Doctor of Education

The Doctor of Education program (Ed.D.) is a 30-month degree designed to equip the graduate with scholarship, educational, and leadership competencies. The graduate will be prepared to serve in leadership and teaching positions in higher education contexts, as well as in educational ministries of the church and in non-profit organizations. The Ed.D. uniquely equips scholar-practitioners who influence their organizations as they become published writers, excellent teachers, thought-leaders, and problem solvers.

Students in the Ed.D. program will demonstrate a theological and applied mastery of educational and leadership disciplines, demonstrate the capacity to effectively teach, lead, and conduct scholarly research, and apply problem-solving and strategic planning approaches to educational and leadership concerns.

Specialized Concentrations

Each student will select one specialized concentration from the three listed below for more in-depth study:

Higher Education Administration
  • Organizational Administration and Governance in Higher Education
  • Student Services Administration in Higher Education
Organizational Leadership
  • Leadership and Management Theory
  • Team Dynamics: Theory and Practice
Teaching and Educational Ministry
  • Curriculum Design for Educational Ministry
  • Christian Formation and Human Development

Program Structure

The Ed.D. program is a fast-paced program requiring a total of four weeks on-campus participation. These weeks will consist of two seminars (Monday–Wednesday and Thursday–Saturday), along with chapel worship, a doctoral community luncheon, and a “Fort Worth Experience”.

Students will begin seminar preparation in September and March of each semester. The student will engage in synchronous online reading discussions, online forums, and cohort-based Christian formation experiences. The student will complete foundational assignments including readings and paper development in preparation for on-campus seminars. During the on-campus seminar, the student will enjoy professorial led instruction and discussions, peer paper presentations, and guest lecturers. Following the one week on-campus, the student will complete advanced assignments related either to the seminar topic or to dissertation research. Semesters occur between September–February and March–August with on-campus seminars occurring typically during early January and June during the first four semesters in the program. Students will begin their program by taking the Graduate Research Seminar in July–August of their admission year. The last semester is reserved for final research and the writing phase.


Graduate Research and Writing EDDEM 7012 2 hours
Empirical Foundations for Education and Leadership Research EDDEM 7116 6 hours
Theological, Philosophical, and Historical Foundations for Education EDDEM 7126 6 hours
Specialized Concentration Seminar I EDDXX 70XX 6 hours
Theological Foundations for Leadership EDDEM 7146 6 hours
Organizational Culture and Development EDDEM 7156 6 hours
Teaching and Learning: Theory and Practice EDDEM 7136 6 hours
Specialized Concentration Seminar II EDDXX 70XX 6 hours
Mentorship and Guided Research EDDEM 7216 6 hours
Dissertation Research and Writing EDDEM 8016 6 hours
Dissertation Defense EDDEM 8024 4 hours
    60 hours

Comprehensive Examinations

Students will be required to pass comprehensive examinations as a part of their course of study prior to proceeding into the final writing phase of the program.


The Ed.D. dissertation must constitute a significant contribution to scholarship in its field. It should demonstrate the candidate’s ability to design a viable research project, pursue the research in relative independence, and write with clarity and force. The student is permitted to select either the conceptual or empirical-research approach for the dissertation based in consultation with the student’s supervisor. The dissertation length will span 30,000–45,000 words, not including front and back matter.

Prerequisites for Admission

Applicants must minimally hold a Master of Arts degree in their intended area of study from a regionally accredited college, university, or seminary. When possible, the school will offer opportunities for otherwise-qualified applicants who do not have the required prerequisite degree equivalency through additional studies. This option is available solely at the discretion of the Ed.D. Director in conjunction with the school Dean and the Registrar to determine the necessary coursework.

Applicants must have 12 hours of biblical and theological studies consisting of 3 hours each of Old Testament, New Testament, Systematic Theology, and Hermeneutics.

A minimum grade point average of 3.3 or higher in graduate studies is required.

