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K-12 Administration

Doctor of Education

Our Doctor of Education in Leadership in K-12 Administration prepares students for the wonderfully complex, and challenging role of leadership in K-12 settings. Students can earn a principal, superintendent, and special education director license. Non-license seeking students complete an individualized directed study.


Online with Intensives

You'll complete coursework online, with 1 week of on-campus intensives each year.

Location: St. Paul

Start Dates: Courses start every 8 weeks. Contact your enrollment counselor for details.

Total Credits


Approximate Program Length

3 years (plus dissertation)


  • Historical, Cultural, and Philosophical Issues Impacting School Administration (EDUC800)

    Historical, cultural, and philosophical roots and trends that have contributed to educational practices today. Current and emerging roles of educational leaders in light of these roots and trends in the establishment of policy and practice, both in the school and the community at large. Current prevailing cultural and philosophical drivers in students educational settings.

    3 credits

  • Principles of Organizational Leadership (EDUC805)

    Theory and practice of leadership applied to educational settings. Leading educational and managerial organizational leadership theories and change theory with emphasis on their implementation in practical educational settings. Faith-informed worldview is incorporated with these theories and practices. Philosophical and values anchors, vision casting, shared priorities and commitments, and vision through policy and program development.

    3 credits

  • Curriculum and Instructional Management and Student Development (EDUC810)

    Fundamentals of curriculum design, planning and implementation; trends, issues, forces, and ideas affecting curriculum. Synthesizing knowledge gained from curriculum and from professional experience. Cognitive and behavioral issues and theories of learning affecting student performance. Techniques for working with culturally and academically diverse student populations and for managing varied types of student behavior. Implications for staff development.

    3 credits

  • Technology in K-12 Education (EDUC815)

    Importance of technology in administrative and academic affairs. Computing competence for administrative functions and educational leadership. Administrative and academic computing applications and systems, district-wide networking, budgeting, and legal/moral issues to guide district policy. Hands-on experience, visiting prototype programs, and viewing students' work environments. Designing and conducting system-wide technology audits.

    3 credits

  • Doctoral Research I (EDUC820)

    This course begins the four course series in research methods. Students are introduced to the philosophical foundations of qualitative research design and methodology. Students complete an overview of the design, analysis and interpretation of qualitative methods. Basic principles and philosophy of naturalistic (field) inquiry methods are introduced. Students critique and analyze qualitative research in the literature culminating in the development of the research problem.

    3 credits

  • Leading in a Complex and Pluralistic Society (EDUC825)

    Focus is on the conceptual background on the needs of diverse constituencies, and on the skills to lead a school toward a healthy, productive environment for all students. A major project will include the application of the principles of the course as well as assessment and planning for positive change in the student's home district.

    3 credits

  • Administration of Essential Educational Programs (EDUC830)

    Students, as school leaders, will examine their schools in depth to ensure that essential programs are in place. Examination of valuable educational practices that successfully address the needs of students and staff. Development of specific plans for school environment that consists of student engagement, attention to safety, relationships, and creating a learning atmosphere where students and staff thrive. Students will apply a personal belief system and explore best practices.

    3 credits

  • Measurement and Assessment (EDUC835)

    Concepts and skills for employing descriptive statistics. Principles and practices of assessment processes in schools and their uses, misuses, and limitations. Ethical issues in assessment, test performance influencing factors. Applying understanding of assessment principles and practices in the student's home district in light of the current scholarly research review and class discussions.

    3 credits

  • Administrative Operations and Personnel Administration (EDUC840)

    Major categories and practical actions required to lead the operations of a modern school or district by building on many of the philosophical and contextual ideas from earlier courses or learners' experiences. Development of skills of organizational supervision and management, delegation of authority and accountability, internal and external administrative communications, politics in education, and public and media relations.

    3 credits

  • Doctoral Research II (EDUC845)

    This is the second in the series of four research methods courses in the Ed.D. Program. The focus is on quantitative research. The other major focus is on ethics in research culminating in the requirement of students to complete the CITI training modules. Students continue to build their dissertation prospectus.

