Doctoral Information

Admission

There are two steps to admission to a doctoral program.  The first step is application to the office of graduate studies at UNL.  The second step is application to the Department of Educational Administration.  Application forms, procedures, and timelines can be found at http://cehs.unl.edu/edad/doctoral-programs.

Supervisory Committee

The doctoral supervisory committee will be selected by the student and their advisor.  A supervisory committee must include at least four faculty members and one member must hold their appointment in the Department of Educational Administration.  All professors on the supervisory committee must either be on the Graduate Faculty or be non-Graduate Faculty approved to perform specified Graduate Faculty duties.  At least one Graduate Faculty member external to the academic department or area in which the doctorate is to be granted must be included on the committee responsible for supervising the student’s doctoral program of studies.

Changing Members of the Supervisory Committee

During the course of study, a student may change career goals or their initial research focus and, for those or other reasons, decide to change the membership of the supervisory committee.  If you wish to change the membership of your supervisory committee, you should first discuss making a change with your advisor.  The student, in consultation with the advisor, will identify another faculty member to serve on the supervisory committee.  When the new committee member has agreed to the appointment, the advisor will notify the Graduate Chair and process the necessary paperwork to notify Graduate Studies.

Residency for Doctoral Students

The term “residency” is used in two separate ways.  First, the University of Nebraska has a well-defined policy regarding residency within the State of Nebraska for the purpose of establishing tuition rates.  Information on residency for tuition purposes can be found at http://www.unl.edu/gradstudies/bulletin/tuition-and-fees.

The UNL Graduate College does have what is labeled a residency requirement for all doctoral students.  By this, the Graduate College means that a student must complete a set number of credit hours within a time period.  For the Ph.D. degree, students must complete 27 hours within a consecutive 18 months.  For a member of the university or a person employed in their major field, a person may instead complete 24 credit hours within a consecutive 24-month period.  A further restriction specifies that no more than one third of the work for residency or 9 hours may be taken during summer sessions.  This requirement holds for the Ed.D. degree as well, although the supervisory committee may determine how many hours may be taken in the summer. 

Effective September 1, 2007:

  1. All Ph.D. students must complete 6 hours of coursework on campus during the process of satisfying their program of studies.
  2. All Ph.D. students are encouraged to travel to the campus to present the program of studies to their committee
  3. All Ed.D. and Ph.D. students are required to present the dissertation proposal and defend the completed dissertation to their supervisory committee in person.

Full-Time Status

Graduate students requiring certification as full-time students must be enrolled for at least 9 credit hours during an academic semester or at least 6 credit hours during summer sessions, whether or not the student holds a graduate assistantship.  With approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies candidates for doctoral degrees registered for fewer than the minimum hours required for a full program may be granted full-time status provided they are not employed more than 20 hours per week (half time).  Form available at http://research.unl.edu/gradstudies/fulltime/.

In order to be eligible to utilize the full-time certification, the student must have been registered at least half-time (i.e., at least 4 credits) in the fall and spring terms prior to the initiation of the full-time certification status.  Doctoral candidates may utilize the full-time certification not longer than 24 months.

Programs of Study

Core Courses in EDAD

See Degree Requirements for a list of required courses.

The Ed.D. with a major in Educational Administration

The Ed.D. with a major in educational administration is a joint UNL/UNO doctoral program designed specifically for the professional practitioner interested in obtaining an Ed.D.  and P-12 administrative certification/endorsement.

Specializations, administrative endorsement/certification, and the community college certificate have additional specific course requirements (current requirements can be found at http://cehs.unl.edu/edad/certificate-and-specialization).  We recognize that students come to us with varying backgrounds and programs need to offer flexibility.  A set of core courses has been established for the respective masters and doctoral degrees offered by EDAD.  Unless a specific set of courses are required for a specialization, certificate, or endorsement, the determination of courses that comprise a concentration, area of focus or electives is made with the advisor and approved by the supervisory committee.

