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Online Doctor of Education (EdD) Degree

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Doctor of Education (EdD)

The Doctor of Education degree program is designed for professionals who seek to lead improvements in practice within educational organizations. You will integrate conceptual constructs into your considerations of complex professional problems. Additionally, you will develop strategies, tactics, and policies, not only to improve practice and ensure regulatory compliance, but also with attention to issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and ethical behavior.

Learn to Lead the Future of Education

In this program, you can choose from 17 specializations, including Curriculum and Teaching, Early Childhood Education, Trauma-Informed Educational Practices, and English Language Learning. Upon completion of the program, you will be prepared to recommend policies advancing equity and social justice in educational organizations; select ethical and regulatory compliant actions supporting the mission and vision of organizations; develop leadership skills through the integration of conceptual constructs with professional practice; create strategic and tactical plans to improve organizations; and construct theory-informed decisions for addressing complex problems of practice.

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The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredits public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S.

Course Details

  • Total Credit Hours: 48 Hours
  • Courses: 16 Courses
  • Recommended Completion Time: 33 Months
  • Next Start Date: Every Monday
  • Classroom Size: One

This foundational course will introduce you to the concepts and practices of advanced graduate study. You will examine concepts and expectations of advanced graduate study and academic integrity as well as investigate best practices of scholarship and research. You will explore university resources and supports associated with student success, including technologies for learning and research. You will also evaluate the program process and requirements for success. Finally, you will advocate for self-care and reflection during your studies.

Academic writing is at the heart of scholarly writing. How you explore and navigate your topic of interest is both a personal and professional matter. In this course, you will integrate effective research and writing skills, and evaluate standards of academic writing, honesty, and integrity. Literature and writing are closely related, so this course also offers you a first chance to examine the elements of conceptual and theoretical frameworks and critique the role of supporting literature and inquiry with conceptual and theoretical frameworks. Finally, you will synthesize the frameworks commonly used in educational research.

You will develop effective search and scholarly writing strategies to create a scholarly review of literature. The course emphasizes how to: (a) use effective literature search strategies; (b) develop a scholarly synthesis of research literature; (c) organize research literature around identified research themes, including a study problem, purpose, and theoretical perspectives for an empirical research study; and (d) focus on developing a scholarly exposition that reflects divergent viewpoints and contrasting perspectives. The overarching goal of this course is for you to understand strategies to survey scholarly empirical and theoretical literature to avoid bias, focus on educational practice-based research problems, and address the required components of a scholarly literature review.

In this introductory research course, you will explore the underpinnings of the research process, examine research paradigms, and investigate theoretical and practical foundations of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies used within educational research. You will identify criteria for the development of a quality research study that is ethical, accurate, comprehensive, cohesive, and aligned. Specific course topics will involve the ethics of conducting research; data collection and analysis techniques; and issues of feasibility, trustworthiness, validity, reliability, generalizability or transferability, and rigor. This course is intended to familiarize you with concepts and skills associated with conducting theoretical and applied research.

This course offers foundational knowledge to become a critical consumer of statistical- based research literature as well as develop the necessary skillset for non-inferential quantitative analyses. The emphasis will be on understanding multivariate data, non-inferential and inferential statistical concepts, the conventions of quantitative data analysis, interpretation and critical inferences from statistical results. Statistical computations will be completed using statistical software applications for quantitative data analysis. The course culminates in a synthesis project to demonstrate statistical skills and aligned with APA guidelines for presentation of statistical results.

This course focuses on qualitative research methodology and designs and the methods used to collect and analyze data in educational research. You will examine the principles of qualitative research and explore commonly used designs (also referred to as qualitative traditions or genres) with a focus on application and feasibility. Qualitative data collection and analysis methods will be examined for their suitability with regard to the research design selected. Alignment between qualitative designs and research methods, issues of trustworthiness pertaining to qualitative research, and the role and responsibilities of the qualitative researcher will also be explored.

This course explores the quantitative research methodology and associated designs and methods. You will examine paradigmatic perspectives along with the tenets and conventions of quantitative research. This examination of designs and methods will include topics such as feasibility, validity, reliability, variable operationalization, inferential designs, and analytic software applications used within the quantitative research paradigm. You will also explore the components of aligned and coherent quantitative research designs that support meaningful research within the field of education.

