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Performance Improvement Leadership Specialization Doctor of Education

School of Education

Your Path to Performance Improvement Leadership

Prepare for a leadership position in a K-12, higher education, or corporate environment with Capella University’s online Doctor of Education, Performance Improvement Leadership degree. This specialization is designed to prepare you for leadership roles such as chief learning officer, training director, professor, performance improvement specialist, or manager of learning and performance improvement. Throughout this program, you’ll broaden and deepen your understanding of both strategic and tactical issues that are important to the success of any performance improvement intervention.

At a Glance

  • Online
  • 9 Core Courses
  • Capstone

Classes Start January 7th

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

$50 Application Fee (waived w/promo WINTER)

What You’ll Learn

Assess Human Performance Systems

Develop advanced, innovative skills needed to optimize performance and maintain high levels of efficiency.

Drive Performance Improvement

Select and design interventions that can help improve performance and increase workforce efficacy.

Apply Performance Interventions

Implement human performance interventions that can help improve workflow and support efficient processes.

Establish Benchmarks for Success

Evaluate the effectiveness of current human improvement interventions and establish goals for success.

Take on a Leadership Role

Lead performance improvement processes and initiatives using critical thinking, research, and problem-solving.

25 Years of Online Doctoral Experience

With over 25 years of experience in online doctoral education, we understand the unique needs of doctoral students, and have designed our programs to meet those needs. We've structured our programs to help you reach your goals and obtain critical skills—with our expert faculty, support teams, and online resources to help guide you every step of the way.

Program Features

Our program offers additional benefits you might be interested in.

Earn a Post-Master's Certificate

As part of this program, you can also earn two Post-Master's Certificates, including one in Performance Improvement Leadership, from Capella.

Apply Research to Make an Impact

In lieu of a dissertation, Capella’s doctoral capstone allows you to use action research to solve a problem in your field.

Get Certified in ROI Methodology™

This EdD specialization offers an opportunity for valuable certification in ROI Methodology™ from the ROI Institute™.

Designed for Professional Impact

This program is designed around the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) and the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

Cost & Learning Format

Online education isn’t one-size-fits-all. We know you’re busy—you need a learning experience tailored to your life, not the other way around. Capella has learning and tuition formats to suit you, however you learn. 

Our original learning format offers extra structure for those who want it. We'll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$730 per credit, 64 total quarter credits, 0 max transfer credits

Get the Details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Ways to Save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 


Grants are federal education funds that never need to be paid back. 

Scholarships for New Students

Capella scholarships, available for qualifying students, aren’t need-based and never have to be repaid.

Federal Work Study

This program provides part-time jobs to reduce your loan debt amounts. Talk to an enrollment counselor to learn more.

Accredited & Respected

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

Sample Courses

Throughout our EdD, Performance Improvement Leadership program, you’ll broaden and deepen your understanding of strategic and tactical issues that are important to the success of any performance improvement intervention.

Support to Reach the Finish Line

Our doctoral curriculum is designed to give you dedicated support early in your program—so you can be confident in the steps to completing your degree.

Capstone Mentors

For the culminating project of your doctoral degree, you’ll be paired with a knowledgeable mentor to help you along the way.

Doctoral Capstone

Develop your project, write your findings, and demonstrate your use of evidence to improve outcomes or resolve a gap in the field.

Some of the courses you will take:

Course Number Course Title
EDD8360 Introduction to Human Performance Improvement Systems
EDD8362 Human Performance Improvement Needs Assessment: Models and Procedures
EDD8364 Designing, Delivering, and Evaluating Human Performance Improvement Interventions
EDD8366 Return on Investment of Human Performance Improvement Interventions

Faculty & Support

You’re never going it alone at Capella. Our dedicated faculty and support teams are waiting to guide, help, and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment Counselors

These folks are superstars. We hear it from our students (and grads). They’re here to help find a program fit and set you up for success.  


Our distinguished faculty members hold top credentials in their fields. They’re here to teach the knowledge and skills you’ll need, now.

Writing Support

These skilled communicators offer free tutoring services and multiple resources to sharpen your writing skills.

Doctoral Advising

A doctoral degree takes special effort. It's why we offer expert support at every step to keep you moving forward toward your goal.

Move Forward in Your Career

Here are just some of the career options you could explore with our online EdD in Performance Improvement Leadership degree.

Related Job Titles to Explore*

  • Academic affairs vice president
  • Community college president
  • Dean
  • Director of training and development
  • Performance consultant
  • Chief learning officer
  • Full-time, adjunct, or part-time faculty
  • Provost
  • Adult basic education director
  • Coordinator of student programs
  • Director of instructional technology
  • District assessment coordinator
  • K-12 leadership

Related Employment Settings to Explore

  • Adult education program
  • Alternative school
  • Continuing education program
  • Governmental education agency
  • Land-based or online college or university
  • Military education
  • Nonprofit organization
  • K-12 public or private school
  • Research and policy organization
  • State education department

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Other Programs to Explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

Ready for the Next Step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.