Doctor of Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy: Educational Leadership

The Ph.D. program consists of a minimum of 71 credits. The first 30 credits are earned through the successful completion of an Ed.S. program or its equivalent. The last 41 credits are offered primarily online.

The Ph.D. classes are designed to prepare faculty and educational leaders who are:

  • able to contribute to the working body of knowledge through original scholarly research.
  • capable of providing servant leadership to their higher education institutions or educational settings.
  • able to make ethical decisions under demanding circumstances.
  • willing to encourage professional growth in others and exhibit academic excellence to those around them.
  • able to provide creative, workable solutions to problems as they arise both within the educational setting and the larger community.
  • able to provide leadership in creating an inviting environment for students and staff regardless of their background or circumstances.


Required Courses for Ph.D. in Educational Leadership

For the required Ed.S. courses, see Educational Specialist.

Educational Leadership Emphasis Courses (9 credits)

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Sub-Total Credits

Dissertation (12 credits) 

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Sub-Total Credits

EDUC9500 and EDUC9901 are completed during a two-week, face-to-face residency during the summer.
EDUC9930: Extended Dissertation Research and Writing is taken as needed

Application Requirements - Ph.D. in Educational Leadership

The following requirements must be received by Admissions and are online, mailed or emailed as indicated. For mail: Northwest Nazarene University, Attention Graduate Admissions, 623 University Boulevard, Nampa, ID, 83686. For email: Transcripts can be received through email if sent from an accepted digital credentialing service, such as Parchment or the National Student Clearinghouse.
Note: Priority application deadline for cohort admission is October 1 of the previous fall.

  1. Online: Application and $50 non-refundable application fee.
  2. Mail, or email from a digital service: Official transcripts from a regionally accredited institution(s) where candidate received one of the following: an Ed.S. degree or a master’s degree and post-master’s educational leadership credits. Professional Development credits are not accepted.
  3. Phone: An interview for most candidates with the doctoral program director and designated members of the Graduate Education Admissions Committee.
  4. Online: Two online recommendation forms completed by professional colleagues that provide evidence of scholarly abilities, aptitude for administration, and potential for successful completion of a doctoral program.
  5. Online: One Supervisor Recommendation Form completed by the applicant's current district superintendent (or designee) or by the applicant's lead supervisor.
  6. Online: All applicants are required to submit a personal Statement of Purpose. The statement should be focused, informative, and convey the following in 3-5 pages: (a) her/his academic and professional interests, (b) the reasons behind selecting this particular program and Northwest Nazarene University, and (c) how this degree will impact her/his role in the educational community.
  7. Online: Provide a 10–20-page paper that is representative of academic writing (i.e. thesis, journal article, and/or term paper). The sample should provide evidence of research-based writing and include citations from outside sources. The writing sample should follow APA formatting (double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, margins, etc.).

Admission Requirements - Ph.D. in Educational Leadership

After October 1 each year, the Graduate Education Admissions Committee will consider each candidate for admission to the doctoral program for the following January. Each candidate must have the following:

  1. A recognized specialist degree (Ed.S.) or its equivalent with a minimum of 30 semester graduate credits from an academic institution that is accredited by an official regional accreditation agency. Credits must have been earned within five (5) years preceding the date of admission. The completed Ed.S. program must meet the approval of the doctoral program director. Additional courses may be required based upon recommendations from the program director.
  2. Applicants who have not earned an Ed.S. degree or its equivalent should apply to the Ed.S. program before applying to the doctoral program in Educational Leadership.
  3. A minimum grade point average of 3.5 in the student's Ed.S. program as indicated on official transcripts. The student must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 to continue in the doctoral program.
  4. Competency in the use of computer and internet technology, and either access to or ownership of appropriate computer equipment. High-speed internet access is required.
  5. Approval by the Graduate Education Admissions Committee.

Graduation Requirements - Ph.D. in Educational Leadership

  1. At least 41 credits in the Ph.D. program must be earned in courses numbered 9000 or above. Continuing education courses and non-graded courses do not apply toward those credits.
  2. The candidate must complete the requirements as specified in the degree major. The degree must be completed within six years of beginning coursework. If the degree is not completed within six years, the candidate must reapply to the program. Credits older than six years may need to be retaken.
  3. The candidate must complete a dissertation and successfully defend that work in an oral defense or examination involving the student, the dissertation committee, the doctoral program director, and any other evaluators the doctoral program director may include.
  4. Following a successful dissertation defense, the candidate must complete any required edits to the written dissertation and obtain all required signatures on the submission authorization page.
  5. Candidates must submit the final, approved written dissertation that includes the signed submission authorization page to the NNU Library's UMI dissertation database.
  6. The candidate must apply for graduation one full semester prior to anticipated degree completion. Deadlines: June 1 for Fall; October 15 for Spring; and January 15 for Summer.


Total Credits