Ed.D. Degree Requirements

The Doctor of Education degree program is designed to provide students with advanced professional training and to further develop their abilities in the scholarly study of professional problems.

Program Plan

Upon admission to a Doctor of Education program, each student is assigned an academic advisor in the student's area of specialization. The student and advisor plan a program of study to meet the student’s individual goals and general degree requirements. Departments may require that a copy of the program plan be kept on file.

Time Limits

Graduate students and advisors should be guided by the Graduate College policy on doctoral degree time limits. If a time extension is desired, it may be requested by completing a Graduate Student Petition.  These petitions are considered and acted upon by the student’s advisor, the department, and the Graduate College.  Each individual who has authority to act on the petition may either approve or deny the petition.

Course Requirements for Ed.D. Candidates

All students admitted to a Doctor of Education degree program must fulfill Graduate College requirements for the doctoral degree, departmental requirements, and the following College of Education minimum requirements on the Urbana campus or Urbana off-campus or online courses:

Completion of at least 64 credit hours beyond the master's degree including:

  • At least 24 hours in the area of specialization and related areas.
  • A cognate requirement of at least 16 hours.
  • Two courses on research methods. The first will be a research course (e.g. CI 550/EPSY 573/SPED 550, Methods of Educational Inquiry or HRE 580, Disciplined Inquiry in Education) introducing the student to a variety of educational research methodologies. The second course should be selected to improve the student's area of professional expertise and should help prepare the student to carry out research on his or her expected dissertation topic. This second course will be EPSY 480, Elements of Educational Statistics, or a course from one of the approved Research Methodology Areas.
  • A minimum of four hours and a maximum of 16 hours of dissertation research (599) credit will be counted toward the degree.
  • No more than 12 hours of independent study (595) credit will be allowed.

A student who has completed course work as part of the requirements for the Certificate of Advanced Study in Education at the University of Illinois may petition for the application of not more than 24 hours of such work toward the program leading to the Doctor of Education provided the course work has been taken within five years of the date of the petition and the Certificate of Advanced Study has not been granted. 

Residence

Ed.D. candidates in the College of Education must include a period of continuous engagement on campus, during which time students are expected to interact with faculty and other students, read widely within and beyond their major field of study, and contemplate scholarly issues as they relate to professional practice. For Ed.D. candidates, this must include concurrent and reciprocal participation in an approved full-time combination of academic courses and professional experiences over four consecutive semesters. At the discretion of the student and the advisor, this may or may not include summer sessions.

During the four consecutive semesters, a minimum of 16 academic hours of coursework must be taken on the Urbana campus. The 16 hours may be scheduled in a manner that best fits the residency plan, as specified below. However, students must maintain continuous enrollment during the residence period. Dissertation or independent study credit may not be counted toward satisfying the 16 hours requirement, but it may be used to meet the continuous enrollment requirement.

To satisfy the residence requirement, Ed.D. candidates must have approval both prior to beginning the residency and after its completion. Prior to beginning the residency, an Ed.D Residency Requirement Plan form must be completed. Students must have the Ed.D. Residency Requirement Plan approved by their advisors and the Associate Dean for Academic Programs.  In the case of cohort programs, students should have their plans approved by their department and the Associate Dean. The plan should include:

  1. Statement of purpose showing how coursework and professional experience are related and a rationale for this plan.
  2. Statement of expected outcomes.
  3. Clear statement of the courses to be taken, the semester in which they will be taken (understanding that revisions may be necessary), and the specific professional experience to which they relate.
  4. A plan for how a student is expected to interact with faculty and other students, to read widely within and beyond the major field, and to contemplate scholarly issues as they relate to professional practice.

After the completion of the proposed Ed.D. Residency Requirement Plan, an Ed.D. candidate must have their advisor sign the form, signifying its completion. It is then submitted to the Associate Dean for Academic Programs for final approval.

Cognate Requirement  

The cognate requirement requires a student to complete 16 hours of coursework in an academic field or fields outside of his/her department.  In this case, the term "field" refers to either a university recognized department and academic discipline with a department, or an interdisciplinary major or program recognized by the university. These hours will be chosen by the student in consultation with his/her advisor. The purpose of the cognate requirement is to provide the student with a scholarly perspective of an academic field or fields outside of their major field of study, but one that relates to and supports their major field of study and intended field of professional practice. The cognate requirement must be completed prior to the preliminary oral examination.

