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Doctor of Education

The future of education needs bold leaders with an edge. At the Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice, you can learn how to make an impact in education from pioneers in distance learning.

Unlike research-heavy Ph.D. programs, an Ed.D. is designed for practitioners, giving you a more hands-on approach to educational leadership. With 8 concentrations to choose from, you can get the NSU Edge in the classroom as a teacher, as a principal, superintendent, or a leader in an organization on the frontlines of education. 

Our flexible online program is designed with you in mind. That's why we removed testing requirements as part of the admissions process and created the Strategic Research Project so that you can earn your Ed.D. without completing a dissertation

Why? Because NSU is committed to offering technology-rich, student-centered educational experiences. You will have an advisor walk you through the entire process, from answering all of your questions now to helping you further your career when you graduate. 

As a graduate, you will be prepared to lead change in diverse communities with an emphasis on fostering equity, cultural awareness, and social responsibility. 

Are you ready to become a bold innovator in education? Do you want to lend a hand in bringing large-scale change where students need it the most? Then you’re ready to become a Shark.


We now offer Ed.D. students the option of a Strategic Research Project (SRP) as an alternative to the Applied Dissertation. This project is made up of two 6-credit courses (ESRP 9000 & ESRP 9001) to be completed in 2 semesters after you have completed all of your required courses.

ESRP 9000 Strategic Research Project I (6 credits): This course represents the first phase in the development of the Strategic Research Project (SRP). Students will begin the conceptualization and development of the Strategic Research Project. Students will identify the problem they wish to investigate. The problem can take many forms including but not limited to a problem of practice, challenge, or complex phenomenon in the student’s organization or in an organization they choose to study. Students will investigate this problem and provide multiple forms of evidence that demonstrate a need to focus on the problem in the particular organizational context. Students will (a) examine a problematic process/issue in an organization that could be improved through the implementation of planned intervention, (b) identify the specific evidence that serves to define the problem and the potential impact if it is not addressed, (c) determine a potential action, intervention, or change that could be implemented to bring about improvement, (d) review the literature to learn how other organizations have addressed the issue and which actions or interventions have been shown to be most effective, (e) discuss potential actions/interventions with your colleagues, professors, and other key experts in the field to gather additional ideas and feedback. Prerequisites: all prior courses

ESRP 9001 Strategic Research Project II (6 credits): This course represents the second phase in the development of the Strategic Research Project (SRP). Students continue to develop their project as they incorporate feedback on the proposed intervention, outline a system of evaluation for the recommended design and integrate the content of the entire project into one narrative and final deliverable. While students are not required to implement the intervention, their final strategic research project should provide a detailed plan and evaluation strategy that, backed by extensive research, would result in the expected improvement in the organization or successfully address the organization’s challenges. In addition, the final product will include an insightful reflection piece analyzing what was learned from development of the SRP, what worked and what didn’t, and what changes or recommendations for improving the initial strategy resulted from the experiences. Prerequisite: ESRP 9000

Recommended 3-Year Program Sequence

For Students Completing Strategic Research Project (SRP): 


FAQ (English)

Q: How long will it take me to complete the SRP?

A: 2 semesters. You will take two classes: 1st term, ESRP 9000, and 2nd term, ESRP 9001.

Q: Do I still have to complete a dissertation if I elect the SRP option to earn my Ed.D.?

A: No

Q: What happens if I do not pass ESRP 9000 (1st SRP class), may I still take ESRP 9001?

A: No, you must retake and pass ESRP 9000 before you can register for ESRP 9001.

Q: How many times can I retake ESRP 9000 if I fail it?

A: You are permitted to retake ESRP two times.

Q: If I choose the Applied Dissertation option, am I permitted to switch midstream?

A: Yes; however, the work that you completed for your applied dissertation may not transfer to your SRP assignments. Students must complete all 12 SRP credits.

Q: Are the grades for SRP Pass/Fail or letter grades?

A: The grades for SRP are P (Pass) and F (Fail). Students must achieve 70% or higher to receive a P (Pass).

Q: May I register on my own for SRP or do I need an advisor to register for me?

A: Similar to the Applied Dissertation track, you must have the assistance of an advisor to register for SRP as you must have completed all required course work and have a minimum 3.0 GPA at the time of registration.

