Educational Leadership Doctoral
Degree Completion Program for ABD Students
Surveys conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools in 2010 found that nearly 60% of doctoral students who complete all their coursework and examinations don’t go on to earn their degree. If you are an experienced education leader who has completed all of the coursework for your doctoral degree but have yet to complete your dissertation—the dreaded ABD—Gwynedd Mercy University can help.
We now offer a doctoral completion program for ABD students who have deep professional and academic experience in the field of education. Our program, created and overseen by award-winning Program Director Raymond Bandlow, PhD, offers the support you need to finish your Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership in various concentrations and advance your career.
The goal of this program is to help you take your place as a leader capable of ethical, reflective executive practice, whose work is informed by an understanding of global trends in education.
- Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) – The PLA process provides a comprehensive review and assessment of your prior coursework, experiential learning, and scholarship. You may earn advanced standing of up to 27 credits through Prior Learning Assessment.
- Immediate access to an advisor – You will be matched with a dissertation advisor as soon as you enroll in our program. Your advisor will guide you through a series of planned dissertation courses that ensure you make consistent progress throughout your program.
- Four concentration options: Prepare to make an impact in a specific area of leadership through targeted coursework in Leadership for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, PK-12 Schools and School Districts, Special Education, or Higher Education.
- Experienced faculty members: GMercyU chooses its faculty members for their professional achievements and credentials, but also for their commitment to quality teaching and student success. Their guidance and mentorship will enrich your learning experiences immeasurably.
- A tailored practicum experience: Working with your advisor, you will develop a practicum experience that reflects your personal experience and the evaluation of your PLA Portfolio.
- A blended course format: This program provides you with the support and flexibility you need through a combination of online education with periodic residencies on campus in Pennsylvania.
The length of the program varies depending on your previous experience, but lasts no more than one year and six months. It features a cohort structure in which you progress through your program with a small group of students, ensuring a learning environment that will challenge and encourage you to succeed.
Coursework for the EdD in Educational Leadership Completion Program
You must complete at least 27 credit hours of coursework and practicum experience at Gwynedd Mercy University while pursuing your EdD with us. The credit value of your practicum may vary between 3-6 credits depending upon the breadth and depth of your prior learning.
Required courses include:
- The Ethics of Educational Leadership and Policy (four weeks with one weekend residency)
- Advanced Statistical Analysis, Quantitative and Qualitative Research (seven weeks online)
- Dissertation Advisement I, II, III and IV (seven weeks each, all online)
In addition, you must take three courses in your concentration area:
Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (ABD’s in any academic discipline)
- Foundations of Teaching and Learning
- Learning Models and Instructional Design
- Innovative Online Instruction
Leadership in PK-12 Schools and School Districts
- The Superintendency
- Transformational Leadership, Supervision and School Turn-Around
- School District Practicum
Leadership in Higher Education
- Leadership and Administration in Higher Education
- Future-Focused Trends and Innovation in Higher Education
- Practicum in Higher Education Leadership
Leadership in Special Education
- Designing Interventions and Assessments
- Future-Focused Trends and Innovations for Educating Diverse Learners
- Special Education Supervisor Practicum
Residencies include one weekend at our Gwynedd Valley, PA campus.
Who Can Apply?
Applicants to the Accelerated Executive Doctorate in Educational Leadership should be able to show evidence of:
- ABD, Advancing to Doctoral Candidacy (ADC), or equivalent status from a regionally accredited institution (status MUST be in Education)
- A Graduate Record Examination score of 155 or higher or a Miller Analogy Test percentile of 65 or higher (waived if you had a GPA of 3.5 or greater)
- Official graduate and undergraduate transcripts
- Resume showing professional experience- minimum of three years’ relevant experience recommended
- Three letters of reference from persons in leadership roles in the applicant’s chosen area of concentration
- A personal interview with graduate faculty (video conferencing is available)
- Written statement of professional goals and topic of research interest
- Non-U.S. applicants need a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (written), 213 (computer), or 79 (Internet)
Applicants who cannot meet one or more of the above requirements are encouraged to contact the Program Director for a review of qualifications. Upon acceptance into the program, the doctoral student must obtain a Child Abuse Clearance, complete a Criminal Background Check, and have a Federal Criminal History clearance.
Complete Your Doctorate
Contact a Gwynedd Mercy University Admissions Counselor now to learn more about our innovative online doctoral degree completion program for ABD students—and how we can help you join the next generation of education leaders.