Samford University's Doctorate of Education in Educational and Organizational Leadership program is designed for students interested in leadership issues, as applied to educational institutions. The program offers two areas of focus: P-12 school leadership or organizational leadership. It 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.

Each doctoral course will have at least one class face-to-face. If you are unable to attend class in person 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 may 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. More superintendents in Alabama’s public school districts have received their doctoral degrees from Samford than any other institution.

John Lowry in the school library
I saw the quality teachers that Samford put out, they became the teachers that we really seek to hire in our district. It became one of my goals to not just get a doctorate, but a doctorate from Samford.--Laura Tate Ed.D. ‘20

Objectives and Curriculum

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 term: July 15
Spring term: November 15

Admission Requirements

Before earning an Ed.D., all doctoral applicants must obtain an educational specialist (Ed.S.) degree from a regionally accredited institution OR have completed 30 hours beyond a master's degree in any field from a regionally accredited college or university. 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.

There are three admission routes available for the Ed.D. program:

  • 30 hours completed beyond a master’s degree (in any field from any accredited institution) + 36-hour Ed.D. = 66 hours
  • 30-hour educational specialist degree (completed prior at Samford or at another institution) + 36-hour Ed.D. = 66 hours
  • 30-hour educational specialist degree leading straight into 36-hour Ed.D., both at Samford = 66 hours

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.

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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, Ed.D. '20

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

Recent Dissertations

December 2021

Dissertation Title: A Qualitative Study of Northwest Alabama Veteran Teachers' Daily Instructional and Technological Practices
Student: Robyn E. Aldridge
Chair: Dr. Monique Witherspoon

Dissertation Title: A Quantitative Study Focusing on Alabama Public Schools: Do Differences Exist Between Leader Behaviors and Teacher Well-being in Low and High Socioeconomic Schools?
Student: Jason A. Bostic, Amy N. England
Chair: Dr. Kara Chism

Dissertation Title: An Exploratory Collective Case Study of Leadership of Implementation of Effective Character Education Initiatives in Elementary National Schools of Character
Student: Blair R. Inabinet
Chair: Dr. Amy Benton

Dissertation Title: The Importance of Retaining High Quality Teachers: An Examination of Differences in Teacher Grit Based on Experience or Intention to Remain in the Profession
Student: Ashley R. McCulloch, Marsha C. Mitchell
Chair: Dr. Jodi Newton

Dissertation Title: An Examination of the Principal's Use of Personality Tests
Student: Gregory D. Moore
Chair: Dr. Jodi Newton

Dissertation Title: Perceptions Among Alabama PreK-12 Public School Principals Across Difference Dimensions of Crisis Preparedness
Student: Tina M. Reid, Kathlene V. Wade
Chair: Dr. Mary Yakimowski

August 2021

Dissertation Title: Elementary Gifted Teachers' Lived Experiences Regarding Black Males' Participation in Gifted Ed
Student: Justin Gunnels
Chair: Dr. Jodi Newton

May 2021

Dissertation Title: Perceptions of Parental Involvement in High-Poverty Schools: A Qualitative Study
Student: Kalvin E. Eaton, Marcus L. Edwards, Serra H. Peterson
Chair: Dr. Jane Cobia

Dissertation Title: Educators' Perceptions of Character Education and Its Influence on School Climate
Student: Sandy Jolivette, Kesia D. Smith, Angela J. Watkins
Chair: Dr. Jane Cobia

Dissertation Title: Elementary Educators' Perceptions of Instructional Efficacy in Inclusion Classrooms
Theresa D. King
Dr. Les Ennis

Dissertation Title: An Examination of Urban Elementary and Middle School Teachers' Perceptions of Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS)
Melvin Love, Vieshell M. Tatum
Dr. Jodi Newton

Dissertation Title: Departmental and Non-Departmental Structures on the Reading and Mathematics Achievement of Third and Fourth Grade Students
Rikki F. Wise
Dr. Jane Cobia

December 2020

Dissertation Title: Teacher Retention in Alabama's Urban Schools: A Quantitative Study
Student: Janelle Cousins-Billings
Chair: Dr. Les Ennis

Dissertation Title: An Analysis of Factors that Impact Special Needs Programming in Christian Churches
Johanna Jones
Dr. Jane Cobia

Dissertation Title: Secondary and Post-Secondary Instructors' Perceptions of College Readiness in Gateway English
Haley Nix, Eugene Dallas
Dr. Jane Cobia

Dissertation Title: Promoting Resilience in Teachers: An Examination of a Program Designed to Improve Teachers' Social-Emotional Competence
Jessica Williams, Benjamin Styles
Dr. Mary Yakimowski

Dissertation Title: Educators' Beliefs on Evidence-Based Problem-Solving Mathematical Practices in High and Low Performing Urban Elementary Title I
Ann Eskridge, Kenya Hall, Robert Stewart
Dr. Mary Yakimowski

Dissertation Title: A Case Study Exploring the Mindsets of Those in Residential Group Homes and Perceptions of Teachers and Students
Meghan Owens, Ken Thornbrough
Dr. Mary Yakimowski

Dissertation Title: Teachers’ Perception of Social Emotional Learning: A Qualitative Study of Academically Successful Middle Schools with Low Socio-Economic Status 
LaTausha Daniels, Dedre Warren, Angela Day
Dr. Jodi Newton

Dissertation Title: Educator Perspectives on the Most Useful Strategies for Minority Students in Acquiring Social-Emotional Learning Skills in an Urban School Setting: A Descriptive Qualitative Study
Catherine Finkley, Michelle Hayes
Dr. Les Ennis

Dissertation Title: Teachers Perceptions of Principal Leadership Styles in Schools with Effective Character Education Programs 
Thomasena Garner, Edwards Williams
Dr. Jodi Newton

Dissertation Title: Exploring Educators' Lived Experiences of Facility Dogs in Elementary Schools: A Phenomenological Study
Wendy Story, Laura Tate
Dr. Amy Benton

Dissertation Title: Implementation Of and Support For Comprehensive School Counseling Programs: An Examination of Alabama Program of Distinction Recipient
Daniel Birdsong
Dr. Mary Yakimowski

Dissertation Title: Instructional Coaches in the High School Setting: Their Role, Relationships, and Influence on Teacher and Student Learning
Brad Cooper, Mark Edwards, Brad Stapler
Dr. Mary Yakimowski


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.

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