EdD (Child & Family Development) program

1. Introduction

AGST Alliance’s Doctor of Education in Child and Family Development program seeks to integrate Christian theology with practice, to sustain and motivate Christians giving leadership in the demanding arena of child and family development.

Our EdD(C&FD) is an advanced professional qualification for Asians and non-Asians based in Asia, who are leaders-practitioners in organisations/institutions focusing on advocacy, development and/or social welfare with children and families. Participants may be working in specifically Christian or ‘secular’ organisations/NGOs.

Our EdD(C&FD) is designed to produce graduates who are academically competent, professionally alert and passionate, and who are able to:

  • integrate informed Christian thinking with human development and social science theory to develop best professional practices in the service of children and families.
  • demonstrate mature, creative and nurturing leadership in their organisations/ institutions.
  • facilitate research and development on contemporary children and family issues that incorporates sound Christian perspectives and values, as witness to a loving and redeeming God.

Graduates are likely to take up (or continue in) senior leadership positions in their institutions. They are also likely to be invited to teach applied courses in theological education institutions. Our EdD(C&FD) program is non-residentialmodular and (for most participants) part-time.

  • No need for major ministry and family upheavals for several years.
  • Studies are earthed in candidates’ current social, church and vocational settings.
  • Some flexibility is possible.

See a comparison of our education programs (PostGrad Dip-Ed, MTh-Ed, EdD and PhD-Ed)

2. Who for?

Our EdD(C&FD) program is likely to suit leaders-practitioners who

  • are directors/senior leaders of children and family organisations/NGOs who desire to upgrade their qualifications with an advanced professional award. Their organisations may be Christian-based or ‘secular’.
  • are seeking to enhance their professional practice (and their organisation’s) by heightened integration between their practice and informed Christian thinking.
  • are trainers/facilitators in Christian-based organisations/social services who hold a master-level degree but without formal bible/theological qualifications.
  • are graduates of the Holistic Child Development Institute’s MA in HCD program, who wish to engage in further study in the same discipline.
  • probably prefer a field-focused, action-reflection approach to learning over a more text-focused philosophical-reflective approach (which a PhD would usually require).

3. Entry requirements

Applicants for the EdD(C&FD) need to meet these prerequisites:

  • At least 3-5 years relevant experience in a child and family-focused venture.
  • Currently in (or about to take up) a significant leadership position in an organisation/institution with a focus on service among children and families, and in which enhanced Christian perspectives play a substantial role.
  • A tertiary degree from a recognised institution. Normally this will be a masters-level qualification in child and family development or a related discipline (e.g. one of the social sciences). However, tertiary qualifications in other disciplines will also be considered.
  • Able to demonstrate reasonable competency in biblical/theological thinking. Formal theological qualifications (e.g. MDiv) will be beneficial.
  • English language proficiency: at least IELTS 6.0 or TOEFL 550 (Computer-based score 213; Internet-based score 80).
  • Be commended for the EdD(C&FD) program by reputable leaders who know you professionally, academically and personally.

Participants may live in countries other than those represented by AGST Alliance.

Normally students will be accepted into AGST Alliance programs on the basis of the stated prerequisite qualifications. However, applicants who do not meet the stated entry requirements may be considered for this program if their general education, scholarship, training and experience are deemed suitable, and if they are deemed as well qualified as those who are able to satisfy the normal entrance requirements. Applications based on equivalency will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account a portfolio of work/ministry experience, publications and other relevant factors.

4. Program components

Our AGST Alliance EdD(C&FD) is a 36 credits program, with these components:

  • Coursework – 18 credits
  • Critical engagement project – 3 credits
  • Dissertation – 15 credits

A. Coursework (18 credits)

You complete 6 modules for 18 credits:

  • Three core modules @ 3 credits per module.
  • Two interest-specific modules @3 credits per module.
  • A compulsory research methods module @ 3 credits.

Each module involves:

  • pre-campus preparation: reading and assignments.
  • a 5-7 day intensive on-campus session.
  • post-campus reading and assignments.

(a 3-credit module spans about 4 months)

Core modules are non-negotiable. The two interest-specific modules can be from other AGST Alliance’s programs (Theology and DMin). Cross-credited modules need to be at the appropriate academic level and related to educational concerns.

