Earn Your Doctorate and Prepare to Teach the Next Generation with an online Ed.D. in Nursing Education
The Doctorate in Nursing Education is for master’s degree nurses who want to help address the growing need for more RNs in today’s ever-expanding healthcare system. The American College of Education Ed.D in Nursing Education program is a fully online curriculum to prepare nurses as educators in either an academic or professional development setting. The program uses a unique interdisciplinary approach to focus on the science of teaching and learning. Students will engage in scholarly research to support their dissertation while developing the competencies to create and evaluate curriculum, develop effective teaching strategies, use innovative technology to promote learning and much more as they prepare to educate the next generation of nurses.
in the nation for most Doctoral degrees awarded in Nursing Education*.
Thinking of starting your journey?
Connect with an ACE enrollment counselor who can help you get started.
How you'll get there.
- Study three main subject areas: Nursing Education (21 credits), Leadership (3 credits) and Research (22 credits). You also can choose 18 credits from a general track or from one of six focus of study areas:
- Adult and continuing education
- Curriculum and instruction
- Educational and community organizations
- Health and wellness
- Higher Education
- Online education
- Learn to integrate theoretical frameworks from nursing, higher education and related disciplines to design transformational nursing education.
- Develop expertise in the creation, implementation and evaluation of innovative nursing curriculum to improve nursing education and reflect trends in higher education, healthcare and nursing.
- Become a visionary leader who can affect change in nursing education through a servant leadership mindset and service to the profession.
- Explore accelerated completion. Students who have an Ed.S. or are ABD can earn their Ed.D. in Nursing Education in 37 semester credits.
What you can expect along the way.
- A tailored dissertation approach. ACE supports doctoral students when they need it most, during the dissertation. You’ll complete the dissertation in a structured, faculty-supported course sequence. This means you will never be alone in your dissertation journey.
- Coursework that Makes a Difference
Faculty shortages at nursing schools across the country are limiting student capacity at a time when the need for professional RNs is growing. Our program addresses that by instructing nurse educators in creating programs for the next generation of RNs.
- Support 24/7
You’ll always have faculty support as you navigate your program, along with a Student Success Coach who is with you from enrollment to graduation. You’ll have access to free online tutoring and writing help, Office 365 tools and a library for research.
- Built Around Your Life
Our online format and asynchronous courses allow you to plan your coursework around your life.
What it costs
Our tuition and fees have nothing to hide. The total cost you see is your all-in price, without hidden fees, add-ons, and even textbooks. See if you can say the same about other institutions. Go ahead — we’ll wait.
64 semester credits
$306 per credit
$100 Application Fee
$2,880 Technology & Library Fee
($45 per credit)
$150 Program Conferral Fee
$1,200 Dissertation Fee
Partnerships save you more.
ACE has more than 1,750 education partners that provide a discounted rate and other partner benefits.
Learn about ACE partnerships.
Ed.D. in Nursing Education
Explore the classes you'll take to fulfill this program's 64 semester
credit requirement. For more information, a complete list of requirements, and course options, see the
Choose your focus of study.
Eighteen of your semester credits will specialize in a focus area of your choice. View the College Catalog for full descriptions.
You also have the option of customizing this program by selecting a General Track and choosing the six courses that best fit your needs.
- Adult Education and Training
- Curriculum and Instruction
- Educational and Community Organizations
- Health and Wellness
- Higher Education
- Online Education
Research Courses (22 semester credits)
This course examines basic principles in applied statistics. Topics include data types, organizing data, graphing techniques, probability concepts, measures of central tendency, measures of dispersion, normal and skewed distributions, and understanding the area that covers normal distributions. Understanding, applying, and interpreting the principles to of simple hypothesis testing methods through a seven-step process is are also covered. The course is designed to provide an introduction to statistical applications that can be applied in real-world settings. along with providing an excellent foundation for entering into the more advanced statistical applications and analyses using SPSS.
