Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, P-12 School Leadership

  • College

    College of Education

  • Degree


  • Location



Become a scholar, researcher, and leader with a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership

Influence the future of education and become a leader in P–12 schools and other organizations through Mercer University’s Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Leadership, P–12 School Leadership.

The doctorate in educational leadership prepares you to excel in a leadership role in P–12 education settings and other educational organizations. Your Ph.D. in Educational Leadership blends theory and practice to cultivate dynamic leaders.

Mercer’s P–12 school leadership track is designed for current school, district, state, and national leaders who aim to take their leadership study and practice to the next level.

Upon completion of the doctorate in educational leadership program and a passing score on the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) Content Assessment for Educational Leadership, you will be eligible for Tier II Leadership certification and recommended for a Level 7 certificate in Educational Leadership. This program does not lead to initial educational leadership certification.


Format: Blended (combination of online and on-campus) Start Term: May Application Deadline: Priority | January 15; Final | April 1 • Course Length: Fall and Spring | 16 weeks; Summer | 8 weeks • Completion Time: 3.5 years across 11 semesters


Your Mercer Ph.D. in Educational Leadership P–12 education experience

Mercer’s doctorate in educational leadership was designed with the working educator in mind. New cohorts begin every May. Courses are taken in a combination of synchronous and asynchronous online meetings and three Saturday in-person sessions each semester on the Atlanta campus.

Earn Tier II educational leadership certification

Ph.D. students in the P–12 school leadership track may choose an option to earn their Tier II certification while enrolled in the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership program.

Explore Ph.D. in Educational Leadership courses

Mercer’s doctorate in educational leadership builds a solid foundation in the research and evaluation skills that you will need to achieve your career goals and influence others in education. Through scholarly inquiry and practice, courses in the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership program help you develop a core knowledge base that’s supported by qualitative and quantitative research strategies and specialization-specific study.

Our advanced P–12 education program curriculum will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of the role of education in society and of the significance of leaders. Mercerians working toward a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership may take core courses such as:

  • Advanced Leadership Theory
  • Law and Ethics for Educational Leaders
  • Leadership for Diversity and Inclusivity

View course descriptions and program requirements for the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership.

Achieve your P–12 career goals with a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership

Graduating with a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership will prepare you for the next step toward growing your career and vision in P–12 education. Graduates of Mercer’s doctorate in educational leadership program can be found in leadership roles such as principal, director, and superintendent.

Learn more about our Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, P-12 School Leadership

Ready to take the next step?

Schedule your personalized admissions appointment or contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at 678.547.6062 or for more information.

Mercer's College of Education influenced me to be the kind of leader who inspires and motivates teams to lead innovative change. I am living my personal mission statement of re-imagining learning for students to flourish in a changing world. I am preparing my students for lives they have not even imagined yet.

Dr. Cami Rae Hamlin
Ed.S. in Educational Leadership | Ph.D. in Educational Leadership
Principal, Springdale Elementary School

Dr. Hamlin
Zoomed in view of a building's tower on Mercer University's campus.

Learn from experienced faculty

Mercer University’s College of Education faculty and staff have held leadership positions in P–12 and beyond. As you work toward your doctorate in P–12 educational leadership, you will learn from and collaborate with experienced faculty who have helped shape the education landscape in Georgia. Diverse and caring faculty will partner with you on your journey toward being a lifelong educator.

PhD Educational Leadership, P12 School Leadership

Advance your P–12 educational leadership career with Mercer

Ready to take the next step? Schedule your personalized admissions counseling appointment, or contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at 678.547.6084 or to learn more.

Professional licensure

All of Mercer’s programs that lead to licensure are designed to meet the educational requirements of regulatory authorities in the State of Georgia. If you intend to seek licensure or certification outside of Georgia, please review Mercer’s professional licensure disclosure for more information.