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:

Prospective students must meet the criteria for admission to The University of Alabama Graduate School and the Colleges of Nursing and Education.

These 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
  • a BSN degree from an accredited institution
  • an M.S.N. degree or equivalent degree from an accredited institution

The fall admission deadline is April 1st. An admissions committee comprising nursing and education faculty selects the best qualified applicants based upon the following materials.

Each step must be completed to be considered for admission.

Step 1) Complete the Graduate School application

Step 2) Submit in addition to Graduate School requirements:

  • a resume
  • the Departmental Information Form
  • three letters of recommendation
  • a sample of academic writing (e.g., a scholarly paper presented in a previous graduate course that demonstrates knowledge of an area, powers of organization, command of language, and communication skills.)

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 all Graduate School degree and dissertation requirements.

The 60 hours of required coursework is normally completed in three years of full-time study through a blended format of online courses and spring-fall campus meetings (scheduled four times a semester on Friday evenings and Saturdays). Summer classes are delivered online. A comprehensive examination must be passed and the dissertation completed no later than nine years after first enrollment.

Comprehensive Exam

A comprehensive exam is used to measure command of the content presented in the coursework portion of the degree. Upon successful completion, the student commences dissertation study.


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.

Application for Degree

The Application for Degree form must be submitted in the first week of the semester of intended graduation.