Cooperative Superintendency Program

Doctoral Program

Department of Educational Leadership and Policy

The Cooperative Superintendency Program (CSP) offers a doctoral degree (Ed.D.) within the Educational Leadership and Policy Department of the highly ranked College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. The CSP is at the forefront of preparing education leaders to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s public education system. Our dedicated faculty and intensive coursework maintain our position among the top-rated superintendency preparation programs in the nation. 

Our program seeks to attract leaders with outstanding professional readiness and prepare them for executive-level positions, including: 

  • Superintendents of school districts 
  • Chief executives in state education agencies 
  • Directors in education service centers or laboratories 
  • Executive-level management posts in large cities or suburban districts 

Program Details

Semester Start: Summer

Deadline to Apply: Nominations due December 15, Applications due January 15

GRE Required? Yes

Location: On Campus

Schedule: Flexible

Length of Program: 30 months: 63 hours of coursework, 69 with dissertation hours 

This program starts in the Summer semester only. You must select the “Summer” semester in the ApplyTexas application. If you apply to the wrong semester or incorrect program track in the Educational Leadership & Policy department in the ApplyTexas application, you could be subject to additional application fees. Students will need to take the Texas Examinations of Educators Standards (TExES) Superintendent exam in order to become certified in Texas. Our graduates’ passing rates typically exceed 97%. Learn more about certification requirements on the Texas Education Agency’s website

Program Features

  • Practitioner-focused curriculum 
  • Real-world, real-time application 
  • Cohort model, student collaboration, shared learning 
  • Completion in 30 months (63 hours of coursework, 69 with dissertation hours)
  • Face-to-face contact with renowned faculty focused on equity and excellence 
  • Flexible scheduling for current and aspiring public school executives 
  • Strong regional, state, national, and international alumni network 

Key Competencies

  • Leadership for Equity and Excellence 
  • Strategic Thinking and Planning 
  • Policy and Governance 
  • Human Relations 
  • Law and School Finance 
  • District-Level Operations 

Students in the Cooperative Superintendency Program (CSP) will earn an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.

Total program for this Ed.D.: 63 hours of coursework; 69 with dissertation hours.

  • ELP 390R / EDA 382M Organizational Design & Behavior
  • ELP 390E / EDA 383E  Educational Econ & Finance (K-12 focus, Spring)
  • ELP 390S / EDA 388M Social & Cultural Contexts of Education
  • ELP 390P / EDA 388P  Educational Politics & Policy (K-12 focus, Fall)
  • ELP 394R/ EDA 383   School Restructuring and Renewal
  • ELP 393S/ EDA 383   Superintendent Practicum 
  • ELP 393S/ EDA 383   Superintendent Practicum
  • ELP 393S/ EDA 383   Superintendent Practicum
  • ELP 394N/ EDA 395   Schl/District Instructional Leadership
  • ELP 694T/ EDA 695   Administrative Theory
  • ELP 394C/EDA 383   School District Functions I
  • ELP 394D/ EDA 383   School District Functions II
  • ELP 394L/ EDA 388L School Law 
  • ELP 394S/ EDA 395   Superintendent Seminar
  • ELP 391E  Epistomologies of Ed Research /  EDA 387Q Introduction to Systems of Human Inquiry/
  • ELP 391Q/ EDA 381Q Qualitative Research Design & Analysis
  • ELP 392E/ EDA 395   Program Evaluation and Decision Making 
  • EDC 390T Dual Language Issues and Trends (Dept. of C&I)
  • Course to be taken outside the department
  • Course to be taken outside the department
  • ELP 399K/ EDA 399K  Treatise  
  • ELP 399L/ EDA 399L  Treatise

Important Notice

This program requires additional materials beyond the Graduate School Application, such as pre-requisites, program-specific documents or other information. Please make sure to check with the department/program in order to ensure you have submitted all required application materials on or before the deadline.

All graduate students are required to apply to the state application system ApplyTexas. We strongly encourage you to start this process well in advance of the deadline to allow us time to process your information. 

For the Cooperative Superintendency Program, all candidates must have

  • A master’s degree
  • Mid-Management Certification/Experience
  • 2 years experience as a principal and/or central office administrator

Please note: We encourage submitting a Nomination Form before beginning your formal application. Candidates may be nominated or may nominate themselves. We make great efforts to obtain a large, diverse pool of applicants.

Submit all required application materials including the following documents to your MyStatus page to complete the application process by the application deadline of January 15. 

