When true leaders aren’t satisfied with the status quo, they step up. They take charge. But at the same time, they exude stability under pressure, a collaborative spirit, and inclusion—those are the change-maker qualities we instill in our Doctorate of Education candidates here at Concordia. Are you compelled to enhance your leadership capabilities, so you can make immediate and long-term impacts in your workplace? Do you agree that even the smallest positive change in the education sphere can have a ripple effect on the world at large? If so, you’ll find immense value in our innovative program.

Ideal for professionals who are balancing work, family, and community obligations, our online EdD program offers an intensive curriculum taught by a faculty of highly regarded scholars from diverse backgrounds, including prestigious universities and successful businesses. And you’ll join the same, supportive community they belong to: one that believes in the strength and efficacy of genuine leadership.

Earn your EdD in about three and a half years, fully online

Choose from one of five EdD specializations, each of which can be completed 100% online in a four-phase schedule over about three and a half years. Classes are eight weeks in length, and are limited to 15 to 17 candidates to support quality instruction.

What makes Concordia’s EdD program so innovative? It originates from our first-of-its-kind campus in Portland, Oregon—in a facility that houses our College of Education, a public preK-8 school, medical facilities, food services, and more. We call it a 3 to PhD® community, living proof of our belief that health and safety matter just as much as education. What that means for you as an online student: your program is steeped in innovation, up-to-the-minute research, and people who truly care about changing the educational system.

Our doctoral program also includes an interactive “virtual residency” component, providing you with the same collaborative, in-depth academic support as traditional face-to-face residencies with the flexibility of a truly online experience.

The Administrative Leadership specialization is designed for people interested in public or private sector professional and institutional management.


This program includes an emphasis on both higher education administration and higher education teaching to prepare servant-leaders for leadership, teaching, and service positions.


The Instructional Leadership specialization helps you develop the knowledge, ability, and capacity to positively impact practice, programs, and policy.


The Professional Leadership, Inquiry, and Transformation specialization offers candidates the ability to design a customized program of study from an array of doctoral coursework.


Transformational Leadership is an administrative and leadership specialization for individuals who want to advance in business, organization, and church leadership and management.



Hone your vocational skills with a Concordia EdD

EdD Program Goals & Objectives

The Concordia University-Portland doctoral program focuses on developing reflective practitioners and transformative leaders who:

  • Understand the theoretical bases of practice, are able to turn theory into action, and can utilize skills and strategies to improve practice
  • Apply organizational skills and strategies, apply capacity-building program analyses, and have a willingness to recognize need and confront it with reason and grace
  • Are well-grounded with ethical, moral, and faith-based perspectives on truth-telling, service to others, and living with integrity
  • Understand purposeful collaboration, democratic participation, and choice as a guiding style that produces strong and powerful results
  • Have the capacity to meld reason and imagination, analysis and hunch, and accept a tolerance for ambiguity
  • Have a willingness to think and act critically, unravel dense meaning, and probe complicated projects with sense and clarity
  • See themselves as scholars who are committed to study as intentional, intriguing, and inspiring
I’ve found that school is not designed to take over your life; it’s designed to be that missing puzzle piece in your life.
TYSON CLYBURN, EdD Transformational Leadership


Earn your EdD in a four-phase schedule


The doctorate curriculum requires candidates to complete core coursework that lays the foundation for the program in Phase 1, specialization courses in Phase 2, research courses in Phase 3, and a dissertation in Phase 4.

Doctorate of Education (EdD) - Phase 1 Courses
EDDC 600 A&B / EDDC 602 A&B / EDDC 603 A&B (0.5)
Nine Lives of Scholarly Writing I, II, III

This course provides opportunities for doctoral candidates to develop and refine their scholarly writing during the first year of the education doctorate in order to become successful writers during and beyond their academic career. Writing craft development occurs through peer writing groups, close study of published texts, and interaction with faculty writers. Course topics include writing article abstracts and analyses, critiques, and literature surveys. Strategies for reading critically, organizing and developing thoughts, choosing appropriate vocabulary, and revising one’s own writing are also covered. Candidates write and revise various genre of scholarly writing throughout the year-long workshop, culminating in a revised draft of the Comprehensive Connection paper.

