Preparing & Developing our Future Educational Leaders

Dr. James Hodges, Ph.D. in Educational Leadership (Alumnus)
Dr. Wenling Li, Program Director for Ph.D. in Educational Leadership

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Ph.D. Educational Leadership

Attention Educational Leaders of Today and Tomorrow – The Future of Education is Here!

Are you ready to make a positive impact in the lives of K-12 and postsecondary students with Trident’s online Ph.D. in Educational Leadership degree program? In our 100% online program, you will:

  • Prepare for leadership roles in teaching, school administration, or consulting in your professional field.
  • Develop in-depth subject matter expertise.
  • Practice innovative research methods.
  • Contribute to and benefit from an engaging online learning community in the Trident Learning Community (TLC).
  • Collaborate with dedicated faculty who guide you through coursework, qualifying exam, and dissertation study.

Seamlessly blend life, learning, and leading with our affordable 100% online doctoral programs.


Trident University International is 100% online and offers a variety of doctoral program lengths—enabling students to adjust completion time to fit their own schedules. There are no in-person attendance requirements. Keep living, keep working, start learning. Learn More

Transfer Credit

Trident extends a generous policy regarding required credits. Our programs are focused and efficient regarding required credits and your total required credits may be reduced based on potential transfer credits from other accredited institutions*; we may also consider awarding potential credits for prior learning.

Individualized Support

You will be aligned with a doctoral faculty member who will provide individualized guidance during the research phase of the program. A Student Success Advisor will be assigned to you for personal assistance with administrative matters throughout your enrollment.


Trident has an extensive and involved alumni network that can be a key resource for you throughout the program. Learn More

Institutionally Accredited

Trident University International is a member of the American InterContinental University System. The System is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Learn More


Trident is competitively priced. There is no application fee, no lab fees. Learn More

*Transfer credit is evaluated on an individual basis. Not all credits are eligible to transfer. See the University Catalog for transfer credit policies.

Discover the Trident Difference


Six degree programs, highly-qualified and devoted professors, program and research flexibility.

Be Inspired

Our highly structured programs, consistent support, and compassionate commitment mean you stay on top of your goals and complete your program in a timely manner.

Change the World

Follow your passion project, connect with like-minded peers, apply your knowledge to further your career, and change your world for the better!

Join Us For Your Future in Education

A doctoral degree represents the highest level of achievement in any academic discipline. The Trident online Ph.D. degree in Educational Leadership is research-based and prepares its graduates to excel as educational leaders at K-12 and higher levels. Our graduates are high-level administrators, cutting-edge researchers, and sought-after consultants.

Applicants who choose this path will develop deep knowledge, elevate their capacity for innovation, and learn the practical skills necessary for improving school districts and all types of educational institutions.

Earning your online Ph.D. EL will not only improve your career – it will allow you to influence and change both schools, and the lives of the students who attend them, for good.

Program Overview – What Students Can Expect

Theory and research intersect in our online Ph.D. EL program where you will learn to meet the constantly evolving and growing demands of diverse student bodies. As you complete an expansive literature review, interact with leading scholars, and delve into research to answer your most pressing academic questions, you will undergo a transformative journey. You will emerge as a world-class educational leader with the skills and knowledge to address the future of education as you prepare your students for their futures.

See the Trident University International Catalog for full descriptions of all program course offerings.

Upon successful completion of their respective program specialization, the graduate should be able to:

  • Synthesize a broad, integrative knowledge of educational history, theories, research, and practice to inform educational practice.
  • Lead collaborative scholarly activity or research to construct knowledge that advances educational theory or practice.
  • Formulate and conduct theoretically grounded and methodologically-sound educational research that contributes to the scientific, educational, or professional knowledge base.
  • Integrate relevant technology to conduct and analyze educational research.
  • Synthesize assessment data, scientific research, or assessment metrics to inform practice in the field of education.
  • Analyze challenges with diversity and equity in educational research and theory to advance equitable practice.
  • Apply ethical behavior, standards, and decision-making to research and practice in accordance with the ethical and legal standards of the profession.