This course builds on a foundational understanding of qualitative designs and measurements to focus on analyses of the data. The course takes you deeper into the skills and techniques necessary to ensure the appropriate analyses of qualitative data, including integrating relevant frameworks, verifying trustworthiness of the findings, and selecting suitable methods to present the analyses and findings.

You will learn advanced statistical principles and how to apply them to quantitative research. You will be provided an overview of advanced statistical concepts used in empirical research, including inferential analyses. Advanced computations will be performed using SPSS. The focus involves helping you build independent scholarly skills with an emphasis on understanding multivariate data; the use, comprehension, and evaluation of sophisticated statistical concepts; and presentation of statistical results.

The doctoral comprehensive assessment is your opportunity to demonstrate your preparation for entering the dissertation phase as a doctoral candidate. You will synthesize discipline-specific content with research designs and methods as you create a prospectus for a problem of applied practice within an educational context. This prospectus will likely become the foundation of your dissertation. Note that you will take this course only after all foundation, specialization, and research courses have been completed

In this 12-week course, you will complete all relevant subsections of Section 1: Foundation. You will use your school-specific template and guidance from your chair to determine which subsections apply to your individual work. Section 1 must be completed and approved by your committee in order to pass the course and move forward. If you do not receive committee approval of Section 1, you will be able to take up to three supplemental 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of Section 1.

In this 12-week course, you will compose all relevant subsections of Section 2: Methodology and Design and complete your proposal. Both of these components must be approved by your committee in order to pass the course and move forward. You will use your school-specific template and guidance from your chair to determine which subsections apply to your individual work. If you do not receive approval of Section 2 and the complete proposal, you will be able to take up to three 8-week supplementary courses to finalize and gain approval of Section 2 and your completed proposal.

In this course, you will prepare, submit, and obtain a determination from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) application before collecting data and, if applicable, executing your project modeling. You will also submit documentation that you have closed data collection. If you are still collecting data or modeling your project at the end of this 12-week course, you will be able to take up to three supplemental 8-week courses to complete the required components.

In this 12-week course, you will complete all relevant subsections of Section 3: Findings, Implications, and Recommendations, finalize your manuscript, and disseminate your findings. You will use your school-specific template and guidance from your chair to determine which subsections apply to your individual work. The final manuscript, which includes Section 3 and the dissemination of findings, must be approved by your committee in order to pass the course and be eligible to graduate. If you do not receive committee approval of all components, you will be able to take up to three supplemental 8-week courses to finalize these requirements and be eligible to graduate.

Program at a Glance

Total Credit Hours: 48 Hours
Courses: 16 Courses
Recommended Completion Time: 33 Months
Next Start Date: Every Monday
Classroom Size: One

Specializations

The Curriculum and Teaching specialization builds on your fundamental teaching and learning skills by providing the knowledge and professional competencies to enhance your instructional practice and leadership. The coursework provides a foundational understanding of research methods, statistics, and data analysis, while the specialty studies allow you to explore, develop, and assess contemporary teaching practices, including the evaluation of broader curriculum programs.

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The E-Learning specialization is designed for professionals who want to harness technology to improve educational opportunities and practice. The program integrates curriculum development, instructional design, and course delivery using technology and online learning management systems. Coursework provides a foundational understanding of research methods, statistics, and data analysis, while the specialty studies provide a knowledge base of current research for the planning and implementation of teaching and delivery methods using instructional design techniques that incorporate educational media.

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In the Early Childhood Education specialization, you’ll build on your knowledge and skills in educational leadership by examining the latest research and findings on the growth and development of young children. Coursework provides a foundational understanding of research methods, statistics, and data analysis, while the specialty studies focus on curriculum, assessment, program administration, and the roles of families and communities in early childhood education. 

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The English Language Learning (ELL) specialization prepares professionals to become advanced practitioners and leaders in the field. Coursework provides a foundational understanding of research methods, statistics, and data analysis, while the specialty studies examine the latest teaching practices, assessment, and curriculum development for English language learners. In the final course, you’ll consider significant issues in ELL education, one of which may inspire your dissertation. Please note: if you’re seeking ELL/ESL certification, you should verify with state officials that this specialization meets applicable requirements. 