B. Critical engagement project (3 credits)

This personalised field-based project is designed to encourage and enhance critically reflective, creative practice. The process will help you identify and examine the assumptions (personal, socio-cultural, theological, academic, etc.) underlying your educational approach(es), and how these assumptions influence your practice. A mentor-coach journeys with you through the critical engagement project.

C. Dissertation (15 credits)

The dissertation is designed to demonstrate your competence to integrate the theory of the various social science disciplines and Christian thought with your professional practice. It will comprise an original applied research project that demonstrates sound Christian reflection and which is designed to enhance informed and improved personal and organisational practices.

The length of the dissertation will normally fall in the range of 30,000-45,000 words (excluding references and appendices, but including footnotes), depending on the nature of the research. The dissertation is likely to have a significant quantitative or qualitative element to it. The dissertation will probably require 15-18 months work after you complete the coursework. A supervisor will be with you through the dissertation process. Two competent external examiners will be appointed to examine the submitted dissertation.

5. Module topics

Core Modules (9 credits):

– Education, Spiritual Formation, and Discipleship (3 credits)
This module is designed to enable leaders in Christian ministries to reflect on spiritual growth in a time of fluidity and change. In this module, we will examine the underlying principles of Christian education, spiritual formation, and discipleship process. We will evaluate the inner life of educators, spiritual formation communities and their missional aspects. We will also look at pedagogy in faith communities in this digital interconnected world.

– Educational Theories and Instructional Design (3 credits)
This module explores educational psychology and teaching-learning theories in context of educating the Christian faith communities. The strengths and weaknesses of a wide range of contemporary teaching-learning strategies are discussed. Topics include relational dynamics in the teaching-learning process, teaching methodologies, communicative tools, and collaboration for empowerment.

– Curriculum Design and Development (3 credits)
This module highlights the essence of what it means to be a community of God’s people; and discusses the trends, principles, and procedures of an effective curriculum to educate God’s people in the faith. The discussions cover the biblical, historical, and social traditions that influence the believers’ expressions of faith in worship and congregational life.  

Interest-specific Modules (6 credits)

There are two “interest-specific” modules to provide the students with space to study the areas of interest either class-based, as guided study, or credit transfer.  The AGST Alliance criteria apply, and modules that are cross-credited must have proof of a transcript.

Research Method (3 credits)

This module sets the direction for the research dissertation. The learning process will either be conducted online, class-based, or a hybrid of learning methods. C&FD students will focus on an area in child and family development and education. For a passing grade, the student must show evidences of understanding the research process and its expectations, and produce an acceptable Focus of Interest (FOI). 

Critical Engagement Project (3 credits)

This personalised field-based project is designed to encourage and enhance critically reflective, creative practice. The process helps the students to identify and examine the assumptions (personal, socio-cultural, theological, academic, etc.) underlying their educational approach(es), and how these assumptions influence personal practice. A mentor-coach journeys with each student through the critical engagement project. The duration is approximately 4 months.

Dissertation (15 credits)

The dissertation is designed to demonstrate the student’s competence to integrate educational, social science and spiritual formation theories with professional practice. It will comprise original applied research that demonstrates advanced theological reflection and which is designed to enhance informed and improved educational and ministerial practices. 

The length of the dissertation will normally fall in the range of 45,000 words (excluding references and appendices, but including footnotes), depending on the nature of the research. A supervisor will be assigned to the student.

6. Module Dates

These dates may be amended, subject to the availability of the module facilitators and campus facilities.

2024 Program Schedule across all programs here.

7. Academic expectations

8. Assessment Criteria

9. Fees & costs

10. Frequently Asked Questions

11. Application Procedures

Download and submit these application papers to apply (right-click > “save link as” to save):

•   Application form (correct as at 6 March 2020)
•   Commendation form (2 commendations required)
•   Student Support Memorandum of Understanding guidelines and form

If you prefer to have a set of application papers to be posted to you, please email us. Make sure you include your full postal address.

We prefer that initially you email your application papers to us, in soft-copy format (i.e. as e-documents). When scanning transcripts, photos, etc., please set the resolution to standard/medium, so that files are not too large. As we process your application, we may request hard-copy (i.e. paper) copies of items.

12. Contact

For further questions about this program:
Dr Rosalind Lim-Tan
Education Programs Director
Email: edudirector@agstalliance.org