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Students who do not have a master’s degree in an education-related field are expected to complete master’s-level coursework or pass a competency exam in the following areas prior to enrolling in specific courses in the doctoral program. All students are required to pass the statistics review examination prior to enrolling in EDUC 740 Intermediate Statistics.

Competency in these courses can be demonstrated through a master’s-level course or a competency examination. A review packet is available to students who wish to take a competency exam to demonstrate mastery in any of these requirements.

Course Requirements

Courses are offered in a specified sequence of two courses per term, three terms per year. Students take all of the required courses, choosing between EDUC 734 and EDUC 737, for a total of 33 units. Each student selects an emphasis of 15 units of coursework: Leadership, Teaching and Learning, or School Psychology. Students must determine their choice of emphasis by the second term in order to register for the appropriate courses.

Required Courses for All Emphases33 units
EDUC 700
Proseminar in Doctoral Study
EDUC 701
Strengths-based Leadership for Teaching and Learning
EDUC 705
Ethical Dilemmas in Educational Leadership
EDUC 715
Diversity and Equity
EDUC 731
Achievement Motivation
EDUC 734
Teaching Strategies for Diverse Learners
- or -
EDUC 737
Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
EDUC 740
Intermediate Statistics and Data Analysis
EDUC 741
Research Design
EDUC 742
Qualitative Research
EDUC 746
Advanced Data Analysis
EDUC 748, EDUC 749 Guided Inquiry Project, I-II2 units
EDUC 790
Doctoral Seminar in Research Studies
Emphasis Courses15 units
Emphases are available in Leadership, Teaching and Learning, and School Psychology. See below for emphasis requirements.
Elective Courses
Students may petition to substitute a 700-level elective course for either of the two courses below. In addition, students who have completed all coursework for the degree may take additional courses in the Doctoral Studies in Education Program (except EDUC 794 or EDUC 795) at half tuition.
EDUC 798
Special Topics
EDUC 799
Readings in Educational Leadership
Additional Elective Options
The elective course below provides students with a global perspective and is typically offered each spring. Students should contact the program director or department chair to determine if credit can be earned for the degree.
EDUC 780
Global Communities of Educational Practice
Dissertation Courses
After completing EDUC 790, students should enroll in EDUC 794 for one semester and in EDUC 795 for each semester thereafter, until the dissertation has been successfully defended. Enrollment in these courses entitles a student to access faculty and university resources, including library databases and services.
Note: These courses do not count toward the total unit requirement for the Ed.D.
EDUC 794
Dissertation Research
EDUC 795
Dissertation Research
Total Required Courses48 units


As specified in the required courses above, students must select an emphasis from one of the following:

Emphasis Courses
Leadership Emphasis Courses15 units
EDUC 714
Leading Change in Organizations
EDUC 717
Leadership Theories and Strategies in K-12 Education
EDUC 728
Building and Sustaining Community
EDUC 739
Professional Development and Adult Learning
EDUC 747
Standards-based Assessment
Teaching and Learning Emphasis Courses15 units
EDUC 730
Theories of Learning
EDUC 733
Seminar in Research on Curriculum Studies
EDUC 739
Professional Development and Adult Learning
EDUC 747
Standards-based Assessment
EDUC 750
Writing for Publication
School Psychology Emphasis Courses15 units
EDUC 751
Research-based Interventions in the Classroom
EDUC 753
School Neuropsychology I: Foundations and Theory
EDUC 755
School Neuropsychology II: Assessment and Applications
EDUC 757
Assessment of Young Children: Theory and Research
EDUC 759
Legal Issues and Crisis Management in School

Course Sequence

The doctor of education program is designed in a cohort model making it possible for students to complete 6 units (usually two courses) per term with their cohort in a specified sequence. The following sequence is subject to change.

Year I
Term I: EDUC 700 and EDUC 701
Term II: EDUC 740 and Emphasis Course
Term III: EDUC 741 and Emphasis Course
Year II
Term I: EDUC 715 (2 units), EDUC 748 (1 unit), and Emphasis Course
Term II: EDUC 731 and Emphasis Course
Term III: EDUC 705 (2 units), EDUC 749 (1 unit), and EDUC 742
Year III
Term I: EDUC 746 and EDUC 734 or EDUC 737
Term II: EDUC 790 and Emphasis Course
Term III: EDUC 794 (dissertation)

Additional Requirements


Upon admission, each student is assigned a faculty advisor. Academic advising is viewed as a collaborative relationship between the student and the faculty advisor to enable the student to achieve maximum benefits from his or her doctoral experience. The advisor’s role is to work with the student to develop a plan for timely and successful completion of the doctorate. The student should plan to meet with the advisor at least annually; once the student selects a Guided Inquiry Mentor, that person usually assumes the role of faculty advisor.

