Doctor of Philosophy in
Educational Studies 

Deerfield, IL

Why study for a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies at TEDS?

The Doctor of Philosophy program in Educational Studies incorporates particular concept areas to expand your professional capacities in research and educational leadership. You will be challenged to integrate faith and learning at every step of the program as you engage these areas in a variety of experiences and academic seminars.

Many PhD/EDS participants are involved in the program during sabbatical or other educational leaves from their place of service. Admission requirements assume that you have completed one or more graduate degrees and have recent experience in an educational ministry. Usually you would not be in a major career transition when you decide to enroll in this program.

Program Design

The PhD/EDS is designed to be a 4-5 year program (60 semester hours). Full-time participants may complete seminar work in two years followed by a year of comprehensive exam and proposal preparation and a year of dissertation research. The recommended full-time enrollment is 9 semester hours each term. The program operates on a year-round basis, with full-load enrollment available in each of two semesters and normally, summer. Completion of 18 hours constitutes one academic year. Program seminars are offered in two-week modular, week-long modular and weekend formats.


Applicants for the PhD (EDS) program are required to:

  • Have earned an appropriate master’s degree (at least 36 semester hours) with a strong representation of biblical and theological studies from an institution maintaining academic standards similar to those of TEDS. In particular, graduate work must reflect an acceptable amount of course work in the biblical/theological disciplines (normally understood as at least 18 hours). Moreover, applicants must have completed at least 18 semester hours of graduate course work in Educational Ministries and/or a related Social Sciences field relevant to the PhD/EDS program. In special circumstances, applicants with exceptional qualities or backgrounds may be permitted to apply without the aforementioned requirements reflected on their transcripts.
  • Submit an electronic sample of published writing or a recent academic research paper if nothing has been published.
  • Have completed at least four years of vocational experience in ministry with evidence of relevant gifts and abilities. Preference is given to applicants in a leadership position commensurate with the degree and to applicants who demonstrate that the PhD will contribute in particular ways to continued development in their ministry.
  • Give evidence of superior intellectual ability in all previous accredited graduate studies – we’re concerned both with previous academic performance and your capacity for substantive academic and professional interaction with colleagues in the program.
  • Have earned a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in previous graduate studies.
  • Provide recommendations from the following four people (to be submitted electronically through the online application): (1) Ministry Supervisor, (2) Professor from recent graduate studies, (3) Professional Colleague, (4) Lay person from church.
  • Submit scores from either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT), preferably the latter. Applicants whose first language is not English should also submit scores less than two years old from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) in addition to the MAT or GRE.


Your doctoral work will be comprised of seminars, independent study, non formal experiences, and dissertation research and writing. Your program of study will include the following:

EDS Orientation
Course Title Credits
ES 9110 EDS Orientation 1 hour
Foundations in Education: 18 hours

Participants examine educational issues through theological, historical, and social science frameworks to gain foundational perspectives on the contemporary tasks of educational leadership. Through theology, history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, adult education, and organizational development participants engage educational concerns at fundamental levels of perspective and analysis, always with a view toward contemporary practice in a variety of cultural settings.

Course Title Credits
ES 9700 Biblical and Theological Formation of
the Educator
3 hours
ES 9750 Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education 3 hours
ES 9500 Psychological and Sociological Foundations of Education 3 hours
ES 9175 Leadership and the Development of Organizations 3 hours
ES 9200 Adult Learning Foundations 3 hours
ME—- Intercultural Studies course 3 hours
Primary Elective Focus Area: 18–24 hours

Participants have the option of concentrating in one of the following focus areas: educational ministry in the local church; teaching and learning; leadership and organizational development; and contemporary issues. However, participants have freedom, in consultation with the Program Director, to configure their electives to best cultivate their interests as educational leaders.

(1, 2, or 3 hours courses)

Educational Ministry in the Local Church

Course Title Credits
ES 7550 Local Church as System
ES 8240 Intergenerational Education
ES 9510 Developmental Issues in Children. Youth, or Adults
ES 7560
Programs Planning Dynamics in the Local Church

Teaching and Learning

Course Title
ES 9210 Curriculum Theory and Design
ES 9150 Teaching in Higher Education
ES 9725 Ethics in Education

Leadership and Organizational Development

Course Title Credits
ES 9275 Higher Education Administration
ES 9305 Developing Emerging Leaders
ES 7830 Developing Collaborative Teams

Contemporary Issues in:

Course Title Credits
ES 9000 Current Issues in Educational Studies
ES 9890 Professional Development Practicum

Teaching Practicum (2 of total elective hours)

Course Title Credits
ES 9890 Practicum

Participants design, teach and evaluate two (1) credit electives or one (2) credit elective under the supervision of an EDS faculty member. Practicum teachers will have already achieved candidacy, will teach in their research areas, and will often team teach these elective courses with EDS faculty members or other similarly qualified participant colleagues.

Research in Education: 9 hours

Participants demonstrate a disciplined way of looking at the world: people, structures, societies, and institutions. The research seminars fulfill three basic purposes: (a) the explication of research concepts and the basis for research method; (b) the development of skills in research methodology; and (c) foundations in literature.

