Northcentral University understands that the need for well-prepared educational leader practitioners has never been greater. The Doctor of Education (EdD) degree program has evolved to the terminal degree of choice for educational leaders. This is true for teacher leaders, administrators, instructional leaders, experts in education technology, organizational leaders and education professionals beyond the classroom.

The EdD program attracts students who have leadership responsibility for providing learning/training to others, whether they be in colleges, PK-12 schools, proprietary organizations, private and public businesses, or the military.  The Doctor of Education (EdD) program is a research-based degree, but unlike the PhD, the EdD is focused on applying theoretical knowledge to the advancement of practice in the field (solving complex problems) (Archibald, 2010; Corley & Giola 2011; Huba, Shubb & Shelley, 2006).

Examples of an applied investigation may include a replication study, a case study, or a special project (for example, the creation of a curriculum, training program, or educational artifact), followed by an evaluation. A doctoral project for a professional degree does not have to be an original contribution to the body of knowledge that impacts the theories in the field, but typically responds to a practical problem or proposed innovation (Archibald, 2010).

Doctor of Education (EdD) Program Goals

General Degree Requirements

The EdD Program may be completed in 54 credits. However, up to an additional 12 credit hours will be allowed as needed to complete the dissertation research. An Academic Advisor or Enrollment Specialist evaluates each student individually and works with the student to create an academically sound Learning Plan based on prior academics and their professional goals.

Completion Period for Doctoral Degrees

Northcentral University allows 7 years to complete all doctoral programs of 60 credits or less.  

Northcentral University may accept a maximum of 12 semester credit hours in transfer toward the doctoral degree for graduate coursework completed toward a non-conferred doctoral degree at an accredited college or university with a grade of “B” or better. Transfer credit is only awarded for course work that is evaluated to be substantially equivalent in content with the required course work for the EdD program.

Students who are unable to complete a degree program within the stated time limits are dismissed. If a student believes they have extenuating circumstances they may document the circumstances and send a request for consideration to their respective School Dean or designee. Exceptions to the policy are determined on a case-by-case basis and are granted only once.

Normal time to completion for this program is 74 months. Time to completion varies depending upon the pace in which a student completes courses and the number of transfer credits accepted. As most Northcentral students are working adults balancing educational, professional, and personal commitments, our academic advisors will work with you to develop a program schedule that works best for your needs.

The normal time disclosed above reflects the experience of students who may have entered under different program requirements. In the quest for continuous improvement, academic leadership has revised the program to optimize curriculum and pace, facilitate student learning, and improve chances for success. Therefore, the program is now designed for students enrolling today to take advantage of these revised course structures, lengths, and schedules. New students following the preferred schedule designed by the Dean for this program, and applying no transfer credits, can expect to finish in as little as 34 months.

Certification and Licensing

The School of Education serves educational leaders by providing online graduate studies in education to reach worldwide populations. The EdD program is designed to reach national and international markets and does not purport to provide licensure or certification in any particular state or country.

Doctor of Education (EdD) Degree Requirements

Individuals with a previously completed master’s degree will meet the basis of admission to the Doctor of Education Program.

Doctoral courses are comprised of methods, the comprehensive exam course, 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.

Doctoral Dissertation Process

The School of Education has developed a logical step-by-step process that assists in completing an EdD applied research dissertation. Northcentral University provides a detailed EdD Dissertation Handbook that explains the process and Northcentral University's dissertation support structure. The EdD doctoral research courses, the comprehensive course and the dissertation courses are specifically designed to guide students through the process.

The dissertation is the capstone academic achievement of the EdD. The EdD dissertation is applied, project based and results in a product designed to produce appreciable improvements in the student's school or organization and must also impact the student's leadership growth. Although applied and project based, the EdD dissertation is a scholarly document. To earn the EdD degree, the student must demonstrate the ability, drive, and determination; and Northcentral University will provide the faculty, the academic support and process to assist in the attainment of high academic goals.

The School of Education offers students the opportunity to pursue an area of specialization within a degree program. Students who complete at least 18 semester credit hours in a specific specialization may elect to have the specialization recorded on their transcript and diploma.