Prepare to take the lead in our virtual classrooms and in your career. If you are ready to take this important next step, apply online now. The documents specified below are required for all Ph.D. applicants:

Total degree requirement includes 52 semester hours of coursework to complete the program.

Up to 8 credits may be waived for students entering the Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership with a completed Master of Arts in Education from Trident University. Students with a completed Master of Education degree from another institution are eligible for up to 8 transfer credits, subject to approval.

See the Trident University Catalog for full descriptions of all program course offerings.

PhD EL students may choose to complete the program with no concentration or choose a program concentration option.

With a concentration, the student will complete 4 semester hours of specialized coursework in an area of the student’s choice in place of the program elective. The PhD EL offers the below concentrations:

  • Educational Technology
    This concentration prepares educational leaders to understand and create new technologically and sound pedagogies grounded in innovative research and practice.
  • Health Education
    The concentration in Health Education prepares students to serve in the field of health education through teaching, research, and service. We will provide a contemporary curriculum that empowers our students to translate knowledge to meet the growing needs of domestic and global health education. Courses include Research in Educational Leadership, Health Promotion, Program Planning, Design and Evaluation, and Health Behavior and Change.
  • Higher Educational Leadership
    This concentration prepares professionals from community colleges and higher education institutions.
  • Teaching, Learning and Development
    This concentration prepares professionals from various sectors in pre-kindergarten through high school level teaching.

This includes a written and oral qualifying exam to test your understanding of research methods and statistical concepts within the research process. Upon completion of all courses, the exam is conducted via phone conference or e-conference.

Pursuant to Federal law and regulations, Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval is required for research involving human subjects. Accordingly, prior to conducting research involving human subjects, including the collecting and analyzing of data, the proposed study must be reviewed and approved by the Trident IRB.

Pursuant to Federal law and regulations, Institutional Review Board (IRB) review and approval is required for research involving human subjects. Accordingly, prior to the student conducting research involving human subjects, including the collecting and analyzing of data, the proposed study must be reviewed and approved by the Trident IRB.

Tuition cost for the Ph.D. program:

tuition type per credit per course per year*
Standard $990 $3,960 $15,840
Retired Military / Veteran / And Their Immediate Family Members** $885 $3,540 $14,160
Military & Immediate Family Members / Department of Defense Federal Civilian Employees** $800 $3,200 $12,800
Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve U.S Military Service Members** $800 $3,200 $12,800

*Assumes no transfer credits and that student enrolls in an average of 16 credits per year. Does not include cost of dissertation continuation courses, the number of which vary based on dissertation completion date. **Tuition per credit represented with applicable military grant applied.

All per semester credit hour costs are for program level (600/700) courses. Students in the dissertation stage register for one course of four semester credit hours per session. In addition, there are dissertation continuation courses which are $800 per course at 0 credit hours.

University Fees:

  • Books and Supplies: $0
  • Course Materials: $0
  • Diploma Copy: $30 (optional)
  • Food, Housing, and Transportation: N/A
  • Graduation Fee: $150
  • Official Transcript: $10
  • Other Expedited Shipping Fees: varies based on region
  • Payment Plan Set-up: $35-$55 (non-refundable)
  • Student ID Card: $10 (optional)
  • Technology Fee: $0
  • Other fees may apply and are subject to change without advance notice.

Seeking more information on the cost of attending Trident University? Visit Trident's Financial Aid Resources page where you will find financial aid tools including Trident's Net Price Calculator and Shopping Sheet, a guide to assist in early financial planning for college.

Want to save time & money on your degree? Receive credit for eligible past experience with Trident Fastrac. Click here to learn more.

Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)


This business program is programmatically accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Review our Student Achievement and Program Data

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