Doctor of Education

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Program Snapshot

60 Credit Hours 10 Classes
2.5 Years to Complete
Modular Learn more

Develop skills in scholarship, service, and problem-solving.

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) is a 60-hour degree that has been carefully designed for 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 Southern Seminary.

Modular format – relocation to Louisville not required.

Students will complete this program with one trip to campus each year for doctoral seminars in July*. Each seminar session will last one week.

3 Reasons to Study the Doctor of Education



The Ed.D at Southern Seminary is focused on preparing leaders for faithfulness in churches, Christian schools and ministry organizations. Our trusted faculty have designed this degree to facilitate your leadership development.


Balanced Curriculum

The accelerated, research-based, and practical curriculum of Sothern Seminary’s Ed.D program balances focused research and practical application. This 2.5 year program accelerates your growth as a scholar-practitioner.


Community of Learning

Students in the Doctor of Education participate in a cohort along with fellow students. The cohort model nurtures community, facilitates deeper learning, and provides the setting for the formation of deep friendships and lasting ministry partnerships.

Train as a leader in education for the church.

Doctor of Education
Course Number Description Credit Hours
81020 Graduate Research Seminar 2
8 EdD Seminars 48
Thesis Research and Writing (RDS) 6
Thesis Defense 4
Total 60

Total Doctor of Education: 60


  • 92000 Philosophical Foundations for Educational Research
  • 92010 Empirical Foundations for Educational Research
  • 92020 Models of Teaching and Learning
  • 92030 Models of Leadership and Administration
  • 92040 Leadership and Organizational Change
  • 92050 Human Development and Redemptive Formation
  • 92060 Critical Reflection and Research Evaluation
  • 92070 Mentorship and Guided Research

Available Concentrations

Christian School Teaching and Administration

This concentration is designed for those serving in Christian schools. This concertation serves both teachers focused on effective teaching and learning as well as school administrators charged with faithfully leading faculty and academic institutions.

Discipleship and Christian Formation

For those serving in the educational and discipleship ministries of the church, this concentration equips church leaders with a philosophy Christian formation and resources for faithful leadership of discipleship ministries.

Organizational Leadership

In an effort to develop and educate those with significant leadership responsibilities, this concentration helps leaders of a church or ministry organization to understand and apply effective and faithful approaches to Christian leadership.

Doctor of Education Faculty Include:

Justin A. Irving

Professor of Leadership

Timothy Paul Jones

C. Edwin Gheens Professor of Christian Family Ministry

John David Trentham

Associate Professor of Leadership and Discipleship

Frequently Asked Questions

Preacher preaching

The Doctor of Education is a terminal degree that will equip men and women to serve as leaders in church-affiliated educational institutions or educational ministries of the church.

No. The Doctor of Education is available in a modular format, requiring one trip each academic year to Louisville for doctoral seminars during the second week in July.

Refer to the academic calendar for current year seminar dates.

*Note that winter seminars occur in January but are conducted online. International students must attend winter seminars in-person to maintain their F-1 status.

In-person winter seminars are also open to domestic students who wish to attend.

Applicants should have a regionally-accredited masters’ degree totaling 48 hours, with at least 12 hours in biblical or theological studies and at least 12 hours in leadership, administration, education, or ministry studies.

If you lack the required hours of masters-level credit, you may submit a doctoral equivalency evaluation to the admissions office to find out if you qualify for SBTS EdD programs.*

A minimum master’s level cumulative grade point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale is expected.

For a complete listing of doctoral admissions requirements, see the “Admissions & Cost” tab.

*International transcripts must be evaluated by a NACES approved organization for both admissions consdiration and for equivalency requests.

Admissions for the Ed.D. program consists of:

Initial Application Submission

  • All required materials must be submitted to the Office of Admissions by the appropriate deadline (see “Admissions” tab for more information).

Entrance Exam and Interview

  • Students who are believed to have a reasonable possibility of acceptance are invited to participate in entrance exams and faculty interviews.
  • Exams and interviews are held remotely via Zoom (travel to campus not required) on the third friday of each month.
  • For more information on Entrance Exams, click here.

The Ed.D. program is structured for 36 months (3 years). Students who take longer than three years will be assessed an additional $2,000 fee for each semester of extension beyond the four-year limit.


