Online Doctoral Degree in Education | Concordia University

Online Doctoral Degree in Education

Concordia University Irvine

Focused 3-year path to graduation.

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership program is designed to develop transformative leaders who embody the knowledge, character, and skills to guide dynamic and diverse learning organizations toward continuous improvement and sustained effectiveness. The integrated curriculum focuses on theory and applied research in leadership and guides students through the dissertation process as they complete their coursework. Practical instruction is offered face-to-face as well as online, with flexible, convenient scheduling designed to fit into the busy lives of educators.

The structural design of this doctoral program allows for graduation in as few as 33 to 36 months. The typical length of a term for each course is eight weeks.

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Blended instructional approach.

The online Doctor of Education program is delivered through a “blended” instructional approach. Blended instructional models are growing in popularity because adult students appreciate meaningful face-to-face classroom connection times while being able to complete coursework primarily online. That means less time on campus, more time online, and the flexibility to fit continuing education into your home, family, and work life.

Blended delivery icon

Here is the "blend" of instructional delivery:

  • Face-to-Face Learning at Irvine, CA campus: 1 Saturday per term
  • Real-time Online Learning: Thursday evenings, 3 times per term
  • Asynchronous Online Learning: 3 weeks per term

For dissertation seminars:

  • Real-time Online Learning
  • Terms 1-4: 2 times per term
  • Terms 5-10: tbd by dissertation chair and doctoral student 

For dissertation proposal and research:

  • Online and on-campus, as needed

Cohort membership and size to promote success.

Students in the online doctoral program move through a sequence of courses collectively. The common goal of starting and completing the program together encourages students to work collectively, which promotes the development of personal relationships and the building of a professional network. Cohort membership enables students to support and learn from other students, raising expectations that all but the occasional student will complete the program successfully.

The program limits the number of students within a cohort and strategically allows for arrangement of students in small groups:

  • On-campus, face-to-face learning sessions: 10-16 students
  • Real-time online learning
    • For content and research courses: 6-8 students.
    • For dissertation seminars 1 and 2: 3-4 students with 1 professor
    • For dissertation seminars 3 and 4: 1-to-1 with assigned chair of dissertation commitee

Integrated dissertation track.

The dissertation track is designed to immerse students in research from the beginning through completion of the program. Starting the research process at the beginning of the program allows students to integrate their coursework topics into their study, and allows them to continually progress through the dissertation steps.

Initially, students collaborate in small groups with a faculty member in search of a researchable problem that is interesting, significant, ethical, and manageable. In subsequent terms each student, working individually with their respective dissertation chair, focuses attention on scholarly writing skills and research methods specific to the student’s dissertation proposal. Once a dissertation committee has been designated, the student completes the proposal and then begins data collection and analysis. The dissertation committee stays with the student until completion of the dissertation.

View recent publications by Ed.D. alumni: View Dissertations »

Educational trips.

The program embeds educational trips within the curriculum to enhance student understanding of how policy, law and culture affect learning organizations. During the Washington, DC trip, students meet with government officials to discuss standards, policies, and entities that presently guide decisions at the national-level and how political aspects impact education policy. During the trip to the People’s Republic of China, students interact with Chinese colleagues and students to generate a comparative analysis of different educational systems and to identify desirable attributes to integrate within their local educational system. These trips also offer students and faculty the opportunity to build a sense of community and camaraderie within the cohort.

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Dr. Margaret Christmas Thomas, Associate Dean, Townsend Institute

Educational leaders.

The faculty in this doctoral program are deeply committed to the transformation of educational and instructional practices to better meet the needs of every learner. Their collective experience and diverse backgrounds have uniquely qualified them to partner with you, the next generation of educational reformers.

Concordia University Irvine is pleased to have faculty like Dr. Margaret Christmas Thomas, who brings her specialized expertise and leadership skills to her role of Assistant Professor of Education. As a nationally certified counselor and licensed mental health counselor, she offers a unique perspective into the different needs of diverse learners.

Tuition and fees.

Unlike most doctoral programs, our Ed.D. program guarantees a “locked-in” tuition rate for the first three years in which a student is enrolled in the program.  Moreover, tuition costs are waived for the last two terms of the third year and the first two terms of the fourth year of enrollment in the program (as needed, to help accommodate a candidate’s financial situation to complete the degree).  Please see below for current program costs.

Tuition/Fee Fall '19 / Spring '20
Application Fee (Non-Refundable) $50
International Application Processing Fee $150
Graduation Fee graduation fee
Ed.D. in Educational Leadership $970 per unit
Student Service Fee per Semester $200 per Semester
Washington, DC Trip (required) $1,900 plus airfare
People's Republic of China Trip (optional) $3,200 including airfare

The above estimated costs do not include costs for textbooks and materials, costs for a computer and accessories including a webcam, dissertation related costs, and other costs typically associated with a doctoral program such as academic regalia.

Lutheran Educators Discount

A 10% discount on all tuition for applicants currently serving as a teacher or administrator in a Lutheran school who wish to pursue a master's degree or Ed.D. degree through Concordia University Irvine's School of Education. Candidates for this special discount simply need to submit a signed letter from their school administrator verifying employment along with all application materials.

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