Northcentral University recognizes that each student is unique, and therefore evaluates each application based not only on what courses or program of study a student has accomplished previously, but takes into consideration which specialization is being pursued at Northcentral University and their current and future professional goals.

Course Length

Existing EdD students may opt to switch to eight-week courses by contacting their Academic Advisor.  Once existing EdD students have opted for eight-week courses, they must receive approval from the Office of the Dean to switch back to a program of 12-week courses.  All eight-week courses are indicated by a "-8" (dash eight) at the end of the course code.

Doctoral Course Sequence

All foundation competency courses, specialization courses, and method coursework must be completed prior to students entering into the Comprehensive Examination. Upon successful completion of the Doctoral Comprehensive Examination, students become official Doctoral Candidates and may move onward to the dissertation coursework which is completed sequentially.

The EdD is applied research. The research does not have the same stringency test for originality as a Doctor of Philosophy degree. An Oral Presentation of the EdD dissertation is required.

Credit Hours - The EdD program may be completed in 54 credits.  Up to an additional 12 credit hours will be allowed as needed to complete dissertation research. Students who do not complete their program in 66 credit hours will be dismissed.

Basis of Admission - In order to enter the doctoral (EdD) program, applicants must have earned a master's degree from an accredited university.

All EdD specializations require the following courses:

Click on the course name for description, click again to close.

EdD Required Basic Foundation Courses – 6 credit hours

EDU7101 / EDU7101-8

Foundations for Graduate Study in Education (This course will be taken as the first course)  

EDU7001 / EDU7001-8

Advanced Scholarly Writing

The EdD in Education requires two Foundation Courses, five Specialization, five research courses and one Statistical course for a total of 39 credit hours.


Specialization Course 1


Scholarly Literature Review


Research Methods


Specialization Course 2


Statistics 1


Specialization Course 3


Introduction to Measurement


Specialization Course 4




Advanced Qualitative Design and Measurement


Advanced Quantitative Design and Measurement



Specialization Course 5








Mixed Methods Research


Program Evaluation


Case Study


Action Research

*EDR7102 Statistics II is available for EdD students as an elective course in addition ot the prescribed degree plan.

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination (EdD) - 3 credit hours


Doctoral Comprehensive Examination

Dissertation Courses** - 12 credit hours


Doctoral Dissertation Research I


Doctoral Dissertation Research II


Doctoral Dissertation Research III


Doctoral Dissertation Research IV

**Dissertation Research - A minimum of four dissertation courses must be completed in order to complete the program.  Up to an additional four dissertation research courses (DIS9405E through DIS9408E) may be taken if the dissertation requirements are not completed in DIS9404E.

Note: The Professional Doctorate (EdD) requires a minimum of 54 credit hours post-master's with a maximum of 66 credit hours depending on the time required to complete the dissertation research.

Doctor of Education (EdD) Specializations

The Doctor of Education (EdD) program emphasizes an applied, project based approach to development of appreciable improvements in the body of educational practice. The EdD attracts individuals who are primarily professional administrators either at the PK-12 level or the higher education level. (Deans, enrollment managers, superintendents, principals, teacher leaders, and education faculty who primarily teach - not do research, educational consultants, trainers in organizations). EdD research focuses on solving a problem in the workplace or in the professional field of education and results in a dissertation, but also produces a "product" or solution. This degree is also intended to help students increase their own workplace Leadership Skills. For EdD students, all the statistics they will need is embedded into the Research Courses. An oral presentation of the dissertation is required. Specializations are offered in the following areas:

In the Doctor of Education, specializations such as Curriculum and Teaching (CT), Early Childhood Education (ECE), Educational Leadership (EL), English Second Language (ESOL), Instructional Leadership (IL), Special Education (SE), and Sports Management (SM) have a curriculum focused on the PK-12 environment.*Please note these Doctoral level PK-12 specializations are not accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).

Specialization Selections for the Doctor of Education Degree Program (EdD)

Curriculum and Teaching (CT) Specialization

This specialization provides students with the skill sets, knowledge and competencies to become a leader in the area of curriculum design and teaching. The specialization will provide an in-depth review of current practices, research, and contemporary teaching issues.

