Instructional Leadership

Doctor of Education
  • Overview
  • Course Information
  • Tuition
  • Benefits

Skilled leaders in education are vital and NCU’s Doctor of Education (EdD) in Instructional Leadership specialization provides you with a strong knowledge base in the supervision of instruction, curriculum, diversity and analysis of the instructional capacity of K-12 schools. Under the guidance of your professors, you will learn current theories and practices and how to assess and interpret data. You will also develop the skills to apply what you learn to help others improve student achievement and develop assessment and improvement strategies. Graduates have advanced leadership capacity in educational reform and improvement, and are prepared to pursue a variety of positions in instructional leadership.

General Degree Requirements

The EdD program may be completed in 54 credits. However, up to an additional 12 credit hours will be allowed as needed to complete the dissertation research. An Academic Advisor or Enrollment Specialist evaluates each student individually and works with the student to create an academically sound Learning Plan based on prior academics and their professional goals.

Completion Period for Doctoral Degrees

Northcentral University allows 7 years to complete all doctoral programs of 60 credits or less. Normal time to complete varies depending upon course take rate and credits transferred.

Northcentral University may accept a maximum of 12 semester credit hours in transfer toward the doctoral degree for graduate coursework completed toward a non-conferred doctoral degree at an accredited college or university with a grade of “B” or better. Transfer credit is only awarded for course work that is evaluated to be substantially equivalent in content with the required course work for the EdD program.

Certification and Licensing

The School of Education serves educational leaders by providing online graduate studies in education to reach worldwide populations. The EdD program is designed to reach national and international markets and does not purport to provide licensure or certification in any particular state or country.

Doctor of Education (EdD) Degree Requirements

  • Individuals with a previously completed master’s degree will meet the basis of admission to the Doctor of Education Program.
  • Students must complete all doctoral courses with a Grade Point Average of 3.00 (B) or higher.
  • EdD students must demonstrate competency in specific subject areas prior to enrolling in any of the specialization or elective courses.

Doctoral Dissertation Process

The School of Education has developed a logical step-by-step process that assists in completing an EdD applied research dissertation. Northcentral University provides a detailed EdD Dissertation Handbook that explains the process and Northcentral University's dissertation support structure. The EdD doctoral research courses, the comprehensive exam course and the dissertation courses are specifically designed to guide students through the process.

The dissertation is the capstone academic achievement of the EdD. The EdD dissertation is applied, project based and results in a product designed to produce appreciable improvements in the student's school or organization and must also impact the student's leadership growth. Although applied and project based, the EdD dissertation is a scholarly document. To earn the EdD degree, the student must demonstrate the ability, drive and determination; and Northcentral University will provide the faculty, the academic support and process to assist in the attainment of high academic goals.

The School of Education offers students the opportunity to pursue an area of specialization within a degree program. Students who complete at least 18 semester credit hours in a specific specialization may elect to have the specialization recorded on their transcript and diploma.

Northcentral University recognizes that each student is unique, and therefore evaluates each application based not only on what courses or program of study a student has accomplished previously, but takes into consideration which specialization is being pursued at Northcentral University and their current and future professional goals.

Course Length

Existing EdD students may opt to switch to eight-week courses by contacting their Academic Advisor. Once existing EdD students have opted for eight-week courses, they must receive approval from the Office of the Dean to switch back to a program of 12-week courses. All eight-week courses are indicated by a "-8" (dash eight) at the end of the course code.

See below for specialization courses specific to this program. To learn more, fill out the request information form below or view the course catalog.

Course Code


Course Description


The Culture of Learning

In this course, doctoral students will explore ways of creating a culture of learning while engaging in instructional leadership tasks. Through course activities, students will explore topics including technology integration, philosophically sound curriculum decision-making, visionary leadership traits, and curriculum management.


Leader as Advocate and Decision Maker

In this course, doctoral students will engage the complex decision-making concepts and processes while reflecting on staff development and instructional supervision. Topics include: teacher perceptions, instructional leadership, supervisory behaviors, instructional support and strategies, collaborative characteristics and presentation technology.


Leader as Community Advocate

Instructional leaders must forge relationships with stakeholders in the community to build effective learning organizations. In this doctoral course, students will evaluate the skills necessary to engage stakeholders in partnerships that enhance educational operations at all levels. Students will discuss methods to develop professional learning communities and evaluate the theories and research related to learning communities and instructional leadership.


Practices in School Organization

In this course, students will examine the organizational structure of schools and school systems, their relationships to and effects on school programs, teaching strategies, testing and measurement, and the evaluation of programs in schools. The student will consider the way schools are organized around time, space, and other resources. Organizational dynamics will be explored and there will be an opportunity to engage operational factors that influence the school climate including human resources, organizational outreach, and capacity. Finally, students will explore stakeholder participation in organizational practice.


Supervision and Leadership in Schools

In this course, students will explore real world experiences, and common challenges encountered by school leaders. During this course, students study the organizational behavior in schools, which emphasizes the practical relevance of educational leadership in this new era of accountability and high-stakes testing. Topics include: development theories and collaborative planning models for enhanced professional practice which includes; distributed leadership, professional learning communities, parental involvement, and sustainable leadership to impact student growth.


Curriculum Supervision

In this course, doctoral students will explore classic and contemporary approaches to organizational development. Students will explore preferred communication styles, cultivate relationships, develop strategies, and evaluate optimal strategies for organizational growth. Finally, students will be introduced to the doctrines of organizational development, theory, and techniques.


Development of Organizational Leadership

In this course, doctoral students will explore classic and contemporary approaches to organizational development. Students will explore preferred communication styles, cultivate relationships, develop strategies, and evaluate optimal strategies for organizational growth. Finally, students will be introduced to the doctrines of organizational development, theory, and techniques.


Innovation for Change

In this course, students will employ creative skills, manage innovation, and hone techniques to promote imaginative and flexible change strategies. Change involves knowledge, understanding, and commitment from administrators and cannot be construed as an event, but rather a process. Further, change involves working with a diverse group of people and striving to motivate others to muscle through change as it is needed. Leaders must work with a community and use change to implement desirable changes. This course will prepare doctoral students to negotiate the world of education innovation and change.

At Northcentral University, we pride ourselves in being completely transparent when it comes to tuition and fees. If a cost is not included in our Cost Per Course Tuition Rate, we let you know up front. Currently, the only additional cost above your program rate* is books. Learn more about the NCU’s EdD costs below:

  • Per credit cost: $902
  • Per 3 credit course cost: $2,706
  • Program cost: $49,058
  • Average book cost per course: $110
  • Application Fee: $0
  • Learning Management Fee (one-time per program): $350
  • Registration Fee: $0

Click here to learn more about payment and financing options.

*Program rates are subject to change and generally increase at the start of each calendar year.

Total program costs reflected are calculated based on standard degree program credits exclusive of the program’s potential evaluation track. The actual cost of a program is determined based upon the program and track the student enters, transfer credits if any, and other unique student factors. For more information: please contact Admissions or refer to the catalog.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about our students, it’s that they are motivated and ambitious—but they are also busy! At Northcentral University, we’ve designed our education experience to work with you, not against you, so you can achieve your academic goals without sacrificing the quality, flexibility and support you need to be successful.

To learn more, request information or call 1-866-776-0331 to speak with an enrollment advisor today. We offer new courses every Monday of the year so you can get started when it’s best for you.