Doctorate of Education
Location: Gladys L. Benerd Building

Degree Program

Doctorate of Education

 Concentrations are offered in the following areas:

  • Counseling Psychology (Psychologist License Eligible)
  • Leadership and Innovation
  • Transformative Action in Education

Admissions Requirement

  1. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better for the last 60 units of college or post-baccalaureate work
  2. An appropriate degree from an accredited university (master's degree for admission to doctoral programs).
  3. A completed application portfolio to Graduate Admissions, an essay(s) following concentration-specific guidelines; official transcripts from all college-level coursework including official verification of the awarding of degrees; and three letters of recommendation that attests to the candidate’s ability to undertake doctoral studies.
  4. Interviews with faculty are required for the EdD program.
  5. Evidence of qualities and character in keeping with the philosophy and standards of this University and Benerd Education Programs.
  6. Some programs may have additional requirements. Please contact the Program Lead for additional information.

Program Stages

The approval of the dissertation proposal by the student's committee advances the student to Doctoral Candidacy.


An acceptable dissertation must be based on an original investigation. It must present either a contribution to knowledge and/or understanding, or an application of existing knowledge to the candidate’s special field of study. The dissertation must be submitted by the appropriate deadlines as stated in the current Graduate Academic Calendar. As noted above, students admitted to the EdD program in the Benerd College require a minimum of 2 units and maximum of 5 units of Dissertation units (EDUC 399) that are completed after the dissertation proposal has been completed. After coursework is completed, students must register for at least one unit of EDUC 399 in each semester (including once during summer) to maintain active student status until the dissertation has been successfully defended, unless on an approved leave of absence. Students are not required to register in the semester immediately following a successful final defense.

Period of Candidacy

The maximum time allowed for completion of an EdD program is governed by the following: All requirements for the Doctor of Education degree must be completed within the time limit outlined in the Residence and Time Limits section of the Academic Regulations page of the graduate catalog. Students who do not meet these deadlines are dropped from the doctoral program.

Final Oral Examination

A final oral examination, conducted by the candidate’s dissertation committee, is held in accordance to the deadline established by the Graduate School. This oral exam concerns itself with the candidate’s dissertation. Supplemental information is available in the Benerd College department offices.

Semester Hour Requirements

A minimum of 56 doctoral units is required for the EdD degree. Some (usually no more than 6) post master degree units may be approved by petition for transfer from another university and count toward the 56 doctoral units.

Students who take doctoral core courses at part of a MA degree completed at Pacific may count those units towards their EdD. Students graduating from a 32-unit program in Benerd can count up to 6 units requirements toward both degrees.

Students who receive the EdS degree and then decide to apply to the EdD or who are seeking the degrees concurrently may count 28 units from their EdS degree towards their EdD. Students concurrently working on the EdS and EdD may count the 28 units from the EdS towards the EdD if the EdS degree posts before the EdD. Students need to obtain a minimum of 28 units beyond the EdS to obtain the EdD.

Students who are working towards a MA degree with a concentration in Counseling Psychology that exceeds 32 units may apply for and enroll in the EdD with a concentration in Counseling Psychology after successful completion of their first 32 units in the MA degree.

Students who receive the MA degree with a concentration in Counseling Psychology and then decide to apply to the EdD with a concentration in Counseling Psychology or who are seeking the degrees concurrently may count units taken after the first 32 units in the MA degree towards their EdD.

Students who graduated from Benerd’s MA in Leadership can apply the following courses to both degrees: LEAD 296L/LEAD 296S (in place of EDUC 368) and LEAD 215 (in place of EDUC 372 or EDUC 372M).

If students complete their MA degree requirements before completing their EdD requirements, they may be awarded the MA degree before completing EdD requirements.

Credit value of the dissertation: Not less than 2 nor more than 5 units.

Grade Point Average Requirements

Grade point average of at least 3.0 in all work taken while in graduate studies is required. Preferably this should be 3.5.

Minimum Residence

The period of residence work represents an opportunity to secure additional competency in the area of specialization as well as the development of an acceptable dissertation. Residency requirement can be met by taking 18 units of coursework within 12 calendar months.

Courses Outside the Field of Education

Related graduate courses outside the field of education may count towards the EdD upon prior approval of the advisor and the Dean of Benerd College.

Doctorate of Education

The Doctorate of Education (EdD) requires a minimum of 56 units with a Pacific cumulative grade point average of 3.0.  Students must complete the doctoral core courses as well as a dissertation proposal and defense.

