Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Program Guidelines Doctorate in Education Degree in Instructional Leadership

Program Description
The Doctor of Education degree in Instructional Leadership from Freed-Hardeman University is supported by two tenets linked to 1) a call by state leaders for increased leadership capacity to better prepare effective school leaders and 2) prior successes of Freed-Hardeman University’s education programs.

FHU’s Doctor of Education degree program in Instructional Leadership will prepare instructional leaders who will not only lead in management and teaching; but most importantly will prepare individuals who will become visionary instructional leaders capable of effecting profound change that produces improved student achievement in a supportive environment.

This program is created specifically for practicing teachers, educational leaders, and district and site administrators in public and nonpublic schools and school systems. The degree program fosters the development of leadership skills associated with visionary leadership and change management coupled with traditional instructional tasks such as goal setting, resource allocation, curriculum management, and analysis of instructional content and design. Through self-reflection, analysis, and practical application of best practices, doctoral students will utilize these skills to solve real problems in the workplace. In addition, the program focuses on developing school and teacher leaders with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to transform educational organizations by creating professional development programs that emphasize data-driven decision making for improved instruction in schools.

FHU’s Doctor of Education program is designed to serve non-traditional students. The program is an innovative, flexible program that utilizes the latest technology in its delivery system. The program allows the non-traditional student to complete the degree while continuing his/her full-time employment. Most specifically, it is designed to develop advanced instructional leaders who will meet the academic and accountability needs of schools, school districts, and educational agencies throughout Tennessee.

FHU’s program is unique in that it is currently the only Doctor of Education degree in Instructional Leadership in the state of Tennessee.

Programs Available

Doctor of Education Degree in Instructional Leadership, concentration in Administration and Supervision
A program leading to a Doctor of Education Degree with license in administration and supervision.

Doctor of Education Degree in Instructional Leadership, concentration in Teacher Leadership
A program leading to a Doctor of Education Degree, non-licensure in Teacher Leadership.


I.  Leadership Theory and Foundations
EDU 601 Foundations of School Administration/Supervision 3 hours
EDU 621 Advanced Educational Leadership 3
EDU 636  School Improvement
EDU 618 Grant Writing in Education 
EDU 620 Administrative Issues in Special Education
EDU 602 Theories in Supervision 3
18 hours

II.  Area of Specialization

Concentration: Administration & Supervision
EDU 634 Seminar in Multicultural and Diversity Issues in Education 3 hours
EDU 635 Advanced Legal Issues in School Administration 3
EDU 638
Instructional Design & Improvement 3
EDU 640 Facilities & Services
EDU 642  Advanced Technology for Educators 
EDU 685 Seminar in Professional Development
    18 hours
Concentration: Teacher Leadership  
EDU 630 Professionalism and Ethics 3 hours 
EDU 634 Seminar in Multicultural and Diversity Issues in Ed. 3
EDU 638  Instructional Design and Improvement
EDU 642  Advanced Technology for Educators
EDU 685
Seminar in Professional Development
EDU 686 Group Leadership, Processes, and Team Building in Ed.
    18 hours

III.  Inquiry Strategies and Dissertation

EDU 770  Introduction to Educational Research Design 3 hours
EDU 771
Quantitative Methods Applied to Educational Research   3
EDU 772 Qualitative Methods Applied to Educational Research
EDU 773 Dissertation Seminar I
EDU 774 Dissertation Seminar II
EDU 775 Dissertation Seminar III
EDU 776 Dissertation Seminar IV (if required)* 3
18 hours

    Total: 54 hours
*After completing Sequence III, students must maintain continuous enrollment. Students must enroll in EDU 776 each semester after Sequence III is completed and until graduation.

Post Admission: Degree Requirements

Explanation of Ed.D. Program Admission Requirements

Requirement  Description 
 Previous Degree  M.Ed. or Ed.S.
 ~Master's or Education Specialist degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited university or international equivalent
 Transcript Evaluation  ~Submit transcripts from all colleges and universities.  All foreign transcripts require a course-by-course evaluation from a foreign transcript evaluation service. 
 Minimum GPA  ~At least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale in graduate coursework
 GRE Scores  ~Although we do not set minimum GRE scores for admission, we do require applicants to submit their official GRE scores.
 Educational or Professional Experience  ~A minimum of two years relevant experience in education
 ~Submit two successful evaluations from a principal and/or supervisor completed in the past three years indicating abilities as an educational/instructional leader. 
 Letters of Recommendation  ~Three letters of recommendation from professionals who are familiar with the applicant's scholarship and work history
(3 forms provided)
 Statement of Goals  ~Include professional goals (immediate, intermediate, and long term) and research interests.  Professional goals and research interests need to be compatible with the opportunities afforded through a degree in instructional leadership.
 Graduate Writing Sample  ~Provide a scholarly paper written by the applicant or a paper written by the applicant during prior coursework. 
 Resume' or Curriculum Vitae  ~A written description of educational background, work experience, and skills
 TOEFL  ~Applicants whose native language is not English or who have not earned a degree in the U.S. must, according to University policy, submit a TOEFL score (minimum of 550 paper-based, 213 computer-based, or 80 internet-based test).
Interview  ~Oral interview with two or more department faculty members
 ~An on-site writing sample will be required at this time that will relate to a current issue in education.
 Dispositions Self-Assessment  ~Evidence of the dispositions reflective of the mission and vision of the program
*A background check is needed if an applicant has not received a previous degree from FHU or if they are not currently working in a school system (verification of employment will be needed). 

