Community College Leadership


Doctorate | Community College Leadership

Program Format:   
Entrance Exam: GRE, MAT

The education doctorate (Ed.D.) in community college leadership is an executive format cohort program offered on-site in two locations: the Charlotte, NC area (starting in even years) and the Raleigh, NC area (starting in odd years). The program provides a unique opportunity for working professionals to complete coursework in 27 months and the full doctoral degree in under three-and-a-half years. The structure of the program allows professionals to balance work responsibilities with academic commitments.

Admitted doctoral students participate in a structured three-and-a-half-year program. Fall and spring semesters consist of two courses each, along with two courses each summer session. Additionally, a one-credit course is taught each term that allows students to begin the dissertation process early in the program. A tentative listing of selected course offerings is presented in the curriculum section below.

The two courses offered each semester will meet on Fridays from 4 p.m.–9 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. on the odd numbered weekends of each month. During the fall and spring, courses meet in eight-week sessions so students can focus on one course at a time. Each course meets a total of four weekends. In the summer, courses meet in five-week sessions. Each summer course meets three weekends and has additional online content.


  • Transcripts from all previous higher education institutions attended.
  • Completion of an NC State Graduate School application. Go to the following site for instructions:
  • Statement of Purpose (300-400 words): A concise statement about your academic and professional (work) background, your career goals and your reasons for applying to this degree program. Please be specific in explaining how this program fits your educational and career objectives.
  • Personal Statement (500 word limit): How have your background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue this degree? For example, if you grew up in a community where educational, cultural, or other opportunities were plentiful or especially lacking, you might discuss the impact this had on your development and interests. This should be a discussion of the journey that has led to your decision to see a graduate degree. Please do not repeat your Statement of Purpose. 
  • Identify at least one thematic research area of interest from the following and explain why you have an interest in this area: completion and transfer, learning outcomes, labor market outcomes, equity, technology, and/or culture/organizational behavior.
  • Processing fee of $75 to the Graduate School. 
  • Official Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or GRE scores, taken within the last five years, can be accepted.
  • Resume/Curriculum vitae.
  • Three references from a leader in an organization, or supervisor, peer and/or faculty member.
  • Online North Carolina Residency Form (if claiming North Carolina residency for tuition purposes).


This 54-credit graduate program leads to a doctoral degree. At 2019-20 tuition rates, the cost of the required courses is $462 per credit for North Carolina residents and $1,311 per credit for non-residents. Thus, the total estimated cost for the program is $24,948 for North Carolina residents and $70,794 for non-residents. See Online and Distance Education Tuition and Fees for cost details.

Plan of Study

  • Program follows the principles of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) including a dissertation in practice.
  • Faculty with national reputations in adult, community college, higher and workforce education.
  • Integration of American Association of Community College leadership competencies within the curriculum.
  • Integration of Aspen Institute competencies for successful community college leaders.
  • High-quality doctoral program from a research intensive university.
  • Dissertation research development that begins in the first semester and continues throughout coursework.
  • Program completion in three-and-a-half years.
  • Executive format to meet schedules of working professionals.
  • Meets on selected Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year (some blended courses).
  • Meeting schedule is provided a year in advance.
  • Combines theory, research and practice.
  • Focuses on student success, equity and data-driven decision-making.
  • NC State faculty commitment to mentor and individually supervise students.
  • Innovative support through a cohort learning model.
  • Peer cohort students who are top professionals.
  • Learning network among students, practitioners and the scholarly community.
  • Dedicated full-time faculty members and community college leaders teaching courses.

Some courses may meet for part of the time in a hybrid format through an Internet web presence or in variations of Friday/Saturday offerings, while a few courses will be offered completely online. (Note: there will be occasional modifications of course offerings to maximize involvement of select NC State faculty or to have appropriate classroom space and technology support).

Dissertation development will start during the first course. Each student will have identified (with the assistance of the doctoral cohort director and other faculty) the specific NC State faculty member who will guide the student in the development, research effort and defense of the dissertation research.

This program is supported by the Envisioning Excellence Initiative, a partnership of NC State and the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program, supported in part by the John M. Belk Endowment.  Additionally, this program follows the CPED principles for education doctorates.

Our doctoral program takes three-and-a-half years to complete, including a dissertation that begins in the first semester.

Thematic Research Areas

Select from the following six areas in which to conduct research:
  • Completion and Transfer
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Equity
  • Labor Market Outcomes
  • Technology
  • Culture/Organizational Behavior

Tentative Schedule

Summer (six hours)
  • Reflective Practice
  • The Change Process
Fall (seven hours)
  • Improvement Science
  • Organizational Issues in Adult and Community College Education
  • Dissertation Seminar
Spring (seven hours)
  • Proposal Writing
  • Administrative Issues in Adult and Community College Education
  • Dissertation Seminar
Summer (seven hours)
  • Research Methods I
  • Leadership in Adult and Higher Education
  • Dissertation Seminar
Fall (seven hours)
  • Research Methods II
  • Community College and Two-Year Post-secondary Education
  • Dissertation Seminar
Spring (seven hours)
  • Research Methods III
  • Workforce Development
  • Dissertation Seminar
Summer (seven hours)
  • Internship
  • Evaluation
  • Dissertation Seminar
Fall (three hours)
  • Dissertation Seminar
Spring (three hours)
  • Dissertation Seminar
Entry Semester Application Deadlines and Details
FallFebruary 1 for M.Ed., M.S.
SpringSept 20 for M.Ed. students only
Summer 1August 31, 2019 - Early application deadline; December 31, 2019 for Charlotte Ed.D. cohort beginning Summer, 2020
Summer 1August 31, 2020 - Early application deadline; December 31, 2020 for Raleigh Ed.D. cohort beginning Summer, 2021

Dr. James E. Bartlett II

Charlotte Cohort Director

College of Education

Campus Box 7614

Raleigh, NC 27695


Dr. Rey Garcia

Raleigh Cohort Director

College of Education


Dr. Carrol Warren

Coordinator for Charlotte and Raleigh Cohorts

College of Education