The Doctoral Journey

Application is the first step toward a personally and professionally rewarding journey. Click on any of the steps in the Ed.D. journey below for more information.


First Review—Office of Admissions

When you submit your application, it is reviewed first by the Office of Admissions to ensure that you have met all the requirements for application (fully completed application form, official GRE score, official transcripts, and payment of processing fee). The Admissions office fills out a Graduate Data Sheet and sends it along with your application, GRE scores, and transcripts to the College of Education and Professional Studies.

Second Review—The College of Education and Professional Studies

The College forwards your application materials to the coordinator of the specialization you elected on your Ed.D. Specialization Declaration (listed in the previous section as part of the College's Ed.D. admission packet). The coordinator reviews your application, taking into consideration your GRE (a score of 1000 on the combined verbal and quantitative portions is considered a minimum qualification); your transcripts, which should document your having earned a master's degree with at least a 3.0 GPA; your letters of recommendation; and your goal statement. The coordinator then recommends acceptance or denial on the Graduate Data Sheet and forwards the complete application packet to the Ed.D. Program Committee.

The Ed.D. Program Committee reviews your application, indicates their recommendation on the Graduate Data Sheet, and forwards the application packet to the Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies. The Dean reviews the application, taking into consideration the recommendations of the coordinator of the specialization and the Ed.D. Program Committee, and makes the final decision regarding acceptance or denial. The signed Graduate Data Sheet is returned with the application packet to the Office of Admissions.

Final Processing —Office of Admissions

When the Office of Admissions receives the packet back from the Dean, they mark your application "Cleared" or "Denied" and send you a letter to inform you of the University's decision. If you are accepted, you will also receive a letter from the College stating that you have been accepted and providing contact information for your temporary advisor.

The application and acceptance process can take from three to six weeks or more, depending on several factors. You can speed the process by ensuring that your application packets to the University and to the College of Education and Professional Studies are complete and correct.

Doctoral Coursework

Doctoral students are required to complete 63-66 semester hours (sh) of coursework, including 21 sh in the professional core and 24-27 sh in their selected specialization. The remaining 18 sh are reserved for the dissertation requirement.

A full load of coursework is 9 sh per semester, which is generally 3 courses. (The number of sh per course varies, but 3 is typical.) Because of the rigor of doctoral courses and the fact that doctoral students often hold demanding full-time jobs, many students opt to take only 2 courses per semester. For this reason, the courseware part of the journey may take up to 4 years to complete.


The Preliminary Examination (prelims) is a milestone integrative experience for a doctoral student’s graduate education. The intent is to allow the student to demonstrate the ability to think critically at the higher levels of learning and present the results in written and oral fashion. Students who successfully complete the written and oral components of the exam are admitted to doctoral candidacy.


Doctoral candidates demonstrate their ability to integrate and apply the knowledge and skills developed through formal course work and independent study by designing, implementing, and reporting the results of an intensive study or project related to educational practices and policies. The dissertation process, which consists of reviewing literature relevant to the research area of interest, writing a proposal, conducting the study, and reporting the results, may take from 1 to 2 years.


Upon completion of all doctoral requirement, the end of the journey comes: GRADUATION! This final step will admit you to a very select group: only 1.2% of the U.S. population has attained a doctoral degree (statistic from 2005 census).