Be a force for positive change.

We offer a unique experience for educational practitioners interested in the study and practice of transformative leadership. Our students focus on a critical examination of themselves to understand their role in the education system and are committed to disrupting and rebuilding this system.

The program focuses on the study and practice of transformative leadership for social change through education.  We purposefully recruit students from every educational sector (K12 education, higher education, private schools, charter schools, and non-profit educational organizations). 

Located in Stockton


Hybrid course format* 


56 units program length

Action-Oriented Dissertation Process

We've created a unique dissertation process that allows you to customize your work in an area of personal and professional interest. Most importantly, your dissertation involves the application of your work through an applied, field-based project. This model allows you to make a real-world impact while conducting an individually transformative inquiry project.

Project-based Dissertation

Our faculty work with each student in deciding which type of dissertation is most appropriate to address a "problem of practice," with the ultimate goal of producing innovative and creative solutions using one of several methodologies including Action Research, Design Thinking, Program Evaluation, and Case Study.

Applied Inquiry Coursework

An important feature of the Pacific program is the Applied Inquiry coursework. Through a series of four courses, you complete a large percentage of your dissertation work during your regular courses. Our students begin working toward completing their dissertation proposal in the first semester. The entire draft proposal is targeted for completion in the first semester of Year 3.

Supportive Community

A distinctive element of our program is the structured individual and group support that continues through graduation.  Traditionally, the dissertation writing process is an isolated, individual endeavor.  While our dissertations consist of individual research, we have unique cohort support structures in place that help you to move through the process with others.  Students continue meeting as a group until they defend their dissertation.  

Course Sequence

Year 1, Fall
EDUC 319 Teaching as a Subversive Activity   
EDUC 352 Applied Inquiry I 

Year 1, Spring
EDUC 315 Cultural, Social, and Emotional Literacy (Term A)
EDUC 314 Socio-Cultural Perspectives and Inquiry (Term B)
EDUC 354 Applied Inquiry II

Year 1, Summer
EDUC 202 Statistical Thinking 
EDUC 317 Aesthetics, Arts, and Imagination 
2 courses over 10 weeks   

Year 2, Fall
EDUC 322 Qualitative Research Design & Methods
EDUC 353 Interdisciplinary Ways of Seeing, Knowing and Acting

Year 2, Spring
EDUC 325 Quantitative Research Design & Methods
EDUC 368 Leading Complex Organizations (Term A)
EDUC 360 Trends, Issues, and Dynamics of Change (Term B)  

Year 2, Summer
EDUC 356 Applied Inquiry III (Begin work with Dissertation Chair)
EDUC 372M Measuring Social Impact 
2 courses over 10 weeks  

Year 3, Fall
EDUC 358 Applied Inquiry IV
EDUC 316 Systems Thinking and Interdisciplinary Curriculum Inquiry  

Year 3, Spring
EDUC 367 Leading in Diverse Organizations 
EDUC 359 Dissertation Learning Community
Meetings & collaborative writing support spans through graduation after the course ends   

Year 3, Summer
EDUC 399 Doctoral Dissertation  


Year 4, Fall
EDUC 399 Doctoral Dissertation 
Defend Dissertation 

Year 4, Spring
Only if needed:
EDU 399: Doctoral Dissertation
Defend Dissertation
Graduation Ceremony

Total Units Required for Graduation: 56 
Course sequence subject to change. 

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Contact Us

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Benerd College
209.946.2683

3601 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA 95211