This course provides learners with the foundation and practical application of research methods and designs. Emphasis will be placed on evaluating research literature and aligning the components of qualitative and quantitative methods and designs. Students will explore theoretical frameworks for research studies and dissertations. Ethical practices in research will also be explored.
This course provides students with an introduction to the nature of the quantitative methodology. The different types of quantitative designs and statistical techniques for collecting and analyzing quantitative data are discussed. Topics include the nature of research, sampling, hypothesis testing, variance (F-test), two samples t-test (independent and dependent), multiple samples test (ANOVA and repeated measures), assessment reliability and validity, and threats to validity, limitations, and delimitations in quantitative design studies supported with the practical application assignments.
This course provides students with an overview of the qualitative methodology. Topics include the nature of qualitative research, designs, procedures, instrumentation, data collection techniques, trustworthiness, ethics, and analysis in qualitative studies. The course is supported by assignments with practical application in mind.
This course examines the importance of scholarly writing in your leadership practice, the foundation of how to write in a scholarly mode, and research strategies to support your doctoral writing.
Students prepare, defend, and deliver the final presentation of their dissertation. Final dissertation approval and final completion of their doctoral portfolio are also expected.
This is a workspace for Ed.D. candidates to work on dissertation chapters collaboratively with their dissertation chair and committee members.
Students develop the following components under supervision of the course faculty member: benchmark concept paper, doctoral pre-candidacy application, and doctoral pre-candidacy approval.
This course is designed for students to complete Chapter 3 of the dissertation proposal. Final approval of Chapter 3 by the course faculty member and the dissertation chair is required for successful completion.
This course is designed for students to complete Chapter 2 of the dissertation proposal. Final approval of Chapter 2 by the course faculty member and the dissertation chair is required for successful completion.
This course is designed for students to complete the Dissertation Proposal. In addition to completing Chapters 1-3, this course is designed to support students in obtaining DRR and IRB approval. Final approval of the Dissertation Proposal by both the course faculty member and dissertation chair is required for successful completion.
This course is designed for candidates to complete Chapter 4 of the doctoral dissertation in which they conduct the IRB-approved research study and collect and analyze the data. Final acceptance of Chapter 4 by the course teacher of record (TOR) and the Dissertation Committee is required for successful completion.
This course is designed for candidates to complete Chapter 5 of the doctoral dissertation in which they interpret the data findings from their research study and draw conclusions based on the results. Candidates also submit a full draft of the dissertation. Final acceptance of Chapter 5 and the draft dissertation by the course teacher of record (TOR) and the Dissertation Committee is required for successful completion.
Leadership Courses (3 semester credits)
Students will undertake an examination of the rigors of advanced graduate study and reflect on personal strengths and challenges at the start of their program. Topics include: identity as scholar-practitioner, models of inquiry, self-assessment, and professional goals.
This leadership course will focus on defining what leadership really means and how to employ the college's innovative spirit. Students will reflect on theory and real-life application of the leadership journey, discover personal strengths, and discover ways to lead effectively. This course will also establish residency for states that require a face-to-face presence.
This first-year leadership seminar addresses an overview of the overall leadership experience and dissertation journey, focusing on growth, responsibilities, and expectations throughout the program. Students will also address the research process as they move forward, identifying individual concerns regarding methodology and the alignment of research components. Students consider how to think about the research elements in relation to successfully completing their concept paper and dissertation.
Nursing Courses (21 semester credits)
Nursing education is constantly changing. In this course students explore the influence of nursing and health care trends, alignment with workforce competencies, accreditation requirements, community and societal needs, professional competencies and their relationship to curricular development.
The nursing faculty role is a multidimensional one. In this course students will investigate multiple roles of the professoriate according to the needs of healthcare, the nursing profession, and the institution or organization.
Nurse faculty are challenged to design and implement transformational teaching strategies to prepare the next generation of nurses. In this course students will analyze a variety of evidence-based teaching strategies to actively engage the adult learner, facilitate deep learning, foster resilience, and nurture a growth mindset across settings. Strategies to manage the classroom and effective assessment of learning will be investigated.