  1. A Professional/Personal Vita in CSP format – available in the Application Checklist
  2. Official Transcripts
  3. GRE Score
  4. Three Professional References
  5. Statement of Purpose
  6. The Self-Presentation: Selectors want to perceive you as a person with a profile. We ask you to depict in 3-6 double-spaced pages what you judge to be your peaks and valleys, assets and needs as you confront the prospect of being selected. Be your natural self and convincingly offer us illustrations and evidence. Compose and write in your own words; artificiality detracts. Depicting oneself is an intriguing task. We believe you will enjoy it. Head the piece: “SELF-PRESENTATION (one line) of YOUR NAME (second line),” and then compose and write the paper.

Again, be sure to upload all of the documents listed above to your MyStatus page. We will not accept any documents sent via email. 

Download our Application Checklist and Timeline

The department will evaluate all applicants and develop a list of candidates for admission.

Candidates who meet all program and graduate school requirements and are determined to be a good fit for the department will be notified by late January and invited to attend an assessment center in Austin on Saturday, February 10, 2024, to participate in interviews, engage in simulation exercises, and develop presentations.

Cooperative Superintendency Cohort members will be selected based on performance during the assessment phase.

This event is mandatory for all selected, so be sure to reserve the date. Candidates are responsible for travel, lodging, and meals.

There is a $50.00 fee to attend the assessment center. Please pay via a check or money order (no cash) made payable to UT Austin. Be sure to include your name and UT EID on the check or money order. Please note this fee is separate from the Graduate School application fee.

Members of the incoming Cooperative Superintendency cohort will be notified by late March. Classes begin in early June.


Email Paul Cruz or Sylvia R. Reyna.

Photo of faculty member Norma V Cantu
Ken McIntyre Professor for Excellence in School Leadership

Teaches topics in civil rights and the intersection of law and policy in education; served as assistant secretary of education for Civil Rights during the Clinton administration.

Photo of faculty member Joshua  Childs
Assistant Professor

Examines collaborative approaches involving community organizations and stakeholders that improve academic achievement and reduce opportunity gaps for students. Also studies chronic absenteeism, the role of high school athletics in school settings, a...

Photo of faculty member Kelly  Crook
Associate Professor of Practice

Experienced superintendent who focuses on how social, cultural, and political contexts in education impact school district administrators and their ability to serve all students.

Photo of faculty member Paul  Cruz
Professor of Practice

Experienced urban school superintendent and executive leader who focuses on social justice and high academic success for all students, school leadership, and equity in educational opportunities.

Photo of faculty member David E DeMatthews
Associate Professor

Focuses on urban school and district leadership, inclusive practices for students with disabilities, and school improvement with an emphasis on addressing inequities in classrooms, schools, and communities.

Photo of faculty member Jennifer J Holme

Focuses on the politics and implementation of educational policy with an emphasis on school reform, equity and diversity in schools.

Photo of faculty member Pedro  Reyes
Department Chair, Educational Leadership and Policy, Education - Office of the Dean

I study student success for children experiencing poverty. I analyze how school leadership and state policy facilitate student success across the education pipeline.

Photo of faculty member Sylvia R Reyna

Prepares school district executives to lead socially just and equitable learning centers focused on academic excellence for all students.

Photo of faculty member Sarah L Woulfin
Associate Professor

Uses lenses from organizational sociology to study how district leaders, principals, coaches, and teachers implement policy

Cycle 34 – Admitted Summer 2023

Photo of grad studentMichael C Arreola

Research Area: A qualitative case study on the impact of a high number of new teachers on the attitudes of experienced teachers.

Photo of grad studentRachel D Fahrig
Current Role: Director, Special Programs, Bartlett ISD

Research Area: Investigating the complexities of resource access and implications on students' postsecondary decisions.

Photo of grad studentCynthia  Griggs

Research Area: Black female executive leadership and workplace safety

Photo of grad studentCrystal D Hermesch
Current Role: School Finance Officer, Education Service Center - Region 20

Research Area: The relationship between performance pay, student outcomes, and teacher retention

Photo of grad studentAngela R Hodges

Research Area: The impact of Principal Professional Learning and Coaching on School Outcomes.

Photo of Paul Cruz

Program Co-director
Paul Cruz

David DeMatthews

Program Co-director
David DeMatthews

Photo of Sylvia Reyna

Assistant Director
Sylvia R. Reyna

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