Course Title Credits
ES 9110 Foundations in Social Science Literature 3 hours
ES 9915 Social Science Research Methods 3 hours
ES 9920 Qualitative Research Methods 3 hours

(A historiographic research proposal requires ME 9925 or equivalent in lieu of ES 9910)

Comprehensive Exam Preparation and Dissertation: 8–14 hrs
Course Title Credits
ES 9990 Dissertation Proposal Preparation 0,1,2 or
3 hours total
ES 9991 Dissertation Research 8 hours total
ES 9975 Comprehensive Exam Preparation 0,1,2, or
3 hours total

EDS participants may take zero to three semesters of Comprehensive Exam Preparation and zero to three semesters of Dissertation Proposal Preparation in order to meet the 0-3 credit hours required for each course. EDS participants may take between two and six semesters of Dissertation Research to meet the 8 credit hour requirement, with no more than 6 hours being taken in a given semester.

Core Competencies

Three foundational areas of professional competency provide the academic focus of the program: developing a research mindset and skill base; thinking as an educational leader; and theologically reflecting about educational issues against a broadly cultural and missiological framework. The intentional linkages between the PhD (Educational Studies) and the PhD (Intercultural Studies) provide opportunity to relate principles from theology and the social sciences to education, mission, and leadership.

Program Values

The international EDS learning community practices a fundamental commitment to and reliance on God’s truth as revealed in the Bible and Jesus Christ, God’s redemptive purposes in Christ, and the sustaining work of the Holy Spirit. The EDS community seeks to act on the reality that all persons are created in God’s image. Participants engage one another professionally, academically, and personally. They share resources and ideas and consult one another concerning specific issues and situations related to their ministry. The program style is collaborative rather than competitive, and mutual respect for colleagues and the diversity of perspectives is evident. 

Learning is seen as lifelong, formal and nonformal in context, linear and narrative in approach, and participatory. The interdependence of theory and practice, the processes of dialogue and disciplined inquiry, and the integration of theology and the social sciences are viewed as normative. Faculty are committed to the effective progress and completion of the participants and, through the experiences of the program, seek to foster the cultivation of sustainable habits in thought, spirit, relationships, and service.

The Learning Culture

The appropriate outcome of doctoral education is seen to be the development of refined, sustainable habits of scholarship and professional leadership. Participants are expected to enter fully into the community of scholarship: giving and receiving ideas, information, sources and materials; entering fully into seminar discussions; and participating constructively in open hearings—their own and their colleagues’ oral comprehensive examination, presentation of the research proposal, and dissertation defense.

Written work at the doctoral level has moved well beyond typical term paper preparation. Participants are expected to read and research with a view to making a contribution to the literature of the field and to ongoing discourse— with doctoral colleagues and other academic professionals. Much that is written in the program should be considered as potentially publishable. Participants are expected to use the network of seminary and university libraries in the Chicago area and to engage the members of this international community in discussion about research and writing projects. In this way, the program provides opportunities for participants to broaden their perspectives beyond their own traditions and cultures.

The dissertation research design that undergirds the PhD/EDS program presumes that a substantial base of descriptive research is necessary to generate hypotheses that will ultimately be explored through experimental studies. It is our perspective that experimental research conducted without a substantial base in description and inquiry is impoverished. Participants in the TEDS PhD/EDS program generate a substantial body of dissertations, most of which have been descriptive or theological/historical in format. We will continue to encourage descriptive research as the primary mode of inquiry, but with appropriate guidance experimental studies could be built on these emerging categories of research findings.

The preferred learning environment is one that fosters a community in which all participants, students and faculty alike, are engaged in further development. It is also inherent in the program’s philosophy of cooperative learning that healthy interpersonal relationships enhance the academic endeavor. Therefore, faculty and participants, along with family and friends, are invited to take advantage of scheduled and spontaneous opportunities for social fellowship.

Special Instructions for International Students

All international PhD/EDS program students, including students from Canada, are now required to enter the United States with an F-1 visa. PhD/EDS residential students (i.e., living in Deerfield and registered for full-time attendance) must comply with the same visa requirements as residential master’s-level applicants (see Admissions section).

PhD/EDS nonresidential students (i.e., commuting to the Deerfield Campus for each modular class) must also obtain an F-1 visa. This requirement represents a major change to immigration policy in the United States. Students who enter the United States to pursue the PhD/EDS degree without the F-1 visa potentially jeopardize their ability to complete the degree and reenter the United States. F-1 visas will remain valid as long as reentry into the United States for the purposes of study occurs at least once every five months. A new visa will be required if reentry does not occur within this time period.

In order for a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20) to be issued for PhD/EDS nonresidential students, the following conditions must be met:

  1. Applicants whose first language of instruction is not English must demonstrate English Language competency as measured by a qualifying score on the TOEFL.
  2. Applicants must be admitted to the PhD/EDS program as a nonresidential student.

Applicants must submit a special PhD/EDS nonresidential Certification of Finances.

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