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

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


The Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership is designed to prepare highly competent and effective leaders and researchers with a Biblical worldview who will model high standards and assume leadership, faculty and research roles in the field of educational leadership at various levels.

Program Learning Outcomes

A graduate of the Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership (Ph.D.) program:

  1. Knows research competencies synthesized with Christian values, moral dimensions, and ethical implications.
  2. Implements leadership, teaching and learning competencies as a gift from God because teaching /learning is a calling from God.
  3. Believes foundation competencies consistent with our mission to prepare competent professionals with a biblical worldview for Christian, public, and private schools.
  • 1a. Synthesize existing research in pre-kindergarten to 12th-grade education.
  • 1b. Implement original research in pre-kindergarten to 12th-grade education.
  • 2a. Synthesize organizational theories, models, and research to create and lead effectively.
  • 2b. Evaluate elements of historical, philosophical, and theoretical influences pertaining to governance, administration, and leadership in professional and academic settings in education.
  • 2c. Analyze pedagogical concepts and approaches in education based upon research and knowledge of the discipline.
  • 3a. Integrate a biblical worldview through decision making within the field of education.

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 (7) 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.

There will be a time limit of five (5) years for completion of the Ph.D. for candidates who were granted 18 hours or more of advanced standing from a previously completed Ph.D. or equivalent degree.

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

  • Leadership Researcher
  • College/University Professor and/or Researcher
  • Educational Consultant for an education organization, business, or government agency
  • Administrator at the College/University Level
  • Educational Change Agent
  • Principal, Assistant Principal (with outside licensure as this is not a licensure program)
  • District Administrator (Superintendent, Chief Academic Officer, Chief Learning Officer, Training & Development Officer)
  • Performance Improvement Officer
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