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Concordia University Chicago to offer PhDs in growing doctoral program, reorganizes in commitment to research


Concordia University Chicago has entered the ranks of research-intensive, PhD-level graduate schools in Illinois.

In February, the Higher Learning Commission granted accreditation for the university to offer a PhD in leadership. As a result, Concordia–Chicago will add a doctor of philosophy (PhD) to its doctor of education (EdD) in leadership with the following specializations:

  • Early childhood education
  • Educational leadership
  • Higher education leadership
  • Organizational leadership
  • Sports leadership
  • Teacher leadership

“We recognize the value of continuing education throughout one’s life. Our PhD program exemplifies an unwavering commitment to excellence in academic programs and innovative learning models”, said, John F. Johnson, PhD, president of Concordia University Chicago.

 “Our PhD program will focus on the development of scholars and researchers who will have a sophisticated and integrated understanding of the foundations of scientific inquiry,” said Thomas P. Jandris, PhD, vice president for educational innovation and dean of the College of Graduate and Innovative Programs.

The PhD process will place emphasis on theory, research inquiry and knowledge production.

“The ultimate goal of this process will be for candidates to generate original, relevant research that will enhance and promote the knowledge of their discipline,” said Dr. Jandris.

In contrast, the existing EdD program prepares practitioner-scholars for senior administrative roles through which they can transform practice and promote organizational change and advocacy. Graduates have risen to leadership positions in education—from K-12 to community colleges to universities—as well as in the sports industry, health care and business.

Approximately 75 percent of the University’s doctoral students are enrolled in the educational leadership program. Its graduate programs in educational leadership enroll the largest number of students in programs of this kind among all Illinois public and private universities. Its candidates achieve 100 percent completion in passing state licensure exams.

Concordia University Chicago has seen strong, rapid expansion in the doctoral arena, especially online. Just four years ago, it received approval to offer its existing EdD in leadership online. In the fall of 2010, it graduated its first student to have completed all doctoral work online. Today, more than 200 candidates are in the dissertation phase of study, and approximately 500 students are enrolled in both face-to-face and online doctoral programs.

In response to expansion and growth in the doctoral arena, Concordia–Chicago has established a Division of Research and Doctoral Programs that will provide methodological and analytical support to doctoral students, hire new research faculty and methodologists and promote the development of scholars as researchers.

With the offering of a PhD in leadership, Concordia University Chicago anticipates increased an upward enrollment trend.


About Concordia University Chicago

Concordia University Chicago is a liberal arts-based Christian university in the Lutheran tradition. Through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, and College of Graduate and Innovative Programs, Concordia offers more than 100 areas of study in small classes taught by professors who are passionate about teaching and student success.

Concordia University Chicago was named as the second fastest growing campus among private nonprofit master’s institutions nationally by The Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2011 Almanac Edition. For the third consecutive year, combined undergraduate and graduate enrollment has exceeded more than 5,000 students. Concordia University Chicago is located in River Forest, 10 miles west of downtown Chicago. Learn more about Concordia–Chicago at Learn more about the College of Graduate and Innovative Programs at

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