The Ed.D. /Ph.D. with a major in Educational Studies

The Educational Studies major is offered with six specializations.  EDAD hosts the Educational Leadership and Higher Education doctoral specialization.  This specialization provides academic preparation and professional development for those individuals interested in the study of educational leadership or higher education or for those who desire leadership positions in higher educational organizations.  This major and the specialization are not intended for those pursuing P-12 administrative certification.  Under the specialization, there are two concentrations:

In addition to the Introduction to Research course included in the EDAD core requirements, the Ph.D. requires five courses (a total of 18 hours) in research tools.  Specializations, administrative endorsement/certification, and the community college certificate have additional specific course requirements (current requirements can be found at http://cehs.unl.edu/edad/certificate-and-specialization).  We recognize that students come to us with varying backgrounds and programs need to offer flexibility.  A set of core courses has been established for the respective masters and doctoral degrees offered by EDAD.  Unless a specific set of courses are required for a specialization, certificate, or endorsement, the determination of courses that comprise a concentration, area of focus or electives is made with the advisor and approved by the supervisory committee.

Ed.D. and Ph.D. Degree

All students who complete doctoral programs in the Department of Educational Administration will have an opportunity to develop their knowledge of educational leadership and increase their potential to serve important leadership roles in educational and human service organizations.  The faculty of the department have taken care to distinguish between the two doctoral degrees offered by the department in order to help admitted students have a clearer understanding of faculty expectations and to assist students in selecting their degree objective.

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

The Ed.D. in Education is a program of study that prepares the student for professional practice.  The Ed.D. may be earned with a focus in P-12 education or in higher education.  Those earning the degree receive a diploma indicating the degree as a Doctor of Education

This is the appropriate degree objective for that individual who intends to either pursue or continue a career as a practicing administrator in an educational organization or in a related type of organization.  The Ed.D. is a degree intended to help an individual develop leadership skills and become more versed in developing the analytical skills to confront difficult problems of practice.  The Ed.D. program will be characterized by the following:

  1. a program of studies that enhances the student’s knowledge of the profession toward which she or he is focused;
  2. the opportunity to gain real life experience in the area of administration the student seeks to pursue, especially through internships oriented directly at student interests;
  3. a grounding in the major cognate areas that have been historically important to practitioners;
  4. a dissertation focused on a problem of practice;
  5. the opportunity to develop group skills by working on collaborative projects; and
  6. research tool courses aimed at developing analytical skills.
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The Ph.D. degree in Educational Leadership and Higher Education (ELHE) is a program of study that prepares the student for a scholarly career.  The Ph.D. may be earned with a focus on higher education or educational leadership.  Those earning the degree receive a diploma indicating the degree as a Doctor of Philosophy.

As such, students are expected to master a scholarly research tradition in a specific area of educational administration and to be familiar with both quantitative and qualitative research methods in education.  We expect that the skills acquired will be the skills of scholarly inquiry and research.  While we realize that a person’s future is not readily predicted, we intend that a student who elects this degree objective will be oriented toward research and scholarship.  Thus, we intend that students seeking a Ph.D. degree will pursue a doctoral program that is characterized by the following:

  1. a strong grounding in a scholarly tradition that leaves the student with expertise in the area of their dissertation research;
  2. six courses (18 hours) in research tools
  3. the completion of a minimum of six credit hours of coursework on campus;
  4. the completion of several research studies prepared for presentation and publication;
  5. a close working relationship with the supervisory chairperson; and
  6. a dissertation that seeks to add to the knowledge base of its topical domain.

Comprehensive Examination

All doctoral students are required to take a comprehensive examination at or near the end of their program.

Doctoral students must pass a written Comprehensive Examination after completing most or all of their course work in order to be admitted to Candidacy.  The Comprehensive Examination is not a repetition of course examinations, but is an investigation of the student’s breadth of understanding of their chosen field.  The Comprehensive Examination is administered and graded by the student’s Supervisory Committee.  Should the Supervisory Committee determine the student has failed the comprehensive examination, a letter must be submitted by the chair of the supervisory committee to the Dean of Graduate Studies stating the conditions under which the student may attempt another examination, or part thereof, not earlier than the following academic term.  Typically, but upon the discretion of the supervisory committee, only two attempts to pass the comprehensive examination will be permitted.