Admissions Prerequisites

To be considered for admission in our Ed.D. program we require the following for applications:

  • A regionally-accredited master’s degree totaling at least 48 hours, with at least 12 hours in biblical or theological studies and at least 12 hours in leadership, administration, education, or ministry studies
  • Students having earned a master’s degree but lacking required hours may submit a doctoral equivalency evaluation to the Office of Admissions.
  • A master’s-level cumulative GPA of 3.3 or above
  • International transcripts will require an official evaluation from a NACES approved organziation (World Evaluation Services is preferred).

*For more information about our equivalency standards, leveling options, or to request an equivalency review based on your master’s level work, please email

Application Requirements

  • All applicants must receive a reference from the local church where they are a member. Family members may not complete this reference. If you are the pastor of your church, please select another church leader (associate pastor, elder, deacon, etc) to complete the church recommendation. Recommendation forms are automatically emailed to references via our online application.
  • Two additional academic recommendations. We suggest that a professor or a business acquaintance who can speak to academic performance complete the 2 additional recommendations required for doctoral students.
  • Transcription from the educational institution or institutions that conferred any required degrees should be submitted to the Admissions Office. Contact the registrar or academic records office of your previous institution(s). They may e-mail the transcripts (directly or via 3rd party such as Parchment) to or mail copies to our physical address. Transcripts must come directly from schools either electronically or in sealed/unopened envelopes.
  • A graduate level research paper in a field related to leadership, education or ministry and must be submitted along with the application. You may upload this research paper directly onto the application.
  • A Vita – a summary (1-2 pages) of previous academic studies, rationale for doctoral studies, personal goals, area of research interest, and description of past missions experience
  • $40 application fee – paid after application submission.

Application Deadlines

All application materials must be received by:

January 15 – Summer matriculation

Entrance Exams and Interviews

Entrance Exams are exams designed to give students the opportunity to demonstrate their comprehension of the subject area in which they are applying and sometimes in related fields. Students will be notified soon after submitting all application components as to whether they are invited to participate in the entrance exam and interview.

Exams and interviews are held on one Friday each month and are administered remotely (travel to campus not required). Click here to learn more.

Program Cost

$1,000 down payment, and remaining balance due equally over 30 months.*

Total CostMonthly Payment
Total cost for SBC students$20,363$645.43
Total cost for non-SBC students$34,005$1,100.17

*Program tuition shown is for the 2024-2025 academic year. Additional fees are subject to the current fee schedule.

Financial Aid

Southern Seminary does not offer fully-funded scholarships or grants for the EdD program.

Photo of Erin Shaw in the classroom

In their own words

“Are you ok if we continue to use the quote you provided in the past: “I have found the Ed.D. program at Southern to be an environment of encouragement and collaboration while maintaining the high standards of professionalism, academic rigor, and decidedly confessional Christian curriculum. It has helped me develop as a leader and serve well in Christian higher education. ”

Erin Shaw
Associate Professor of Women’s Ministry, Cedarville

In their own words

“The Ed.D. program was exactly what I needed to finalize my educational goals. The program was a biblically based educational leadership track that was perfectly calibrated for the practitioner on the field. The curriculum was challenging, the professors were relevant, and the cohort members are now some of my lifelong friends. As a busy pastor with a growing church and school, I can’t think of a better educational path for those who want to lead with excellence while connecting with other like-minded leaders in their field.”

Aaron Filippone
Lead Pastor, Indian Rocks Baptist Church

Program Cost

$1,000 down payment, and remaining balance due equally over 36 months.*

Total CostMonthly Payment
Total cost for SBC students$20,363$537.86
Total cost for non-SBC students$34,005$916.80

*Program tuition shown is for the 2023-2024 academic year. Additional fees are subject to the current fee schedule.

Financial Aid

Southern Seminary does not offer fully-funded scholarships or grants for the EdD program.

*Winter seminars are held in an online format with no travel to campus required.

  • International students must attend both summer and winter seminars in-person to maintain their F-1 visa status.
  • In-person seminar options are open to domestic students who wish to travel to campus over the winter.
Norton Hall clock tower


Contact Admissions

Phone: (502) 897-4200

Text: (502) 305-3554


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