All courses used to meet the cognate requirement must be outside the student's field of study and may be outside of the college. Sixteen hours may be taken in one field or eight hours may be taken in each of two related fields. At least eight of the 16 hours must be taken at the 500 level. If two fields are selected, at least four hours in each field must be at the 500 level. The 16 hours for the cognate requirement may be included in the 64 hours beyond the master's degree requirement for graduation.

Prior to beginning the cognate requirement, students must complete the Ed.D Cognate Requirement Plan form . This form must be approved by the student’s advisor and then submitted to the department. The Ed.D. Cognate Requirement Plan requires a listing of the courses a student plans to take to satisfy the cognate requirement and a rationale for how those courses interrelate to create a coherent area of concentration. After the proposed plan has been completed, the advisor must sign the form certifying that the plan has been completed. Once the advisor has certified completion of the plan, the form is submitted to the Graduate Student Services Office.

 

Evaluation of Academic Progress

Annual evaluations are required for all degree-seeking graduate students and will occur every spring semester.

The student will complete an electronic self-evaluation detailing academic progress. The advisor (or department designee) will assess the progress report and provide online feedback to the student.  An additional authorized faculty member may also be asked to review the progress report. The evaluation is kept in the student’s permanent file. Failure to complete the academic self-evaluation by the deadline may result in a hold being placed on the student's account.

When a decision is made that a student is not making satisfactory progress, the student, the advisor, and the Director of Graduate Studies will be informed in writing by the department.

 

Qualifying Examinations

The Qualifying Examinations are written comprehensive examinations administered to doctoral students near the completion of their course work. The examinations are scheduled by the student through the online Qualifying Exam Information Form.  Purposes of the qualifying examinations in the College of Education include: assessment of the candidate’s breadth in the discipline and depth in areas of interest, and providing an opportunity to explore, make connections, and integrate content in the discipline. The exam will be evaluated by a minimum of three readers. Generally, the readers are the student's advisor and two other faculty members from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus with expertise in the fields being examined.

The exam is comprised of the following parts:

THE GENERAL FIELD EXAM

All Ed.D. candidates will take a General Field Examination covering the field of study embraced by the home department or program area.

THE SPECIAL FIELD EXAM

All Ed.D. candidates will take a Special Field Examination covering an area of specialization proposed by the student with the concurrence of the advisor. The Special Field should be a scholarly specialization more broadly conceived than the anticipated dissertation topic. The advisor will be responsible for developing questions for the Special Field exam, drawing upon the expertise of other faculty when needed. 

THE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY EXAM

Each department faculty will establish procedures for developing the questions, selecting readers, and determining the format for the Research Methodology Examination required of Ed.D. students. At the discretion of the department, responsibility for developing and administering these examinations may be delegated to the graduate advisor.
  

Examination Formats

Formats should be decided well in advance of exam dates. In particular, students should discuss the format of the Special Field Exam with their advisors to arrive at a recommendation that best meets student needs and the expectation of the advisor. The three formats are:

  1. On-Site Format. A room and proctor are scheduled by the department. Normally, the General Field and the Special Field are each scheduled for a four-hour block of time. The time limit will be set by each department (or division).
  2. Take-home Format. A take-home format may be used for the General Field exam and for the Special Field exam. In the take-home format the candidate, with the approval of the advisor, writes the exam at a place of his or her choosing with no restriction on books or other written materials to be used. Because the purpose of the qualifying examination is to assess individual competence, students should not discuss the exam with anyone other than their advisor after they have received the questions. The time limit for this take-home exam will be set by the student and advisor.
  3. Portfolio Format (Special Field only). This format consists of assembling a focused collection of 3 or 4 high quality papers and/or projects, which are then defended before three faculty readers. The number, subject and lengths of the required papers or projects are decided by the advisor in consultation with the student. Portfolio submissions can include collaborative work, but independent work must also be reflected in the portfolio. The portfolio may include work completed to satisfy other requirements for the doctoral degree such as course papers, early research papers, master’s theses, and research area approval papers. The portfolio must be submitted with an original, independently written synthesis paper that defines the special field and articulates how each piece of the portfolio connects or contributes to the special field and its literature. If the portfolio option is selected, the student will discuss this work at an oral defense before the three faculty readers, after which the readers will determine whether the student has demonstrated competence in the special field.
     