Doctoral Candidacy

When the student has passed the comprehensive examination, satisfied language and research tool requirements of her/his approved program, and removed any provisional admission requirements, the committee will recommend to the Office of Graduate Studies the doctoral student’s admission to Candidacy by filing the Application for Admission to Candidacy for the doctoral degree, noting the dates of completing the comprehensive examination(s).  Students are responsible for gathering signatures and submitting them to the Graduate Program Chair.  The application must be filed at least seven months prior to the final oral examination.

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The letters IRB stand for Institutional Review Board.  All students who are carrying out research using human subjects must first secure approval from the IRB, a unit within the university’s Research Compliance Services.  The process of filing for permission is now done on line.  Students should be familiar with the policies required by the IRB including the mandatory training that all scholars conducting human subjects research must complete.  Realize also that before any contact can be made with a person that is the subject of a research project formal permission from the IRB must be obtained.

Dissertation

Doctoral dissertations are written documents that report a student’s research.  The Department of Educational Administration requires a dissertation for both the Ed.D. and the Ph.D. degree.  The Ed.D. dissertation should be focused on a problem of practice.  The Ph.D. dissertation is expected to add to the knowledge base of its topical domain.

The subject of the dissertation is chosen by mutual agreement between the student and supervisory committee chair and must be approved by the student’s Supervisory Committee.  There is no fixed length for the dissertation, although the doctoral Supervisory Committee should provide guidance on format and content.

Reading Committee

The dissertation and abstract are reviewed by a reading committee of two members from the supervisory committee, excluding the chair/co-chair.  The manuscripts must be presented to members of the reading committee in time to permit review and approval, which must be indicated at least three weeks in advance of the final oral examination.  The application for the final oral examination and a rough draft of the title page and abstract must be presented to the doctoral program specialist in the Office of Graduate Studies for preliminary review at least three weeks before the final oral examination.

Dissertation Oral Defense

The final examination for the doctoral degree is oral and open to members of both the University community and the public.  During the dissertation presentation and general questioning, all persons may be present.  However, at the end of the public hearing there will be a closed questioning portion of the examination where all persons except the Candidate, doctoral supervisory committee, and invited faculty must be excused.  At this time the committee decides whether or not the defense was satisfactory and informs the student of that decision.

The final oral examination for the doctorate will not be scheduled unless a majority of the supervisory committee, including the chair, is available for the examination.  Exceptions may be made only by permission of the Dean of Graduate Studies.  In any event, the supervisor of the dissertation must have seen and approved the completed dissertation before the examination will be scheduled.

The final oral examination over the dissertation may be waived only with the consent of the Graduate Dean.  The committee reports the results of the final oral examination to the Office of Graduate Studies.

In the event that members of an oral examining committee are not unanimous regarding passing a Candidate, the student is to be approved for the degree if only one examiner dissents.  However, in each case, the dissenting member of the committee will be expected to file a letter of explanation in the Office of Graduate Studies.

If a student fails to pass the final oral examination for an advanced degree, his/her committee must file a report on the failure in the Office of Graduate Studies and indicate what the student must do before taking another examination.  Another examination may not be held during the same semester or the same summer session in which the student failed.

Depositing the Dissertation

Following the successful completion of the oral examination, the student should consult the instructions received at the time of filing the Application for Final Oral Exam before submission of required items in the Office of Graduate Studies, 1100 Seaton Hall.  Only abstracts/dissertations that meet all published requirements can be approved and stamped for depositing in 318 Love Library.  Before the degree is granted, each Candidate pays a processing fee, and if desired, an additional fee to cover the cost of registering a copyright.

Graduation Luncheon

Upon successful completion of your doctoral degree, the Educational Administration department invites the student and a guest to take part in a luncheon to celebrate their attainment of the degree.  This luncheon is held before the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony and Graduation Exercise.