Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Research (Ph.D.)

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Research (Ph.D.)


The Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Research is designed to prepare advanced researchers and skilled practitioners in the field of education with a biblical worldview who adhere to high standards and provide leadership to educational, governmental, and non-profit organizations. Researchers in this field are viewed as those conducting detailed research and holding positions that will be instrumental in shaping policies and procedures in the field of education, national and state government, and non-profit organizations.

Program Learning Outcomes

The student will be able to:

  • Evaluate education theories for application in both a professional and academic setting.
  • Analyze various methods for conducting educational research.
  • Design and conduct original research that adds to the knowledge base of the discipline.
  • Integrate a biblical worldview through decision making within the field of education.
  • Synthesize literature in a professional or educational discipline.

Program Specific Admissions Requirements

In addition to the general admission requirements, specific admission procedures for the Ph.D. are listed below. Submit the following items to the Office of Graduate Admissions prior to registering for any graduate courses. Where noted, forms are available online at:

  1. Academic Records.  Applicants must submit an official transcript indicating successful completion of a master’s degree program from an institution accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Transcripts should be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions from all schools previously attended.
  2. Ph.D. applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above on graduate degree required for entrance to the program.

Transfer of Credit

All graduate transfer credits are subject to the approval of the School of Education (SOE) Graduate Committee. Such courses must carry a grade of at least a B- and be comparable to Liberty University graduate courses. Transfer credit will only be considered from institutions or schools accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. With approval, up to 30 hours may be transferred into the Ph.D. program. It is the responsibility of each applicant to supply official transcripts along with a written request to have credit applied to the degree program. Transfer credits must have been completed within the previous seven (7) years to be eligible for transfer to the Ph.D.

Candidates who have earned an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) or equivalent degree from an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education will be considered for advanced standing (up to 24 hours) in the Ph.D. program. Candidates who have earned an Ed.S. degree through Liberty are permitted to apply up to 27 hours (as applicable) from that degree toward the Ph.D. degree.


Candidates must adhere to the time frames noted on their specific DCP for proposal and dissertation completion. Exceeding time limits will result in removal from the Ph.D. program.

Before beginning the dissertation research, the doctoral dissertation committee must approve the research proposal. The dissertation is expected to exhibit scholarship, reflect mastery of technique, and make a distinctive contribution to the field of knowledge in which the candidate has specialized. A faculty committee of two (2) members, comprising a chair and  committee member, is responsible for the general supervision of the doctoral dissertation. A formal defense of the dissertation is required for final approval.

Once candidates enter the dissertation phase as noted on their specific DCP, they must maintain continuous enrollment (Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters) until they complete all degree requirements. If they do not, they will break enrollment, and they will be required to apply for readmission if/when they wish to resume the pursuit of their degree. They will have to complete their degree under the Degree Completion Plan (DCP) in effect at the time of their readmission.

Time Limits for Degree Completion

The time limit for completing the degree from the date of admission to the program is seven years for the Ph.D. Only in unusual circumstances may the candidate be granted an extension. Granting of an extension of time will usually result in additional requirements.

Any candidate who does not complete coursework within the permissible time limit, for any reason including discontinued enrollment, must reapply for admission. A candidate may reapply only once, and will be subject to the current standards and curriculum. The SOE Graduate Committee will determine if any previous courses are sufficiently time sensitive and must be repeated. Beginning with the date of readmission, the candidate’s time limit for degree completion is determined by the number of hours remaining.

Delivery Format: Online Only

  • University Professor
  • University Administrator
  • Educational Consultant
  • Education instructor
  • Researcher at a university or think tank
  • Private business consultant
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