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Toby Schmidt



Educational Leadership
Doctor of Education
Are you a passionate educator hoping to take your career to the next level? The doctorate in educational leadership degree program provides a unique opportunity for advanced study and research within the field of education. Join a community of passionate professionals making a difference in students’ lives, exploring opportunities in academic administration, educational policy and curriculum development. Get the essential skills and knowledge for successful leadership and open up a world of possibilities.
Program admission and financial aid are subject to approval.
  • FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING and course delivery in an online/distance format for continued employment
  • PROGRAM LENGTH of approximately 26 months
  • FULL ACCREDITATION with doctorally-prepared faculty who have extensive experience

Know Your True Potential with a Doctorate in Educational Leadership

Are you ready to tap into your full potential as an educator and leader? NNU’s doctorate in educational leadership is packed with benefits, including the flexibility of online learning, a reasonable program length of just over two years and respected accreditation from experienced faculty in K-12 education, higher education and educational research. Plus, the cohort model allows you to build supportive relationships with fellow students and maximize your research potential during the two-week on-campus summer session. Don’t let your leadership potential go untapped—invest in yourself with a doctorate in educational leadership.

degree details

Doctor of Education


$625 per credit, $150 per semester technology fee

The Benefits of a Doctor of Education Degree at NNU

  • Earn your Ed.D. online comfortably in your own time from the convenience of your home
  • Take advantage of full accreditation and doctoral-prepared faculty
  • Dive into a learning experience that is tailored to your needs with advanced study and research
  • Make meaningful connections with other students from diverse backgrounds during the on-campus learning session
  • Benefit from an accelerated program length of 26 months and maximize your educational goals
  • Receive an advanced and comprehensive education in educational leadership for greater job prospects and career opportunities
  • Become part of NNU’s alumni community
  • NNU’s College of Education is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)


Our Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program Goals and Outcomes

  • Gain comprehensive knowledge and understanding of data-driven decision-making to develop supportive school environments
  • Practice evidence-based research, write research proposals and conduct research in educational settings
  • Build collaborative skills by engaging with peers, colleagues, teachers, administrators, community organizations and parents
  • Learn how to use technology effectively and leverage it for your field-specialized learning needs
  • Develop an understanding of codes of ethics, professional dispositions and other applicable laws for your specialization of study

Additional Information About the Educational Leadership Doctoral Degree

Program Information
The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree program is designed to provide advanced study and research for educators interested in educational leadership.

The Ed.D. is concentrated on educational leadership; however, you can declare a specific focus. The Ed.D. focuses on research on particular practices or policies that affect state or regional schools or school systems; this degree is concerned with application to professional practice in K-12 education.

The Ed.D. requires the completion of an educational specialist degree or equivalent OR students with prior doctoral-level coursework can be admitted.

Application Requirements
The following requirements are online, mailed, by phone or emailed as indicated. Recommendation forms are available online within the application portal.

For mail:
Northwest Nazarene University
Attention Graduate Admissions
623 University Boulevard
Nampa, ID 83686

For email: gps@nnu.edu

Note: The application deadline is October 1 for a January start.

  • Online: Application and $50 non-refundable application fee
  • Mail or email from a digital service such as Parchment or the National Student Clearinghouse: Official transcripts from a regionally accredited institution(s) where the candidate received one of the following: an Ed.S. degree OR a master’s degree and post-master educational leadership credits; Professional Development credits are not accepted
  • Phone: An interview for most students with the Doctoral Program Director and designated faculty from the Department of Graduate Education
  • 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
  • Online: One Supervisor Recommendation Form completed by the applicant’s current district superintendent (or designee) or by the applicant’s lead supervisor
  • Online: A 10-20 page paper that is representative of academic writing (i.e., thesis, journal article and/or academic 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.)
  • Online: A personal Statement of Purpose; the statement should be focused, informative and convey the following in 3-5 pages:
    • Applicant’s academic and professional interests
    • The reasons behind selecting this particular program and Northwest Nazarene University
    • How this degree will impact the applicant’s role in the educational community
Admission Requirements
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:

