Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Special Education
Academic Policies and Procedures
Completion of Coursework
A minimum of 60 credit hours post-master’s degree, including 18 credit hours of research courses are required for the doctoral degree.
Students must be enrolled continuously in the Ed.D. program. In case of a personal emergency, the 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A student who has withdrawn from a graduate program for personal reasons, (that is, other than dismissal for academic or ethical reasons) may reapply within one year of that withdrawal by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. Students who do not complete the dissertation at the end of the third year will be required to enroll in an ongoing one-credit per semester Dissertation Preparation II (ED 902) 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 first and second semesters of their first year of doctoral study (Practioner Research I & II), students begin to work on their qualifying submission which includes two literature reviews and a Self As Scholar paper.Combined these three documents are the Qualifying Project. . Through this requirement, students demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of their area of interest. The literature reviews include a comprehensive review of the literature and questions or issues in need of research, focusing upon the area of research that will constitute the doctoral dissertation . Faculty advisers for the qualifying project include the professors of Action Research I & II. . The final paper is reviewed and assessed by the student’s professors and one additional faculty member from the program.. It is expected that the literature review portion of the qualifying paper will be publication quality.
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) passing the qualifying project. A copy of the qualifying project and the appropriate paperwork will placed on file for review by the Department Chair and the Graduate Dean.
Students who are not making appropriate progress will be counseled out of the program at the end of that given year of coursework. Students who engage in any other 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
During the research course series doctoral candidates will learn research methodology as well as progress steadily on their dissertation proposal. During years 2& 3 students will have the opportunity to develop a Dissertation Action Plan (presented in class) including topic area, goals, research questions, target participants, design plan, scope of intervention, and preferences for Committee Chair. Once a committee Chair has been assigned to the candidate and they have met to finalize research questions and consider methodology, the Chair and the candidate will collaboratively choose the other members of the Dissertation Committee.While the Proposal requires much individual effort it is the intention of the coursework in research to support the development of the Proposal by the middle of the third year of class.
The dissertation proposal is reviewed first by the chair, then by the committee. The 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 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 a meaningful academic research experience that contributes knowledge to the field of special education, contributes to improving special education practice in the field, and documents student mastery of chosen research methods. Dissertations are evaluated on their innovation and contribution to the field of special education, organization, written expression, research methodology, and data analysis. Students work on high-quality applied research projects grounded in data from the field. Dissertations are individually developed, written, and assessed according to such standards as would govern publication in a juried journal. Members of the student’s dissertation committee work closely with the student to develop and supervise the project.
Dissertations may span the continuum of special education influence from rigorous and comprehensive case studies or program evaluation to an original research project employing single subject design. Methodologies may include qualitative or quantitative data collection and analysis with a preference for mixed methods. The written dissertation should incorporate the following standard 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.