Ed.D. in Instructional Systems Design and Technology


The Doctorate in Instructional Systems Design and Technology (ISDT Ed.D.) is a fully online cohort-based professional practice and scholarly doctoral program designed to prepare individuals across a wide range of industries, including PK-16 education, corporate training, healthcare, government, military, and non-profit organizations, to become leaders and scholars in designing, implementing, and evaluating effective digital learning solutions. The program is dedicated to developing individuals who can lead and transform educational institutions, organizations, and industries. It aims to cultivate graduates who are well-prepared to navigate the complexities of technology-enabled learning leadership and possess a deep understanding of the social, ethical, and legal dimensions of the digital landscape.

Upon completion of the degree, graduates will possess the following capabilities and be equipped to assume leadership roles as instructional designers, educational consultants, technology integration specialists, researchers, faculty members in higher education, and other related positions:

  • Inspire and lead the development and implementation of a shared vision for comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformation throughout the organization.

  • Create, promote, and sustain a dynamic, digital-age learning culture that provides rigorous, relevant, and engaging learning experiences for all learners.

  • Foster an environment of professional learning and innovation that empowers others to enhance learning through the infusion of contemporary technologies and digital resources.

  • Provide digital-age leadership and management to continually improve the organization through the effective use of information and technology resources.

  • Model and facilitate understanding of social, ethical, and legal issues and responsibilities related to an evolving digital culture.


Our vision is to be a premier doctoral program in Instructional Systems Design and Technology, empowering individuals across diverse industries to excel as leaders and scholars in designing, implementing, and evaluating impactful digital learning solutions.


Our mission is to prepare forward-thinking leaders and scholars in Instructional Systems Design and Technology, equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to drive innovation and excellence in designing, implementing, and evaluating effective digital learning solutions across diverse industries, including education, corporate training, healthcare, government, military, and non-profit organizations.


Grounded in research-based educational practices, our program encompasses a set of focused goals designed to develop research expertise, foster comprehensive knowledge and skills, cultivate critical thinking and intellectual curiosity, prepare students for leadership roles, encourage collaboration and interdisciplinary engagement, and focus on the professional application of instructional systems design and technology. By pursuing the following goals, we aim to equip our students with the knowledge, skills, and mindset to make meaningful contributions in their fields, driving innovation and positively impacting the design and implementation of digital learning solutions across various industries:

  • Develop Research Expertise: Provide students with a deep understanding of research practices in instructional systems design and technology, including acquiring substantive knowledge of the field and developing the ability to design and conduct research studies.
  • Acquire Comprehensive Knowledge and Skills: Foster a thorough understanding of major controversies, theoretical positions, and emerging trends in instructional systems design and technology. Enable students to articulate researchable questions and apply advanced knowledge and skills to design, implement, and evaluate effective digital learning solutions.
  • Cultivate Critical Thinking and Intellectual Curiosity: Encourage students to develop habits of mind that foster curiosity, critical analysis, and openness to changing perspectives based on well-founded arguments and evidence.
  • Prepare for Leadership Roles: Equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to assume leadership positions in research, consultation, and personnel preparation in instructional systems design and technology across diverse industries.
  • Foster Collaboration and Interdisciplinary Engagement: Promote collaboration and interdisciplinary approaches to problem-solving, encouraging students to work effectively with diverse stakeholders in designing and implementing innovative digital learning solutions.
  • Focus on Professional Application: Prepare educators to fulfill professional roles primarily in school-based settings, higher education institutions, and business and industry organizations, where they can apply their expertise to design, implement, and evaluate effective digital learning solutions that meet the unique needs of learners across a wide range of industries.

​​Additional Information

Reference the Program Landing Page for additional information, such as cost, delivery format, contact information, or to schedule a visit.

Application Deadlines

Cohort Classes Begin Application Deadline
Instructional Systems Design and Technology Fall (August) August 1

Priority Application Deadline: March 1

Application Requirements for Doctoral Program in Instructional Systems Design and Technology

To be eligible for admission to the Doctoral Program in Instructional Systems Design and Technology, applicants are required to submit the following documents and fulfill specific criteria:
  • Graduate Studies Application: Submission of a Graduate Studies Application along with the corresponding application fee. Upon submission of the application, the applicant will receive an email to create their SHSU Self-Service portal. 

  • Official Transcripts: Presentation of official transcripts demonstrating the attainment of both a bachelor's and master's degree from accredited institutions. Applicants seeking admission to the professional practice Doctoral Program in Instructional Systems Design and Technology must hold a master's degree in Instructional Systems Design and Technology or a related field that encompasses the essential foundational knowledge for this program. Proof of graduation from accredited institutions at both the bachelor's and master's levels is mandatory. Additionally, applicants must have a graduate GPA of 3.5 or higher.

  • Professional Work Sample: Inclusion of a sample of the applicant's professional work, which may consist of a published article or a project related to instructional technology design or multimedia design. This work should serve as evidence of the applicant's potential for scholarly achievement at the doctoral level and should be accompanied by a statement outlining the applicant's professional objectives.

  • Current Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV): Submission of an up-to-date and comprehensive resume or curriculum vitae.

