Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD-Ed)
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Doctor of Philosophy in Education
Expand your capabilities as an education leader with the 100% online Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD-Ed) degree program at National University. This degree will help you become an active scholar and make significant contributions to the field of education. You can customize your doctorate by choosing from 16 professionally relevant specializations. You will build knowledge, skills, and dispositions in the content of your specialization as well as research, more generally, culminating in your dissertation research. Along the way, you will examine ethical principles, professional standards, and opportunities for sharing your research through presentations and publications.
Designed by educators for educators, NU’s PhD-Ed gives you in-depth courses that prepare you to be an effective scholar. You’ll have the support of advisors and faculty who will guide you through your courses and the dissertation process.
Expand Your Leadership Capabilities
Maintain motivation while building your content and research knowledge and skills through alternating specialization and research courses. Whether your desire is to teach in higher education, conduct educational research, or work in educational research, NU’s PhD-Ed program has a specialization suited for you. You can choose from specializations in:
- Curriculum and Teaching
- Early Childhood Education
- English Language Learning
- General Education
- Instructional Leadership
- International Education & Globalization
- Leadership in Higher Education
- Learning Analytics in Higher Education
- Learning Analytics in K-12 Education
- Organizational Leadership
- School Safety, Security, and Emergency Management
- Social Emotional Learning
- Special Education
- Sport and Athletic Management
- Trauma-Informed Educational Practices
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredits public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S.
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD), Curriculum and Teaching
The Curriculum and Teaching specialization provides you with the professional competencies to make significant contributions to the areas of instruction and courses of study. You’ll have the opportunity to examine and evaluate contemporary theories, designs, development, application, and assessment of curriculums and instructional strategies. You’ll also have access to a support system of advisors, faculty, and tools to guide you through your coursework, research, and the intensive, yet rewarding dissertation process.Learn More
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD), E-Learning
The E-Learning specialization integrates curriculum development, instructional design, and course delivery using technology and online learning management systems. Instruction will concentrate on a variety of instructional design methodologies incorporating educational media. You’ll build a broad knowledge base regarding the planning and implementation of teaching and delivery modalities through the examination of current research and analysis. You’ll also have access to a support system of advisors, faculty, and tools to guide you through your coursework, research, and the intensive, yet rewarding dissertation process.Learn More
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD), Early Childhood Education
In the Early Childhood Education specialization, you’ll focus on research and theory that builds on the foundational principles of early childhood education. Areas of emphasis include curriculum, assessment, and program administration as they align with theories on the growth and development of young children. Additionally, you’ll investigate early childhood literacy and literature along with the roles of families, caregivers, schools, and communities. Throughout the program, you’ll have access to advisors, faculty, and tools to support you through your coursework, dissertation, and your future work as a researcher contributing to the body of knowledge surrounding early childhood education.Learn More
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD), English Language Learning
The English Language Learning (ELL) specialization prepares you to be a research scholar in the field. You’ll build on your existing knowledge and skills in preparation for continued investigation around teaching, assessing, and developing curricula for English language learners. The final course considers significant issues in ELL education, one of which may inspire your dissertation. Throughout the program, you’ll have a support system of advisors, faculty, and tools to guide you through coursework, research, and your dissertation process. Please note: if you’re seeking ELL/ESL certification, you should verify with state officials that this specialization meets applicable requirements.Learn More
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD), General Education
In the General Education specialization, you’ll select courses from a broad range of electives to fit your personal interests and professional goals. This customized, comprehensive program allows you to complete your specialization requirements by taking a minimum of 18 credit hours at the 7000 or 8000 course level, and up to two of these courses may be taken from other fields, i.e., psychology, technology, and business. With dean approval, you may even consider additional courses (more than two) from other disciplines to fulfill this requirement.Learn More
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD), Instructional Leadership
The Instructional Leadership specialization provides educational scholars and professionals with a strong background in leadership research, theory, and practices applicable to higher education. Coursework focuses on exploring organizations, cultures, decision-making processes, change strategies, and community advocacy that improve instruction and enhance student achievement. Throughout the program, you’ll conduct research and analysis to identify innovative directions for higher education that focus on instructional change, policy development, and educational reform.Learn More
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD), International Education and Globalization
The International Education and Globalization specialization focuses on educational phenomena, practices, institutions, and organizations within different societies and cultures. Coursework explores international organizations, policies, initiatives, and challenges faced by global practitioners. Further, it prepares you to apply your organizational training, development, and ethical leadership to programs and institutions within diverse cultural environments. You’ll examine practices and challenges within international education; societal differences in conflict and mediation; and equity, inclusion, and social justice in a global context.Learn More
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD), Leadership in Higher Education