    3 credits

  • Doctoral Research III (EDUC850)

    This is the third in the series of four research methods courses in the Ed.D. Program. The focus is on both qualitative and quantitative research focusing on sampling, measurement, data collection and analysis. Students continue to build their dissertation prospectus.

    3 credits

  • Administrators as Agents of Change (EDUC855)

    Students will participate in an educational change process designed to help them develop visionary capacity and leadership skills for sustaining meaningful change. It will be accomplished by reading change literature, discussion, and experiencing educational reform by visiting schools and meeting with visionary leaders.

    3 credits

  • Re-imagining Higher Education (EDUC858)

    Consider the future of higher education and the leadership needed. Issues and trends in the current and emerging field higher education, including equity and access, finances and affordability, and competing models and non-traditional offerings, are revisited and intersected with personal growth and leadership formation.

    3 credits

  • Legal Issues in School Administration (EDUC860)

    Legal foundations of educational policy, statutory themes, and case law as they affect the needs of school administrators in daily responsibilities and practices. Legal basis for relationships among school districts and federal, state, and local government. Processes of dealing with legal issues and risks faced by academic institutions and administrators, including current issues in students work environments.

    3 credits

  • Resource Management in K-12 Education (EDUC865)

    Students acquire an understanding of the sources and expenditure of fiscal and other resources in education. Development of specific competencies includes school board/administration resource planning and prioritizing, budgeting, and resource allocation and management. A major course project analyzes and critiques the structure and implementation of the student's home district's budget.

    3 credits

  • Doctoral Research IV (EDUC870)

    This is the final course in the series of four research methods courses in the Ed.D. Program. The focus is on data collection, data analysis and presenting results in research. Students design a data collection tool or protocol, collect data with the tool (field test) and analyze collected data. Students complete their dissertation prospectus.

    3 credits

  • Comprehensive Examination and Portfolio Review (EDUC881)

    Comprehensive examination and the portfolio review after completion of the student's final didactic course.

    1 credits

  • Dissertation Phase One (EDUC890)

    Major research project developed over the duration of the program. Standard doctoral-level academic measurement, statistical, analytical, interpretive, documenting, and writing techniques are required. The courses in qualitative research, quantitative research, and measurement and assessment provide philosophy, theory, and skills support for this component. Topics developed with dissertation advisor, who will advise during development dissertation and will chair dissertation committee.

    6 credits

  • Dissertation Phase Two (EDUC891)

    A continuation of EDUC890. Students are automatically registered for this course during the term following EDUC890. Successful defense of the dissertation is required prior to graduation. This course must be completed within seven consecutive years (21 consecutive academic terms) from the beginning of the course.

    6 credits

  • Select one from:

    • Directed Study (EDUC882)

      Individual educational objectives in a specific area of study. Independent reading and/or research, or travel with related study. Designed in cooperation with program director and cohort advisor. Can also be taken by Ed.D. students completing not seeking a license.

      1 credits

    • Principal Internship (EDUC886)

      School-based experience of at least 320 hours in one year. 240 hours at one setting and 40 hours at each of the other two levels. Joint supervision of Bethel faculty member and onsite licensed and practicing principal. May be paid or unpaid. Direct experience in administrative duties and synthesis of learning between academic program and administrative needs of host district.

      3 credits

    • Superintendent Internship (EDUC887)

      School-based experience of at least 320 hours in one year, up to 280 hours in the primary setting, at least 40 hours in a second setting. Joint supervision of Bethel faculty member and onsite licensed and practicing principal. May be paid or unpaid. Direct experience in administrative duties and synthesis of learning between academic program and administrative needs of host district.

      3 credits

    • Director of Special Education Internship (EDUC889)

      School-based experience of at least 320 hours in 1 year; at least 40 hours at a special education administrative unit other than students primary experience. Jointly supervised by Bethel faculty member and onsite licensed and practicing director of special education. Direct experience in administrative duties; synthesis of learning between academic program and administrative needs of host district.

      3 credits


Explore Our Partnership and Certificate Programs

We have partnered with colleges and universities to expand program options in our Ed.D. in Leadership in Higher Education program and to offer a University Partnership Scholarship. Learn more about these opportunities and our Private College Leadership Certificate offered by the University of Minnesota and made available through our participation in the Private College Leadership Network.

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