Application Process

Application for admission to the Ed.D. program is made through the Admissions Office or by visiting


Students should confirm that the Office of Admissions has official transcripts for all courses taken at the undergraduate or graduate level.

International applicants must submit their transcripts to SpanTran ( for evaluation. Spantran sends results directly to the International Student Services Office.

Test Scores

Each applicant must submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam Standard Examination (GRE). The GRE must have been taken within five years prior to applying for admission to Southwestern's Ed.D. program. Southwestern Seminary does not administer the GRE. Applicants must take the GRE at a testing center. Current GRE testing sites are listed at Each applicant must take the Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing portions of the General Test.

Applicants may choose to substitute the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) score in lieu of the GRE.

An entrance exam prompt is available to select applicants in place of the GRE or MAT test scores upon expressed written consent from the program director. The prompt shall require familiarity with a limited bibliography intended to aid the applicant’s response. The response must be thorough and well supported by literature.

International applicants must submit scores either from TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or Duolingo English Test (DET), or IELTS (International English Language Test System). For the TOEFL, a minimum score of 100 on the internet-based test or 250 on the computer-based test is required. For the DET, a minimum score of 120 on the internet-based test is required. For the IELTS, a minimum score of 7.0 on the internet-based test is required.

Writing Sample

Applicants must submit a research paper (2500–3000 words) demonstrating capacity to make a substantial argument with a clear thesis, interact with pertinent scholarly works, and show writing proficiency. The form and style should follow the most recent edition of the Turabian Manual for Writers. In matters not addressed by Turabian, the paper should adhere to the most recent edition of (1) The Chicago Manual of Style or (2) The SBL Handbook of Style.


Applicants must submit a current resume.

Letters of Recommendation

In addition to the general admissions requirements, each applicant must provide two confidential academic references from former graduate-level professors. These forms must be submitted by the recommenders electronically to the Office of Admissions.

Church Endorsement

Applicants must submit a church endorsement form demonstrating the applicant is in good standing in a local church.

Entrance Interview

Applicants who submit their application (including all supporting materials) by the deadline may be invited to sit for an entrance interview. The Research Doctoral Studies office will facilitate entrance interviews to be conducted by professors in the applicant's chosen concentration.

Application Timeline

Yearly Matriculation Timeline
Timeframe Action
Preliminary Step
Academic year prior to the intended beginning of studies
Applicant gathers application materials:
Transcripts, Test Scores, Writing Sample, Letters of Recommendation
Application Deadline
April 1
Applicants must submit to the Admissions office: application, official transcripts, test scores, SpanTran (if applicable), TOEFL (if applicable), and writing sample.
No later than April 15
Virtual interviews will be scheduled by the Research Doctoral Studies office.
Decision Letters
No later than April 15
Research Doctoral Studies office issues decision letters to applicants. Students must indicate their intent to matriculate.
Matriculation Intent Students must respond with matriculation intent and pay deposit no later than July 1.

Admissions Decisions

Ed.D. admission represents a competitive process whereby the most qualified applicants receive an invitation to enter the Ed.D. program. Admission to the Ed.D. program does not rest on a single factor, but on the strength of the entire applicant portfolio, demonstrating readiness for Ed.D. work. Ed.D. program faculty and the Ed.D. Director evaluate the applicant’s fitness for doctoral studies. Students will be notified by email after the faculty interview whether they have been accepted into the Ed.D. program.

Applicants denied admission to the Ed.D. program may reapply only once. All application materials are confidential. The Ed.D. Director and faculty have no obligation to divulge information regarding admission decisions. Admitted Ed.D. students may defer their admission one year without being required to reapply to the Ed.D. program. Admitted students will be required to pay the $1000.00 non-refundable program deposit to secure placement.

Program Fees

Program fees can be viewed at the Tuition and Fees section of the catalog found here.

Additional Information

For additional information about Ed.D. studies, please contact Dr. Josh Rose in the Research Doctoral Studies office:

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
P.O. Box 22448
Fort Worth, TX 76122-0448
RDS Office: (817) 921-4651