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The General Education specialization allows you to select courses from a range of electives to fit your personal and professional goals. Core coursework provides a foundational understanding of research methods, statistics, and data analysis, while the specialty studies (12 credit hours) allow you to focus on topics of your choosing. You may select education courses at the 7000 or 8000 course-level, and up to two of these courses may be taken from other fields, i.e., psychology, technology, or business. With dean approval, you may even consider additional courses (more than two) from other disciplines to fulfill this requirement.

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The Instructional Leadership specialization provides education professionals with a strong background in instruction supervision and the ability to assess and interpret data. Core coursework provides a foundational understanding of research methods, statistics, and data analysis, while the specialty studies focus on building a culture of learning, supervising curriculum, improving organizational practices, and initiating educational innovation.

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The International Education and Globalization specialization prepares professional practitioners to apply the concepts of organizational training, development, and leadership to programs and institutions within different societies and cultures. The coursework provides you with a foundational understanding of research methods, statistics, and data analysis, while the specialty studies focus on practices and challenges within international education; conflict and mediation in diverse environments; and equity, inclusion, and social justice in a global context.

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The Leadership in Higher Education specialization prepares professionals for leadership in a variety of higher education institutions, including public, private, for-profit, and non-profit. The foundational coursework provides you with an in-depth understanding of research methods, statistics, and data analysis, while the specialty studies explore leadership across a variety of functions and considerations, such management and supervision, strategic planning and operations, legal issues, and financial concerns.

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The Nursing Education specialization prepares educators and leaders for professional roles in nursing education. The foundational coursework provides an in-depth understanding of research methods, statistics, and data analysis, while the specialty studies focus on instructional theory, evidence-based practices, evaluation methods, and the use of technology in nursing education.

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The Organizational Leadership specialization prepares professionals for leadership roles within educational organizations by providing the tools necessary to make things happen. The program is grounded in applied research and explores issues, practices, and resolutions in contemporary organizations. Coursework provides a foundational understanding of research methods, statistics, and data analysis, while the specialty studies focus on strategies for conflict resolution, building capacity, change management, and inspiring a shared vision.

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The School Safety, Security, and Emergency Management specialization provides K-12 professionals, emergency management, and district management personnel the skills and tools to keep schools safe and secure for students, teachers, and the learning process. Program coursework provides you with a foundational understanding of research methods, statistics, and data analysis, while the specialty studies focus on technologies for managing safety, security, and emergencies; threat assessments of people and facilities; restorative justice and other alternatives to student discipline; and ways to implement and improve school safety plans.

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The Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) specialization provides education professionals, advanced classroom teachers, school counselors or psychologists, and administrators with an intensive examination of the five core competencies identified by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL): self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness. Program coursework provides you with a foundational understanding of research methods, statistics, and data analysis, while the specialty studies examine CASEL competencies and their application across schools, classrooms, homes, and communities.

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The Special Education (SE) specialization is designed for professionals who work with gifted and disabled students in a variety of settings. The program covers a spectrum of related issues, including the development and characteristics of students, learning differences, and instructional strategies that address these special needs. Foundational coursework provides an in-depth understanding of research methods, statistics, and data analysis, while the specialty studies equip you with the knowledge and skills to plan, assess, and deliver instruction to gifted students and those with mental, physical, behavioral, or learning disabilities.

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The Sport and Athletic Management specialization prepares professional educators and leaders for the growing discipline of sports and athletics management through practical applications and research on the key influences impacting the field. The doctoral coursework provides an in-depth understanding of research methods, statistics, and data analysis, while the specialty studies combine science-based academics and real-world experience with an emphasis on the ever-changing financial, legal, political, and marketing concerns within the sports industry.

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The Trauma-Informed Educational Practices specialization builds on your professional teaching, learning, and administration skills by focusing on specific trauma-informed educational practices. The doctoral coursework provides an in-depth understanding of research methods, statistics, and data analysis, while the specialty studies extend across various educational settings and populations, preparing you for a trauma-informed approach to instruction. You’ll examine how trauma manifests in different populations and communities, specific trauma-informed strategies for the classroom, and how to strengthen resilience among both students and educators.

