Frequently Asked Questions:
Ed.D. in Educational Leadership or Special Education

Is the program only for teachers and educational administrators?

The doctoral program in Educational Leadership (PreK-12) and the doctoral program in Special Education are open to applicants from a variety of backgrounds and professional roles, who envision themselves as leaders in public and private education organizations serving and/or preparing others to work with diverse school-aged populations, with and without disabilities. Our doctoral students have been teacher-leaders in their schools; supervisors of organizations dedicated to working with children and adults with disabilities; education consultants; district-level supervisors of special areas; assistant superintendents; higher education faculty in educator preparation programs; and principals and assistant principals at all levels of school-aged education settings.

What is the program length?

Courses are taken sequentially for three years. Students sometimes choose to complete their dissertation while taking classes; others choose to develop their dissertation proposal while taking courses and complete their data collection and analysis during a fourth or subsequent year while not taking additional courses.

When are classes held?

Students take two courses per semester  across the three years of coursework (Fall, Spring, and Summer (May/June) semesters). Some classes are provided in a partially online format. All classes, when they meet face-to-face, do so on Thursday evenings each semester, across the three years of coursework: The first course meets from 4:30-7:10 pm, the second, from 7:20-10pm. When students are to complete online work, they are expected to do so asynchronously, and often in collaboration with small group project members.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of a cohort program?

The Ed.D. programs facilitate collaboration and teamwork through modified cohort models. Students enter the program with a group of colleagues with whom they take courses and progress through the program. Cohort models have a number of advantages for students:

  • Cohorts provide students with study and support groups that enable them to gain maximum benefits from coursework and research.
  • Cohorts enable students to support each other as a group while accomplishing the major milestones of the program, including the qualifying paper and dissertation.
  • Because students move through the core program as a group, faculty are aware of what they have been taught and what is yet to be covered; this is especially important in addressing the research/critical thinking portion of the curriculum and building solid research skills.
  • Cohorts provide for high levels of ongoing support for individual student work and research development.

The cohort model allows students to move through the critical thinking/research component of the program as a group and, as such, to work supportively, reflectively, and collaboratively on developing, implementing, and writing their qualifying papers and dissertations.

Students’ progress and timelines vary during the dissertation proposal, implementation, and writing process. Contributing factors include the subject of the dissertation, the meeting of established timelines, issues of participant recruitment, implementation schedule, data analysis, and writing skills.

At times various events may surface for which students may decide to take a short leave of absence or take classes across multiple cohorts. Individual decisions and permissions are considered on a case-by-case basis, with the Director of the Ed.D. programs.

Can I transfer credits from other doctoral programs?

It may be possible to transfer doctoral-level credits, depending on the prior institution, the number of credits, as well as course content, learning, student performance/grade, and projects completed. No master’s-level coursework can be transferred or applied to the doctoral program, as the level of learning and performance is quite different between master’s-level and doctoral-level coursework and programming. Consultation with the doctoral program director, and evidence of prior work and course syllabi, are necessary for consideration of acceptance of transfer credits.

Can the program be completed within four years?

Yes, with determination, dedication and continued focus, and the willingness to produce high-level scholarly work and implement feedback provided by instructors and the dissertation committee.

How many students complete the program?

We have a very high rate of completion: approximately 85%. Nationally the student completion rate for doctoral programs is approximately 45%. The cohort model and supportiveness of our program faculty contribute to this high rate.

Can I complete certifications in conjunction with the Ed.D program?

Additional certification competencies are embedded in the doctoral programs, so if you wish to pursue, for example, supervisory cert, principal cert, Superintendent's letter of eligibility, all standards are embedded in the coursework with the exception of the required practicum and one additional course (which you can take as a required elective in the doctoral program). To receive final certification from the state, you would also have to pass the required Praxis exam as outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Do I need to take the GRE examination?

Test scores from the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken within the last five years are required.  The School of Education will waive GRE or MAT scores for alumnae who have completed their Arcadia University degree with a 3.5 cumulative grade point average within  5 years prior to fall date of enrollment.  All others may register to take the MAT at Arcadia’s King of Prussia Campus or a location of their choice.  The charge for testing at Arcadia University’s King of Prussia Campus will be $80 (as of summer, 2012; costs subject to change per MAT guidelines) and candidates are asked to bring a check made out to Arcadia University or money order (NO CASH WILL BE ACCEPTED).  Examinees are also required to bring 2 forms of ID, one with a picture on it.  To register for an upcoming test date please contact Tanya at 484-804-2323 or Ashley at 484-804-2324.

When can I apply?

Students are reviewed for admission on a revolving basis for the fall semester only.  The Priority Application Deadline is March 1st and the Priority Deposit Deadline is June 1st

To whom do I send my application materials?

All application material should be mailed to: The Office of Enrollment Management, Arcadia University, 450 S. Easton Road, Glenside, PA 19038 or emailed to Enrollment Management Counselor, Tiffany Still at

What is the Cost of the Program?

Total tuition for Ed.D Leadership (55-58 credits) cohort entering in Fall 2012 is $46,320. Total tuition for Ed.D Special Education (48 credits) cohort entering in Fall 2012 is $44,380.

Is financial aid available?

Although the federal and state governments do not offer grants or scholarship aid at the graduate level, listed below are the other types of assistance available to part-time graduate students. 

  • FEDERAL DIRECT STAFFORD LOANS: A Federal Direct Stafford Loan is available to matriculating graduate students taking at least 6 credits/semester, regardless of financial need. For the 2012-13 academic year, graduate students can borrow up to $20,500 annually in a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan.  The interest rate on a federal Direct Stafford Loan is fixed at 6.8%.  Students who wish to obtain a Stafford Loan will apply for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan directly through the University and the U.S. Department of Education.  The Direct Loan origination fee is 1.0% (1.0% of loan amount is deducted from loan proceeds up-front).
  • FEDERAL DIRECT GRADUATE PLUS LOANS: These federal, educational loans are available to credit-worthy graduate students enrolled at least half-time, regardless of financial need, and are borrowed directly through the University and the U.S. Department of Education (no lender/bank required) once one's Stafford Loan eligibility for the year has been exhausted.  Students can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid received. Repayment begins six months following graduation (or the last date of half-time enrollment) and repayment period is ten years. The interest rate on a federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is fixed at 7.9%. The Direct Graduate PLUS Loan origination fee is 4.0%. 
  • ALTERNATIVE STUDENT LOANS: There are several private education loans available to graduate students. Many offer competitive interest rates, delayed repayment and borrowing eligibility up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid the student receives. Additional information on alternative student loans can be found at
  • PAYMENT PLAN: Arcadia University offers a 5-month semester, interest-free payment plan as well as a 10-month annual payment plan. There is a $50 fee to join the plan, but otherwise, students can spread any portion of their out-of-pocket costs out over equal, monthly, interest-free installments.


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