Technology is continually evolving and impacting nursing education. In this course students will explore use of technology in nursing education in the classroom, clinical setting, clinical laboratory, and online. Emphasis will be placed on simulation and gamification, as well as selection of evidence-based facilitation strategies, partnering with innovative technology, and appropriate evaluation.
This course focuses on fostering student development of clinical judgment, cultural competence, and value formation, through effective curriculum design, development, implementation, and evaluation across educational settings. Traditional and innovative curriculum designs will be appraised along with the application of leadership and change theories in the revision of existing curricula.
This course concentrates on the role of the nursing education leader in advanced assessment, evaluation, and quality improvement of student performance and nursing curricula in the academic or clinical practice setting. Various methods of assessment, including formative and summative assessments of learner performance and systematic plans of curriculum evaluation will be analyzed.
In this course students will synthesize leadership theory and embrace strategies to become a servant leader and to act as a catalyst for change. The role of the chief academic nurse and accreditation processes will be examined. Focus will be placed on ethical decisionmaking, development of a reflective practice, resilience, visioning, guiding innovation, and future casting.
Focus of Study
Customize this degree by choosing a six-course
Focus of Study to fulfill the remaining
Adult Education and Training (18 semester credits)
This course examines the theory and research of andragogy, with an emphasis on the historical influences, practical applications, and critical analysis. Topics include fields of practice, schools of thought, clarification of concepts, and emerging issues and challenges.
This course examines a variety of learning and teaching strategies to enhance adult learning. Students analyze methods suited for adult learning in different settings, apply knowledge of adult learning theories, and explore ways in which adults learn critical thinking.
This course focuses on theories and processes of measuring student learning in post-secondary educational settings to evaluate the effectiveness of academic programs. Students explore accreditation procedures and standards, instructional approaches, engagement strategies, and management of instructional environments.
This course provides an introduction to the historical developments, theoretical perspectives, fundamental approaches, and real-world practices of evaluating adult learners. Students learn to apply a variety of methods to assess learning outcomes effectively and to analyze assessment data to improve teaching and learning.
This course promotes the concept of leaders serving as role models of professional development for their staffs to achieve higher levels of performance within the organization. To do so, leaders must utilize effective strategies, programs, and services based on data-driven decisions and the needs of stakeholders in the organizational community. Emphasis is placed on the impact of relevant, high-quality, job-embedded, differentiated, technology-integrated professional learning opportunities aligned to organizational goals. The course also prepares leaders to serve as advocates for sufficient preparation, time, and support for colleagues to work collaboratively in job-embedded professional learning.
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in adult education. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus of study on the professional field.
Curriculum and Instruction (18 semester credits)
This course assists educators in the development of rigorous, appropriate, curriculum and instruction, with a focus on diverse-learner groups. Multi-model instructional strategies, culturally relevant pedagogy, differentiated instruction, and thematic, interdisciplinary unit planning are emphasized. Using a curricular framework, graduate students in this course will plan, evaluate, and adapt curricula experiences to build successful learning environments for all learners.
This course focuses on the major theories, strategies, and applications utilized in P-12 standards-driven learning environments. Participants review and apply current literature and educational research studies concerning standards-based curriculum, implementation strategies and tools.
Educational assessments provide useful information on what students know and can accomplish. This course examines the purpose of various categories of assessment and tools of assessment, given at different organizational levels. Growth in assessment literacy will be developed while investigating appropriate feedback methods based on assessment data.
In this course, students will analyze strategies crucial to the design and implementation of a school-wide or district-wide leadership initiative to support literacy development. Students will explore methods to improve a comprehensive range of literacy skills guided by research and current best practices. Specific principles and theories of reading instruction are compared and evaluated to identify best methods to support diverse learning needs. Students explore the scientific research base underlying different models of reading instruction, technology, integration and assessment.
