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Doctor of Education (EdD) Degree

© Dr. Nina A., 2021 Graduate

Learn to Lead the Future of Education

The Doctor of Education degree program is designed for professionals who seek to lead improvements in practice within educational organizations. You’ll integrate conceptual constructs into your considerations of complex professional problems. You’ll work to 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.

In this program, you’ll be able to choose from 16 specializations, including Curriculum and Teaching, Early Childhood Education, Trauma-Informed Educational Practices, and English Language Learning. Upon completion of the program, you’ll 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.


  • NO Residency
  • NO Group Work
  • 100% Online Learning
  • 100% Doctoral Faculty

Program Outcomes

At Northcentral 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.

Program at a Glance

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

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of Northcentral 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


Curriculum and Teaching

The Doctor of Education with a specialization in Curriculum and Teaching is designed to provide teacher learners the knowledge, skills, and professional competencies that will enhance their instructional practice and leadership. You’ll have the opportunity to explore, examine, and evaluate contemporary teaching and instructional practices, including the evaluation of broader curriculum programs.

Early Childhood Education

In the Doctor of Education with a specialization in Early Childhood Education program, you’ll build on your existing knowledge and skills in early childhood education as you focus on leadership in practice. This focus will include curriculum, assessment, and program administration that aligns with research on the growth and development of young children. You’ll also investigate the roles of families, caregivers, schools, and communities as partners in early childhood education. This specialization supports your development as a leader focused on problems of practice in the field of early childhood education.


NCU’s Doctor of Education (EdD) in E-Learning specialization will prepare you for the ever-evolving field of education for educational institutions, nonprofits, and business. In many ways, e-learning has become more commonplace and encompasses a variety of formats, including completely online class offerings, hybrid classes, and web-enhanced on-campus classroom environments. NCU’s EdD in E-Learning explores and provides you with hands-on application of the e-learning environment, including visioning, planning and designing an e-learning environment; the legal aspects of e-learning; technology resources; teaching and learning in synchronous and asynchronous environments; and instructional design for e-learning.

English Language Learning

The pedagogy of language acquisition is of great importance in not only today’s classrooms, but also the businesses and organizations with which we all interact. The Doctor of Education with a specialization in English Language Learning (ELL) program contributes to your preparation as an advanced practitioner and leader in the field. You’ll examine the teaching, assessing, and developing curriculum for English language learners through the eyes of an advanced practitioner or local leader. In the final course, you’ll consider significant issues in ELL education, and one of these issues might inspire your dissertation-in-practice. Please note that if you are seeking ELL/ESL certification, you should verify with appropriate state officials that this specialization meets applicable certification requirements.

General Education

NCU’s General Education doctorate gives you the opportunity to develop a broad knowledge base that fits your interests and goals, while also advancing your research and critical thinking skills. In our EdD General Education specialization, you’ll further your understanding of education theory and best practices, and learn how to apply these principles in your profession. Featuring a 100% online doctorate degree in General Education, you’ll have the opportunity to shape your program from a variety of elective courses and pick those that best fit your personal and professional goals.

Global Training and Development

In this specialization, you’ll build on your existing knowledge and skills in global training and development as you focus on leadership in practice. This focus will extend across global and multinational organizations and will include topics such as paradigms of human performance, alignment of training activities with strategic business goals, global performance culture, cross-cultural training, and consultancy in the global training marketplace. This specialization supports your development as a leader focused on problems of practice in the field of global training and development.

Instructional Leadership

Skilled leaders in education are vital and NCU’s Doctor of Education (EdD) in Instructional Leadership specialization provides you with a strong knowledge base in the supervision of instruction, curriculum, diversity, and analysis of the instructional capacity of K-12 schools. Under the guidance of your professors, you’ll learn current theories and practices and how to assess and interpret data. You’ll also develop the skills to apply what you learn to help others improve student achievement and develop assessment and improvement strategies. Graduates have advanced leadership capacity in educational reform and improvement, and are prepared to pursue a variety of positions in instructional leadership.

International Education and Globalization

The focus of the International Education and Globalization specialization is on educational phenomena, practices, institutions, and organizations within different societies and cultures.

This specialization includes an exploration of international organizations, initiatives, ethics, and challenges faced by international and global practitioners. The International Education and Globalization specialization prepares individuals to apply the concepts of organizational training, development, and leadership to the design, management, and evaluation of programs, institutions, and organizations. Students in this specialization can expect to examine the issues, challenges, and opportunities related to culture and society; as well as conflict, mediation, and resolution They will also explore the concepts of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in international and global contexts to enhance strategies and policy for practitioners.

