The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) is a 60-hour degree that has been carefully designed to develop skills in scholarship, service, and problem-solving in the context of coordinated learning communities. This design has been structured around a “signature pedagogy” that sets the Ed.D. apart from other doctoral degrees at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Distinctive features of the Ed.D. include:

Coordinated Learning Communities

Students enrolled in the Ed.D. program will participate in seminars of twelve or so students who remain together throughout their seminars. During the on-campus seminars, these students participate together not only in the seminars but also in meals and action research experiences. In addition, each student becomes part of a research team or “pod.” Each research team includes three or four students who will focus their studies and their theses on a single, selected topic. A faculty mentor and a field practitioner with expertise in the chosen topic oversee each research team, working closely to develop students as theologically-grounded stewards of educational practice.

Modular Format

The Doctor of Education degree is designed so that you are not required to relocate to Louisville, moving your family or leaving your ministry position. Prior to each seminar, students will complete pre-seminar work that includes reading and online discussions. While on campus for seminars, students will both participate in day-long seminars with Southern Seminary faculty as well as meal times with research teams, faculty members, and others to conduct research, further discussions, and discuss thesis development.

This format combines all the academic excellence you expect from a Southern Seminary doctoral degree, where world-class faculty lead seminars and mentor students through the degree. At the same time, it allows you to work side-by-side with the same students in all your courses, building lifelong friendships and community, all the while continuing to serve in your current ministry position allowing you the opportunity to integrate what you learn into how you minister.

Completion in 30 Months

The Ed.D. is designed so that students can complete the entire degree in thirty months. Two weeks of on-campus study are required each year, the last full week of July and the second full week of January. In addition to an orientation seminar and a thesis defense, this means students may complete the entire degree making only six trips to Louisville.

Specialized Collaborative Research

At the beginning of the Ed.D., each student will be assigned a mentor and a research topic. The student will also become part of a team of individuals studying the same topic under the same mentor. Under the supervision of his or her mentor, the student will develop a research question that will form the foundation for his or her thesis. In selected seminars throughout the program, students will draft chapters in preparation for the completion of this thesis. The theses developed within each research team will build on one another. Together, these interlocking theses will provide a solution to some particular problem or will demonstrate the validity of a particular approach to an education- or leadership-related issue.

Such an approach to research produces a thesis that is both remarkably unique and helpful as each individual student’s thesis stands together with his or her colleagues’ work, allowing a given topic to be examined in a multifaceted way


It is anticipated that the combined theses from each research group will be published by an academic press with the group’s faculty mentor serving as editor.


Thank you for your interest in the doctoral program at Southern Seminary. The following information is designed to give you insight into the Ed.D. application process. The Ed.D. application process occurs in two phases, which are described below.

Phase One

Phase one occurs as you go through the application process with our Admissions office. It includes two components. First, you should examine our Admissions Prerequisites below to ensure that you meet the minimum standards to apply.

Second, you will submit an application for the Ed.D. program to our Admissions Office. Because the application includes several parts, we recommend that you submit as many parts as you can, as soon as you can. It normally takes a minimum of 1-2 months to turn in all the parts to the application, especially because GRE results and recommendations take time to arrive. Your application must be fully complete in the Admissions Office prior to the stated application deadline to be considered.

The application deadline for matriculation in the summer of 2016 is January 15, 2016.

Phase Two

After your completed application clears the Admissions Office, the Admissions Office invites qualified applicants to participate in an entrance exam and faculty interview. Students come to campus for one day in which they complete the entrance exam in the morning and then participate in the faculty interview in the afternoon.

Entrance exams are exams designed to give students the opportunity to demonstrate their comprehension of the subject area in which they are applying. You can find more information about the entrance exam by clicking on the link below.

Doctor of Education Entrance Exam

Faculty interviews provide our professors the opportunity to interact with students who are applying in their area while allowing students the chance to get to know the faculty. Students should prepare to discuss not only their research interests but also their personal interests.

The entrance exams and interviews will be conducted on last Friday in February.

Admission Prerequisites

  • Students desiring admission to the Doctor of Education program must have earned a regionally-accredited Master’s degree totaling no fewer than 48 hours, with at least twelve hours in biblical or theological studies and at least twelve hours in leadership, administration, education, or ministry studies.
  • Students having earned a Master’s degree but lacking required hours may complete the additional hours through online or on-campus study at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
  • The student must have completed his or her Master’s degree with a minimum grade point average of B+ (3.3 on a 4.0 scale).

Actions Required for Admission

  • TOEFL: Non-native English speakers, including those who have graduated from any U.S. school, must submit an official score report of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). TOEFL scores must meet a minimum of 95 for internet-based test (iBT), 233 for computer-based test (CBT) or 575 for paper-based test (PBT).
  • GRE: All students must submit an official copy of the GRE score. All test scores must be less than three years old and must be officially submitted to the Admissions Office by January 15 in order to be considered for admission into the following spring/summer term.
  • Entrance Exam: Applicants who have completed the application requirements by the appropriate deadline and who are believed to have a reasonable possibility of acceptance may be invited to take the Entrance Exam. The Entrance Exam is offered for Ed.D. applicants in February each year on the campus of Southern Seminary. (Applicants residing outside the contiguous United States should contact the Research Doctoral Studies office for additional testing information.)
  • Interview: A member of the faculty in the applicant’s desired area of study will interview each applicant. Applicants who are invited to take the Entrance Exam will be scheduled for their faculty interview on the same day that the Entrance Exam is taken.
  • Research paper: A graduate-level research paper in a field related to leadership, education, or ministry be submitted with the application.
  • Vita: Students should also include with the application a personal vita, no more than two pages in length, which includes previous academic studies, rationale for doctoral studies, personal goals, area of research interest, and description of current and past ministry responsibilities.

In addition there is precedent literature to review before entering the program.

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