This course prepares educational leaders to serve as role models for creating, promoting, and conducting effective professional development for their staffs. Learners evaluate the merits of offsite professional development opportunities with goal-structured, job-embedded professional learning. Educational leaders utilize effective strategies, programs, and services based on data, student needs, and consideration of other stakeholders including teachers, parents, administrators, elected officials, and community members. Emphasis is placed on the impact of relevant, high-quality, differentiated, technology-integrated professional learning opportunities aligned to school or district goals. This course also prepares leaders to serve as advocates for staff to have the proper time and support to work collaboratively in job-embedded professional learning.
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in curriculum and instruction. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus of study on the professional field.
Educational and Community Organizations (18 semester credits)
Students will analyze theories of collaboration, especially as applied to educational and community organizations. Students will propose partnership models for an educational or community organization.
Students will design, implement, and assess examples of programs that apply emerging technology. The course will focus on issues associated with the interface of technology and people.
This course provides a comprehensive view of advocacy strategies including polling, research, lobbying, and communicating with the media and stakeholders. Students will evaluate communication and best practices for public, nonprofit, and other organizational leaders working to influence political and policymaking processes.
Students analyze funding sources and the process of applying for financial resources from organizations or agencies through grant writing. Students follow criteria to develop and critique requests for proposals.
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in educational and community organizations. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus on study on the professional field.
Students will analyze specific current and future public policies and conduct policy impact analyses. Students will evaluate best practices for working with local school councils, volunteer boards, advisory councils, and external stakeholders.
Health and Wellness (18 semester credits)
This course examines culture, social norms, beliefs and values, ideology, and practices related to health choices. The students will research various diversity issues and how the issues will influence other areas of life. Through surveys and research, students will examine how choices are made regarding health and health-related behaviors including: perception and attitudes, awareness, prejudice, discrimination or aggression, social cognition, and relationships. This will provide a forum for determining action.
Students will research and explore interactions between health factors as they influence lifestyle choices including social, political, economic, and personal. With the focus on practical application, students will research and examine potential interventions and strategies for overcoming barriers and the ethical implications for professionals practicing in health education. They will research theoretical concepts, practices, and principles of health education.
As students study leadership in health education, they will utilize foundational approaches to guiding and educating individuals within the school and community settings. They will research and use data for decision making in their school and community. Relational skills are also evaluated as an example of how specific settings impact options and how a professional stance is established through ethical application of the laws governing healthcare practices.
As technology is an integral part of the public health care system, students will research ways to deliver, analyze, and interpret data, including informatics/bioinformatics, clinical research, consumer and public health statistics. They will then learn how to teach and train the staff to use the different technology, helping to develop protocols to be established within the organization. These protocols will relate to compliance issues as well as inform stakeholders of their importance. Through research and discussion, the students will be guided to provide the appropriate selection of technology with the targeted population in mind.
This course examines the role of finance and budgeting in educational institutions. Students will explore topics such as sources of revenue, fundraising, and fiscal allocation techniques. Public and private financial policies and their impact on educational organizations will be examined.
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in health education. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus of study on the professional field.
Higher Education (18 semester credits)
Focused on examining statutory and regulatory compliance issues impacting institutions, this course is designed to heighten analytical skills to ensure an understanding of the intricacies influencing higher education in today's climate of globalization. The interrelationship between law and policy is explored through the use of case studies, partnerships, and community relationship serving to establish a context for practice with the governance of an organization.
This course considers how to strategically manage human, financial, and data resources. Strategic thinking, planning, and development establish effective ways to 1) strengthen working relationships, 2) engage in financial practices which contain costs and advance the mission of an institution and 3) utilize data for continuous improvement. By comparing and evaluating institutional advancement strategies, activities are assessed to determine how they complement strategic priorities and goals, build and enhance program relevance, and add practical value.
Dependent upon function and service, student affairs influences the relationship between adult learning and instructional outcomes. Leadership practices, as seen through theoretical lens, explore personnel issues, student support, success, and retention, and assessment options which guide decision-making. Consideration is given to ways student perspectives shape the college experience and how these can be leveraged for change.