Based upon state and federal laws, additional units and requirements may be necessary for those students electing to earn a credential, certification or license along with the graduate degree (e.g., teaching credential, licensed educational psychologist, or licensed psychologist).  Students interested in earning a credential, certification or license should work closely with advisor and credential staff.  Student may choose to specialize in one or more areas.  Students will be required to complete a dissertation at the conclusion of the program.

I. Core

Option A - A minimum of 21 units. Required option for all concentrations with the exception of Educational Psychology and Specialization in Counseling Psychology.

EDUC 202Statistical Thinking and Communication3
EDUC 322Qualitative Methods for Action-Oriented Research3
or EDUC 323 Critical Methods in Qualitative Research
EDUC 325Quantitative Research Design and Methods3
EDUC 352Applied Inquiry I3
EDUC 354Applied Inquiry II3
EDUC 356Applied Inquiry III3
EDUC 358Applied Inquiry IV3

Option B - A minimum of 21 units. Required for Educational Psychology and Specialization in Counseling Psychology concentrations.

EDUC 201Techniques of Research3
EDUC 202Statistical Thinking and Communication3
EDUC 304Program Evaluation3
EDUC 325Quantitative Research Design and Methods3
EDUC 326Applied Multiple Regression3
EDUC 327Structural Equation Modeling3
EDUC 352Applied Inquiry I3

II.  Research and Dissertation

(Minimum 5 units)
EDUC 399Doctoral Dissertation2-5
Education Electives related to Dissertation at 200-300 level0-3

III.  Concentrations

Students may elect to specialize in one or more specific areas.  In order to earn a specialization concentration, students must fulfill the general requirements listed above as well as specific specialization concentration requirements listed below.  A single course may be used to fulfill requirements in two or more specializations concentrations.

Students interested in earning a credential or license along with the degree will need to fulfill specific requirements as mandated by state and national governing organizations.  In order to ensure these requirements are fulfilled, the student must work closely with an academic advisor and the credential staff in the Benerd College.

Specialization Concentrations

Counseling Psychology (Psychology license eligible)
18 units of Specialization courses:18
CPSY 320Psychotherapeutic Interventions3
CPSY 325Group Counseling3
CPSY 313Law and Professional Ethics for Mental Health Professionals3
CPSY 363Psychopathology and Wellness Promotion3
CPSY 355Psychological Assessment3
CPSY 360Neuropsychology3
Elective Courses List
CPSY 306Advanced Human Development I3
CPSY 307Advanced Human Development II4
CPSY 308Advanced Human Development III2
CPSY 328Theories of Multicultural Family Therapy and Collaboration3
CPSY 332Crisis Intervention3
CPSY 340Consultation Methods3
CPSY 310History and Systems in Psychology3
CPSY 350Behavior Assessment and Intervention3
CPSY 351Academic Assessment and Intervention3
CPSY 358Behavior and Personality Assessment3
CPSY 316Psychopharmacology for Mental Health Professionals3
CPSY 315Social Psychology3
CPSY 334Spousal and Partner Abuse, Detection, and Intervention1
CPSY 337Alcoholism and Chemical Substance Abuse Dependency3
CPSY 335Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting1
CPSY 317Human Sexuality1
CPSY 394Counseling Practicum1-6
Or any Special Topics course (CPSY 393)
Leadership and Innovation
Select 18 units from the following Specialization courses:18
Trends, Issues, and Dynamics of Change
Policy Analysis, Creation, and Navigation
Seminar: Leadership in Diverse Organizations
Seminar: Leading Complex Organizations
Program and Organization Evaluation
Leading Innovation
Transformative Action in Education
Select 18 units from the following Specialization courses:18
Socio-Cultural Perspectives and Inquiry
Cultural, Social, and Emotional Literacy
Systems Thinking and Inquiry
Aesthetics, Arts, and Imagination
Teaching as a Subversive Activity
Interdisciplinary Ways of Seeing, Knowing, and Acting
Trends, Issues, and Dynamics of Change
Seminar: Leading Complex Organizations
Measuring Social Impact

IV.  Of the required 56 units a minimum of 18 units must be from the Benerd College

V.  Of the required 56 units a minimum of 18 units must be taken at the 200 or 300 level

Students will be able to:

  • Contribute to their discipline through conducting an original research study
  • Critique and synthesize existing information relevant to their area of inquiry
  • Apply appropriate methodologies to their process of inquiry
  • Analyze data gathered through their process of inquiry and draw appropriate conclusions from that data
  • Synthesize their results with previously existing information