  • Letters of Recommendation: Provision of two letters of recommendation from individuals in educational or direct service settings. One of these recommendations should specifically address the applicant's direct experiences with instructional technology or multimedia design and evaluate the applicant's potential for success in the doctoral program.

  • Personal Interview: After an applicant's SHSU Self-Service portal has been created, the program will send an email with instructions for the pre-recorded interview. This interview consists of a 4-5 minute video during which applicants will respond to questions provided by the program. This interview serves as an opportunity for candidates to showcase their potential for leadership, express their dedication to service, and convey their enthusiasm for applied research within the program. 

Additional Considerations

  • Professional Experience: Preference will be given to applicants who possess a minimum of three years of teaching, direct service, or administrative experience directly or substantially related to instructional technology or multimedia design. Such professional experiences in the applicant's background will be considered as evidence of both direct service roles and a strong commitment to the field of instructional technology.
  • Probationary Admission: Applicants who do not meet one of the criteria outlined above may still be considered for probationary admission if they are sponsored by a doctoral faculty member.

Plan of Study

To obtain the Ed.D. in Instructional Systems Design and Technology, each student must complete a minimum of 60 unique graduate credit hours, which are divided into two phases. This two-phase process typically consists of 48 hours of core coursework followed by 12 hours of dissertation work. In accordance with the cohort model, students commence and typically conclude the core coursework phase of the program alongside a consistent group of peers.

Upon completion of approximately 42 credit hours of required coursework, typically during the fall semester of the doctoral student's third year in the ISDT Ed.D. program, students finalize the comprehensive examination process with a digital portfolio known as a dossier. The doctoral dossier serves as a structured platform to present and organize the competencies achieved by the individual doctoral student within the program. With the aim of equipping students with the necessary knowledge, skills, dispositions, and experiences for success in the field, the dossier serves as the primary evaluative artifact for the qualifying comprehensive exam prior to admission to candidacy. Furthermore, it establishes the groundwork for the student's scholarly vita/resume as they prepare to contribute to their chosen area within the field. The dossier exemplifies professional competencies in scholarship, learning design, and service, showcasing quality efforts that go beyond routine competence. It demonstrates the student's commitment to excellence and their contributions to the field. The student must be enrolled during the semester the dossier review is conducted. 

Although the dissertation phase of the program is designed to be completed in 12 credit hours, the duration of the dissertation, from start to finish, is largely dependent upon each individual student’s diligence and consistent communication with their dissertation chair. Continuous enrollment in Doctoral Dissertation hours (ISDT 8333) is required until degree completion.

This degree program does not have a residency requirement.

Doctorate of Education in Instructional Systems Design and Technology
Instructional Systems Design and Technology Core
ISDT 7315Educational Network Design3
ISDT 7325Technology Sustainability3
ISDT 7335Management Application Analysis3
ISDT 7336Instructional Design Assessment3
ISDT 7350Issues in Instructional Technology3
ISDT 7351Distance Learning II3
ISDT 7352Instructional Planning3
ISDT 7353Professional Development3
ISDT 7354Leadership in Technology Administration3
ISDT 7355Program Evaluation3
ISDT 7385Doctoral Internship3
ISDT 7388Doctoral Field Studies3
Educational Research Core
EDER 7362Methods of Education Research3
EDER 7365Statistical Methods3
EDER 7372Qualitative Inquiry3
EDER 7374Advanced Statistical Methods3
Dissertation Required Courses
ISDT 7391Application of Research3
ISDT 8333Doctoral Dissertation 19
Total Hours60

ISDT 8333 must be taken at least three times for a minimum total of nine credit hours. Once enrolled in this course, the student must enroll in it until graduation.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) marketable skills initiative is part of the state’s 60x30TX plan and was designed to help students articulate their skills to employers.  Marketable skills are those skills valued by employers and/or graduate programs that can be applied in a variety of work or education settings and may include interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skill areas.

Graduates of the doctoral program in Instructional Systems Design and Technology are equipped with a diverse set of marketable skills valued by employers and graduate programs across various industries. Through our comprehensive curriculum, students develop expertise in instructional design, technology integration, curriculum development, research, and project management. These skills are applicable in PK-16 education, corporate training, healthcare, government, military, and non-profit organizations. As leaders and scholars in designing, implementing, and evaluating effective digital learning solutions, our graduates possess the following marketable skills:

  • Instructional Design and Technology Integration: Analyze learners' needs, design effective learning experiences, integrate technology tools to enhance learning, and solve instructional and training problems.
  • Curriculum Development and Assessment: Align learning objectives with educational standards, design assessments to measure learning outcomes, and ensure effective curriculum development.
  • Research and Data Analysis: Conduct research studies, analyze data using statistical and computational methods, and effectively communicate research findings.
  • Project Management and Implementation: Manage complex projects throughout the entire process, from needs analysis to design, implementation, and evaluation.
  • Scholarly Communication and Presentation: Expertise in scholarly writing, including producing high-quality research papers and grant proposals, and presenting learning ideas creatively using multimedia tools.
  • Virtual Teamwork and Collaboration: Effective and efficient in virtual team environments, utilizing communication and collaboration technologies to achieve shared goals.