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Pre-K–12 Educational Leadership

Develop into an innovative scholar-practitioner and transformational leader who can solve complex problems of practice.

Master Your Educational Leadership Skills

Grow upon your past knowledge and skills and earn your educational doctorate 100% online for your future in administrative leadership. By specializing in PreK–12 educational leadership at USD, you will become a reflective leader and skilled educator whose practices and decisions draw upon the best available theory, research and experiential wisdom. You can work with our expert professors to design an individualized plan of study that emphasizes the administrative context and meanings that are most important to you. Then, engaging coursework will challenge you to think differently, make administrative decisions, and reflect on and learn from the outcomes. With an education founded in theoretical, ethical and professional knowledge, you'll become a prepared problem solver who is ready to lead in any educational environment.

Degrees & Offerings

Educational Administration and Leadership: PreK–12 Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

Specifically designed for current school administrators, principals or superintendents who want to earn their educational doctorate (Ed.D.), but do not need the degree for licensure. This alternative pathway is offered online and provides a general background in leadership, as well as coursework in theory, statistics and methods of educational research.

Learn more about the educational administration and leadership program

View Admissions Requirements

Program Details





Graduate Admissions

Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.


As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

An Affordable Education

Gain valuable real-world, professional experience while enjoying paid employment and discounted tuition rates as a graduate student at USD. The affordability you gain through graduate assistantships and fellowships will equip you with valuable, professional-level skills that will set you apart after graduation. 

Teaching and research assistantships are awarded by individual departments. If you do not receive an assistantship within your department, you are eligible for an assistantship outside of your academic program or within support offices (non-academic units) at USD. Further inquiries should be directed to the graduate director of the department.

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At USD, our graduate students are actively pursuing unique research and presenting at local and national conferences exploring innovative areas of interest to them. Additional research and grant opportunities include:

Research and Creative Scholarship Opportunities

Each semester students may apply for grants through the USD Graduate School, faculty and students pursue research in virtually all academic departments on campus, and in many cases, it is a required portion of a graduate degree program.

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IdeaFest is an annual event celebrating student research, creative scholarship and academic engagement. Undergraduate and graduate students in all disciplines present their work in oral and poster presentations, live performances, readings, exhibits and displays.

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USD is home to more than 170 student organizations, including several that are housed in the School of Education. You may be interested in joining a student organization to make friends, develop new skills and explore your interests.

Graduate & Professional Student Association (GPSA)

Join your fellow graduate and professional students at USD. We aim to build a sense of community between graduate and professional students. Build your resume, network with others and gain experience and the unique opportunity to represent the interests of graduate students to the greater campus and community.

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Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in educational leadership.
Educational leadership students paying attention in a classroom.

Educational Leadership

Preparing education leaders to be effective educational administrators.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know your professors in the Division of Educational Leadership.
Bio Image for Faculty Member David Barker

David Barker

Assistant Professor of Practice
Bio Image for Faculty Member Mejai Avoseh

Mejai Avoseh

Bio Image for Faculty Member Gary Cheeseman

Gary Cheeseman

Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Vassa Grichko

Vassa Grichko

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Wendy Knutson

Wendy Knutson

Senior Secretary
Bio Image for Faculty Member Erin Lehmann

Erin Lehmann

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jesse Sealey

Jesse Sealey

Division Chair
Bio Image for Faculty Member David Swank

David Swank

Assistant Professor of Practice
A student in classroom on her laptop.

Take Your Classes Online

We're committed to bringing our knowledge to you. USD serves the largest number of online students in the state of South Dakota. With competitive online tuition rates, we offer the same price whether you’re out-of-state or an in-state resident.

USD maintains a challenging and rigorous curriculum focused on preparing you to move forward in your career.

Take classes at your own pace. Enroll in an online class today! 


View all online programs
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A Tailored Program for You

Graduate with a degree that reflects your passions and sets you apart, tailored to your interests and career goals.

USD's graduate degrees in educational leadership are unique in that you can craft the program to fit your interests and career goals. You'll learn from supportive and expert faculty in the Division of Educational Leadership, and you'll also take classes from other departments across campus to expand your skillset and knowledge. This unique structure provides a versatile and supportive climate that prepares students for effective participation in an information-rich society.
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Discounted Tuition for South Dakota Teachers and Vocational Instructors

If you live in South Dakota, be sure and take advantage of the 50% reduced tuition program for currently contracted elementary/secondary teachers and vocational instructors.


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Surprisingly Affordable

Whether you’ve recently completed your undergraduate degree, or you want to kick your career up a notch, graduate school is the next logical step. The good news is there is funding for both online and on-campus students to get you through your program. 

Graduate Tuition & Costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate students and see how your out-of-pocket costs at USD compare to those at other colleges and universities. Visit the Graduate Tuition & Costs Detailed page for program specific costs and fees.

Financial Aid

Navigating options for how to pay for college can be challenging, but you are not alone. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you and your family to explore how you can make your college education even more affordable.

Graduate Assistantships

USD offers opportunities for grad students to earn a reduced tuition rate in exchange for their teaching, research and service efforts to the university.


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