The Leadership in Higher Education prepares professionals to lead and conduct research in a variety of higher education institutions, including public, private, for-profit, and nonprofit. You’ll investigate the role and process of instructional leadership across many different functions and considerations, such as student services, strategic planning, academic programs, curriculum development, legal issues, and financial concerns.Learn More
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD), Organizational Leadership
The Organizational Leadership specialization prepares you for leadership roles within education, corporate, government, or community organizations by providing you the tools necessary to make things happen. The program is grounded in applied research and explores issues and resolutions in contemporary organizations while providing the opportunity to contribute new knowledge in the field. Coursework provides you with a foundational understanding of research methods, statistics, data analysis, and the dissertation process, while the specialty studies focus on strategies for conflict resolution, building capacity, change management, and inspiring a shared vision.Learn More
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD), School Safety, Security, and Emergency Management
The School Safety, Security, and Emergency Management specialization provides educational leaders with the skills and tools to keep schools safe and secure for students, teachers, and the learning process. Students who feel safe are better able to learn by engaging with the curriculum, their teachers, and their peers. Program coursework provides you with a foundational understanding of research methods, statistics, data analysis, and the dissertation process, while the specialty studies focus on technologies for managing safety, security, and emergencies; threat assessments; restorative justice and alternatives to student discipline; and ways to implement and improve school safety plans. A theoretical underpinning of these issues and necessary responses will also be examined.Learn More
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD), Social-Emotional Learning
The Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) specialization provides education professionals, advanced classroom teachers, school counselors or psychologists, and administrators with a more 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. From a K-12 practitioner’s perspective, you’ll examine how these competencies are applied across all educational touchpoints, including classrooms, schools, homes, and communities.Learn More
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD), Special Education
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. The coursework provides you with the knowledge and contemporary research skills to plan, assess, and deliver instruction to gifted students and those with mental, physical, behavioral, or learning disabilities.Learn More
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD), Sport and Athletic Management
The Doctor of Philosophy in Sport and Athletic Management specialization is a research-based program that requires you to apply educational concepts and management principles to the planning, organizing, and directing of sports and athletics. Coursework focuses on producing, facilitating, promoting, and organizing sports products and services. As this growing field requires scholar-practitioners with proficiency across a wide range of skills, NU’s curriculum allows for multifaceted exploration that aligns with industry standards. You’ll further your competencies in athletic administration and coaching, explore current problems and potential solutions within sports management, and build an understanding of educational theories related to this field.Learn More
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD), Trauma-Informed Educational Practices
In the Trauma-Informed Educational Practices specialization, you’ll explore and integrate the theoretical fundamentals related to trauma-informed teaching and learning. The doctoral coursework will provide an in-depth understanding of research methods, statistics, data analysis, and the dissertation process. For your specialty studies, your work will extend across various educational settings and populations to examine how trauma manifests in different populations and communities, specific trauma-informed strategies for the classroom, and theories that strengthen resilience among students and educators.Learn More
This program is a great fit for aspiring or current*:
- Educators (K-12 or Higher Education)
- Education Administrators (K-12 or Higher Education)
- Training and Development Specialists
- Related Education Professionals (school social workers, resource officers, guidance counselors)
- Professionals in Nonprofit Organizations
- Professionals in Non-governmental Organizations
*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.
Faculty assist each NU Doctoral student to reach this high goal through a systematic process leading to a high-quality completed dissertation. This process requires care in choosing a topic, documenting its importance, planning the methodology, and conducting the research. These activities lead smoothly into the writing and oral presentation of the dissertation.
A doctoral candidate must be continuously enrolled throughout the series of dissertation courses. Dissertation courses are automatically scheduled and accepted without a break in scheduling to ensure that students remain in continuous enrollment throughout the dissertation course sequence. If additional time is required to complete any of the dissertation courses, students must re-enroll and pay the tuition for that course. Continuous enrollment will only be permitted when students demonstrate progress toward completing dissertation requirements. The Dissertation Committee determines progress.
As a graduate of National University’s Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD-Ed) program, you’ll be able to:
- Develop deep knowledge of educational systems, theories, and research in an area of expertise
- Interpret theories, research, and ideas for different audiences through multiple methods of communication
- Integrate ethical principles and professional standards for a specific discipline within the field
- Conduct autonomous or collaborative research using high-level analytical skills
- Contribute to the body of knowledge specific to a discipline within the field
National University’s dedicated admissions team is here to help you throughout the admissions process. We accept and review applications year-round and, once you’re admitted, you can begin your studies as soon as the next week.
Admission to the Doctor of Philosophy in Education requires a conferred post-baccalaureate master’s degree and/or doctoral degree from a regionally or nationally accredited academic institution or an international institution determined to be equivalent through an approved evaluation.
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 Course Start
- 100% Online Coursework
- No Physical Residency Requirements
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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.