The PhD Program is suitable for students who want to combine a strong base of theoretical knowledge with an individualized focus to conduct research in and about PK-12, postsecondary and adult learning environments.

The PhD in Education is found in many different roles in academia, industry and not-for-profit organizations, including educational consultant, academic researcher, policy maker, educational theorist, and faculty member or administrator in a higher education or organizational setting.

Students pursuing the PhD in Education have the opportunity to customize and focus their program through their coursework, doctoral research courses and the doctoral dissertation.  A Ph.D. requires original ideas about a specialized topic, as well as a high degree of methodological/scientific rigor (Nelson, & Coorough, 1994). As is traditional in higher education, a Ph.D. is only awarded for a piece of work that will actually make a difference to the theoretical context of the field ‑‑‑ the Ph.D. dissertation is a new contribution to the body of knowledge.

PhD Program Goals

The PhD Research and Dissertation

The University has developed a logical step-by-step process that assists in completing the dissertation. Northcentral University provides a detailed Dissertation Handbook that explains the process and Northcentral University's dissertation support structure.

The PhD doctoral research courses, the PhD comprehensive course and the PhD dissertation courses are specifically designed as a guide through the process in an orderly and meaningful fashion and lead to the oral defense.

The dissertation is the capstone academic achievement of the PhD. The PhD dissertation is a scholarly documentation of the research. To earn the PhD the student must demonstrate the ability, motivation, and commitment and Northcentral University will provide the faculty, the academic support and process to assist with the attainment of high academic goals.

The PhD research is aimed at contributing to the body of research knowledge - either new research or adding to research already studied in the field. PhD students take EDU8003 – Applied Statistics and EDU8006, Advanced Statistical Methods as part of their program of study. There is also an oral defense.

General Degree Requirements

The PhD Program may be completed in 60 semester credit hours. However, up to an additional 15 credit hours will be allowed as needed to complete the dissertation research. If the program is not completed in 75 credit hours, the student will be dismissed from the program.

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 PhD 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 72 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 39 months.

Certification and Licensing

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

Course Length

As of August 1st, 2011, all new students enrolling in the Education PhD program are automatically enrolled in courses that are eight weeks in length. Students whose PhD program was in progress as of August 1st, 2011 will continue to be enrolled in courses that are twelve weeks in length. These existing PhD students may opt to switch to eight-week courses by contacting their Academic Advisor.  Once existing PhD 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.

PhD Degree Requirements

Admission to the Doctorate programs requires a master's degree from an accredited institution.

PhD students are required to demonstrate competency in specific subject areas prior to enrolling in any of the specialization or elective courses.

Foundational Competencies for PhD Program

Graduate Level Statistics Competency - PhD students are required to complete a Statistics in Education Research Course, EDU8003, and also EDU8006, Advanced Educational Statistics.

Competency in Research Writing Skills - PhD students are required to show competency in writing skills for research purposes through their Northcentral University graduate coursework before being assigned to any dissertation courses. Students will be required to take EDU8001, Advanced Scholarly Writing, to improve APA formatting skills and to address advanced writing and research skills.

Computer Competency - PhD students are required to use appropriate computer skills that are necessary in writing a dissertation. Students must be able to prepare documents using advanced word processing skills (e.g., creation of tables and figures, headers and footers, page breaks, tables of contents, hanging indents, etc.).  In addition, students need to use computer programs for the statistical analysis and presentation of data (e.g., Excel, SPSS). The oral defense normally requires a computer-based presentation by the candidate (e.g., a Power Point presentation).

Doctoral Dissertation Process

Faculty guide each Northcentral University Doctoral student to reach this high goal through a systematic process leading to a high-quality completed dissertation. A PhD dissertation is a scholarly documentation of research that makes an original contribution to the field of study. 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. 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.

PhD Doctoral Course Sequence

Credit Hours - The PhD program may be completed with a minimum of 60 credits. Up to an additional 15 credit hours will be allowed as needed to complete dissertation research. Students who do not complete their program in 75 credit hours will be dismissed.

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

The PhD in Education requires the following courses for every specialization:

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

Required Foundational Courses must be taken first and in sequence.

PhD Required Basic Foundation Courses – 6 credit hours

EDU8000, EDU8000-8

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

EDU8001, EDU8001-8

Advanced Scholarly Writing

The PhD in Education requires two Foundation courses, six Specialization courses, six Research courses, and two Statistics courses for a total of 45 credit hours.

