Doctor of Educational Leadership Academic Policies and Procedures
Completion of Coursework
A minimum of 55 credit hours post-master’s degree are required for the doctoral degree. Students completing their dissertation in the 4th year of study will have a minimum of 58 credit hours post-master’s degree.
Students must be enrolled continuously in the Ed. D. program. In case of a personal emergency, a student may petition the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies for a leave of absence; however, this is not guaranteed.
A student who has withdrawn from a graduate program for personal reasons, (that is, other than dismissal for academic or ethical reasons) may reapply within one year of that withdrawal by sending a letter requesting reinstatement to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. The Dean forwards that request to the appropriate departmental admissions committee, which will communicate its decision to the student. In some cases, a student may be asked to submit materials updating the original application. If the withdrawal was granted contingent upon some action(s) on the part of the student, the student also will be required to demonstrate that the recommended steps have been taken. If more than one year has elapsed, a completely new application must be submitted to the Office of Enrollment Management.
All coursework must be completed within five years of admission to study. Dissertation must be completed within five years of admission to candidacy (which occurs after successful completion of the qualifying project). Students who do not complete the dissertation at the end of the third year will be required to enroll in an ongoing 1-credit per semester Dissertation Preparation II (ED 902) course until their dissertation is completed, defended, and approved.
While the program is designed to be completed in three to four years, the amount of time a student may need to complete his or her dissertation, write, and defend it may vary. Students complete the program in either their third or fourth years, depending on project length, complexity, and time available to devote to the project.
In the second semester of their first year of doctoral study (ED 751 Foundations of Inquiry: Quantitative Research), students complete a qualifying project. The qualifying project typically focuses upon an area of research that is of interest to the student, that may constitute the doctoral project. It includes a comprehensive review of the literature; specific questions for further study arising from the literature review; and an analysis of current research findings (research synthesis) responding to those questions. Faculty advisers for the qualifying paper include the professor of Practitioner Research II and other faculty in the program, as advised. The project is reviewed and assessed by the student’s professor and the Doctoral program faculty, and successful completion of the project precedes a student’s advancement to candidacy and continuation in the second year of coursework.
Students will advance to doctoral candidacy upon successful completion of all of the following requirements: (1) the first year of study with a minimum GPA of 3.0; (2) a successful First Year Evaluation and faculty approval for continuance; and (3) successful completion of the qualifying project.
Students who are not making appropriate progress will be counseled out of the program at the end of a given year of coursework. Students who engage in any other activity that would support a reason for dismissal (cheating, plagiarism) may be asked to leave immediately or at the end of the semester. Continuance in the program for those with under a 3.0 GPA will be conditional for the next semester provided their grade point average improves to at least that level during that time.
Development of the Dissertation Proposal
In all matters related to the dissertation, students should refer to the Doctoral Student Handbook for specific procedures and frameworks for developing and completing all stages of dissertation writing and development. During ED 800 Doctoral Dissertation Seminar I, each student develops a Preliminary Dissertation Action Plan (presented in class during the semester) including topic area, goals, research questions, target participants, design plan, scope of intervention, and preferences for Committee Chair and members. Their committees provide them with additional feedback prior to or during the next semester. During ED 801 and ED 802, Doctoral Dissertation Seminars I and II, students continue to develop their dissertation proposals in collaboration with their dissertation Chairs and Committee members.
The dissertation proposal is reviewed first by the Chair, then by the Committee. The Committee Chair decides when a proposal is ready for defense. During the defense, the proposal is presented to the student’s Committee, with the Education faculty, community members, and Graduate Dean invited to attend and pose questions. Final passage of the proposal and necessary revisions is decided by the Committee.
Dissertations are intended to provide students with meaningful academic research experiences that contribute knowledge to the field of educational leadership, contribute to improving school/district leadership practice in the field, and document student mastery of chosen research methods. Dissertations are evaluated on their innovation and contribution to the field of educational leadership, organization, written expression, research design and methodology, data analysis, and conclusions and implications for theory and practice. Students work on high-quality, applied research projects grounded in structured and systematic data collection and analysis. Dissertations are individually developed, written, and assessed according to professional, peer-review standards of quality and rigor. Members of the student’s dissertation committee work closely with the student to develop and supervise the project.
Dissertations may span the continuum of educational leadership influence from rigorous and comprehensive case studies or program evaluation to intervention studies or an original research project employing single subject design. As with all research, the design of the inquiry will be grounded in the research questions. Designs and methodologies may be quantitative or qualitative in nature, or employ rigorous mixed methods frameworks. The written dissertation should incorporate, at a minimum, the following standard sections (see Doctoral Handbook for further descriptions of these sections):
- Chapter 1: Introduction/Rationale/Overview and Statement of the Problem
- Chapter 2: Literature Review
- Chapter 3: Methods
- Chapter 4: Research Findings
- Chapter 5: Conclusions.
The dissertation defense takes place before the student’s Dissertation Committee and is open to Arcadia University administrators and faculty members as well as the public. Final approval of the dissertation requires written consent of all members of the Dissertation Committee.