Leadership in Higher Education

NCU’s Doctor of Education with a specialization in Leadership in Higher Education prepares you to lead in a variety of higher education institutions. You’ll examine leadership across different functions, such as student services, strategic planning, and academic program and curriculum development, as well as different types of institutions, such as public, private, for-profit, and nonprofit. You’ll also explore the leader’s role in other institutional operations related to legal and financial considerations.

This specialization explores how higher education is organized, how it is financed, associated legal issues, and the history of higher education. You’ll gain knowledge of educational leadership research, theory, and practices applicable to higher education. In our unique one-on-one mentoring approach, your doctoral professors will have you conduct action or applied research to identify future directions of national and global higher education leadership. With an EdD with a specialization in Leadership in Higher Education, you’ll have the knowledge and skills to lead in the field of higher education.

Learning Analytics in Higher Education

Given the competitive nature of higher education today, many institutions are using data not only to gain a competitive advantage, but to improve educational outcomes for both students and faculty. The role of learning analytics in student success is limitless. NCU’s online Doctor of Education (EdD) with a specialization in Learning Analytics in Higher Education can set you apart in this ever-expanding field as a skilled educational data analyst.

This program will immerse you in the field, exposing you to the history of data analytics, instruction on the proper identification, utility, and application of relevant data in the educational world. In addition, you’ll receive an introduction to the components of datum, data mining, types of data analytics, and other important issues within the realm of learning analytics. Upon graduation, you’ll be well-prepared to lead and oversee the collection and management of sensitive data, and the performance of related statistical tests that are used in the field.

Learning Analytics in K-12 Education

Improving K-12 learning outcomes can significantly impact the prosperity of students and the economic growth of their communities. Data analytics have long been used in public and private businesses to help drive a number of decisions, and now educational administrators and school districts may recognize the benefit of real-time data to help shape processes to ensure student and faculty success.

If you have a passion for combining data application and theoretical principles to guide the processes in primary, intermediate, and secondary educational systems, NCU’s Doctor of Education (EdD) with a specialization in learning analytics K-12 can help prepare you to improve the K-12 academic experience and its results.

This online doctoral program immerses students into the growing field of K-12 learner analytics. The program emphasizes identifying early and prominent foundations of student analytics and examining key theories, views from leading experts, and useful best practices and applications in K-12 learning environments.

This 18-credit program specialization also explores the role of technology and data mining, the identification and application of relevant data, and more. You’ll study the impact of tutoring, technology, and online learning tools, as well as student demographic background, to build the advanced skills needed in a variety of academic roles.

Nursing Education

A growing demand for nurses across the U.S. and elsewhere has resulted in a shortage of nursing educators. NCU’s School of Education is pleased to offer an online Doctorate of Education (EdD) with a specialization in Nursing Education. NCU’s exemplary reputation for instructional quality provides a strong foundation for a doctoral experience that comprises opportunities to develop scholarship, conduct research, and enhance leadership skills for nursing educators. This program prepares you as an educational leader who participates and supports growth in nursing education. NCU’s specialization in Nursing Education is designed to help you fill the growing gap for qualified nursing instructors. A master’s degree in nursing, or a master’s degree in a closely related field with a current RN license, is required for entrance into the program.

Organizational Leadership

The study of Organizational Leadership is enjoying high growth, and NCU’s Doctor of Education (EdD) in Organizational Leadership specialization is designed to prepare you to enter the field. Under the guidance of your mentoring professors, this specialization will equip you with the tools necessary to forge alliances, build confidence, and inspire a shared vision with members of a team. NCU’s curriculum explores organizational issues and resolutions in contemporary organizations. Organizational Leadership graduates pursue a variety of positions in higher education, K-12 education, corporate training and development organizations, not-for-profit organizations, and in government training and development.

School Safety, Security, Emergency Management

The school safety, school security, and school emergency management specialization is designed to allow learners to focus on the three areas unique to the specialization title. Students who feel safe and secure at school are better able to learn by engaging with the curriculum, their teachers, and their peers. This specialization offers K-12 professionals and other related emergency management or district personnel management personnel the opportunity to learn about diverse topics such as:

  • Technologies to manage safety, security, and emergencies
  • Threat assessments of people and facilities
  • Restorative justice and other alternatives to student discipline
  • How to contribute, implement, and improve school safety plans.

