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doctor of education graduate shakes president's hand as he receives diploma on graduation stage

Doctor of Education

Earn a doctorate degree in educational leadership at SBU

Develop your skills, advance professionally as an educator and prepare for leadership in today's education environment with the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership at SBU.

The doctor of education program at SBU is designed to prepare strong educational leaders. The program will equip you through a variety of educational experiences, including:

  • Discussions of current research and leadership practice;
  • Self-reflection;
  • Innovative technology and classroom applications;
  • Application of current situations in education; and
  • Other experiences deemed current and beneficial to the further development of education leaders.

The doctorate program employs a cohort model, which provides numerous benefits, from community support and group feedback to peer mentoring, networking and collaborative insights. You also will receive ongoing guidance and support from your advisor, who is assigned to you in your first semester and will facilitate your individual Directed Research project.

Throughout the program, you will advance your depth of knowledge on educational and servant leadership. The doctor of education degree helps you learn processes and gain knowledge to create a positive culture, increase organizational and student performance, and enable the development of a highly successful learning organization.


Graduate Education Admissions

Sample Course Plan


Earn your doctorate degree quicker — SBU's Ed.D. program requires just 30 credit hours!

SBU students

The SBU Advantage

  • Fit classes into your busy schedule through our convenient scheduling combined with some hybrid sessions, scheduled with the time-constrained demands of the working educator in mind.
  • Receive one-on-one guidance from a faculty member who works with each doctoral student on their research and statistics work.
  • Benefit from personalized dissertation support. You are not on your own to complete your dissertation but will have the support of a dissertation committee.

Faith Integration

SBU's Education graduate degree programs have been intentionally designed to model how the Christian faith shapes expertise, practice and experiences in professional educational settings. To assist students in developing as transformative agents in today's schools, our programs provide a foundation to become both scholars and practitioners — a synthesis of academic knowledge, practical skills and servant leadership. We desire that our students, while working toward a graduate degree in education, become true servant leaders who are able to integrate their faith into their practice to make a difference in today's society.

Leveling Options for Your Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

Traditionally, a student has needed to complete both a master’s degree in education and a specialist degree in educational administration before proceeding to a doctorate. With the “leveling” program at SBU, the specialist degree is not required, though specific courses must be completed — over a period of 1-2 years — before beginning doctoral work. The leveling track requires 13 hours fewer than the completed specialist degree, saving you a year’s worth of classes and nearly $4,000 in tuition.

Grad Ed leveling options

If your highest degree is a Master of Science, you will need to complete all three steps to achieve an Ed.D. through leveling. If your highest degree is a Master of Science in Educational Administration, you will need to complete the last two steps to achieve an Ed.D. through leveling.

  • Step 1: M.S. Administration + Leveling Courses (1 year to complete, 22 credit hours) + Test for Principal Certification
  • Step 2: Specialist of Educational Administration: Leveling Courses (1 year to complete, 21 credit hours) + Test for Superintendent Certification
  • Step 3: Ed.D. courses (2 years to complete, 30 credit hours) + completion of directed research project


Crystal Magers
"I can't imagine being a principal without the learning I received at SBU. This program was a game-changer for me. I received learning that helped me improve my leadership and impact student achievement."
Dr. Crystal Magers '19
Principal at Sherwood Elementary School, Springfield, Mo.

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership Course Plans

Track 1

Candidates holding the Educational Specialist Degree in School Administration/Superintendency or School Administration will complete the following courses for the Ed. D.:

First Semester

EAD 8023 Educational Advocacy 3
EAD 8033 Advanced Research and Ethics 3
Total hours 6

Third Semester

EAD 8053 Ethics in Personal & Professional Life 3
EAD 8013 Leadership in Learning 3
Total hours 6

Fifth Semester

EAD 8011 Education Symposium 1
  Written Comprehensive Exam 0
EAD 8073 Directed Research 3
Total hours 4


Second Semester

BUS 6002 Non-Profit Financial Management 2
BUS 6012 Organizational Consulting Practice 2
EAD 8043 Advanced Statistics and Instrument Design 3
Total hours 7

Fourth Semester

EAD 8003 Leadership and the Law 3
EAD 8001 Symposium Planning and Development 1
Total hours 4

Sixth Semester

EAD 8073 Directed Research* 3+
Total hours 3+
 *The dissertation process is a journey that typically requires several hours of dissertation credit to complete. Continuous enrollment in directed research is required until the dissertation is finished.

Track 2

Candidates holding the M.S. in Educational Administration with initial certification as a building level administrator may choose to apply for the Ed.D. Leveling Program. This opportunity allows students to complete required Specialist courses a year prior to actual participation in the Ed.D. courses (these courses are charged at the Specialist tuition rate). The following Track 2 Leveling courses are required:

EAD 7003 School District Administration 3
EAD 7013 Personnel Administration 3
EAD 7023 Advanced School Finance 3
EAD 7033 School Planning and Maintenance 3
EAD 7043 Research and Statistics 3
EAD 7072 Internship in Superintendency 2
EAD 7123 The Superintendency 3
Total hours 20

Without a Master's Degree in Education Administration

Students without a Master’s degree in an education-related field must complete the following course work PRIOR to being considered for the Track Two Leveling Program. (Students must request application into the Specialist program in order for these courses to be eligible for financial aid).

  A Master’s level research course  
EAD 6053 School Supervision 3
EAD 6014 School Curriculum 4
EAD 6024 School Administration 4

This is a proposed guideline. Please check the catalog for your final degree requirements and consult with your advisor to develop an official plan of study. Southwest Baptist University reserves the right to make changes to degree plans without advanced notice or obligation. You are responsible for understanding and completing all degree, departmental and graduation requirements.

Download in PDF format:
Ed.D. in Educational Leadership plan (PDF)