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Doctor of Education
in Social Justice Leadership

Doctor of Education in Social Justice Leadership

Our vision imagines a region and world in which everyone has access to an inspiring education and the psychological tools and support to propel them toward flourishing lives of meaning, purpose and connection.  Our education is characterized by Strong Values, Social Justice, Transformative, Diverse Community.

Rooted in the Jesuit tradition at Santa Clara University, the mission of the Doctor of Education (EdD) in Social Justice Leadership program is to educate and prepare leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion. Our EdD graduates will be leaders who work across a broad spectrum of fields, from schools to universities and nonprofit entities whose focus is to promote the common good as they transform lives, schools, organizations, and communities.

We prepare leaders by cultivating the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to lead complex organizations. Our Jesuit tradition leads us to a set of core values, including “cura personalis” – or care for the whole person, developing men and women for others, centering our actions in social justice and equity, and engaging in a cycle of learning and collaboration, action, and reflection in our work.

The EdD in Social Justice Leadership equips graduates with the 21st-century knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to lead complex organizations with the goal of  building a more humane, just, and sustainable world.


Higher Education Leadership 
Focus is on issues and complexities related to higher education, with particular attention to building and sustaining effective colleges and universities.

PreK-12 Leadership
Focus is on the specific issues and complexities related to PreK-12 schools.

Social Impact Leadership 
Focus is on the specific issues and complexities related to the communities served by social impact or community-based organizations. 

Doctor of Education Highlights

  • Classes held at SCU and online
  • 3-year program
  • 77 Quarter units
  • Applicants should already possess a M.A.

Course Sequence


 Quarter 1Quarter 2Quarter 3Quarter 4
Year 1        

Presession - Foundation of Doctoral Studies (1 unit)

Servant Leadership for Mission & Values Driven Organizations (3 units)

Leadership for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (3 units)

Specialization Elective (3 units)

Moral and Ethical Basis of Leadership (3)

Specialization Elective (3)

Communities, Schools, & Critical Social Theory  (3)

Values-Based Leadership Development Plan  (1)

Specialization Elective (3)



Financial Leadership (3)

Specialization Elective (3)


Year 2 

Social Inquiry Methods & Research Collaborations I  (3)

Specialization Elective (3)



Social Inquiry Methods & Research Collaborations II (3)

Human Resource Development (3)  


Social Inquiry Methods & Research Collaborations III  (3)

Specialization Elective (3)


Dissertation Proposal I (3)

Dissertation Proposal II (3)

Year 3

Communities of Inquiry: Dissertation in Practice I (3)

Dissertation Research Supervision (3)

Specialization Elective (3)


Communities of Inquiry: Dissertation in Practice II (3)

Leadership Integration and Vision Statement (3)

Dissertation Research Supervision (3)

Communities of Inquiry: Dissertation in Practice III (3)

Dissertation Research Supervision (3)



Admissions Information

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Admissions Information
  • Early admissions applications are due January 1, 2023 for Summer 2023
  • Students must possess an MA in a related field - Students without an MA will be considered on a case by case basis, but will be generally
    required to complete an additional year of course work unless they have extensive prior
    graduate work (e.g., a teaching credential based on graduate coursework). 
  • 3 to 5 years of work experience
  • Interview with program faculty 
  • The Ed.D. program is not open to international applicants requiring an F-1 student visa. 
  • A minimum 3.5 GPA in their graduate coursework.
  • Transfer Units. As a “post-MA” degree program, students will not be able to transfer in “units” from prior coursework, but can petition to waive specific course requirements if they have taken very similar classes before, allowing them to enroll in more advanced coursework.


One Column

Pedro Nava, PhD, Associate Professor of Education, Director of Educational Leadership

Dr. Pedro Nava has a bachelor's degree from CSU Fresno (1996) and received a Masters degree in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University (2003). In 2012, Dr. Nava completed his doctoral studies at the University of California Los Angeles Graduate School of Education in Urban Schooling.  The focus of his research and teaching are in urban and rural schooling inequality, critical pedagogy and critical race theory, immigration and education, family-school-community engagement, and participatory action research.