Questions and Problems Arising Prior to Taking the Qualifying Exams

The first person a student should consult concerning the qualifying exams is his or her advisor. If irreconcilable differences arise between the student and advisor concerning scheduling, format, content, or rating procedures, the student should consult the department head/chair or designee. If the problem cannot be resolved, consult the Associate Dean for Academic Programs. Normal grievance procedures can be used (see Graduate Student Appeals section of this handbook). If a student wishes to postpone a scheduled examination, the request should be made through the advisor to the departmental contact in the Graduate Student Services Office.
 

Examination Process

  1. Student will confer with advisor to determine exam format, dates, and readers.  Readers should be contacted prior to submission of the Qualifying Examination Information Form to determine availability.
  2. Student will submit the Qualifying Examination Information Form.
  3. Staff in the Graduate Student Services Office will confirm dates and reader agreements.
  4. For a take home format:
    • Advisor will email the question(s) no less than three days prior to the first date of the exam to the departmental Graduate Student Services Office contact, unless other arrangements are made.
    • The Graduate Student Services Office contact will email question(s) to the student, unless other arrangements are made.
    • Students will submit their qualifying exam via email to the departmental Graduate Student Services Office contact by 5 pm on the deadline date.
    • The departmental Graduate Student Services Office contact will send the exam and evaluation form to the faculty readers.
    • Faculty readers will have 2 weeks to submit their evaluations.
    • The departmental Graduate Student Services Office contact will notify the student and advisor of the exam results.
    • A copy of the exam and exam results will be placed in the student’s file.
  5. For an on-site or portfolio format:
    • The Graduate Student Services Office contact will schedule a room once the Qualifying Examination Information Form has been received.
    • Following the exam the readers of the exam will be notified to complete the evaluation form.
    • The departmental Graduate Student Services Office contact will notify the student and advisor of the exam results.
    • A copy of the exam and exam results will be placed in the student’s file.

 

Evaluation of the Qualifying Exams

To pass the examination, the student must receive satisfactory or excellent ratings from all readers in the General Field, Special Field and the Research Methodology. There are four possible ratings for all sections of the qualifying exams.

  1. Excellent doctoral work. This rating is given for excellent doctoral work. If more than fifty percent of a candidate’s ratings are excellent, the student is given a letter of special commendation by the department head/chair.
  2. Satisfactory doctoral work. This rating is given for work that demonstrates competence expected of advanced students in the field. Candidates who receive ratings of "excellent" or "satisfactory" doctoral work will pass the examination.
  3. Satisfactory pending specified revisions. This rating is given for work that demonstrates competence, but requires revisions in content and/or more development of ideas. This does not require a completely different exam, just editing and further development.
  4. Unsatisfactory doctoral work. This rating is given for work that can range from completely unsatisfactory to work with significant gaps in knowledge.

If a second examination is required, the readers shall communicate the major deficiencies to the candidate and make a collective decision as to the format and scope of the second examination. All faculty readers who read the first exam will evaluate the second exam unless a change in readers has been approved by the department head/chair or designee. Once again, a satisfactory or excellent rating must be awarded by all readers for the candidate to pass the second examination, and should one or more readers judge the performance unsatisfactory, the readers shall meet to review the candidate’s performance. If extenuating circumstances exist that warrant a third attempt, the advisor may request approval from the department head/chair or designee. Candidates shall normally be permitted two attempts to pass the Qualifying Examinations.
 

PROMPTNESS OF EVALUATIONS

Students shall receive results within three weeks from the submission of the exam. The department will ensure timeliness of review and communicate results to students and to the advisor.

Faculty have two weeks upon receipt of the qualifying exam to submit their results to the Graduate Student Services Office (GSSO).  Shortly thereafter, GSSO will send the results to the student, copying the Director of Graduate Study and advisor.

