2019-2020 Academic Catalog 
    Dec 06, 2021  
2019-2020 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Educational Leadership, PhD

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The College of Education’s Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) program is designed to meet the professional development needs of educational leaders. Ph.D. graduates complete a concentration in Educational Leadership. Birthed from Columbia International University’s long-standing commitment to Christian school and Christian higher education, the Ph.D. program aims to develop educators to lead, model, think, communicate, and research with biblical excellence. Students will grow in their ability to articulate Christ-centered perspectives in educational institutions and to represent education from a biblical perspective in the broader society. Courses are provided 100% online with the possibility of summer intensives when desired. Students must be accepted into the Ph.D. program to enroll in courses. CIU Education Programs are endorsed by the Higher Education Approval Program (HEAP) of the Association for Christian Schools International (ACSI). Program graduates who meet specific requirements are eligible to apply without fee for appropriate ACSI teacher or administrator certificates.


The Ph.D. program strives to produce leaders who have a biblical perspective and mentor educational communities while addressing needs through learning.


Students will demonstrate learning in specified areas of educational leadership. The program competencies that students must satisfactorily demonstrate for completion of the degree are supported by program courses, and assessed in summative portfolios of student assignments and projects, qualifying exams taken near the conclusion of coursework, and a doctoral dissertation.

All students must demonstrate satisfactory competence in all required outcomes; no competencies will be waived. Students who do not take a program course that is associated with a specified competency must still prepare to demonstrate that outcome through the portfolio or qualifying exam.

Candidates will understand, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate:

  • Education from a biblical perspective, foundational theories, research findings.
  • High-quality educational leadership from a biblical perspective, theoretical approaches, research findings, and alternative models of effective leadership and functioning of organizations, groups, and individuals within organizations.
  • The components and process of quantitative and qualitative research which produce new theory, knowledge of effective practices, and solutions to educational questions and problems within an educational institution.

Admission Criteria ***Requirements revised 5/17/2019***

In addition to satisfying the general admission requirements of the university, students applying to the Ph.D. are reviewed by a College of Education faculty admission panel, including an interview in person (or electronically). This panel recommends acceptance according to the applicants’ satisfaction of the following criteria:

  1. Master’s degree from an accredited institution that provides a foundation for doctoral studies in educational leadership.

  2. GPA of 3.2 or higher in previous master’s level work. 

  3. Writing sample that demonstrates the ability to do doctoral research and writing.  

  4. Resume or Curriculum Vitae that provides evidence of teaching, administrative, or leadership experience to support degree program requirements. 

Residency and Transfer Policies

A maximum of fifteen credit hours of appropriate graduate coursework in education may be applied toward the Ph.D. program, as determined by the program director. Transfer credit must be from an accredited institution with a grade of “B-” or above. Students who have completed an Ed.S. from an accredited institution within the previous five years may transfer up to fifteen hours of appropriate masters’ level work and up to an additional six hours of post-master’s level work, as determined by the program director. Students who have completed the Ed.S degree at CIU within the previous five years may transfer the 30 hours of the Ed.S. based upon acceptance into the Ph.D. program.

Time Limitation

The time limit for completing the program is six years, from the student’s first class to graduation. In extenuating circumstances, a student may petition for additional time to complete the dissertation.

Completion Requirements

Although advisors assist students in planning their courses of study, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all requirements for graduation have been met.

  • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale), with no grade below “B-” applicable to the degree. (Transfer grades are not calculated in the cumulative GPA.)
  • Demonstrate competency on each of the program’s outcomes through satisfactory completion of courses, portfolio requirements and the qualifying examinations.
  • Complete and present a successful oral defense of an approved dissertation that exhibits the student’s ability to do competent research, think critically, and communicate effectively.

Course of Study (Foundation + Concentration) (60)

Suggested Program of Study

The total minimum number of semester hours to graduate is 60. The following program of study outlines a schedule for fulfilling all of the requirements for the program within five years, reflecting a fall program entry. Program completion may be compressed with transfer hours and utilizing the summers in years 3 and 4. 

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