Instructional Leadership, EdD—Nurse Educator

The UA College of Education and the Capstone College of Nursing have combined to offer a Doctor of Education in instructional leadership with a concentration in nurse educator. This low-residency program is designed to prepare future faculty with the teaching and research skills necessary for positions in community colleges, four-year colleges, and universities.
Working within annual cohorts and employing distance-based instruction, coursework requirements and the dissertation study are typically completed in 4 and one-half years.
The curriculum supports the competencies for nurse educators specified by the National League for Nursing (NLN) and the Southern Regional Education Board Council on Collegiate Education in Nursing (SCCEN).

Admission Requirements:

In this program, nurses that have an MSN degree enter the program to earn a Doctorate in Education (EdD) for Nurse Educators. To be admitted into the program, students will meet the criteria for admission to The University of Alabama Graduate School and the Colleges of Nursing and Education.

Prerequisites include:

  • an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, a 3.0 average for the last 60 semester hours in a degree program, or a 3.0 or higher in a completed graduate degree program
  • an unencumbered RN license in the state in which the student will practice
  • BSN degree from an accredited institution
  • M.S.N. degree from an accredited institution

The fall admission deadline is April 1st. An admissions committee comprising nursing and education faculty will select students based upon the following requirements. Each step must be completed to be considered for admission.

Step 1) Complete the Graduate School application

Step 2) Submit department materials

  • Resume
  • Admission Form
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Sample of your academic writing (e.g., a scholarly paper presented in a previous graduate course that demonstrates your knowledge of an area, powers of organization, command of language, and communication skills.)

Conditional Admission
A degree applicant whose credentials do not meet the above requirements for regular admission may be considered for conditional admission. Applicants for conditional admission will not be considered if their GPA is lower than 3.0. The conditional status is satisfied, and the status of regular admission automatically assumed, if the student makes a grade of “B” or better in each class during the first twelve hours of their graduate work. Failure to meet this requirement will result in the student being dropped from the program.

Admission to the Graduate School and the College of Education do not ensure admission to the doctoral programs. Admission forms and requirements, specific program parameters, departmental policies, and contact information for each doctoral degree can be found at the ELPTS website.

Additional requirements for the Graduate School (Degree Requirements) and the College of Education (Doctoral Degrees) are detailed in earlier sections of this catalog.

Program Requirements:
The Doctorate of Education requires a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the master’s degree ( 60 hours of coursework and 12 hours of dissertation study).  Students must also meet the University residency requirement.

The 60 hours of required coursework is typically completed in three years of full-time study through a blended format of online courses and campus meetings (scheduled four times a semester on Friday evenings and Saturdays). The dissertation study must be completed no later than seven years after first enrollment.

Students will meet the University Residency Requirement by successfully completing 18 hours of required coursework within a 12-month period, including three of five core courses (currently BEF 644, AEL 667, BEF 641, AEL 695 or AHE 603) in consecutive semesters.

Comprehensive Exam

A comprehensive exam measures students’ command of the content presented in the coursework portion of the degree.


During dissertation research, continuous registration is required for a minimum of 3 hours per term (fall and spring) until graduation.  Registration is also necessary for summer graduation.

Nurse Educator Dissertation: Policy & Procedure

Purpose.  A dissertation—demonstrating the ability to conduct independent research and skill in organization, writing and presentation—must be prepared on a topic in the major field. It must constitute an original contribution to knowledge. The subject of the dissertation must be approved by the dissertation committee of the major department or division and by the dean of the Graduate School.

Policy. The dissertation progresses through the following benchmarks:

(i) Prospectus.  The dissertation committee meets to review a brief outline (typically around 20 pages) of the proposed research project.  Upon approval, the Application to Candidacy form is signed and submitted to the department office. 

(ii) Proposal.  The dissertation committee meets to review the first three chapters of the dissertation manuscript.  Where appropriate, this should include the justification and design of any proposed field research.  Upon approval, the Appointment of Committee form is signed and submitted to the department office.  The student can then seek the IRB approval necessary to conduct their study.

(iii) Defense.  The dissertation committee meets to review the final manuscript, including analysis of the study’s findings and discussion of their significance in the light of current research and policy.  Upon approval, the Committee Acceptance form is signed and submitted to the department office.  The complete and edited dissertation is then uploaded at the ETD website, as explained below.

Graduate School Guidelines

  • A dissertation committee, with the director of the dissertation as its chairperson, supervises the preparation of the dissertation. The committee shall have no fewer than five members, all of whom are approved by the dean of the Graduate School. The graduate dean’s approval of the proposed dissertation committee is expected to be obtained before significant progress is made on the dissertation–typically just before or just after the dissertation proposal meeting. For this purpose, the student submits the form for Appointment/Change of a Doctoral Dissertation Committee.
  • All members of a dissertation committee must be members of the Graduate Faculty. The committee chair must be a full member of the graduate faculty, as described in the Catalog’s section on Qualifications of the Graduate Faculty. One member must be from outside the student’s major department. Please see INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPOINTMENT  TO TEMPORARY GRADUATE FACULTY.   Unless there are extraordinary circumstances meriting approval by the graduate dean beforehand, all members of the dissertation committee must attend the final oral defense of the dissertation.
  • The dissertation must comply with the regulations in A Student Guide to Preparing Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Graduate School deadlines, including each semester’s dissertation deadline, are available at the Graduate School’s homepage.
  • Consult the ETD website for details of ETD submission, including information on what needs to be submitted to the Graduate School. The graduate dean must approve the dissertation before the student can be cleared for graduation.
  • The Catalog section on Continuous Dissertation Registration for Doctoral Students states that once a student qualifies for doctoral candidacy, the student must enroll each semester for at least 3 hours of dissertation (699) research. If certain conditions are met for the student’s final semester, however, the student may qualify to enroll for fewer than 3 hours of 699 dissertation research, but only in the final semester.

Application for Degree

The Application for Degree form must be submitted in the first week of the semester that you plan to graduate.