Gwynedd - Mercy University

School of Education

Doctorate in Education-Leadership in Special Education Concentration


1325 Sumneytown Pike

Gwynedd Valley, PA 19437

United States



Program Information

Degrees Offered:

Doctorate in Education-Leadership in Special Education Concentration

Format: Online

Program Description:

Prepare for the highest level of leadership in education with Gwynedd Mercy University. Our new Accelerated Executive Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) gives you the opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge, and capabilities necessary for leadership roles in domestic or international schools, school districts, colleges, universities, and educational non-profits.

Delivered through a combination of online education and periodic residencies, this degree program is designed to offer you unparalleled flexibility and support. You’ll benefit from the guidance and motivation offered by our professors and faculty members, all of whom are leaders in the field.

Dissertation Completion Support from Day One

In 2010, surveys conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools found that nearly 60% of doctoral students who complete all their coursework and examinations don’t earn their degree. The reason? The dissertation. This final rite of passage can be a major stumbling block, whether due to a change of advisors, a change of focus, or lack of support.

Gwynedd Mercy University aims to correct this failing by providing dissertation support from day one. Our aim is to see 80% of our students successfully claim the degree for which they’ve worked so hard. As an Ed.D. student at GMercyU, you’ll begin your dissertation early in your program, completing regular reviews and benchmarking sessions with your advisor. We’re one of very few schools in the country to offer this type of support to doctorate students—and one of the only schools to do so online.

Program Structure and Concentrations

This program, lasting two years and eight months, takes place largely through asynchronous online education. You’ll join a cohort of students who will progress through the course with you, ensuring a supportive and challenging learning environment.

Students have the opportunity to pursue their Ed.D. with a concentration in a specific area of educational leadership:

  • Higher Education
  • Pre-K – 12 Schools and School Districts
  • Special Education

Three residencies are required over the course of the program.  Residencies include one international experience and two at our Gwynedd Valley, PA campus. Travel costs for all three residencies are included in your tuition costs.

Coursework for the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

This degree program consists of 18 courses: nine foundation courses common to all concentrations, five concentration courses, and four dissertation advisement courses.

Foundation course topics include:

  • Educational Policy in Research and Practice in the U.S.
  • Organizational Research and Theory Development
  • Statistical Analysis, Methods, and Research
  • Cross-Cultural Perspectives and Educational Leadership
  • The Ethics of Educational Leadership and Policy
  • Equity, Equality, and Equal Opportunity
  • Advanced Statistical Analysis, Quantitative and Qualitative Research
  • Technology, Data, and Program Evaluation
  • Global Educational Policy and Practice 

You’ll also complete four dissertation advisement courses concurrently with your coursework to ensure you complete your dissertation and graduate on time. The goal is to graduate leaders capable of ethical, reflective executive practice who have an understanding of global trends in education.


Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Facts & Figures

Classification: Master's College or University II

Locale: Large Suburb

Size & Settings: 1,000-2,999

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