 

Specialization Course 1

EDR8100

Scholarly Literature Review

EDR8103

Research Methods

 

Specialization Course 2

EDR8101

Statistics I

 

Specialization Course 3

EDR8102

Statistics II

EDR8104

Introduction to Measurement

 

Specialization Course 4

 

Specialization Course 5

EDR8105

or

EDR8106

Advanced Qualitative Design and Measurement

 

Advanced Quantitative Design and Measurement

 

Specialization Course 6

EDR8109

or

EDR8110

or

EDR8111

or

EDR8112

Mixed Methods Research

 

Program Evaluation

 

Case Study

 

Action Research

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination (PhD) - 3 credit hours

**Dissertation Courses - 12 credit hours

CMP9500E

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination

DIS9501E

PhD Doctoral Dissertation

DIS9502E

PhD Doctoral Dissertation

DIS9503E

PhD Doctoral Dissertation

DIS9504E

PhD Doctoral Dissertation

**Dissertation Research - A minimum of four dissertation research courses must be completed in order to complete the program.

Doctor of Philosophy in Education Degree Program (PhD) Specializations

The PhD degree in Education focuses on enhancing the body of knowledge of education. The PhD is intended for the student who wishes to primarily teach in higher education, conduct educational research or work in the area of educational research (full time faculty dedicated to teaching AND research, institutional researchers, etc.) The PhD research is aimed at contributing to the body of research knowledge - either new research or adding to research already completed in the field.

PhD students may select from the following specializations

Specialization areas for the Doctor of Philosophy in Education Degree Program (PhD)

Curriculum and Teaching (CT) Specialization

Education is the foundation on which modern society is built. 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.

PhD Specialization Courses in the CT Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 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 Philosophy in Education in Early Childhood Education program is designed to prepare students for positions of leadership in schools, higher education organizations, and research settings. The program is competency-based, with specific emphasis on research and teaching across a broad spectrum of topics from childhood development, literature, program administration, curriculum and assessment, and stakeholder partnerships. The specialization is designed to promote an understanding of the breadth and depth of early childhood education research, curriculum, and policy. In addition, throughout the program, students will apply scientific findings and conduct theory-based research applicable to this field.

PhD 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 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, facilitated by research and analysis.

PhD Specialization courses in EDL Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 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

ED7014 / ED7014-8

Practices in School Organization

ED7015 / ED7015-8

Safety Issues for Educators

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 through current research and analysis of the planning and implementation of teaching and delivery modalities. Coursework focuses on instructional design methodologies incorporating educational media.

PhD Courses in EL Specialization– 18 credit hours  

Select 6 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

CT7000 / CT7000-8

Developing Curriculum Strategies and Curriculum

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. Research and current analysis of ESL and ESL theory provides the basis for the assessment and design process. (Note: students seeking ESL certification should verify with appropriate state officials that this specialization meets applicable certification requirements.)

PhD Specialization Courses for ESL Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 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

Practicum for ESL/Bilingual-Bicultural Education

Global Training and Development (GTD) Specialization

This specialization educates leaders in the field of training and development. 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, verified through research and analysis of contemporary theory and practice.

PhD Courses in GTD Specialization – 18 credit hours

Select 6 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

OL7001 / OL7001-8

Conflict Resolution and Mediation

OL7002 / OL7002-8

Building Organizational Capacity

OL7003 / OL7003-8

Leadership for Excellence

ED7017 / ED7017-8

Systems Dynamics

ED7030 / ED7030-8

Development of Organizational Leadership

Instructional Leadership (IL) Specialization

The program provides knowledge in educational leadership research, theory and practices applicable to higher education. Research and analysis is conducted to identify future directions of national and global higher education focused on educational change through policy development and educational reform.

PhD Specialization courses in IL Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 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

CT7000 / CT7000-8

Developing Instructional Strategies and Curriculum

CT7007 / CT7007-8

Leadership for Student Achievement

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

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.

PhD Courses for IE Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 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. Research and analysis is conducted to identify future directions of national and global higher education focused on educational change through policy development and educational reform.

PhD Specialization Courses in LHE Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 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 based in applied research, providing exploration of issues and resolutions in contemporary organizations and the opportunity to contribute new knowledge in the field.  

PhD Specialization Courses in OL Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 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, using analysis of contemporary research.

PhD Specialization Courses in Special Education Specialization – 18 credit hours  

Select 6 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 Philosophy in Sports Management is a rigorous, research-based degree program requiring students to apply educational concepts and management principles in the planning, organizing, leading, and directing of sports and athletics. Emphasis is placed on the production, facilitation, promotion, and organization of sport products and services. Because this growing field requires scholar-practitioners with proficiency across a wide range of skills, the curriculum allows for a multifaceted exploration aligned with industry standards. In this program, students will further their knowledge of competencies in athletic administration and coaching; explore working problems within the profession to discern solutions; and build an understanding of educational theories related to this field.

PhD Courses for Sports Management Specialization – 18 credit hours

Select 6 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