If the scheduled deadline is not met by faculty:

At two weeks, a reminder email will be sent from GSSO to the readers who have not submitted results, copying the student’s advisor, GSSO, Director of Graduate Studies and Department Head/Chair. 

At three weeks, GSSO will notify the Director of Graduate Studies that results have not been received.  The Director of Graduate Studies will then send a reminder email to the non-compliant reader, copying the student’s advisor, GSSO and Department Head/Chair. 

At four weeks, GSSO will notify the Department Head/Chair that results have not been received.  The Department Head/Chair will send a reminder email to the non-compliant reader, copying the student’s advisor, GSSO and Director of Graduate Studies.  The email, urging the faculty member to complete their obligation, will be placed in the faculty member’s file. 

At five weeks, GSSO will notify the Department Head/Chair that results have not been received.  The Department Head/Chair will send a second email to the non-compliant reader, copying the student’s advisor, GSSO and Director of Graduate Studies.  The email, stating the faculty member has not completed their obligation and recommending the advisor assign another reader, will be placed in the faculty member’s file. 

The same process will be followed if the reader is outside the College of Education.

Human Subjects Approval

For all dissertations, approval for use of human subjects or confirmation that human subjects review is not required must be obtained from the Institutional Review Board prior to doing research on the dissertation topic. A letter showing approval from the Campus Institutional Review Board (IRB) must be provided to the department contact in the Graduate Student Services Office prior to the scheduling of the preliminary examination. Students should begin the approval process eight weeks prior to the examination.
 

Preliminary Examination

The preliminary oral examination (prelim) follows successful completion of all required coursework, the cognate requirements, the residency requirement, the research methods requirement, the qualifying examinations, and human subjects approval. In addition, all incomplete grades must be changed to letter grades prior to the prelim.

The purpose of a prelim is for a student to present the rationale and format for the dissertation. During the examination, an agreement is reached between the student and the committee concerning the proposed dissertation. Thus, the examination is held prior to the collection of data or other major work on the dissertation. The student must be registered in order to take the preliminary oral examination. The student should consult the department for additional requirements.
 

PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION COMMITTEE

Students should begin appointing the committee and scheduling the examination at least four weeks prior to the expected date. The committee must meet the preliminary examination committee requirements of the Graduate College including:

  • The chair must be a member of the Graduate Faculty.
  • The committee must include at least four voting members, at least three of which must be members of the Graduate Faculty, and two of which must also be tenured.
  • If there are more than four voting members on the committee, at least half of the voting members must be members of the Graduate Faculty.

In addition to these requirements, College of Education requirements must be met:

  • The chair must be tenured or tenure-track.
  • At least one member must be from outside the student’s field of specialization and the budgetary department of the student and advisor.

For committee members outside of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a letter of justification and curriculum vitae must be submitted by the chair to the departmental contact in the Graduate Student Services Office who will then submit it to the Graduate College for approval. In appointing the committee, the student submits committee member information to the Graduate Student Services Office by completing the Request for Appointment of Committee Form. This form must be submitted at least four weeks before the examination. The Graduate Student Services Office will retrieve the appropriate approvals.

The student must present the dissertation to the prelim examination committee for reading two weeks before the examination; in some cases it may be more reasonable to allow three weeks. Failure to do so may result in delaying or cancelling the prelim. 

The chair, student, and at least one additional voting member of the committee must be physically present for the entire duration of all oral components of the examination. If the committee has more than one chair, all chairs must be physically present; in these cases, no additional voting member is required to be physically present. All voting members of the committee must be present in person or participate via teleconference or other electronic communication media during the examination, deliberation and results determination.

The chair obtains the Preliminary Exam Result form from the departmental contact in the Graduate Student Services Office prior to the examination and returns the form immediately after the examination. All voting members must sign the Preliminary Exam Result form.

Decisions of the preliminary examination committee must be unanimous. The committee may make one of the following decisions:

  1. Pass the candidate.
  2. Fail the candidate. A program may, but is not required to, grant the student another opportunity to take the examination after completing additional course work, independent study, or research, as recommended by the committee. However, if a second attempt is given, a new committee must be appointed by the Graduate College. The new committee may, but does not have to, consist of the same members as the original committee.
  3. Defer the decision. If this option is chosen:
    a. the same committee must re-examine the student,
    b. the second exam must occur within 180 calendar days of the date of first exam, and
    c. the outcome of the second exam must be pass or fail.