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With a Doctor of Education degree, you can join or advance in the education field, both in K-12 and postsecondary. Between 2020 and 2030, the postsecondary education administrator field is expected to grow 8%, and the national median salary for human resources managers is around $97,500.* 

Here are just a few career opportunities**:

  • Educators (K-12 or higher education)
  • Education administrators (K-12 or higher education)
  • Training and development specialists
  • Human resource personnel
  • Related education professionals (school social workers, resource officers, guidance counselors)
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Non-governmental organizations 

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, the internet, at  https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/postsecondary-education-administrators.htm,  (viewed [3-2-22). Cited projections may not reflect local and short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.

**Positions may require additional experience, training, and other factors beyond successfully completing this degree program. Depending on where you reside, many positions may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met. We encourage you to also review program-specific requirements with an NU advisor. Any data provided on this page is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee that completion of any degree program will achieve the underlying occupation or commensurate salary.

The EdD Program requires 48 credits for degree completion. Students who choose the Nursing Education specialization must take two additional specialization courses for a total of 54 credit hours. Additional credit hours may be allowed as needed to complete the dissertation research. If granted, additional courses will be added to the student degree program in alignment with the SAP and Academic Maximum Time to Completion policies. Students who do not complete their program in accordance with these policies may be dismissed.

  • Individuals with a previously completed master’s degree will meet the basis of admission to the Doctor of Education Program.
  • Doctoral courses consist of methods, the pre-candidacy prospectus, and the dissertation with a Grade Point Average of 3.00 (“B”) or higher.
  • EdD students must demonstrate competency in specific subject areas prior to enrolling in any of the specialization or elective courses.

NU may accept a maximum of 12 semester credit hours in transfer toward the doctoral degree for graduate coursework completed toward a doctoral degree at an accredited college or university with a grade of “B” or better. Transfer credit is only awarded for coursework that is evaluated to be substantially equivalent in content with the required coursework for the EdD program. See the Transfer Credit policy for additional information.

Note: Students who complete NU’s EdS program may be eligible to apply up to 30 credits from the EdS program to the Sanford College of Education’s Doctoral programs. School dean (or their designee) approval is required to determine the number of applicable credit hours from EdS to the selected doctoral program.

Program Outcomes

At National University, you can earn your Doctor of Education degree online, when it’s convenient for you. And although you attend class online, you still receive the personal support and guidance you deserve thanks to our one-to-one learning model. We also have no residency requirements, no GRE/GMAT requirements, and no group projects. This offers the flexibility you need to fit higher education into your busy schedule.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of National University’s Doctor of Education program, you will be able to:

  • Recommend policies advancing equity and social justice in educational organizations
  • Select ethical and regulatory compliant actions supporting the mission and vision of organizations
  • Develop leadership skills through the integration of theoretical constructs with professional practice
  • Create strategic and tactical plans to improve organizations
  • Construct theory-informed decisions for addressing complex problems of practice

Hear From Our Faculty

Admissions

Admission to the Doctor of Education program requires a conferred post-baccalaureate master’s degree or doctoral degree from a regionally or nationally accredited academic institution. Examples of acceptable doctoral degrees include Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Education (EdD).

In addition to general requirements for admission to an EdD program, applicants to the EdD program with specialization in Nursing Education must provide a copy of the following:

  • A valid and active RN license from the United States
  • A master’s degree in nursing (MSN) 

To speak with an Enrollment Advisor, call 866.776.0331 or email [email protected]. Ready to apply? Start your NU application today.

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Weekly Course Starts
Our course structure is built to make earning your degree accessible and achievable by offering a rigorous, yet flexible program that works with your schedule.

Finish Your Dissertation!

Dissertation Completion Pathway (DCP) is a 100% online pathway helping students “All But Dissertation” finish their doctoral degree.

  • Block transfer of credit from your previous institution
  • Flexible monthly start dates
  • Highly trained faculty providing feedback each week on your dissertation
  • Strategic support and targeted resources to help you finish

Why Choose National University

  • Weekly Class Start
  • 100% Online Coursework
  • No Physical Residency Requirements

We’re proud to be a Veteran-founded, San Diego-based nonprofit. Since 1971, our mission has been to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. Today, we educate students from across the U.S. and around the globe, with 230,000 alumni worldwide.

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-Francisco R., Class of 2016

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Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.