  • 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 with the approval of the doctoral program director. Additional courses may be required based upon recommendations from the program director.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Approval by the Graduate Education Admissions Committee.
Cohort Start Dates
New cohorts begin in the spring of each year. The application deadline is October 1 of the previous fall.
Required Courses
EDUC9150 Introduction to Educational Research (3)
EDUC9160 Qualitative and Quantitative Methods for Educational Research (3)
EDUC9170 Advanced Qualitative Research (3)
EDUC9180 Advanced Quantitative Research: Analysis & Methods (3)
EDUC9200 Policy Influence and Development (3)
EDUC9300 Effective Leadership for Change Management (3)
EDUC9400 Advanced Data Analysis (3)
EDUC9910 Dissertation Research I (3)
EDUC9920 Dissertation Research II (3)
EDUC9990 Dissertation Writing and Defense (3)

The following courses are taken during a 2-week on-campus residency:

EDUC9500 Professional and Ethical Leadership (3)
EDUC9900 EDD Dissertation Proposal (3)

Total Credits: 36-semester credits are required.


Since this is a program that leads to professional licensure, prospective students should review important information about NNU’s participation in the National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) and Professional Licensure about this program. Individual states often have different expectations for professional licensure, so it is in a prospective student’s best interest to investigate whether NNU’s degree program will help them achieve licensure in their home state.

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Northwest Nazarene University’s College of Education meets the requirements for accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).



Northwest Nazarene University received the 2023-2024 Colleges of Distinction Award in Education.

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With core courses in organizational theory and educational leader positions, doctoral students can become school leaders in education systems like community colleges and higher education institutions.

Career Paths for Educational Leadership Graduate Students

With a degree in educational leadership, you can become a policy analyst, curriculum coordinator or even an instructional designer. The skills and knowledge acquired during your studies make you a valuable asset to any educational institution, whether public or private.

Education Policy Analyst

Curriculum Coordinator

Meet Our Faculty

A passion for leadership and a commitment to excellence made the Ph.D. program at Northwest Nazarene University the obvious choice for me. The NNU experience is both professionally and personally rewarding, providing an alignment of vision, values, personal courage, faith and community.
Dr. Robert Sanchez

Graduate of the NNU Doctoral Program

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership Program

Below are frequently asked questions we receive about our graduate educational leadership (Ed.D.) program at Northwest Nazarene University.

What sets the NNU doctorate in educational leadership program apart from other graduate programs?

The NNU doctorate in educational leadership program stands out from other graduate programs by its unique blend of academic excellence, Christian values and a commitment to producing compassionate, successful leaders and educators. At the College of Education, we aim to prepare individuals dedicated to serving others, open to change, responsive to all and empowered to thrive in the global community.

Our consistent recognition at both regional and national levels sets our program apart. Our graduate and undergraduate programs have received commendations, being recognized as the best value in an education program and for outstanding educator preparation. These accolades reflect our unwavering commitment to delivering top-quality education and equipping our students with the skills and knowledge they need to excel in their roles.

Furthermore, NNU is proud to be a college of distinction, an honor that showcases our commitment to providing an exceptional educational experience. Our rigorous curriculum, dedicated faculty and emphasis on experiential learning create an environment where students can grow personally and professionally.

In addition to our academic achievements, the NNU doctorate in educational leadership program also offers a unique spiritual dimension. As a Christian liberal arts university, we infuse our curriculum with ethics, compassion and a focus on servant leadership. Authentic leadership is not just about expertise and authority but also about making a positive impact and serving others in a Christ-centered manner.

When you choose NNU for your doctorate in educational leadership, you join a community that values excellence, integrity and compassion. You gain access to a supportive network of faculty, peers and alums passionate about making a difference in the field of education. We are transforming lives, schools and communities for the better.

How long does the program take to complete?

At Northwest Nazarene University, we understand that pursuing a program in educational leadership requires careful consideration of time commitments. Our Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program offers a comprehensive and flexible learning experience tailored to meet the needs of working professionals like you.