The result of the examination is communicated to the student and the Graduate Student Services Office as soon as possible at the conclusion of the examination. 

Number of Attempts: After a fail result, a student will only be allowed to take the preliminary examination one additional time while working toward the completion of any one program of study. 

The preliminary examination must be retaken if the final examination is not passed within five years of the original examination.

Registration for Preliminary Exam for Doctoral Degree 

The Graduate College requires that all doctoral candidates be registered for the entire academic term during which they take the preliminary examination. Additional Information on registration requirements can be found on the Graduate College web site under Requirements and Policies for Doctoral Degree.

Dissertation

The Ed.D. dissertation is intended to demonstrate the student’s ability to relate academic knowledge to the problems of professional practice. The dissertation should be characterized by the kind of synthesis of experiences that is the hallmark of a highly qualified professional. The demonstration of these qualities may take a variety of forms such as: (a) a field study; (b) a scholarly, original paper dealing with the interpretation and evaluation of the work of a particular writer whose findings have a significant bearing on any aspect of the educational enterprise where the significance has not been clearly indicated by earlier studies; or, (c) an analytic report demonstrating the student’s ability to carry a project through from conceptualization to evaluation. (Graduate Faculty Action, February 15, 1973)

The dissertation usually requires a year or more of study.  Registration in dissertation research hours for on-campus or in absentia students, after the completion of the required 64 hours beyond the master’s degree, is required.  This registration typically comes after the course work is completed and before the time limits are reached.
 

DISSERTATION EDITORIAL STYLE AND FORMAT APPROVAL

The dissertation must be prepared using one of the following commonly accepted editorial styles:

  • American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
  • Harvard Law Review Association. (2015). The bluebook: A uniform system of citation (20th ed.). Cambridge, MA: Author.
  • Modern Language Association. (2009). MLA handbook for writers of research papers (7th ed.). New York, NY: Author.
  • Turabian, K. L. (2013). A manual for writers of term papers, theses, and dissertations (8th ed.). Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
  • University of Chicago. (2010). The Chicago manual of style (16th ed.). Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago.

NOTE: LaTex is not an acceptable editorial style. However, this typesetting system can be used in conjunction with one of the above editorial styles.

The student will consult with the advisor and dissertation committee members to choose the style to be used.  In exceptional circumstances, style manuals not listed above may be used with prior approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Programs.  In addition, the Thesis & Dissertation policies and procedures issued by the Graduate College must be followed. In the case of explicit differences between the Graduate College instructions and the style manual selected, the Graduate College instructions take precedence.  For example, students choosing the APA style manual should follow the Graduate College instructions rather than those included in the APA manual for insertion of tables and figures. Every dissertation in final manuscript form must be reviewed and approved by the dissertation director of research and/or chairperson of the dissertation committee to ensure that the dissertation meets the Graduate College and departmental requirements for deposit.
 

DISSERTATION ABSTRACT

Abstracts for dissertations in the College of Education must include a synopsis of the following information to describe fully the completed study:

  1. The problem and its theoretical and educational significance.
  2. The research design and/or approach employed (include here appropriate descriptions of subjects and methods).
  3. An overview of the results.
  4. Conclusions, recommendations, and/or implications.
     

Final Examination

Final examinations are oral and open to the public. The final examination committee chair is responsible for convening the committee, conducting the examination, and submitting the Final Exam Result form to the departmental contact in the Graduate Student Services Office.
 

FINAL EXAMINATION COMMITTEE

Students should begin appointing the committee and scheduling the examination at least four weeks prior to the expected date.  The committee must meet the final examination committee requirements of the Graduate College including:

  • The chair must be a member of the Graduate Faculty.
  • The committee must include at least four voting members, at least three of which must be members of the Graduate Faculty, and two of which must also be tenured.
  • If there are more than four voting members on the committee, at least half of the voting members should be members of the Graduate Faculty.

