The Ed.D. in Instructional Leadership is for those individuals that already have a Masters of Science in Nursing degree and are entering the Doctor of Education in Instructional Leadership program.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted into the program, students will meet the criteria for admission to The University of Alabama Graduate School and the Colleges of Nursing and Education. An admissions committee comprising nursing and education faculty will select students based upon the following requirements. Each step must be completed to be considered for admission.

Prerequisites for unconditional admission include:

  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, a 3.0 average for the last 60 semester hours in a degree program, or a 3.0 or higher in a completed graduate degree program
  • An unencumbered RN license in the state in which the student will practice A BSN degree from an institution that is regionally accredited and is accredited by CCNE or CNEA.
  • An M.S.N. degree from an accredited institution as outlined above.

Admission Process

Step 1) Complete the Graduate school application.

Step 2) Submit department materials. Documents can be uploaded through “Manage Supporting Documents” in the Graduate Application section or mailed to the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Technology Studies, College of Education, Box 870302, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487.  You many also email to Gavien C. Rutledge (gcrutledge@ua.edu).

  • Resume (Your resume should explain your qualifications and experience in two or three pages.
  • Nurse Educator Admission Form
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Sample of your academic writing (Such as an academic paper presented in a previous graduate course that demonstrates your knowledge of an area, powers of organization, command of language, and communication skills.)

There are no conditional admissions to the Nurse Education program; all applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or better.

Program Requirements


Typical Program of Study

Comprehensive Exams

The Faculty in the EdD program for Nurse Educators construct a comprehensive examination for students to demonstrate their understanding of the content in their program of study. Each student must write and present a topic independently without assistance from other students or faculty.  Students will not be allowed to use the Writing Center and are expected to follow The University of Alabama Honor Code.

First, students are expected to write a 15 to 18- page paper, giving full citations and using APA (6thedition). Papers should be suitable for submission for publication in a scholarly journal.  Exams should be typed, double-spaced, and 12 point font.  All submitted papers are subject to verification of originality by turnitin.com

Second, students will prepare a formal presentation which will be presented for adjudication by a panel of three graduate faculty members.  The presentation is designed to test the student’s ability to integrate knowledge of curriculum, research, policy, practice, and technology in nursing education.  Students are expected to demonstrate a strong grasp of content salient to the topic, including research findings and methodological considerations. The student is expected to demonstrate mastery of relevant literature and critically summarized important issues, information, and conclusions. Presentations will be modeled after a professional academic conference presentation. Therefore there are a few guidelines that the student must follow:

  • Student presentations will be 30 minutes – 20 minutes to present, 10 for questions
  • The presentation content is part of the student’s exam therefore outside of these few guidelines students will develop and present material as they see fit
  • Group activities are not allowed, rewards for answering questions correctly are not allowed
  • Students must integrate technology into their presentations- each room will be equipped with a desktop, projector, and screen.  Students will need to notify Doug McKnight (dmcknigh@ua.edu) one week prior to their assigned presentation date if they will need any other technology equipment
    • This other equipment may or may not be available to borrow from the college- students will need to make arrangements if their technological needs are outside what the college can provide
  • Students are to dress professionally and act accordingly

A comprehensive qualifying examination is required of all doctoral candidates. This examination is given after

  • any foreign language/research skill requirements are met (PhD students only);
  • two full years of graduate study are completed; and
  • the supervisory committee deems the student to have adequate preparation in the major and minor fields of study.

The examination is conducted by the student’s supervisory committee or other committee established in the program area.  Whereas one of the purposes of the preliminary examination is to determine the student’s research competence to begin work on a dissertation, the examination should be completed at least nine months before the degree is to be awarded.

A student may attempt the final oral or written examination only twice. Failing the examination twice results in dismissal from the degree program and the Graduate School.

For your information, the evaluation rubric will be used to evaluate your performance on the written and oral portions of the exam.


The Dissertation has three parts:

  • The Prospectus: An 12-18 page outline of the dissertation project including a statement of the problem, brief literature review, and outline. When your dissertation chair agrees to a prospectus meeting notify Dr. Doug McKnight (dmcknigh@ua.edu)and she will help reserve a room. On successful defense of the prospectus, you should initiate the Appointment or Change of Doctoral Dissertation Committee. form. Dr. Doug McKnight (dmcknigh@ua.edu) can assist with this.
  • The Proposal: This typically constitutes the first three chapters of the dissertation study. When your dissertation chair agrees to a proposal meeting notify Dr. Doug McKnight (dmcknigh@ua.edu) and she will help reserve a room.  For IRB information, please visit the following link: http://osp.ua.edu/IRB.html  On successful defense of the proposal, you should initiate the Admission to Candidacy for Doctoral Degree form.  Dr. Doug McKnight (dmcknigh@ua.edu) can assist with this.
  • The Final Defense: The committee meets to review your dissertation. On successful defense of the dissertation, initiate the Committee Acceptance Form for Electronic Thesis or Dissertation for signatures. Dr. Doug McKnight (dmcknigh@ua.edu) initiates this process.

