Samford University's Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership program is designed for students interested in leadership issues, as applied to educational institutions. The program is offered in a blended format allowing national and international access to our doctoral program, while maintaining the quality and personal touch that characterize our programs.

For each doctoral course, students will have the opportunity to attend class on our campus in Birmingham, Alabama (or closely located site) six times per semester.  If you are unable to attend class due to distance, you may use a web conferencing tool that allows you to participate synchronously without penalty.  All face-to-face class meetings will take place in the evenings or on weekends to accommodate the working professional. The remainder of the class will involve interacting with content, tasks, and discussions utilizing Canvas, our online learning management system.

Travel will be required for dissertation proposals and defenses.

Our award-winning faculty – researchers, scholars, former teachers, principals and superintendents, who are expert leaders in their fields - are dedicated to your learning and success.

John Lowry in the school library
Deciding to complete my doctorate at Samford was one of the best decisions I’ve made as a school leader. Samford empowered me to engage and learn with the faculty and fellow students to help problem solve and find ways in which to make our educational system better for all students. I’m honored to continue to serve my students, and I’m proud to be a Samford Alumnus.--John Lowry Ed.D. '14

Objectives and Curriculum

All doctoral applicants must obtain an education specialist (Ed.S.) degree before earning an Ed.D. We offer an excellent opportunity through our Ed.S. program in Instructional Leadership. Should you need to obtain your Ed.S. degree, please contact us and we will be more than happy to share more information with you.

Through the 36–hour curriculum, candidates will explore the following concepts:

  • The origin of policy issues, the educational policy infrastructure, and the interrelationship of education policy to school practice.
  • Best practice for designing and implementing research methodologies, reading and interpreting research reports, and developing strategies for converting research into action.
  • Authentic problems of practice in a field-based environment.
  • The art and practice of negotiation and conflict resolution.
  • How to implement a central focus on helping students articulate an explicit set of values and beliefs to guide their actions.
  • Emerging organizational behavior theory and its application to the development of the school and school system of the future.

Students must complete 36 credit hours and maintain a 3.50 or higher cumulative GPA while enrolled in the Ed.D program at Orlean Beeson School of Education. Please view our full list of completion requirements.

For more information about the graduate courses and electives offered at Orlean Beeson School of Education, please visit Orlean Beeson School of Education’s section of the Samford University Catalog.

View Curriculum


Application Deadlines

Fall (August start date): April 17
*Interviews will be held the week of April 29
Spring (January start date): November 27
*Interviews  will be held the week of December 2

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program you must:

  • Possess a educational specialist degree from a regionally accredited institution.

For an application to be considered complete, we must receive all of the following*:

  • Online application for admission: Please be sure to list your personal e-mail address on the application
  • $35 Application Fee: This non-refundable fee is payable by credit card and is waived for Samford alumni, and current Samford students, faculty or staff
  • Official Transcripts showing bachelor’s, master’s and educational specialist’s degree. Transcripts are considered official only when they bear the issuing institution’s seal and arrive with the seal intact. Transcripts can be sent electronically to or by mail
  • Dispositions form filled out by current supervisor. May not be the same contact as the letter of recommendation
  • Letter of recommendation: one letter of recommendation uploaded to online application
  • Professional resume
  • Writing Sample: highlight one problem facing education today
  • Interview with program director

To check the status of application items, you may login to your application account and view the list of application items received.

Apply Now

Is this Program for Me?

This program is designed for professionals with a passion for education and an unwavering belief in the importance of leadership development. If you have a desire to serve the education system in an administrative role, join this program and be pushed to your greatest potential.

Wendy Story at her desk
Samford created a personalized learning experience that prepared me to be a better educational leader. I expanded my knowledge base with expert professors in their field and made many personal and professional connections. -- Wendy Story M.S.E. Instructional Leadership '13, Ed.S. '17, Doctoral Candidate

Our candidates are highly sought after, and many alumni are currently serving in notable leadership positions.

Tuition and Financial Aid


Please visit our Tuition and Fees page for more information, or contact the Graduate Admissions Coordinator.

Financial Aid

A financial assistance program administered by Samford One Stop has been established to aid students in attending Samford University.

Education students have the ability to utilize Stafford Loans and Grad PLUS Loans. As an education student, a FAFSA is required to receive either of these loans.

To learn more about financial aid options, please visit the Samford One Stop or call 205-726-2905.