Doctor of Education (NEXD) | Executive Program for Nurses | Organization and Leadership

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Executive Program for Nurses

In the Department of Organization & Leadership

Doctor of Education (NEXD)

The Faculty envisions the Executive Program for Nurses as preparing leaders for roles in healthcare organizations--both service and education. These roles are defined as those that advance and implement the practice of nursing and healthcare without themselves operating primarily in one-to-one relationships with clients. Hence, the graduates of this program will have their major impact on nursing and healthcare by influencing other interdisciplinary healthcare providers.

The basic aims of current healthcare delivery and healthcare reform mandate a nonpartisan approach to the education of nurses and all healthcare administrators and executives. Professionals who practice in today's healthcare environments and shape tomorrow's reform must be collaborative interdisciplinarians.

The successful nursing and healthcare manager or administrator is a specialist in the delivery of healthcare services, an applied field that encompasses selected areas of business administration and finance, healthcare law, nursing and hospital administration, psychology, and human relations. The nursing and healthcare administrator is a teacher, leader, facilitator, collaborator, creator, and reform artist who fits societal changes and governmental regulations into operational guidelines and structures, and then sculpts quality and profit into the services provided by a variety of clinical, educational, and technical specialists.

To be direct, the nursing and healthcare administrator is the only professional who embraces and leads every provider of health care services and every professional who works in direct and indirect healthcare services: physicians, lawyers, nurses, social workers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, mental health professionals, psychologists, computer technologists, educational administrators, nurse practitioners, personnel managers, and so forth. Thus, the administrator must be an astute leader across professional domains, one who understands organizational dynamics, and is a leader and manager of organizational change.

Nursing leadership in scholarship, in research, and in practice is achieved by the attainment of the doctoral degree. Toward this ultimate goal, there is a developmental level of role preparation, with an exit point of achievement at the level of Master of Arts (48 points). All role preparation in the Executive Program for Nurses is based upon approaches of open inquiry, scholarly pursuit, and the ability to synthesize knowledge from diverse disciplines.

Program Objectives - Doctor of Education Degree

  • Implements a consistent intellectual approach to the study of nursing and healthcare as a learned discipline.
  • Evaluates alternative definitions and interpretations of nursing and healthcare as the bases for research and theory development.
  • Incorporates a theoretic framework into research.
  • Demonstrates skill in research design and data management.
  • Demonstrates creative leadership in the professional healthcare and nursing community.
  • Expands the body of knowledge in the area of role specialization through research and scholarly pursuit.
  • Develops new dimensions of practice in selected career role that are derived from theory and research.

In addition, students are referred to the current Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education in which competencies expected of all Ed.D. graduates are identified.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the doctoral program through the Executive Program for Nurses is determined by faculty examination of all supporting documents submitted by candidates. Acceptance into the program leading to certification as a doctoral candidate in the Executive Program for Nurses gives the applicant status as a graduate student but does not imply that the student will be admitted as a certified doctoral candidate. The responsibility for creative and complete presentation of the candidate's portfolio rests with the candidate; comprehensive presentation of information by the candidate is helpful during the selection process. All requested and supporting materials must be submitted to the Admissions Office. After the Admissions Office has received all supporting materials, admission eligibility will be determined, and the applicant will be notified. Applicants are encouraged to keep in mind that admission decisions are made on a competitive basis and that meeting minimum admissions criteria do not guarantee admission.  

Minimum Admissions Criteria

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree in accordance with Teachers College admission requirements.
  • A graduate degree and/or a minimum of 36 graduate points/credits, approved by Teachers College, Columbia University and the Program Coordinator.
  • Current Registered Nurse Licensure in a state in the United States of America or in a province of Canada. 
  • For students from other countries, a current permit from the New York State Board of Nursing is required to practice nursing and/or to do fieldwork.  In addition, students from other countries must have a license to practice from their own country.  International students should also contact the Office of Admissions for further application requirements.
  • Have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 in prior graduate coursework.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) verbal score of at least 156 for the new test (since Fall 2011), or 540 for the old test or the equivalent; otherwise, you must have a Miller Analogies Test (MAT) score of at least  416 or its equivalent.  Test scores must be dated within five years prior to submission of the application.
  • One year of continuous post-baccalaureate fulltime nursing or healthcare management experience is required. Applicants are expected to formally document fulfillment of this requirement upon admission.
  • Potential candidates who do not meet the aforementioned admission standards but who can demonstrate substantial ability shall have the option to petition the Faculty of the Executive Program for Nurses to be considered for admission based on alternative evidence of ability.

