Accelerated Doctoral Degrees in Education (EdD Programs)
Discover doctoral programs that offer the accelerated schedule, flexible coursework, and start-to-finish mentorship you need to advance to the highest levels of teaching and leadership in education. Created and overseen by award-winning Program Director Raymond Bandlow, PhD, Gwynedd Mercy University now offers four pathways to a Doctorate in Education (EdD) degree:
- Leadership in Higher Education
- Leadership in Special Education
- Leadership in PK-12 Schools and School Districts
- Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Why Choose Gwynedd Mercy’s Doctoral Programs?
- A graduation rate of 76% in 4 years vs. 56.6% nationally over a 10 year period.
- Winner of the 2021 Khaladjan International Award for Innovation in Higher Education from the American Association of University Administrators (AAUA).
- Flexible online study to fit your lifestyle.
- Dissertation advising that begins on day one, so you finish on time.
- Interactive learning environments that provide you with meaningful interactions.
- Accelerated schedules, so you can complete your doctoral degree faster.
- Support and mentorship from experienced, engaged faculty advisors help you learn.
If you are an “A.B.D.” doctoral student, we also offer a path to completion in every EdD concentration area. Choose the EdD program that meets your professional goals.
Accelerated Executive EdD in Educational Leadership
The Accelerated Executive EdD in Educational Leadership empowers you to transform schools, departments, and school districts as an administrative leader, department supervisor, or more effective teacher.
Coursework for the EdD in Educational Leadership takes place mostly online, with two residencies at our Gwynedd Valley, PA campus and one international experience. Required textbooks and international residency travel costs are included in your tuition costs.
The EdD program lasts two years and eight months and consists of 54-60 credits of courses, depending on the concentration and certification options you choose.
We offer four concentration options for this program, so you can focus on a leadership area that interests you most.
Methodological support is available for doctoral students and their advisors to support the dissertation process. Areas in which support is provided include refining research questions, operationalizing variables, general study design, development of instrumentation methods (e.g., interview questions), the IRB application process, data analysis, and writing of results. The methodologist can support students by providing resources for better understanding a process or topic, or by reviewing individual work. Depending on the particular needs and project, students and advisors can work virtually or in person with the methodologist. See contact information for access to the methodology support.
Leadership in PK-12 Schools and Districts
Course content in this concentration focuses on school and school district turn-around, with strategies for transformational change to school cultures, and fostering community engagement. This concentration also examines school district governance so you can productively manage complex relationships, navigate fiscal issues, support teachers, staff, and students, and deliver positive results.
Leadership in Higher Education
Today’s post-secondary student body is more diverse than ever, with working adults, veterans, and first-generation students bringing their perspectives to the traditional campus experience. In this concentration, you will develop skills for informed, effective administrative leadership. Courses cover finance, policy, and leveraging instructional and educational technology to drive better teaching, retainment, and student services.
Leadership in Special Education
Build on your experience in special education with theory and practical skills for coaching, coordinating and leading in special education programs or departments. Course content covers the neuroscience of learning, special education policy and regulation, assessment and intervention strategies, and administrative competencies for special education leaders.
Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Hone your teaching skills to become an effective, engaging educator in traditional and online post-secondary classrooms while developing leadership capabilities for directing programs and advocating for policy.
Earn Your Superintendent Letter of Eligibility
If you are an administrator or principal with at least three years of experience, you can also pursue your Superintendent Letter of Eligibility through this concentration or as a standalone certification.
If you earn the Superintendent Letter of Eligibility as part of your EdD program, you will take an additional six credits, bringing your program total to 60.
If you enroll in the Superintendent Letter of Eligibility as a standalone program, you will take 24 credits.
Earn Your Special Education Supervisor Certification
If you hold Special Education Certification with a Subject Certification, you have the option to earn your Supervisor of Special Education Certification as part of this EdD concentration program or as a standalone certification program.
If you pursue the certification as part of your EdD, you take an additional six credits, bringing the total for your EdD to 60 credits.
If you enroll in the certification program as a standalone option, you will take 24 credits.
EdD Completion Options for “ABD” Students
Gwynedd Mercy University Professor and Director of Doctoral Studies in Education Raymond Bandlow, PhD was featured at the Awards Ceremony of the National Conference of the American Association of University Administrators.
Dr. Bandlow presented an innovative approach to doctoral program completion that has attracted national attention. GMercyU’s Doctorate in Educational Leadership program, which started in 2014, tracked the graduation rate for its first cohort to evaluate its unique, student-centered approach to the dissertation. Observers noted that GMercyU graduated 66% in three years. By the fourth year, 76% had graduated. And by the fifth year, the graduation rate was 92%.
Since the Council of Graduate Schools (2010) found that the national average for all doctoral programs is 56.6% in ten years, this means that GMercyU is graduating more than twice the number in half the time.
Currently, the EdD program’s year-to-year retention rate is 93%. One of the reasons for the high graduation and retention rates is the strong support students receive in completing their dissertations. At GMercyU, each newly-enrolled doctoral student is assigned to a dissertation advisor in the first course. The dissertation advisor guides the doctoral student through a series of dissertation advisement courses scheduled throughout the course of study to ensure that the student meets benchmarks of progress.
Through a student-centered approach that personalizes the program and imparts a sense of connectedness to the university, the program is constructed to result in dissertation completion by the time coursework is completed.
“The first cohort’s graduation rate is strong evidence that this unique model has proved to be successful,” Dr. Bandlow said.
Who Can Apply
All our doctoral programs are for experienced education professionals who hold a master’s degree in education or a related discipline from an accredited university.
First-time doctoral students will need to provide the following to apply:
- Proof of a master’s degree in an education-related field of study from a regionally accredited institution, or comparable accreditation, with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.
- Your official graduate transcripts.
- A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score of 155 or higher or a Miller Analogy Test score of 385 or higher (waived for applicants with a graduate GPA of 3.5 or greater). Applicants that do not meet these requirements shall be referred to the Doctoral Admissions Committee for a holistic review and admission decision.
- A professional resume showing a minimum of three years relevant experience.
- Three letters of reference from persons in leadership roles attesting that you have the ability to engage in studies at the doctoral level and to conduct research.
- A written statement of your professional goals and topic of research interest.
- A writing sample of 750-1,500 words.
- Official results showing a minimum score of 550 (written), 213 (computer), or 79 (Internet) on the TOEFL examination, if your first language is not English.
- Personal interviews may be required for any candidates as determined by the admissions committee and can be conducted via electronic means, if necessary.
ABD students must provide the following to apply:
- ABD, Advancing to Doctoral Candidacy (ADC), or equivalent status from a regionally accredited institution (status must be in Education*).
- *Individuals who are ABD in a discipline other than Education and have spent significant time as a teaching professional in higher education will be considered for admission to the Teaching and Learning in Higher Education pathway.
- A GRE score of 155 or higher or a Miller Analogy Test score of 385 or higher (waived if you had a GPA of 3.5 or greater). Applicants that do not meet these requirements shall be referred to the Doctoral Admissions Committee for a holistic review and admission decision.
- Official graduate 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).