This course investigates critical issues and concerns, emerging roles and functions, and influencing factors helping to redefine the nature of higher education. Societal shifts are probed to determine relevancy. Trends in technology and instructional delivery become the frame for forecasting the possible future of higher education.
This course focuses on the roles and responsibilities required of administration in higher education. Students investigate critical functions, societal shifts, technological trends, and how emerging roles are reshaping the foundations of higher education. Students also examine functions of and decision making within operations, financial options, human resources, marketing, and enrollment.
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in higher education. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus of study on the professional field.
Leadership (18 semester credits)
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in leadership. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus of study on the professional field.
The course focus is on theory, research, and practices related to ethical administration. Students will assess ethical decision making and implications for policy.
Students will examine principles and concepts of finance at local, state, federal, and international levels; strategies for maximizing and obtaining financial resources and economic issues of the third sector.
Students will evaluate and compare different leadership and coaching models, analyze the relationship between leadership effectiveness and leadership coaching and determine appropriate-ness of each type of leadership and coaching for diverse settings.
Students will design, develop, and implement models of strategic planning that exhibit innovation.
This course examines how structure, values, and behavior impact an organization and its culture. Students analyze how leadership theories can be integrated and applied into advanced leadership roles.
Online Education (18 semester credits)
Students will compare theories of teaching and learning with applications to digital instruction. Content includes emerging technology and use of Open Educational Resources.
Students will critique research on social presence and best practices for connecting through using technology with students or colleagues, as well as best practices for social media use within education organizations.
Students will implement and assess the concepts of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for accessible online courses and compare models of instructional design.
Students will analyze effective online teaching and assessment; evaluate and recommend Learning Management Systems; and advocate for professional organizations, which provide continuing development for online educators.
Students will design, implement, and assess examples of programs that apply emerging technology. The course will focus on issues associated with the interface of technology and people.
The Capstone Experience is designed for candidates to demonstrate and document the impact of their knowledge and competencies gained throughout and as a result of the doctoral focus of study in online education. Students create a professional portfolio based on work created during their program to highlight mastery of specific academic outcomes and demonstrate the impact of the focus of study on the professional field.
General Track (18 semester credits)
Ed.D. in Nursing Education
ACE General Admission Requirements
*The application fee is valid for one year from date of submission.
Complete and submit all application components including the admission application, including the enrollment agreement, and payment agreement.
- Submit the nonrefundable application fee.*
- Provide official transcripts from an institution that is accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education indicating successful completion of the level of education required for entry to the program.**
**Additional evidence may be required to fulfill state requirements, including but not limited to verification of professional experience, test scores, or an interview.
Program Admission Requirements
- Transcript showing Masters' or doctoral level
- Minimum grade point average 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for full admission
- Provisional admission is not permitted
- Submit a current curriculum vitae (preferred) or resume
- Submit a goal statement, in response to department-specific prompts
- Complete an Interview
- Must provide evidence of active unencumbered registered nursing (RN) license
- Applicants must achieve and maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the program
*Source: 2020 RN to MSN course feedback surveys
1This is an estimated value of the cost for tuition and fees. Amounts may vary depending on number of transfer credits applied to the selected program hours, the pace and satisfactory completion of the selected program credit hours, the receipt of, or eligibility for, institutional or non-institutional scholarship and/or grant amounts, and adjustments to tuition or fees as described in the Catalog Right to Modify Tuition section.
State of California Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF)
It is a state of California requirement that a student who pays his or her tuition is required to pay a state-imposed assessment two dollars and fifty cents ($2.50) per one thousand dollars ($1,000) of institutional charges, rounded to the nearest thousand dollars, for the California Student Tuition Recovery Fund. For more information and to see if you must pay the state-imposed assessment for Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) click here.
For information on international transcript requirements, see the Admissions Information section of the College Catalog.
For English as a second language applicant information, see the Admissions Information section of the College Catalog.
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