Application Process

Submit to the Admissions Office

  • Completed Application
  • Graduate Record Examination or Miller Analogies Test scores. The TOEFL Examination Score can be submitted in lieu of the above, if indicated
  • Official transcripts of all prior college level education
  • Photocopy of current nursing licensure
  • At least two current references
  • Personal Statement
    Applicants should state concisely on the form provided their reasons for seeking doctoral admission, current and long-term professional goals, research interests, and an estimate of potential contributions to the professional field after completion of a doctoral program.
  • Professional Resume
    Educational background
    Professional employment
    Professional memberships, activities, and consultations
    Other scholarly writing, speeches, and so forth
    Research activities
  • Copies of two scholarly papers, preferably published

Other Relevant Information

Students who have been notified that they have been admitted into the program leading to certification as a doctoral candidate must enroll in the Cohort Program that begins immediately following admission. If this is not done, the student must reapply for admission. Doctoral students are expected to have read and complied with all current requirements for the management of their programs of study available in the following:

International applicants should note that a current permit from the New York State Board of Nursing is required to practice nursing and/or to do fieldwork.  Potential candidates who do not meet certain admission standards but who can demonstrate substantial ability shall have the option to petition the faculty of the program to be considered for admission based on alternative evidence of ability.

The next accelerated Doctor of Education cohort will begin in Fall 2018 semester.

Academic Coursework

The Ed.D. program requires a minimum of 90 points beyond the Baccalaureate degree. Of these 90 points, a maximum of half (45 points) may be taken elsewhere in an approved graduate program and transferred into Teachers College. Transfer credits will be evaluated and approved in keeping with current Teachers College policy. Their usability or applicability to the student's Program Plan will be determined by an assigned Faculty Advisor. Programs may exceed 90 points to provide a suitable basis for the dissertation and program requirements.

The Doctoral Cohort Program spans six semesters, three courses per semester, meeting every Friday. In addition, doctoral students must become certified and must satisfactorily complete requirements for a dissertation, usually following completion of coursework.

Course Requirements

Programmatic course content areas that are speciic to nursing and healthcare organization and leadership follow. Course equivalents for requirements prior to admission are determined by Faculty Advisor.

Required Core Nursing Courses (Foundations) (Major)
Theory of Nursing (3 Points)
Interdisciplinary Theory (3 Points)
Nursing Science (3 Points)
Informatics - Beginning and Advanced (3 Points)
Crisis Intervention (3 Points)
Health Problems and Issues (3 Points)
ORLN 5005 Interdisciplinary Theory in Nursing (3 Points)


Required Specialization Courses (Role Concentration) (Major and Broad and Basic)
Leadership and Management (3 Points)
Personnel Management (3 Points)
Fiscal Management (3 Points)
Nursing Administration (3 Points)
Legal Issues in Healthcare (3 Points)
ORLN 6514 Marketing Nursing Programs (3 Points)
ORL 5551 Ethics for Healthcare Professionals (3 Points)
ORLN 6615 Colloquium in Nursing Administration (3 Points)
ORLN 6522 Policy Formation and Governance in Healthcare (3 Points)
ORL 6011 Advanced System Management (3 Points)
ORLN 6014 Managing the Socially Responsible Organization (3 Points)
ORLN 6511 Innovations in Nursing Management (3 Points)
ORLN 6635 Colloquium in Nursing Education (3 Points)
A&HF 4090 Philosophies of Education (3 Points)
ORLN 5011 Designing, Planning and Monitoring the Nursing Care System (3 Points)


Required Core Research Courses
Methods of Nursing Research (3 Points)
Basic Concepts in Statistics (3 Points)
ORLN 5043 Nursing Research Development (3 Points)
HUDM 4122 Probability and Statistical Inference (3 Points)
ORL  6500  Qualitative Research  (3 Points)