Residence Requirement and Study Load

Doctoral students are expected to complete a minimum of 9 units per year. Continuous enrollment is required until dissertation is successfully defended.


Students are required to submit assignments to TaskStream, an online assessment management system during doctoral courses taken. Students have the option of paying an annual fee or multi-year fee to submit coursework through TaskStream.

Grading and Grade-point Average

Throughout higher education, and particularly at the doctoral level, commitment to learning should outweigh the pursuit of grades. Nonetheless, grading and the grade-point average continue to play a crucial role in students’ studies. For doctoral students, the grade of B- is considered minimally acceptable. Courses graded lower than B- and below are not applied toward doctoral degree requirements and must be repeated.

A doctoral student whose cumulative grade-point average falls below 3.0 may be disqualified from further doctoral studies, or placed on academic probation and given one enrollment period to raise the cumulative grade-point average to the satisfactory level. Students on probation for more than a total of two terms throughout their doctoral study may be dismissed from the Ed.D. Program.

A doctoral student whose grade-point average falls between 3.0 and 3.2 is required to meet with his/her advisor to identify academic skills that may need strengthening and to take appropriate action.

Early Review

To evaluate success in meeting program goals, the program design includes an Early Review to be completed when students have finished 12 units in the program at the 700 level. The first-year review calls for a self-assessment, a portfolio of coursework, and a written qualifying exam. The student’s academic performance is also reviewed. Students must have passed EDUC 740 Intermediate Statistics and Data Analysis before participating in the Early Review. Continuation in the program is contingent upon successfully passing the Early Review.

Guided Inquiry Project

Upon passing the Early Review, students begin the Guided Inquiry Project, enroll in EDUC 748, and select a faculty mentor to oversee the project. The Guided Inquiry Project provides the doctoral student the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to prepare a review of literature that focuses on an approved topic and identifies, analyzes, and synthesizes relevant research. As an exploratory review of literature, the Guided Inquiry Project may help establish the foundation for the student’s chapter two of the dissertation. Students enroll in EDUC 749 to complete the Guided Inquiry Project. They may enroll for a maximum of two semesters in order to complete the Guided Inquiry Project. Students must complete the Guided Inquiry Project before enrolling in EDUC 790.

Issues in Education Conference / Ethics Symposium

Christian perspectives and moral and ethical issues in educational leadership form an essential strand in the doctoral program and are embedded within many courses and activities. The course specifically dedicated to this topic, EDUC 705, is required of all students. Students present at one and attend a total of two student symposia where papers developed in EDUC 705 are shared.

In addition, students must attend two annual program conferences.

Advancement to Candidacy

Following successful completion of all coursework and the Guided Inquiry Project, approval of the dissertation proposal, and recommendation by appropriate advisors, students are advanced to doctoral candidacy status.


The final step in the doctoral program is to design, conduct, and write a report of a research study completed by the student. Standards and procedures for the dissertation are defined by the doctoral faculty who provide students with the APU Standards and Dissertation Handbook. Continuous enrollment in EDUC 795 is expected until the dissertation has been successfully defended.

The student defends the dissertation in a meeting with the faculty committee. Subsequently, the student participates in a public presentation of the research.

Students who have completed all program requirements, successfully defended their dissertation, and fulfilled all obligations to the university will have their doctoral degree posted and then will be entitled to use the term ‘doctor.’

Faculty-Student Authorship Arrangements

It is expected that all doctoral faculty and students will observe the standards published by the American Psychological Association (APA) for the determination of authorship on any joint publications, as found in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th edition).

Time Allotted for Degree Completion

Doctoral students are permitted eight years from the date of initial enrollment to complete all requirements for the Ed.D. degree. Extensions beyond the eight-year limit may be granted at the discretion of the department chair and the dean of the School of Education. Students needing an extension due to unusual circumstances must make their request in writing, stating the reasons for the extension, a timetable for completion of requirements, and the expected date of degree completion.

Leaves of Absence

Students in good standing and making satisfactory progress toward their degrees who must interrupt their studies for a compelling reason (e.g., illness, study abroad, family conditions, or crises) may petition for a leave of absence for a stated period of time not to exceed two years. Requests for a leave must be in writing and state both the reasons for the leave and the semester in which the student will re-enroll. Leaves of absence must be approved by the chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and the dean of the School of Education in advance of the semester for which the leave is requested.

Students who fail to return to enrolled status at the end of an approved period of leave, or after two consecutive semesters of non-enrollment, will be considered no longer in pursuit of an advanced degree and must petition for re-admission if they choose to continue their program at a later time. If re-admitted at a later date, student must meet any new program requirements.

Note: This information is current for the 2013–14 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.