EDDC 605 (3)
Transformational Learning
Based on the view that an individual's beliefs influence his or her actions in powerful ways, this course encourages candidates to reframe their world-view to move away from knowledge transmission towards transformational learning. Candidates will deconstruct conformity to social and cultural canons which have permeated U.S. public schools to a negative effect. They will examine theories that are meant to catalyze social transformation and individual change, and develop their own theory and practice of transformative learning for social change.
EDDC 608 (3)
Quantitative Research Methods
This course helps beginning educational researchers balance the competing demands of formal experimental and survey design principles with the ever-present practical constraints of the real world so that they can conduct sound quantitative research. Emphasis will be placed on formulating research questions, identifying relevant target populations, selecting respondents for study, refining definitions of the effects of interest, identifying relevant comparisons, selecting appropriate measures, including descriptive, inferential, and probability statistics, determining how many subjects to study, taking advantage of the results of previous research and pilot studies, and anticipating the unanticipated. The quantitative research designs of survey, correlation, causal-comparative, and comparative will be examined.
EDDC 611 (3)
Qualitative Research Methods
The goal of this course is to examine inquiry from a relativistic, but systematic, way of knowing. Candidates will apply qualitative research principles through coherent study of the established methodological designs of narrative, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, and case study. The issues of alternative knowledge claims, validity or trustworthiness, in-depth field work, and data collection and analysis will be examined through these six strategies of inquiry.
EDDC 615 (3)
The Ethical Educator

This course is grounded in the belief that it is the responsibility of educators to employ ethical practice in the daily activities of their personal and professional lives. Educators must also ensure that the institutional policies and practices of their school or organization adhere to the application of ethical practice throughout the workplace. The course will emphasize human subjects research issues of harm and deception. This study of the use of ethical principles in an educational context will include an examination of the underlying assumptions and implicit or explicit policies that can support or erode ethical practice. As a result of the activities and discussions completed in this course, candidates will have the opportunity to transform their personal and professional ethical lives and priorities.

EDDC 618 (3)
Leading Organizational Change
This course focuses on helping learners internalize the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and values necessary for facilitating organizational improvement in schools and colleges. In particular, it zeros in on the theory and technology of Organizational Development (OD), and the "what, why, and how" of planned change in diverse educational settings from pre-school to graduate school. Additionally, the course content is undergirded by person-centered values, democratic leadership skills, as well as the ideology of service-management, and is aimed at facilitating excellence in student-centered teaching and learning.
EDDC 620 (3)
Creativity, Inquiry, and Innovation
This course emphasizes the need for organizations to foster an environment where creativity, inventiveness, and entrepreneurship are expectations in the culture. Topics are investigated through popular literature and case studies of individuals who have made significant break-through contributions in the areas of science, music, art, and business. The course will address such questions as "What is the essence of creative work? Can creativity be learned? How critical is it for organizations and leaders to innovate? What conditions are necessary in the workplace to foster an environment where creativity, experimentation, and innovation are welcomed? Who determines what is creative and what is not? Why is innovation more likely found in the commercial and nonprofit sector rather than schools?" Lastly, the course hopes to tap the creative potential within all of us and illustrate its value for our own growth as well as the health of the organization.


The specialization courses in Phase 2 can be found on each specialization page:


Candidates will be registered for one of three religion courses, based on what is being offered at the time, each of which satisfies the religion requirement.

Doctorate of Education (EdD) - Phase 3 Courses
18 credits
EDDT 653 (4)
Religion and Dense Meaning: Parables

This course explores the nature of sacred texts for practitioners of religion. Because most sacred texts were developed prior to widespread literacy and printing technologies, they require specific reading skills, particularly in extracting practical meaning from densely written texts. Focusing on the Parables of Christ, this course both explores the content of these parables and appropriate reading/interpretation of these foundational texts.

EDDT 654 (4)
Religion and Extremism
Throughout history, religion has motivated self-sacrifice on behalf of a greater cause. In this course, candidates will study the scriptures, doctrines, and historical contexts that have inspired such movements and actions of extremism and gain an understanding of the power of religion. They will also develop skills in helping students recognize and deal with these influences in their lives and communities.
EDDT 652 (4)
Religion in the Modern World

This seminar investigates the interface of religion and contemporary society through fundamental questions about the meaning of life, the reality of God, and truth and values to live by in a postmodern context. The candidate will examine critically his/her own beliefs and values in the light of popular assumptions and prevalent attitudes in our time, and the deeper questions of life that are addressed by various religious approaches.