The Application for Degree form must be submitted in the first week of the semester that you plan to graduate.

When your dissertation chair agrees to a defense date, notify Dr. Doug McKnight (dmcknigh@ua.edu), and she will help reserve a room and make an announcement to the College of Education and the College of Nursing.

The approved dissertation should be submitted to Graduate School Office by the Graduate School deadline. Each disseration must be submitted in APA form in addition to meeting the Graduate School requirements. See Graduate School’s Manual for Students Preparing Theses and Dissertations.

A dissertation showing the ability to conduct independent research and skill in organization, writing and presentation must be prepared on a topic in the major field. It must constitute an original contribution to knowledge. The subject of the dissertation must be approved by the dissertation committee of the major department or division and by the dean of the Graduate School.

  • A dissertation committee, with the director of the dissertation as its chairperson, supervises the preparation of the dissertation. The committee shall have not fewer than five members, all of whom are approved by the dean of the Graduate School. The graduate dean’s approval of the proposed dissertation committee is expected to be obtained before significant progress is made on the dissertation–typically just before or just after the dissertation proposal meeting. For this purpose, the student submits the form for Appointment/Change of a Doctoral Dissertation Committee.
  • All members of a dissertation committee must be members of the Graduate Faculty. The committee chair must be a full member of the graduate faculty, as described in the Catalog’s section on Qualifications of the Graduate Faculty. One member must be from outside the student’s major department. Please see INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPOINTMENT  TO TEMPORARY GRADUATE FACULTY.   Unless there are extraordinary circumstances meriting approval by the graduate dean beforehand, all members of the dissertation committee must attend the final oral defense of the dissertation.
  • The dissertation must comply with the regulations in A Student Guide to Preparing Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Graduate School deadlines, including each semester’s dissertation deadline, are available at the Graduate School’s homepage.
  • Consult the ETD website for details of ETD submission, including information on what needs to be submitted to the Graduate School. The graduate dean must approve the dissertation before the student can be cleared for graduation.
  • The Catalog section on Continuous Dissertation Registration for Doctoral Students states that once a student qualifies for doctoral candidacy, the student must enroll each semester for at least 3 hours of dissertation (699) research. If certain conditions are met for the student’s final semester, however, the student may qualify to enroll for fewer than 3 hours of 699 dissertation research, but only in that final semester.

What does the Nurse Faculty Loan Program provide?

The Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) is a federal program designed to increase the number of nursing students who pursue careers as full-time faculty teaching in schools of nursing. The program is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of Health Professions, and allows participating schools to make loans to students enrolled in advanced degree nursing programs.

Following graduation and upon full-time employment in a school of nursing within six months of graduation, the borrower can cancel up to 20% per year for a maximum of 85 percent of the total NFLP loan (years 1, 2, 3: 20%; year 4: 25%). Those who fail to become full-time faculty members, at a single institution, within six months of graduation, or take a leave from school, must repay the loan at the prevailing interest rate. Awardees will sign a promissory note with the Office of Loans Receivable & Collections each semester funding is awarded. The federal approval mechanism for NFLP is submission of a FAFSA, although need is not a criteria.

The school will make NFLP loans to eligible students for the cost of tuition, fees, books, and other reasonable education expenses, not including travel or lodging expenses, as funds are available. Awards may be renewable contingent upon ongoing federal funding. Previous recipients have first priority each semester.

Capstone College of Nursing students are eligible to apply if they are committed to a faculty role, in good academic standing, are US citizens or permanent residents, and not in default on any prior student loans. Students enrolled in the EdD in Instructional Leadership for Nurse Educators Program who meet these qualifications are eligible.
Priority is given to students who do not have full funding from other sources.
If you are granted a Nursing Faculty Loan you must:
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Sign a promissory note every semester
  • Complete the EdD in Instructional Leadership for Nurse Educators Program
  • Follow the application procedures for each year continued funding is desired (as required by HRSA)
  • Fulfill Nurse Faculty Loan commitment and obligations
  • This assumes continued progression consistent with the approved program of study
Please Contact the Capstone College of Nursing, Office of Graduate Programs for more information about applying and NFLP requirements.
*General information is believed to be correct but the applicant is responsible for understanding the financial commitment and obligations of the loan agreement. Please read it carefully for more detailed information.