EdD Courses for CT Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 5 courses from the following:

CT7000 / CT7000-8

Developing Instructional Strategies and Curriculum

CT7001 / CT7001-8

The Role of the Teacher Practitioner

CT7002 / CT7002-8

Identifying and Maximizing Learning/Teaching Styles

CT7003 / CT7003-8

Teaching and Learning Foundations

CT7004 / CT7004-8

Language and Literacy Education

CT7005 / CT7005-8

Literacy: Focus on Curriculum

CT7006 / CT7006-8

Multiple Intelligences

CT7007 / CT7007-8

Leadership for Student Achievement

CT7008 / CT7008-8

Evaluation of Instruction

Early Childhood Education (ECE) Specialization

The Doctor of Education in Early Childhood Education program allows students to explore a broad spectrum of topics from growth and development, childhood literature, program administration, curriculum and assessment, and stakeholder partnerships. The specialization is designed with an emphasis on the development of skills in scientific inquiry and leadership. Students enrolled in this program will develop an understanding of theory related to the study of education in early childhood. Students will apply research findings in an informed manner and conduct applied research and program evaluation.

EdD Courses for ECE Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 courses from the following:

ECE7001 / ECE7001-8

Topics in Early Childhood Education

ECE7002 / ECE7002-8

Topics in Early Childhood Growth, Development, and Educational Programs

ECE7003 / ECE7003-8

Topics in Early Childhood Program Administration

ECE7005 / ECE7005-8

Early Childhood Curriculum and Assessment

ECE7007 / ECE7007-8

Early Childhood Literacy and Literature

ECE7009 / ECE7009-8

Families, Communities, and Schools as Partners in Early Childhood Education

CT7004 / CT7004-8

Language and Literacy Education

CT7005 / CT7005-8

Literacy: Focus on Curriculum

Educational Leadership (EDL) Specialization

Education is the foundation on which a modern society is built. This specialization prepares the student to address management and leadership issues in education and guide others through training, excellence in teaching, research and service. This specialization provides the knowledge base to be a leader in the field of education.

EdD Courses for EDL Specialization – 15 credit hours  

Select 5 courses from the following:

ED7004 / ED7004-8

School Law

ED7005 / ED7005-8

Language Arts and Reading

ED7008 / ED7008-8

Educating a Diversity of Students

ED7012 / ED7012-8

Educational Leadership

ED7013 / ED7013-8

Financial Issues in Schools

ED7015 / ED7015-8

Safety Issues for Educators

ED7016 / ED7016-8

Supervision and Leadership in Schools

ED7022 / ED7022-8

Policies and Practices in Leadership

ED7030 / ED7030-8

Development of Organizational Leadership

E-Learning (EL) Specialization

This specialization integrates curriculum development, instructional design and course delivery using technology and online learning management systems. The specialization focuses on providing a knowledge base of current research for the planning and implementation of teaching and delivery modalities using instructional design methodologies incorporating educational media.

EdD Courses for EL Specialization – 15 credit hours  

Select 5 courses from the following:

EL7001 / EL7001-8

Principles and Practices in E-Learning

EL7002 / EL7002-8

E-Learning Instructional Strategies

EL7003 / EL7003-8

Instructional Design and E-Learning Activities

EL7004 / EL7004-8

The Online Student

EL7006 / EL7006-8

Facilitating Adult Learning Online

EL7007 / EL7007-8

Ethical and Legal Issues in an Online Course

EL7008 / EL7008-8

Online Learning Communities in an Online Course

EL7010 / EL7010-8

Online Learning for K12 Students

ED7008 / ED7008-8

Educating a Diversity of Students

English Second Language (ESL) Specialization

The pedagogy of language acquisition is of extreme importance in today's classrooms and businesses. This specialization provides the knowledge base to build successful programs to enhance the learning of the English language, to assess skills of diverse students and to design instruction with bilingual materials. A practicum is possible for this level of study in English as a Second Language. (Note: students seeking ESL certification should verify with appropriate state officials that this specialization meets applicable certification requirements.)

