Degree Requirements for EdD, PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Degree page Image Successful completion of the program of study requires completing 82 credits worth of courses, colloquia, seminars and thesis and achieving a GPA of 3.0 or higher; passing the written and oral comprehensive examination; and successfully defending a final Dissertation. 

Students will earn a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy studies; in the event that a student cannot complete the doctoral requirements,  he or she will be granted a Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership and Policy. Upon successful completion of coursework in Years Three and Four (42 additional credits), submittal and defense of the Dissertation to the satisfaction of the corresponding doctoral committee, and approval for library submission of the dissertation, students will be awarded the EdD or PhD degree.

Transfer Credit

Up to 6 post-masters graduate credits from other universities may be accepted in transfer toward the first two year courses of the program. No transfers will be made for the advanced doctoral electives.  Courses are subject to approval for transfer by the Graduate Coordinator in consultation with the Graduate Program Committee. Only courses for which students earned a grade of 3.00 or better will be considered for transfer. Transfer credit from research projects or field experiences will be assessed on a case by case basis.


At the end of Year Two, students will take a written comprehensive examination. An oral examination will also be held in which students defend arguments and positions expressed in their written exams. Results from this examination, along with students’ research reports and e-portfolios, will help the Graduate Program Committee determine who will be admitted to the next stage of the doctoral program and, also, which degree track will be chosen.

In Years Three and Four, the doctoral tracks differ in content and focus. In essence, the EdD track is directed more towards educational practice and the application of theory and research, and the PhD track is more research-theory policy oriented. In both cases, students enroll in at least four dissertation seminars and are assigned specialized advisors to help them conceptualize, organize, write and finish their dissertations.

Minimum Criteria

All students’ academic progress is closely monitored to insure that they stay on track and on schedule as much as possible.  In those cases where the student’s cumulative GPA drops below 3.0 (on a four-point scale) after 20 credits the Graduate Program Director may impose a “probation period” offering a year to recover their cumulative GPA score to 3.0 or higher. If the student does not succeed during this time, he or she will be dismissed from the program.  Individuals who have been dismissed may be allowed to re-enter the program at a later time if they reapply for admission and show new evidence of academic credibility.

Expected Time to Graduate

The curriculum and advising in the doctoral program is structured so that students can complete the EdD or PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in 4 years. If a student needs to extend the time he or she will be able to do so for a period not to exceed two additional years. In those cases, the student will have to submit a plan of action that explains why they need to extend the period beyond the prescribed 4 years and describe how and by when they will expect to finish and graduate. Such a plan will require approval by both their Dissertation Chair Advisor and the Graduate Program Director.  Requests for an additional 2 years will be granted on a case-by-case basis and only with express approval of the Graduate Program Director and Dean. 

In those cases where the student may need to complete pre-requisites, the time to graduation may be extended for up to one academic year. In those cases, the agreed upon extended period will be established upon admission to the program.