

Total Program Credits: 46

Course descriptions are available in the graduate catalog.

Admission Requirements

The program is limited to qualified candidates who have completed a master’s degree or degrees, with no fewer than 60 graduate credits of study in education or related areas, and a GPA of no less than 3.5 in graduate coursework. Potential candidates will also present teaching or leadership certification and demonstrate potential for educational leadership based on prior work experience.

Other requirements include an application to Esteves School of Education, three letters of professional reference that address the candidate’s potential relationship to effective system leadership, an on-demand writing sample to determine readiness and capability for scholarly writing, a current resume, and a statement of career goals supporting the choice to enter doctoral study at this time, and participation in a personal admissions interview. See the Russell Sage College graduate admission requirements for more information.


  • application to the Esteves School of Education at Russell Sage College:
  • official graduate level transcripts totaling at least 60 credits with a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 and above
  • statement of career goals supporting the choice to enter doctoral study at this time
  • three letters of professional reference that address the candidate’s potential relationship to system leadership
  • participation in a personal admission interview and an on-demand writing sample to determine readiness and capability for scholarly writing
  • completed immunization form
  • current resume

Application Deadline: June 1
Submit all application materials online at or send to:

Russell Sage College
140 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
ATTN: Office of Graduate Admission

National Accreditation Advantage

Russell Sage College’s Esteves School of Education has held continuous accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE/CAEP) since October 2001. NCATE/CAEP accreditation means that graduates are recognized as having completed an Education program that meets the highest standards in the field. Sage is one of only 45 colleges and universities in New York State to receive prestigious NCATE/CAEP accreditation. Across the nation, relatively few private colleges can claim this level of excellence in teach education programs.