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Toby Schmidt



Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program is designed to provide advanced study and research for educators interested in educational leadership.

  • 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

About Educational Leadership

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program is designed to provide advanced study and research for educators interested in educational leadership. Program highlights include:

  • Course delivery in an online/distance format for your convenience
  • Program length of approximately 26 months
  • Full accreditation with doctorally-prepared faculty who have extensive experience within the areas of K-12, higher education and educational research
  • Utilization of a cohort model that offers a two-week on-campus summer session as an opportunity to prepare for dissertation and research activities

The Ph.D. is concentrated on the area of educational leadership; however, you can declare a specific focus. The Ph.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 Ph.D. requires the completion of an educational specialist degree or equivalent OR students with prior doctoral-level coursework can be admitted.

degree details

Doctor of Philosophy

Offered Online

$625 per credit, $150 per semester technology fee

Additional Information

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: 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’s 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.
Required Courses

EDUC9150 Introduction to Educational Research (3)
EDUC9160 Qualitative and Quantitative Methods for Educational Research (3)
EDUC9165 PHD Research Seminar (2)
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)
EDUC9410 Advanced Data Analysis & Research II (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)
EDUC9901 PHD Dissertation Proposal (3)

Total Credits: 41 semester credits are required.

students taking notes on the grass

career paths

Metropolitan and nonmetropolitan area occupational employment and wage estimates for the Boise area are sourced from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School

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