A Program Advisor will be assigned to a student upon enrollment into the program. While the Program Advisor is assigned by the Program Director, changes might be made if a candidate changes their program of studies. The Program Advisor will assist the student from admissions to graduation and will provide counsel through transition of vital points throughout the program.

Dissertation Committee 
The doctoral committee will guide students through the dissertation process. A doctoral committee includes at least three full-time faculty members who have earned doctoral degrees. One individual will serve as the Dissertation Chair. A student’s Program Advisor must serve on the dissertation committee. The student’s Dissertation Chair must be a full time faculty member teaching in the Ed.D. Program. Members of the dissertation committee may come from other disciplines. If the student’s Dissertation Chair also serves as the student’s Program Advisor, the committee is still required to have at least three different individuals. The doctoral committee will include the following individuals:

1. Program Advisor

2. Dissertation Chair

3. Dissertation Committee Member

4. Dissertation Committee Member (if needed)

Comprehensive Examination
The comprehensive examination is taken at the end of the candidate’s second year of doctoral coursework. The purpose of the exam is to demonstrate substantial progress in meeting the Student Learning Outcomes of the program. The comprehensive exam includes a written and oral portion. The written portion contains answers to questions provided by the comprehensive exam committee. An oral portion consists of an oral defense of the written materials. The student will discuss highlights of their submissions and respond to questions from their comprehensive exam committee. Students must pass both the written and oral portion of the exam. Once the student passes all examinations, he/she may apply for Candidacy.

The comprehensive exam committee will review and score the comprehensive exam. The comprehensive exam committee will consist of three persons, appointed from among core and affiliated faculty by the Program Coordinator. By passing the comprehensive exam a candidate demonstrates the readiness and competence needed to complete remaining courses successfully and undertake dissertation level research and writing.

Dissertation Proposal 
The dissertation proposal consists of the first three chapters of the dissertation. Students will be encouraged early in the program to begin thinking about an area of research and will be introduced to elements of the dissertation process through previous coursework and activities.

Work on the dissertation begins with informal meetings with the student’s dissertation chair. The proposal examination may be scheduled any time after the student has passed the comprehensive exam and has established a committee. The dissertation chair will schedule the proposal examination when the student is ready to commence the study. The dissertation proposal must be completed in a draft form at the time of the examination. The focus on the proposal examination will be on the research questions and the research methodology proposed. The Rubric for Scoring the Dissertation Proposal will be used to determine if a student passes the proposal examination. This rubric will be made available to the student online.

All students in the Ed.D. program will complete a rigorous research-based dissertation that integrates theory and research in the study of instructional leadership. The primary goal of the Ed.D. dissertation is to generate knowledge that contributes to the understanding of instructional educational practices, policies, or reforms. The Ed.D. dissertation is a significant scholarly work that uses rigorous research methods in the study of educational problems and practices and the application of problem-solving strategies. The dissertation is expected to be based on one or more theoretical frameworks and to include a comprehensive review of relevant literature in which the research question or questions are situated. The dissertation typically involves collection of empirical data, qualitative and/or quantitative analysis of these data, interpretation of the findings, a discussion of their significance and implications, and an indication of important areas for action or further study. Outcomes of the doctoral program will address significant topics related to systemic reform efforts in P12 schools.

Final Examination: Oral Defense of Dissertation
The student must defend the dissertation in a final oral examination before the doctoral committee. No defense shall be scheduled until the doctoral committee chair and members have signified that in their judgment the dissertation is acceptable and thus warrants a defense and final examination. Students intending to defend the dissertation must file an Application for Dissertation Defense with the Ed.D. Program Coordinator. 

The Defense Examination is an important event in that sustained student and faculty effort and critical thinking have gone into the research project. Generally, the Defense Examination consists of two major parts:
  1. a brief presentation of the purpose(s), method(s) of study, analysis of observations, and synthesis of findings by the candidate, and
  2. a question and answer period involving all members of the examining committee.

All necessary forms for the Ed.D. program can be found here:  Forms for the Ed. D. Program

Exit Requirements: Ed.D. in Instructional Leadership

1. Successful completion of identified coursework with a 3.5 GPA and other requirements of the Ed.D. degree in Instructional Leadership.

2. No more than six (6) semester hours of grades of “C”.

3. Completion of all courses within six (6) calendar years.

4. Successful oral defense of the dissertation.

Other Important Information

Residency Requirement 
The Ed.D. program is a part-time program with no residency requirement.

Program Rules and Regulations 
The catalog contains the basic academic rules and regulations of the University and provides course descriptions. The program website contains other documents and forms pertaining to the Ed.D. program. 

Transfer Courses
Students may transfer a maximum of nine (9) hours of prior coursework from a regionally accredited institution(s). Students who have completed an Education Specialist degree at Freed-Hardeman University may transfer up to thirty-six (36) hours of coursework which they have completed beyond their Master’s degree. Coursework counted toward the Ed.D. may not have been taken more than six years prior to graduation from the program. 

Student Handbook 
The guidelines are fully outlined in the Student Handbook for the Doctorate of Education degree in Instructional Leadership.  The Ed. D. Student Handbook can be found here:  EdD Handbook 2014-2015.

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1. What is the difference between an Ed.S. and an Ed.D.?

2. What are the deadlines and important dates for the next cohort?

3. Is financial aid available?

4. How long does it take the average student to complete the degree?

5. Where will I attend class?

6. When will I start the program?

7. Will the doctoral program lead to any licensure?

8. I already have hours beyond my master’s degree. Can I apply those hours toward the degree?

9. How do I apply?