A faculty member speaks to a class of students in UT Tyler's EdD in School Improvement program

Doctor of Education in School Improvement

Transform Education in Texas

To many, the state of today’s education system is concerning. Challenges from students unable to read at grade level to teacher shortages, limited budgets or outdated infrastructure can feel insurmountable. Where others see struggling schools, you see potential and strive to develop new solutions related to student outcomes, professional development and community engagement. The University of Texas at Tyler’s Doctor of Education in school improvement equips you with the leadership skills to transform your school or district into an effective and supportive learning environment.

Designed for educational leaders in Texas public schools, this program focuses on rigorous research training and data-driven strategies to help failing and at-risk schools thrive. Apply what you learn to implement innovative initiatives as a teacher, counselor or administrator.

Why Earn a Doctor of Education in School Improvement From UT Tyler?

After deepening your knowledge with a master’s degree in education, become an authority in your area of expertise with a doctorate. Immerse yourself in groundbreaking change theories and critical analysis to evaluate a school’s performance. Master quantitative and qualitative methods to conduct your own studies and contribute new insight to the field. Whether you want to build your body of work as a researcher, fulfill leadership roles in your current organization or bring your expertise to the public and private sector, UT Tyler’s EdD in school improvement prepares you to meet each challenge with a data-driven, innovative approach.

The Doctor of Education in school improvement helps you reach your professional goals through a unique approach:

  • 100% Online: Earn a degree while continuing to meet your work obligations. Since all coursework is online, you can make progress on your own time and from any location.
  • Exclusive: There are only five school improvement doctoral programs in the country, and ours is the only online offering in Texas.
  • Local Impact: Our program emphasizes the unique challenges and characteristics of the Texas public school system. Apply what you learn throughout the program directly to your own community.
  • Hands-on Leadership Program: Go beyond evaluation and assessments, and learn the practical skills to design, implement and execute strategic approaches to school improvements.
  • Collaborative: Find support and camaraderie with your cohort, composed of other educational professionals with similar goals. The program’s interactive and interdisciplinary format encourages team-based problem-solving methods.
  • Experienced Faculty: Our professors offer unparalleled guidance and bring real-world insights from their careers as educators, high-level administrators, principals and superintendents.
  • Research Intensive: Devote a quarter of your credits toward acquiring advanced skills in quantitative methods, data-driven strategy, design-based implementation research and other current tools.
  • Affordable: Our tuition is among the most affordable in the state. We work with you to offset the cost of your education through financial aid.


The EdD in school improvement consists of 60 credit hours: 30 credit hours toward school improvement coursework, 15 credit hours in research and statistics and the remaining for a dissertation and summer residency. Coursework expands a student’s understanding of data-driven planning, coaching, culturally respective practices, improvement science, education policy, community engagement, mixed-methods research design, statistical analysis and more.

Through the school improvement policy residency, access the opportunity to discuss contemporary education issues and their solutions with current leaders in the field. At the end of your studies, you defend a dissertation based on your own original research on a school improvement topic. An annual five-day summer workshop helps you hone your research proposal and skills for the successful completion of your dissertation.

The EdD in school improvement strengthens your ability to:

  • Understand and address the philosophical and historical perspectives of school reform and learning opportunities for all through a variety of strategies.
  • Lead radical transformations in schools through the critical application of improvement science and change theories that best address that particular institution.
  • Base strategic decisions on data and critical analysis while encouraging collaboration, problem-solving and creativity among team members.
  • Maximize the school’s potential — including that of students, teachers and administrators — through research-driven strategies and effective responsiveness.

Review All Course Descriptions for the EdD in School Improvement

Careers in School Improvement

A doctorate in school improvement prepares you for leadership roles in public school districts, government agencies, higher education and the private sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the employment outlook for principals to grow by 5% in the next decade. Meanwhile, as current school leaders retire or pivot to other careers, other leadership positions are expected to emerge. An EdD also prepares you for research and faculty positions in academia. 
Potential job titles include:

  • Assistant Principal
  • Curriculum Specialist
  • Curriculum Supervisor
  • Director of Curriculum 
  • Director of School Improvement
  • Education Consultant
  • Principal
  • Superintendent

How to Apply

To be admitted to the EdD in school improvement program, you must:

  • Hold a master’s degree in an education-related field from a regionally or nationally accredited institution.
  • Have at least three years of experience in education (record of service).
  • Write and submit an essay limited to 1,000 words related to a school improvement problem of practice.
  • Submit a résumé in PDF or Word format.
To apply, please complete the following steps:
  • Complete the application for admission to a graduate program.
  • Submit a 750-1,000 word essay using the Qualtrics form that discusses one of the three following problems of practice:
    • Insufficient Time and Effectiveness of Professional Learning
    • Inadequate Academic Intervention or Differentiation for Traditionally Underserved Student Populations
    • Poor School Climate and Quality of Student and Teacher Relationship
    • PLEASE NOTE: Do not submit the essay until you have applied and have a student ID number.
  • Submit the following documents directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions at the address below:
    1. Official transcripts from undergraduate and graduate institutions attended.
    2. Copy of the applicant’s complete service record.

The Office of Graduate Admissions, STE 345
The University of Texas at Tyler
3900 University Blvd
Tyler, TX 75799

You may also email documents to ogs@uttyler.edu.

The next available cohort start term is fall 2023. The application for this cohort becomes available on Oct. 1, 2023.

Completed applications, including the written prompt response, received by Wednesday, March 1, 2024, are guaranteed to be reviewed and considered by the admissions committee. Applications submitted after the priority admission deadline may not be reviewed. The committee does not review incomplete applications.

The committee selects and invites applicants to final interviews by March 15, 2024.

Interviews begin the week of March 20, 2024.

Admission decisions are made and communicated to students by April 1, 2024.

Students must commit to attending the face-to-face EdD summer workshop to be eligible to enroll in the fall 2024 cohort. The summer workshop is July 8-12, 2024. Students who are not able to attend the workshop are required to apply for the fall 2025 cohort.

Based on the 2022-2023 tuition schedule for Texas residents, the total cost of the program is approximately $30,570. Once a student has completed the required 60 hours, including 12 hours of dissertation, the student must continue to enroll in one credit of dissertation until he/she completes the program. At this point, one doctoral credit (online) is about $988.
A student may transfer a maximum of 12 semester hours of graduate credit in which a grade of "B" or better has been earned from approved institutions. Transfer credit must be approved by the EdD program directors. Transfer credit cannot be approved unless an official transcript of all transfer work is on file in the Office of Graduate Studies. Transfer credit should be evaluated and approved prior to the completion of the degree plan.

Next Steps

Your future starts here. Discover all the places a Doctor of Education in school improvement from UT Tyler can take you.