Q: Am I permitted to take other classes at the same time that I take SRP classes?

A: No, you must complete all of your required courses before taking SRP classes.

Q: Am I permitted to take both SRP classes together?

A: No, you must take ESRP 9000 first, alone and then ESRP 9001 second, alone.

Q: Do I have to choose an SRP chair?

A: No, the professor teaching your ESRP course will guide you through your project.

Q: Will I get the same instructor for both ESRP courses?

A: Not necessarily. Many sections of ESRP will be offered. Registering early is recommended as it increases the likelihood you will get the professor you prefer.

Q: Do I have to defend my SRP?

A: You will be responsible for an oral presentation along with a final report in ESRP 9001 to your class. This can be done in a virtual format.

Q: Does the SRP need to be about a topic at a workplace or can an external problem-solving topic be examined?

A: Employment site is not critical to the completion of the SRP. Students will have the option to use scenarios.

Q: Will I need IRB approval?

A: Given that you will not be implementing your study, IRB approval is not necessary.

Q: Do I still need to go to Summer Institute if I am electing the SRP option and not the dissertation option?

A: Yes, the Summer Institute is a requirement of the doctoral program. If you have not yet earned your Summer Institute credit, you must attend during the 2nd or 3rd year in the program. The Institute will offer SRP seminars for students who have chosen the SRP option.

Q: Will my diploma read any differently if I choose SRP vs Applied Dissertation?

A: No, your diploma will still read the same.


We offer Ed.D. students the option of an Applied Dissertation. The dissertation is made up of four 3-credit courses (DISR 8966, DISR 8967, DISR 8968, & DISR 8969) to be completed at your own pace after your fourth semester.  Students ideally complete their dissertations within the 3-year program of study, starting the dissertation after their fourth semester.  Students who opt for the dissertation will be provided a chair and member who will provide sustained guidance during the entire dissertation process.  In addition, faculty mentors housed within the Dissertation Support Services provide students with an additional layer of support. 

DISR 8966: Applied Dissertation 1: Prospectus.  DISR 8966 provides the framework to enable students to develop a prospectus. Working closely with a dissertation chair, the student will select a research topic/problem/phenomenon and develop the initial components of his/her dissertation. Upon completion of this benchmark, the student will advance to the next stage in the dissertation process, Applied Dissertation 2 - Proposal Development.

DISR 8967: Applied Dissertation 2: Proposal Development.  In this benchmark, the student will write Chapters 1 and 2 of the Dissertation Proposal. The student will refine the problem statement, background and justification, the purpose statement, and research questions that were developed in DISR 8966 Applied Dissertation 1: Prospectus. In addition, the student will write an exhaustive literature review on the topic and identify a suitable, well-developed theoretical or conceptual framework for the proposed study.

DISR 8968: Applied Dissertation 3: Proposal.  This is a continuation of the previous benchmark Applied Dissertation 2: Proposal Development, which is Chapters 1 and 2 of the dissertation. In this benchmark, the student will write Chapter 3. The student will present the research methodology, clearly explaining the research design, sampling strategies, instruments used, data collection methods, and the data analyses. In addition, the role of the researcher and the limitations of the study must be discussed. Chapters 1, 2, and 3 will form the Dissertation Proposal.

DISR 8969: Applied Dissertation 4: Final Report.  Applied Dissertation 4 focuses on writing the final dissertation report. Upon IRB approval, students will collect data in order to answer the research questions developed in DISR 8968. Students will analyze the data appropriately, write up the results, and discuss the results in context with the current literature. Study implications and future research directions will also be discussed in the final report.

Curriculum & Teaching

Skillfully provide direction in the development, implementation, and evaluation of curriculum and teaching.

Educational Leadership

Improve K-12 schools, districts, and other learning environments through planning and research.

Higher Education Leadership

Improve the academic and administrative performance of colleges and universities.

Human Services Administration

Gain critical skills in the administration, management, and policy development of human services agencies and programs.

Instructional Technology and Distance Education

Lead education and training organizations in the improvement of teaching and learning using technology, especially at a distance.

Organizational Leadership

Develop new competencies for leading a successful organization in an increasingly complex world.

Reading Education

Transition from practitioner to scholar, applying the latest research in the field of literacy education. 

Special Education

Gain advanced knowledge and skills for addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities as well as their families.

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