Doctor of Education teacher in a classroom

The education environment is ever changing. Milligan’s Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) prepares transformative leaders in preK-12 education who are committed to educational quality and educational innovation. They are leaders who are well-trained in strong organizational and human resource management, school finance, public policy, current legal issues, technology, and how to lead organizational change. Milligan’s Ed.D. program is uniquely designed to help meet that need.

Certify to become a principal or school administrator in this 57 hour, two-year program leading to a license in Instructional Leadership. The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership leverages the strengths of Milligan’s teacher education and business faculty, curriculum, and school partnerships to prepare system-level leaders in American preK-12 education. The program leads currently practicing elementary and secondary school teachers toward certification as school administrators, primarily as principals or assistant principals.

Graduates of Milligan’s 24-30 month Ed.D. program are uniquely prepared to become principals and administrators in public and non-public school systems, nonprofits, and government agencies. The Ed.D. is a full-time, practice-based program built on a cohort learning model of approximately 10-20 students who progress through the program together.

Fast Facts

  • COST: The most economical program in the region, below ETSU cost
  • PREREQUISITES: Master’s degree and 3 years experience in educational practice
  • LENGTH: 24-30 months for Ed.D.
  • TYPICAL COURSE LOAD: 3-4 courses per term, online and face-to-face
  • SCHEDULE: New cohorts start each June (apply by March 30)
  • LICENSURE: Instructional Leadership
Doctor of Education student in classroom

Milligan’s reputation for producing well-prepared, creative, committed teachers is unparalleled. Administrators consistently look to Milligan as a resource for both hiring and training.

Outstanding Reputation & Partner Schools

  • One of only 9 programs with an “Exceeds Expectations” rating on the State Board of Education Report Card
  • Second and third-year employment retention rates exceed the state average
  • Our employed teacher graduates “exceed expectations” on measures related to teacher observations and student-growth scores, scoring well above the state average

Milligan values the close relationships it has nurtured with over a dozen area K-12 school systems through its teacher education program.  Many of the leaders in these schools received their undergraduate and/or M.Ed. degree from Milligan. Representatives of our partner school systems served on the planning committee for this degree program.

The University’s reputation for producing well-prepared, creative, committed teachers is unparalleled. School administrators consistently look to Milligan as a resource for both hiring and training, regularly calling on faculty to lead workshops for in-services and to collaborate on various education issues. Thousands of our graduates are serving as teachers, coaches, counselors, and administrators in schools across the United States.

CAEP accreditation means your degree from Milligan is instantly recognized in Tennessee and the nation for its quality. Milligan’s commitment to meet CAEP quality standards means we take great care in seeing you gain the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed for success as a professional educator.

The Milligan Difference

Caring Faculty & Personal Attention

At Milligan, graduate courses are taught by professors with doctorates in education or related fields who have a wide variety of experiences in education in both urban and rural settings. Graduate courses at Milligan are small, allowing professors to interact closely with students for individual attention and supervision throughout their program. Our faculty are role models and mentors, and they will challenge you and stretch your mind and spirit.

Teaching you is more than a job to our faculty—it’s a mission. They are dedicated teachers, experienced professionals, and trusted mentors who invest time, energy, and ideas to inspire you and help you reach your highest potential. It’s not just a degree. It’s your future.

Christian Worldview

Today’s schools are challenged as never before. Faced with increasingly diverse student bodies and phenomenal technological change, contemporary schools need to provide quality services for all children. Now more than ever, children need teachers who are committed to excellence in the classroom and to Jesus Christ. It is our belief educators prepared in such a way will make a difference in the school and community where they live and serve.

“Caring and Reflective Teacher,” the theme of our department, is interwoven throughout our program. Our primary goal is to produce caring and reflective professional educators who will affect the lives of children in a markedly positive manner.

Mentored Experience

There’s nothing like walking into a classroom or office and seeing how theory learned in the classroom is applied to real-world situations. So the mentored experience is a critical part of the Milligan teacher education program and of real benefit to our degree candidates.

Working with principals and district personnel from each candidate’s school system, each degree candidate is assigned to a mentor working in a different capacity (early childhood/elementary, middle/secondary, district office) each term (EDUC 770 A,B,C).

Throughout this practicum experience, the candidate will complete projects related to each term’s coursework, as well as use the experience to develop the required portfolio. Candidates meet monthly in a professional seminar designed to enhance their experience. The seminar promotes reflection, in-depth discussion, and collaborative action research. Candidates will use the practicum experience to identify a real-world problem to be used as the basis for their dissertation. 

