Doctor of Education (EdD)


National American University’s Doctor of Education (EdD) program offers an online doctorate degree that prepares a wide range of professionals for educational leadership and teaching positions in colleges, universities, business and industry, for-profit and non-profit education and government agencies. Students will engage with experts in education and national leaders to address emerging issues in multiple educational environments. Part of The Harold D. Buckingham Graduate School, the program empowers students to meet a wide variety of challenges in their careers as practitioners-scholars.

The following specialties are currently available:

Specialization in Community College Leadership

Prepares community and technical college educators, administrators and other aspiring college leaders to become a force for transformation at their institutions. Participants learn specialized leadership skills that they can immediately apply to expand and improve their college’s goals, address identified issues and model the value of collaboration for other faculty and staff.

Specialization in Educational Leadership

More and more, organizations are requiring an advanced degree for those who oversee in-house educational and training operations. NAU’s EdD Prepares education and training professionals in business, industry, non-profits and other non-academic disciplines to manage and improve their organizations’ educational needs.

Online Open Cohorts

Online Open Cohorts are available to students in most states and delivered 100% online. Courses may require attendance at select evening and weekend live Zoom sessions, to include conversations with active professionals in education, business and industry. Each cohort is comprised of 15 to 20 students, taught by experts in the field of education and features teamwork and interaction, topical webinars.

New NAU Online Open Cohorts are launched every trimester. Call 605-394-4851 or apply today.

Program Requirements

The Doctor of Education (EdD) degree consists of:

1. Completion of 60 credit hours of doctoral studies comprised of:

  • 27 credit hours of core coursework
  • 12 credit hours of research and culminating capstone coursework
  • 15 credit hours of specialization coursework
  • Six credit hours of dissertation preparation

2. Successful completion and defense of a dissertation

Students are expected to complete the Doctor of Education (EdD) degree within five years of beginning the program, however many students complete in three years.

Graduates of the program will:

  • Apply best practices in management, leadership, organizational development, and institutional or organizational transformation.
  • Analyze and synthesize data, and interpret, apply, and communicate data for problem solving and decision making.
  • Develop strategic and master plans, including strategic partnerships and alliances that align with mission and goals.
  • Demonstrate the ability to plan, execute, evaluate, and improve programs and operations through transformational initiatives.
  • Demonstrate the professional oral, behavioral, written, and listening communication skills required of executive-level leaders operating in different religious, political, and legal systems.
  • Apply decision-making models in collaboration with key stakeholders to address ethical issues and related policy creation, program development, and operational practices.
  • Analyze and evaluate the dynamics of a governing board and its relationship with the president/CEO in implementing and sustaining an effective governance structure, local, state, and federal mandated policies, and operational procedures.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of operating in local, district, state, national, and global environments.
  • Communicate and advocate effectively with media and local, state, and federal policy makers.

Program Overview

The majority of courses are offered sequentially over two, eight-week periods in a trimester so doctoral students may focus on one course at a time. Most core courses are structured with three credit hours, including 45 hours of instruction per course, and approximately two hours of student and group work for each one-hour of instruction assigned; or, 90 hours of out-of-class student work for a course. This commitment represents approximately 16–18 hours per week for each eight-week, three-credit-hour course.

The majority of core and specialization courses include dynamic teamwork and breakout sessions via Zoom to provide a highly collaborative and interactive learning opportunity. All sessions are led by instructors and guest speakers who are local, state and national leaders from academics, business and industry, who share their practical and relevant real-world experiences and solutions.

Admission Requirements

  • A master’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution of higher education in the United States or, an international higher education institution recognized by the ministry of education or other appropriate government agency and a transcript evaluation from an organization approved by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).
  • Approval of the Doctoral Program Admissions Committee – The NAU Doctoral Program Admission Committee will evaluate clearly documented academic work completed at the graduate level from accredited institutions for relevance to the doctoral program.
  • Minimum GPA. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 (of a possible 4.00 GPA) achieved for all previous graduate coursework.
  • Three years of work experience or letter of recommendation from a professional attesting to the applicant’s leadership potential.
  • Willingness to matriculate through the program of study as a member of a cohort.
  • Personal and professional goal statement (up to 500 words)
  • Current CV or Resume
  • Official Transcripts
  • Note: GRE scores will not be required

Course Listing

Nine 3-credit hour courses (27 hours)

To be completed prior to taking the capstone course, the advanced doctoral practice courses, or defending the dissertation.

ED8000     College History, Mission, and Emerging Issues

ED8200     Managing Change – Leading Transformation

ED8300     Organization Design and Development

ED8400     Ethics and Values

ED8500     Governance and Administration

ED8600     Planning, Finance, and Resource Development

ED8700     Policy, Politics, and Public Affairs

ED8800     Education Analytics

ED8900     Understanding the Contemporary College Student

Five 3-credit hour courses (15 hours)

Specialization in Community College Leadership

ED9600     Project I (Focus on Problem Solving – Community Colleges)

ED9601     Project II (Focus on Individual Student Inquiry)

ED9700     Trends and Challenges in Education

ED9701     Workforce Partnerships

ED9702     Advanced Leadership Seminar


Specialization in Educational Leadership

ED9600     Project I (Focus on Problem Solving)

ED9601     Project II (Focus on Individual Student Inquiry)

ED9500     Innovation and Sustainability in Education

ED9501     Training Essentials for Business, Industry and Organizations

ED9502     Education Partnerships

ED9000     Introduction to Research Methodology

ED9043     Capstone

ED9020     Designing and Shaping the Dissertation


ED9800     Dissertation Proposal

ED9900     Dissertation Completion

If a student is unable to complete ED9800 or ED9900 within a trimester, the student may sign up for a Dissertation Proposal Extension (ED9801 or ED9802), or for a Dissertation Completion Extension (ED9901 or ED9902) course.

Course availability is subject to minimum class size requirements.