Doctor of Education

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.

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Distinctive Features

Modular Format

  • The degree program is designed so that students are not required to relocate to Louisville.
  • Prior to each seminar, students will complete pre-seminar work that includes reading and online discussions.
  • While on campus for seminars, students will participate in day-long seminars with faculty and experience meals with research teams, faculty members, and others to conduct research, further discussions, and discuss thesis development.

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 second 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 four trips to Louisville, plus a defense hearing.

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.
  • 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.

Specialized Collaborative Research

  • At the beginning of the Ed.D., each student will be assigned a mentor and a research topic with a team of students studying the same topic under the same mentor. Students 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 to provide a solution to some particular problem or demonstrate the validity of a particular approach to an education- or leadership-related issue.
  • 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.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate a mastery of the educational disciplines that is rooted in a graduate-level understanding of the theological disciplines.
  • Students will demonstrate the capacity to serve the church, the academy, and the world through leadership and teaching.
  • Students will apply educational research to solve complex social and organizational problems.

Southern Seminary’s doctoral programs pursue academic excellence for the glory of God.

Admissions Process

Phase One

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).

Application for Admissions

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 term is January 15.


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

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 here.

Faculty Interviews

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.

Entrance Exams & Interview Dates

First Friday in March for Fall matriculation



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. Abstracts for each of the included texts must be completed during the student’s first year in the program.


The program cost is paid in a $1,000 downpayment with the remaining balance due equally over thirty months.*

Program Cost — SBC Student $19,580
Program Cost — Non-SBC Student $32,697
Continuation Fee (Paid past fifth semester in program) $2,000


*Program Tuition shown is for the 2020-21 Academic Year. Additional fees are subject to the current catalog. Please see the current catalog for full listing of current fees.

Next Steps

Train as a scholar practitioner

Schedule a Doctoral Campus Visit

Visiting Southern will give you an opportunity to explore our beautiful campus and to get all of your important questions answered.

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Attend Preview Day

Southern Seminary hosts a Preview Day each Spring and Fall – attendees are automatically entered to win a $1000 scholarship.

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Request Information

Learn more about Southern. Discover how you can learn in Louisville or where you are through distance learning options.

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