(c) Milligan College Teacher Education MEd

Prepare to lead and serve



Application Process

To apply to the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership program, complete the following:

  1. APPLICATION: You can apply online (select Summer term). Just call us and we’ll walk you through it.
  2. INTERVIEW: Interview with faculty admissions committee is required
  3. TRANSCRIPTS of all previous academic work at the undergraduate and graduate level
  4. RECOMMENDATIONS: Applicants must submit at least one letter of recommendation from someone qualified to assess the applicant’s leadership skills and academic potential. Recommendation requests will be sent from within the online application.
  5. PORTFOLIO: In lieu of the portfolio, the admissions committee requires all applicants to complete the Instructional Leadership Questions and Evidence and return it to the graduate office one week prior to their interview.
  6. INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: This program is NOT approved by SEVIS to admit international students.

Milligan’s program is one of the most economical education programs in our region and is even priced below the local state university rate. Students in this program are eligible to apply for state and federal tuition assistance programs and for employer reimbursement when applicable. Ask us how our costs compare to other similar institutions and programs!  Read more about cost and financial aid here »

Also, the state of Tennessee offers several scholarship and grant programs for undergraduate and graduate students (Tennessee residents). Visit to learn more.

Cost of Attendance elements by program »


Admission to the Educational Leadership program is competitive. Admission decisions are made on a number of criteria including academic qualifications; leadership potential, experience and accomplishments; and the applicant’s fit with the program goals and objectives and the expertise of the program faculty. Those who meet stated minimum requirements are not guaranteed admission, nor are those who fail to meet all of those requirements necessarily precluded from admission if they offer other appropriate strengths. Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • MASTER’S DEGREE: Hold a master’s degree in a relevant area (e.g., educational; literacy, mathematics, or science education; higher education; human services; special education; technology in education) from an accredited university by the month in which they begin doctoral work.
  • SCHOLASTIC ABILITY: Demonstrate scholastic ability by having achieved a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in their master’s program (GRE or MAT no longer required).
  • LEADERSHIP ROLE: Recognized as a leader among fellow teachers or as having leadership potential.
Student Expectations

All students at Milligan are expected to uphold the expectations and responsibilities for student lifestyles at Milligan University. Milligan University adopts specific rules on the basis of the belief that God’s Word, as the final rule of faith and practice, speaks on many matters pertaining to personal conduct. Therefore, behavior that conflicts with Scripture is unacceptable. Historically, communities also have developed guidelines that help put into practice basic moral and social principles. Such standards serve as a guide toward worthwhile goals relevant to one’s academic, spiritual, social, and physical well-being.

Students should consult the Student Handbook for further guidance regarding acceptable personal lifestyle and conduct while enrolled at Milligan University. A student’s matriculation and enrollment at Milligan University is their pledge to abide by the policies and expectations outlined in the Student Handbook and Catalog.

I certify that all information given in this application is true and correct. If I am accepted as a student and choose to enroll, I pledge to abide by the Christian values as reflected in Milligan’s Lifestyle Expectations.


Degree candidates will gain a deep understanding of the context of American education from anthropological, historical, and sociological perspectives, and of the central elements of instructional, organizational, public, and evidenced-based leadership.

  • EDUC 712 Using Qualitative Methods to Evaluate Program Development (3 hrs)
  • EDUC 716 Literacy for Instructional Leaders (3 hrs)
  • EDUC 721 Ethical and Instructional Evaluation Practices (3 hrs)
  • EDUC 726 Mentoring and Professional Development (3 hrs)
  • EDUC 730 Management and Leadership (3 hrs)
  • EDUC 732 Leading Organizational Change (3 hrs)
  • EDUC 735 Managing Human Resources (3 hrs)
  • EDUC 737 School Finance (3 hrs)
  • EDUC 741 Advanced Parent and Education Involvement (3 hrs)
  • EDUC 750 Data Analysis and School Improvement (3 hrs)
  • EDUC 762 School Organization and Law (3 hrs)
  • EDUC 765 Technology Leadership (3 hrs)
  • EDUC 770A Professional Seminar (1 hr)
  • EDUC 770B Professional Seminar (1 hr)
  • EDUC 770C Professional Seminar (1 hr)

The Milligan University academic catalog is the official, authoritative source for all academic requirements and policies. Any discrepancies in curricular requirements from other sources will default to the Catalog.


Melissa Dillow
Admissions Recruiter for Teacher Education Programs

Associate Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Education; Professor of Education

Rich Aubrey
Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dean

Associate Professor of Education

Associate Professor of Education

Professor Emerita of Teacher Education

Lyn Howell
The Paul Clark Chair Emerita of Teacher Education

Karen Presnell
Certification Officer, Placement Coordinator, and Area of Education Office Manager

Seeger's Steeple infant of a yellow sunset