Special Education

Explore challenging issues that face current practitioners and administrators of special education programs by earning a Doctor of Education (EdD) with specialization in Special Education. This specialization focuses on special education from a broader perspective than a single classroom. This broader perspective includes your potential as a leader-practitioner and administrator. You’ll explore the roles and dispositions of practitioners and leaders, as well as examine advanced topics as they relate to analyzing data, monitoring student progress across programs, implementing programs for students with behavior-related disabilities, and the intersection of leadership, law, and finance.

Sport and Athletic Management

NCU’s Doctor of Education (EdD) in Sport and Athletic Management specialization provides you with leadership expertise at the collegiate level in this growing field. You’ll have the opportunity to increase your knowledge through practical application and doctoral research on the influences that impact sports and athletics. Under the guidance of your mentoring professors, you’ll explore a combination of science-based academics, research methods, and real life experiences with an emphasis on the ever-changing financial, legal, political, and marketing concerns within the collegiate athletic department. You’ll also further your knowledge in directing an athletic department at the collegiate level as you complete courses related to Title IX, legal aspects, and advisement programs for the student athlete.

Social Emotional Learning

A great deal of research over the last several decades validates the importance of social and emotional skills. Research shows that classrooms function more effectively and student learning increases when children have the skills to focus their attention, manage negative emotions, navigate relationships with peers and adults, and persist in the face of difficulty. Social emotional learning (SEL) refers to the process of learning how to understand and manage emotions, express empathy, set goals, create positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. When applied in the classroom, SEL can help create a more supportive learning environment, enhance learning outcomes, and improve student behavior.

The Social Emotional Learning (SEL) specialization is focused on mid-career or advanced classroom teachers, school counselors or psychologists, and school/district administrators who desire 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 practitioner’s perspective, you’ll examine how these competencies are applied across classrooms, schools, homes, and communities. While individuals outside of the K-12 school context would benefit from the specialization, the courses do use a K-12 lens.

In this specialization, you’ll develop the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum directly to children, build whole-child nurturing learning communities, and be an advocate for the principles of culturally and developmentally appropriate SEL practice. Graduates of this program will be well positioned to become SEL leaders after three to five years of direct experience.

Trauma-Informed Educational Practices

Build on practice-based knowledge and skills related to teaching and learning by earning a Doctor of Education with a specialization in trauma-informed educational practices. The EdD is an applied practitioner degree, which gives you the opportunity to implement change and practices within your own environment. The specialization in trauma-informed educational practices is an applied study that will extend across various educational settings and populations. You’ll explore the fundamentals of practice in trauma-informed approaches to education, explore how trauma manifests in different populations and communities, specific trauma-informed strategies for the classroom, and practices common to strengthening resilience among both students and educators.

  • EDU 8050 – Foundations of Advanced Graduate Study and Research
  • EDU 8060 – Foundations of Academic Writing, Conceptual & Theoretical Frameworks
  • Specialization Course 1
  • Specialization Course 2
  • Specialization Course 3
  • Specialization Course 4
  • Specialization Course 5 (Nursing Education specialization only)
  • Specialization Course 6 (Nursing Education specialization only)
  • EDR-8200 - Scholarly Literature Review
  • EDR-8300 - The Research Process
  • EDR-8201 - Statistics I
  • EDR-8400 - Advanced Qualitative Methodology and Designs - or - EDR-8500 - Advanced Quantitative Methodology and Designs
  • EDR-8206 - Applied Qualitative Analysis — or — EDR-8202 - Statistics II
  • CMP-9601E - Doctoral Comprehensive Assessment: Pre-Candidacy Prospectus
  • DIS-9911A - Applied Doctoral Introduction
  • DIS-9912A - Applied Doctoral Proposal
  • DIS-9913A - Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Data Collection
  • DIS-9914A - Applied Doctoral Manuscript

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 post-secondary education administrators 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, (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 NCU 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 are comprised 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.

NCU 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 course work 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 NCU’s EdS program may be eligible to apply up to 30 credits from the EdS program to the School of Education’s Doctoral programs. School dean (or their designee) approval is required to determine number of applicable credit hours from EdS to the selected doctoral program.


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

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To speak with an Enrollment Advisor, call (866) 776-0331 or email


Why Choose Northcentral University?

  • Classes Start Weekly: Your Doctor of Education is flexible with NCU’s year-round enrollment and weekly class starts.
  • 1:1 Teaching Model: Our 100% doctoral faculty meet with you one-on-one, so you can focus on what matters — making a difference with your degree.
  • Online Community: To help students feel less isolated in a virtual learning environment, we created a community space called The Commons. The purpose was to create an interactive space for students to make real-time connections, meet, share ideas, and support each other through their academic journeys.

  • NO Residency
  • NO Group Work
  • 100% Online Learning
  • 100% Doctoral Faculty