EdD Courses for ESL Specialization – 15 credit hours

Select 5 courses from the following:

ESL7001 / ESL7001-8

Instructional Practices

ESL7002 / ESL7002-8

Cultural Diversity

ESL7003 / ESL7003-8

Evaluation of Diverse Students

ESL7004 / ESL7004-8

Bilingual Instructional Methods

ESL7005 / ESL7005-8

Developing Curriculum for ESL Students

ESL7007 / ESL7007-8

Second Language Foundations

ESL7010 / ESL7010-8


General Education Specialization

The General Education specialization allows students to select courses from a broad range of electives to fit their personal and professional goals.

Students must complete a minimum of 15 credit hours for the specialization in General Education. Students may take education courses at the 7000 or 8000 level including up to two courses from other fields (Psychology and/or Business) to fulfill their specialization requirements.  Additional courses (i.e., more than two courses) from other disciplines may be considered to fill this requirement, with Dean approval.

Recommended Specialization Courses* - 15 credit hours

ED7004 / ED7004-8

School Law

ED7008 / ED7008-8

Educating a Diversity of Students

ED7012 / ED7012-8

Educational Leadership

ED7014 / ED7014-8

Practices in School Organization

ED7016 / ED7016-8

Supervision and Leadership in Schools

*Courses listed are examples and upon acceptance to the program the initial degree plan will include these courses. Students are encouraged to choose their specialization courses based on personal and professional goals and to work with their Academic Advisor to revise their degree plan.

Global Training and Development (GTD) Specialization

The graduates from Global Training and Development are tomorrow's leaders in the field of training. The coursework entails theoretical and practical information from the areas of organizational leadership, human resources, and adult education as well as a series of research courses in which strategies are changed, reviewed, and prioritized for future effectiveness. The specialization emphasizes systemic leadership and organizational capacity.

EdD Courses for GTD Specialization – 15 credit hours  

Select 5 courses from the following:

GTD7000 / GTD7000-8

Human Performance: Paradigms and Possibilities

GTD7005 / GTD7005-8

Strategic Links for Successful Global Training

GTD7007 / GTD7007-8

The Role of Technology in the Global Training Marketplace

GTD7011 / GTD7011-8

Best Practices for Training and Presenting to International Audiences

GTD7013 / GTD7013-8

Evaluating Training Programs

GTD7019 / GTD7019-8

Trainer as Consultant in the Global Marketplace

OL7002 / OL7002-8

Building Organizational Capacity

OL7001 / OL7001-8

Conflict Resolution and Mediation

ED7017 / ED7017-8

Systems Dynamics

OL7003 / OL7003-8

Leadership for Excellence

ED7030 / ED7030-8

Development of Organizational Leadership

Instructional Leadership (IL) Specialization

Leaders are needed to assist school districts and state educational boards with improvement of instructional capacities in our schools. This specialization provides a strong background in the supervision of instruction and the ability to assess and interpret data. The specialization focuses on instructional improvements and reform to enhance student achievement.

EdD Courses for IL Specialization – 15 credit hours  

Select 5 courses from the following:

IL7000 / IL7000-8

The Culture of Learning

IL7001 / IL7001-8

Leader as Advocate and Decision Maker

IL7002 / IL7002-8

Leader as Community Advocate

ED7014 / ED7014-8

Practices in School Organization

ED7016 / ED7016-8

Supervision and Leadership in Schools

ED7035 / ED7035-8

Curriculum Supervision

ED7030 / ED7030-8

Development of Organizational Leadership

ED7036 / ED7036-8

Innovation for Change

International Education (IE) Specialization

Today, leaders are needed who are trained with the skills and practical knowledge required to work effectively within the context of global economic, political, cultural, community influences in education. These same leaders must be aware of global trends and issues in the field of education, recognize the various dimensions of educational interventions and be able to analyze the implications for students nationally and internationally. Additionally, students in this specialization analyze the roles and approaches of international, comparative, and educational practicum.

EdD Courses for IE Specialization – 15 credit hours  

Select 5 courses from the following:

IE7001 / IE7001-8

Introduction to Global and Comparative Education

IE7003 / IE7003-8

Culture, Society and Education in Comparative Perspective

IE7005 / IE7005-8

International Organizations in Global Education

IE7009 / IE7009-8

Conflict Resolution in an International Context

IE7013 / IE7013-8

Globalization and Educational Change

IE7007 / IE7007-8

International Education Leadership

IE7017 / IE7017-8

International Education Concepts and Theory

IE7021 / IE7021-8

Global Perspective on Ethical Issues

Leadership in Higher Education (LHE) Specialization

The program provides knowledge in educational leadership research, theory and practices applicable to higher education. Action or applied research is conducted to identify future directions of national and global higher education leadership.

