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The College of Education’s Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program is designed to meet the professional development needs

of Christian educational leaders. Ph.D. graduates complete a concentration in Educational Leadership. Birthed from

Columbia International University’s long-standing commitment to Christian school and Christian higher education, the Ph.D.

program aims to develop educators to lead, model, think, communicate, and research with biblical excellence. Students will

grow in their ability to enhance God’s Kingdom work in Christian educational institutions and to represent Christian education

perspectives in the broader society. Courses are provided online and in summer intensives. Students must be accepted

into the Ph.D. program to enroll in courses. CIU Education Programs are endorsed by the Higher Education Approval

Program (HEAP) of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). Program graduates who meet specific

requirements are eligible to apply for appropriate ACSI teacher or administrator certificates. ACSI waives the certification

fee when applying at the time of CIU graduation.


The Ph.D. program strives to produce leaders who have a biblical perspective and mentor educational communities while

addressing needs through education.


Students will demonstrate learning in specified areas of educational leadership. The program specifies competencies which

students must satisfactorily demonstrate for completion of the degree. The competencies are supported by program

courses, and assessed in a summative portfolio of student assignments and projects, a qualifying exam taken near the

conclusion of coursework, and a doctoral dissertation.

All students must demonstrate satisfactory competence in all required outcomes; no competencies will be waived. Students

who do not take a specified program course which is associated with a specified competency must still prepare to

demonstrate that outcome through the portfolio or qualifying exam.

Students will understand, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate:

Christian education, including biblical perspectives, foundational theories, research findings, cultural/sociological

dynamics, and alternative models for educating diverse learners in contemporary Christian educational institutions.

High-quality Christian education leadership, including biblical perspectives, theoretical approaches, research

findings, and alternative models of effective leadership and functioning of organizations, groups, and individuals

within organizations.

The components and process of quantitative and qualitative research which produce new theory, knowledge of

effective practices, and solutions to educational questions and problems within an educational institution.

Admission Criteria

In addition to satisfying the general admission requirements of the university, students applying to the Ph.D. are reviewed

by a College of Education faculty admission panel, including an interview in person (or by phone). This panel recommends

acceptance according to the applicants’ satisfaction of the following criteria:

1. Master’s degree from an accredited institution that provides a relevant foundation for doctoral studies in educational

leadership. (An education-related field is the strongly preferred focus of the master’s degree.)

2. Performance in graduate coursework indicating an ability to be successful in doctoral-level studies.

3. Command of the English language as evidenced in a writing sample that demonstrates the ability to do doctoral

research and writing.

4. Christian maturity appropriate for leadership.

5. Administrative or teaching experience (K-12th grade, higher education) and other evidence indicating that the

doctoral degree will enable the applicant to enhance his or her leadership role and contribution to the cause of

Christian education.

6. Official GRE test scores or official MAT scores. (The exam must have been taken within the last five years.)

Residency and Transfer Policies

A maximum of fifteen credit hours of appropriate graduate coursework in education may be applied toward the Ph.D.

program, as determined by the program director. Transfer credit must be from an accredited institution with a grade of “B-”

or above. Students who have completed an Ed.S. from an accredited institution within the previous five years may transfer

up to fifteen hours of appropriate masters’ level work and up to an additional six hours of post-master’s level work, as

determined by the program director. Students who have completed the Ed.S degree at CIU within the previous five years

may transfer the 30 hours of the Ed.S.