The program lasts approximately 26 months, allowing you to balance your studies with your professional and personal responsibilities. We are committed to providing a convenient course delivery format, utilizing online and distance learning methods. This enables you to access course materials and participate in discussions from anywhere, at any time.

Doctoral students in our Educational Leadership program will benefit from the expertise of our doctorally-prepared faculty with extensive experience in K-12 education, higher education and educational research. Their guidance and mentorship ensure that you receive the highest quality education and are well-prepared to excel as leaders in the field.

The program also follows a cohort model, fostering community and student collaboration. Additionally, as part of this model, you can attend a two-week on-campus summer session. This session is a valuable time to engage in dissertation and research activities, further enhancing your skills and knowledge.

We take pride in the full accreditation of our Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program. This accreditation serves as a testament to the rigorous standards we uphold and the quality of education we provide to our students.

At NNU, we are dedicated to transforming lives through education. Join us in our Educational Leadership program and embark on a transformative journey that will equip you with the skills and knowledge to lead and inspire others in the field of education.

What kind of job opportunities are available for graduates of this program?

By pursuing this program, you open yourself to a wide range of exciting job opportunities in the field of education, where you can make a meaningful impact and inspire positive change.

Upon completing the educational leadership program, graduates have the potential to pursue various career paths. As a graduate, you may qualify for policy analyst, curriculum coordinator or instructional designer positions. These roles allow you to utilize the skills and knowledge acquired during your studies to drive innovation, shape educational policies and positively impact students’ lives.

With your degree in educational leadership, you become a valuable asset to educational institutions, whether public or private. Your leadership, administration, curriculum development and policy analysis expertise equips you with the tools necessary to excel in diverse educational settings and nonprofit organizations.

NNU’s educational leadership program is designed to prepare you for the challenges and opportunities in the field. Our faculty, experienced professionals in K-12 education, higher education and educational research, provide you with the guidance and mentorship needed to thrive in leadership roles.

Additionally, NNU offers graduates employment opportunities through executive, faculty, staff, and adjunct positions. Our Office of Human Resources is dedicated to connecting graduates with potential career prospects that align with their passion and expertise.

Choosing NNU for your educational leadership journey will give you the knowledge, skills and support necessary to pursue fulfilling and impactful academic careers. Join our vibrant community of educators and leaders, and together, let’s transform lives and shape the future of education.

What other benefits come with a doctoral degree in educational leadership from NNU?

As you embark on this transformative journey, you can expect to experience numerous advantages that will enhance your professional growth and open doors to exciting opportunities.

One significant benefit of our Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree program is its flexible course delivery format, which combines online and distance learning. This allows you to conveniently access course materials and engage in discussions while balancing your other commitments. The program lasts approximately 26 months, providing an efficient pathway to earning your degree while maintaining your professional responsibilities.

At NNU, we take pride in our full accreditation and the expertise of our doctorally-prepared program faculty. Our faculty members have extensive experience in K-12 education, higher education and educational research, ensuring you receive exceptional guidance and mentorship throughout your studies.

Our Ed.D. program also employs a cohort model, fostering a sense of community and collaboration among students. This model allows you to participate in a two-week on-campus summer session. This valuable experience prepares you for dissertation and research activities and enables you to connect with peers and faculty members in a vibrant learning environment.

Moreover, the Ed.D. program at NNU offers a focused study area in instructional leadership. While the program concentrates on leadership, you can declare a specific focus that aligns with your interests and professional goals. This degree emphasizes research on practices or policies that impact schools or school systems at the state or regional level, emphasizing their application in the K-12 education sector.

To be eligible for the Ed.D. program, you must have completed an educational specialist degree or equivalent. However, students with prior doctoral-level coursework may also be admitted.

By pursuing a doctoral degree in educational leadership from NNU, you gain an esteemed qualification and the knowledge, skills and connections necessary to excel as a leader in education. Join our community of passionate educators and embark on a journey that will transform both your professional trajectory and your personal growth.