first doctoral degreeSeptember 19, 2017 (Jackson, Miss.) - Belhaven University has reached another historic milestone in Christian higher education and will now offer its first doctoral degree.

“This is an exciting time in the academic life of Belhaven University,” said Dr. David Hand, dean of Belhaven's School of Education. “The new doctoral program places the University at an entirely new level and status in educator preparation and higher education.”

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership (Jackson Campus or Online) is designed for professional educators in Mississippi who want to advance to the role of administrator in either elementary or secondary education as well as other leadership opportunities in schools or at the district level.

Educators with an earned master's degree in education are eligible to apply for the Education Specialist (Ed.S.) in Educational Leadership, and if successful, they are then eligible to make application and qualify to complete their Ed.D. There are two options offered in the Ed.S. program; one can lead to administrator licensure, the other to non-licensure status.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC), has already approved the program and the University's first 14 doctoral candidates have started their pre-dissertation work.

“We have had a long-time reputation for quality preparation of thousands of teachers,” said Belhaven President Dr. Roger Parrott. “Our new doctoral and master programs allow us to prepare the principals, school superintendents, and a wide array of administrators who are equipped to lead our schools. Working at this top level is a natural step for Belhaven, and I'm especially thrilled with the quality of adult professionals we've admitted for this first class of doctoral students.”

The program was designed to be user-friendly for professionals who currently work in schools and have a family. Courses are taught online and candidates can attend residency support sessions, which are offered throughout the development of the pre-dissertation phase.

Dr. Hand notes that all courses are taught by professional, experienced educational leaders holding doctorate degrees who have experience as teachers and administrators in both schools and higher education institutions.

“I would challenge any educator to pursue their doctorate, adds Dr. Hand. “I have never met an individual who was disappointed that they tackled the rigorous work of earning their doctorate degree. Even though it may stretch their academic scholarship and require their full dedication and patience, it is worth it.”