EDDR 610 & 619 (2)
Scholars Before Researchers I & II

Scholars Before Researchers I and II are courses taken back-to-back in Phase III. The classes are devoted to researching and drafting Chapter Two of the dissertation proposal. Course topics include an overview of the literature review process, advanced library research techniques, and methods of organizing and managing the literature. Students will leave the course with a completed draft of their dissertation literature review. The course is taught by the Faculty Chair who is involved in the process from topic formulation to proposal defense.

EDDR 620 & 621 (2)
Intense Research Module I & II

The Intense Research Module (IRM) I and II courses assist the candidate in developing the research design and the methods that are employed in the Phase IV research field experience. One intense research module content area is completed in each course to support the development of the dissertation’s research design.

Prerequisites: EDDR 610 & EDDR 619 with grade of P

Content Areas:

  • Case Study, Narrative, and Action Research
  • Correlational, Causal-Comparative, Including Ex Post Facto Research
  • Descriptive or Survey Research
  • Experimental Research
  • Phenomenological and Ethnographic Research
  • Policy Research
  • Program Evaluation Research
EDDR 697 (2)
Proposal Development

This course is designed to assist doctoral candidates in completing their dissertation proposals and prepares candidates to defend a dissertation proposal before their dissertation committee. The course continues the Phase III emphasis on developing Scholars Before Researchers by guiding candidates to develop professional writing, research, and presentation skills. Candidates’ Faculty Chairs will instruct, mentor, and advise candidates as they: revise Chapters 2 and 3 of the proposal, write the Chapter 1: Introduction, and then synthesize the full proposal in order to ensure it is defense-worthy. The full dissertation committee will provide input, critique, and support during the development and defense process.

Extended Dissertation Proposal Opportunity

Should you need more than one session to complete your dissertation proposal, you may register for an additional eight weeks (2 credits). This course may be taken up to six times in order to allow additional time to complete the dissertation proposal (financial aid restrictions apply).


Doctorate of Education (EdD) - Phase 4 Courses
1 credits
EDDR 698 (1.5)

The dissertation is a scholarly document intended to demonstrate the research competence of the author and to produce greater understanding. It is written in the formal language and style of its discipline or field of study, and it results from a comprehensive, logical, and ethical investigation. The dissertation is an expression of the highest level of critical thought and is expected to be a substantive contribution to the theory or practice of its discipline or field of study.

Candidates are required to complete a minimum of 6 credits of dissertation.

Extended Dissertation Opportunity

Should you need more than two semesters to complete your dissertation, you may register for an additional eight weeks (1.5 credits). This course may be taken up to six times in order to allow additional time to complete the dissertation(financial aid restrictions apply).

Concordia's Virtual Residency Advantage

Higher education is undergoing what may be its most significant change in centuries, with innovative approaches designed to meet the needs of candidates who work and have families. We’re proud to lead the way with our EdD program’s Virtual Residency feature.


What’s a Virtual Residency?

The focal point of any doctoral program is the residency. Since Concordia’s online EdD is aimed at the practitioner-scholar who already balances career, family, and other responsibilities, we designed a doctoral residency that can be completed anywhere, anytime, and completely online.


How Does the Virtual Residency Work?

  • Utilizes an Orientation Module to introduce new doctoral candidates to a rigorous course of study and identifies resources needed to engage fully in the doctoral experience
  • Employs the cohort model to generate a source of sustained collaboration and support among peers
  • Provides interactive group projects designed to build community, cooperation, and creativity
  • Provides networking opportunities embedded in proposal and dissertation development, which creates pride, fellowship, and esprit de corps with dissertation chairs, dissertation committee faculty, and fellow students in a cohort

Get the Support You Need

“It appears clear that one of the main reasons almost 50 percent of students don’t finish their doctoral work is that they don’t have adequate support,” says Dr. Jerry McGuire, emeritus professor and former director of doctoral studies at Concordia University-Portland.

As part of our Virtual Residency, students have a rich and expansive support system; they’re linked to mentors who can guide them throughout the program and the doctoral dissertation process.


Is Concordia’s online EdD program right for you?

Should you earn a Doctorate of Education from Concordia? Simply put, it depends on the kind of professional you are and the goals you have set for yourself. Prospective candidates exhibit a love of teaching both in and out of the classroom, and share many of the same objectives:

  • Learn how to use systematic inquiry to improve classroom and school practice
  • Lead organizational change using empirically developed and proven strategies
  • Work together in small research communities to share resources and ideas

EdD courses are practical and research-based, and will help you gain valuable leadership and decision-making skills through rigorous, intensive project-based learning and purposeful collaboration.

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