EdD Courses for LHE Specialization – 15 credit hours  

Select 5 courses from the following:

LHE7004 / LHE7004-8

Organization & Governance of Higher Education

LHE7005 / LHE7005-8

Legal Issues in Higher Education

LHE7006 / LHE7006-8

Student Affairs Leadership

LHE7007 / LHE7007-8

Strategic Enrollment Leadership

LHE7008 / LHE7008-8

Higher Education Finance

LHE7010 / LHE7010-8

Current Trends & Topics in Higher Education

LHE7011 / LHE7011-8

Foundations of Higher Education Leadership

LHE7012 / LHE7012-8

Strategic Planning & Institutional Effectiveness in Higher Education

LHE7013 / LHE7013-8

Community College Curriculum and Program Development

LHE7014 / LHE7014-8

Introduction to the Community College

Organizational Leadership (OL) Specialization

Designed for professionals aspiring towards leadership roles in education, corporate, government, or community organizations, this specialization equips students with the tools necessary to make things happen in any organization. This specialization concentrates on the strategies to forge alliances, build confidence, and inspire a shared vision. This curriculum is grounded in applied research and provides exploration of issues and resolutions in contemporary organizations.  

EdD Specialization Courses for OL Specialization– 15 credit hours

Select 5 courses from the following:

OL7001 / OL7001-8

Conflict Resolution and Mediation

OL7002 / OL7002-8

Building Organizational Capacity

OL7003 / OL7003-8

Leadership for Excellence

OL7004 / OL7004-8

Theory and Practice of Organizational Leadership

OL7005 / OL7005-8

Ethical Leadership

OL7007 / OL7007-8

Leader as Coach

OL7008 / OL7008-8

Executive Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations

Special Education (SE) Specialization

The program is designed for students who work with gifted and disabled students in a variety of settings. The course offerings in this specialization cover a wide spectrum of issues related to individuals with disabilities, including the development and characteristics of students, learning differences, and instructional strategies to address the needs of these students. Additionally, the specialization will provide the skills to plan, assess, and deliver instruction to students with mental, physical, behavioral, learning disabilities, and the gifted student.

EdD Courses for Special Education Specialization – 15 credit hours  

Select 5 courses from the following:

SE7000 / SE7000-8

Introduction to the Exceptional Student

SE7001 /  SE7001-8

Assessment in Special Education

SE7002 /  SE7002-8

Characteristics of Learning Disabled Students

SE7003 / SE7003-8

Emotionally Disabled Student

SE7004 / SE7004-8

Developing Curriculum for the Mentally Disabled

SE7005 / SE7005-8

Law in Special Education

SE7006 / SE7006-8

Teaching Strategies in Special Education

SE7007 / SE7007-8

Managing the Exceptional Student

SE7008 / SE7008-8

Language Disabilities

SE7009 / SE7009-8

Transitioning the Exceptional Student

Sports Management (SM) Specialization

The Doctor of Education degree with a specialization in Sports Management provides educators with leadership expertise in this growing field. The program is designed to allow students the ability to increase their understanding of the field of Sports Management through practical application and doctoral research on the influences that impact sports and athletics. The program includes a combination of science-based academics, research methods, and real-world experience with an emphasis on the ever-changing financial, legal, political, and marketing concerns within the sports industry.

EdD Courses for Sports Management Specialization – 15 credit hours.

Select 5 courses from the following:

SM7100 / SM7100-8

Development of Human Resource Strategies in Intercollegiate Athletics

SM7103 / SM7103-8

Intercollegiate Sports Governance

SM7106 / SM7106-8

Legal Aspects of Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics

SM7109 / SM7109-8

Sports Compliance

SM7112 / SM7112-8

Advising the Student Athlete

LHE7006 / LHE7006-8

Student Affairs Leadership

LHE7011 / LHE7011-8

Foundations of Higher Education Leadership