Doctoral Dissertation Courses (Research Courses)
ORLN 6540 Seminar on Dissertation Design Development
Prerequisites: ORLN 5043, ORLN 4005, ORLN 5005, statistics and Certification. 
This course may be repeated as often as necessary until the student is ready for the Departmental Dissertation Conference. Once ORLN 6540 has been taken, continuous Autumn and Spring enrollment in the course is required until the semester during which the Departmental Dissertation Conference is held.
(3 Points)
ORLN 6541 Advanced Seminar on Dissertation Design Development
Prerequisites: ORLN 6540 and Certification
Corequisite: ORLN 7500
(3 Points)
ORLN 7500 Dissertation Seminar in Nursing
Prerequisites: ORLN 6540 and Certification
Corequisite: ORLN 6541
ORLN 6541 and ORLN 7500 are to be taken in the semester in which the Departmental Conference Examination is to be held. They may only be taken once. If the student does not complete and pass the Departmental Dissertation Conference during the semester that ORLN 7500 is taken, the student will receive an Incomplete in ORLN 7500. The incomplete is removed upon passing the Departmental Dissertation Conference at a later semester.
(3 Points)
ORLN 7900 Directed Dissertation Research
After coursework is completed, this course must be taken continuously every semester, up to and including the semester in which the "Defense" is held and the revised and/or completed dissertation is submitted to the Office of Doctoral Studies.
(3 Points)


Statistics Core Courses
The Department requires a two-course sequence in statistics or in a selected area of research methods in addition to the college requirement for HUDM 4122.

Approved by Professor Elaine La Monica Rigolosi, Program Director, Executive Program for Nurses,Department of Organization and Leadership, February 1, 2018.


In addition to the Teachers College policies regarding the certification process explicated in Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education, the Executive Program for Nurses advises you of the following:

Purposes of Certification

  • To ascertain the candidate's knowledge of the current issues in nursing and healthcare and the specialization of organization and leadership.
  • To determine the candidate's ability to analyze critically the positions taken on current issues by leaders in nursing and healthcare.
  • To determine the candidate's ability to take a realistic position on the issues in nursing and healthcare, and to support that position through the creative use of fact, opinion, and reason.
  • To determine the candidate's ability to communicate ideas effectively.

Content of Examination

  • The morning examination is in the general field of nursing and healthcare. The content relates to current issues, trends, and goals. The student is expected to demonstrate application of a personal philosophy and knowledge of the nursing and healthcare domains.
  • The afternoon examination is related to the specialization for which the student is preparing. The content will focus on specific problems, issues, and trends in the practice of organization and leadership in healthcare environments.

Rating of Examination

Faculty Members in the Executive Program for Nurses read the personally unidentified examinations and independent ratings are made. A composite rating of the examinations is evaluated for pass or fail by the Faculty and then is compiled by the Program Manager.

The student is expected to answer the questions asked, demonstrating a high level of scholarship and knowledge of grammar and composition. Further, the student must demonstrate evidence of logical reasoning, originality, creativity, breadth of vision, and knowledge of pertinent literature in the field.

Certification Examination Schedule

The examinations are given during the third semester of coursework and are available during the subsequent, regular, academic semester, if necessary. Failure on the certification examination is of concern not only to the student but also to the Faculty of the Program. Therefore, students unsuccessful on this examination will be required to consult their Advisors to review their status and goals. Upon approval of the Advisor and recommendation from the Faculty of the Program, the student will be permitted to write the certification examination at the next testing period. Students unable to write a successful examination on the second attempt must withdraw from the doctoral program.

Recommended Documents

It is recommended that doctoral students read the following documents and guides available at Teachers College, Columbia University in conjunction with this "Advisement Guide."

  • Current Teachers College, Columbia University Catalog
  • Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education
  • A Guide to the Oral Defense of the Doctoral Dissertation prepared by the Committee on the Ed.D. Degree.
  • Computation of Grade Deciles
  • Statement of Total Program for Doctor of Education Ed.D. and Ed.D. CTAS Students
  • Report of a Departmental Dissertation Conference: Proposal Hearing Form
  • General Instructions for the Preparation of Dissertations for the Doctor of Education Dissertations: A Manual of Style
  • The Ed.D. & Ph.D. Doctoral Certification Application
  • Departmental Policies for Student Progress and Degree Completion in Organization and Leadership.

Note: This Guide should be read in conjunction with the current Teachers College Catalog. The student is responsible for meeting the requirements in both documents. If an inconsistency in student interpretation exists between this Guide and the Teachers College Catalog, policies in the Teachers College Catalog prevail.

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