In addition to the Graduate College requirements, College of Education requirements must be met:

  • The chair must be tenured or tenure-track.
  • At least one member must be from outside the student’s field of specialization and the budgetary department of the student and chair.

For committee members outside of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a letter of justification and curriculum vitae must be submitted by the chair to the departmental contact in the Graduate Student Services Office who will then submit it to the Graduate College for approval. In appointing the committee, the student submits committee member information to the Graduate Student Services Office by completing the Request for Appointment of Committee Form. This form must be submitted at least four weeks before the examination. The Graduate Student Services Office will retrieve the appropriate approvals.

The final oral examination will be conducted in a room that will accommodate at least six people, although a larger room will be reserved if the committee is aware that more people will attend the oral.

The student must present the dissertation to the final examination committee for reading two weeks before the examination; in some cases it may be more reasonable to allow three weeks.

The chair, student, and at least one additional voting member of the committee must be physically present for the entire duration of the examination. If the committee has more than one chair, all chairs must be physically present; in these cases, no additional voting member is required to be physically present. All voting members of the committee must be present in person or participate via teleconference or other electronic communication media during the examination, deliberation and results determination.

The chair obtains the Final Exam Result form and the Thesis/Dissertation Approval form from the departmental contact in the Graduate Student Services Office prior to the examination and returns the forms immediately after the examination. All appointed committee members' signatures are required on the forms; signatories must sign for themselves. Committee members have the right to review the final copy of the dissertation before signing. The committee should meet in private before beginning the examination. The public cannot ask questions or give input during the examination.  At the conclusion of the examination, the committee will meet in private to discuss the results and then inform the candidate.

Results: Unanimous decisions are not required. Decisions of the Committee for the Final Examination are recorded on the Final Exam Result form.  The voting members of the committee must make one of two decisions:

  • Pass the candidate. The candidate passes the final exam if the Director(s) of Research vote pass and no more than one of the remaining Committee members votes fail. The Committee will indicate on the Final Exam Result form if revisions are required. The Committee will sign the Thesis/Dissertation Approval form after the completion of the examination and the completion of any required revisions.
  • Fail the candidate. The candidate fails the Final Exam if a Director of Research votes Fail or if two or more Committee members vote Fail. A program may, but is not required to, grant the student another opportunity to take the examination after completing additional research or writing, as recommended by the committee. However, a new committee must be appointed by the Graduate College. The new committee may, but does not have to, consist of the same members as the original committee.

Number of Attempts: After a fail result a student will only be allowed to take the final examination one additional time while working toward the completion of any one program of study. 

REGISTRATION FOR FINAL EXAMINATION FOR DOCTORAL DEGREE

The Graduate College requires that all doctoral candidates be registered for the entire academic term during which they take the final examination.  Additional information on registration requirements can be found on the Graduate College web site under Requirements and Policies for Doctoral Degree.
 

Dissertation Deposit

After the passing the final examination, provide the dissertation in final form to the committee chair and visit the Graduate College Thesis & Dissertation web pages for further deposit instructions

All students who have successfully defended their dissertation must obtain departmental dissertation format approval prior to final deposit with the Graduate College Thesis Office. Departmental format approval consists of three parts:

  1. Chair and dissertation committee,
  2. Head/Chair of department/program or authorized signatory, and
  3. Departmental thesis/dissertation format reviewer.  

Because revisions requested by the chair and dissertation committee may cause a change in pagination or format, students should submit a PDF of the dissertation to the departmental contact in the Graduate Student Services Office only after all revisions have been approved by the chair, dissertation committee, and the head/chair of department/program or authorized signatory. The departmental dissertation review process will not begin until prior approvals have been received. Dissertations must be received by the Graduate Student Services Office contact two weeks prior to the Graduate College doctoral dissertation deposit deadline to allow an opportunity for revisions. Late submissions may result in a delay of the student's graduation and degree conferral. 

After the departmental format approval, the dissertation is deposited in the Graduate College using the ETD process.

Degree Certification Request

Prior to the date of degree conferral, a student may need verification that he or she has completed all requirements for the degree (e.g., for employment or visa renewal).  At any time after degree requirements have been satisfied, the student may request a Degree Certification Letter or use the on-line Degree Verification system.