Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What distinguishes Sac State’s Ed.D. program from others?

A: Our three-year program is designed for working professionals and seeks to produce exemplary educational leaders for schools, community colleges, and related educational areas. A partnership between the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Department of Public Policy and Administration, the program takes advantage of its location in California's capital by utilizing the expertise of education policymakers and analysts, as well as executive leaders in K-12 and the community colleges.

Q: What is the difference between a Ph.D. and an Ed.D.?

A: An Ed.D is Doctor of Education, and a Ph.D. is Doctor of Philosophy. The theoretical distinction between the two degrees has always been that the Ph.D. is research-oriented, whereas the Ed.D. has been directed towards educational practice and the application of theory and research. They are both the highest degree in that particular discipline. A Ph.D. and an Ed.D. are only different in content, not respect.

Q: What are areas of interest for your faculty’s research?

A: Areas of interest for our faculty’s research range widely in order to provide larger diversity for our students. Just to name a few, research interests can range anywhere from educational psychology, multicultural education, gender studies, intersection between policy and education, and leadership and policy in higher education and K-12.

Q: What career opportunities have an Ed.D. provided graduates of this program?

A: The program prepares graduates for careers as school administrators, community college program administrators, educational policy contributors and many more. Graduates from this program have gone on to become superintendents, college professors, principals, college program directors, assembly aides and committee members, and much more.

Q: Do I need to take the GRE before applying to the program?

A: Yes, please allow two weeks for your test scores to be sent to the EDD program office. For more information on the GRE, please visit the website Toll free # 1‐800‐853‐6769 Local phone # (916) 961‐7323.

Q: What type of GRE test should applicants take, and what is the program code?

A: Applicants should prepare to take the computer‐based General Test of GRE. Content areas: ‐verbal ‐quantitative ‐analytical writing The CSUS Institution Code is 4671. Need help preparing for the GRE?

Q: Can I use my GRE scores from six years ago for my application?

A: No, GRE results may not be older than five years from the date of application. We encourage students to take the GRE as soon as possible, and inform our office of their test date.

Q: Can prior work experience substitute for GRE?

A: No, all applicants are expected to take and submit the GRE scores as part of the application process; this is a CSU system requirement.

Q: Am I allowed to take the GRE multiple times?

A: Yes. You are able to take the GRE more than once. When you submit your scores during the admission process, all your scores from the last five years will be reported to the University. It is up to the University and Program director to decide how to process your scores.

Q: What should I do if I expect to have all the materials prepared, but I am unable to take the GRE test before the application deadline?

A: It is best to have all required materials submitted to the office by the deadline. You should submit all other materials with a copy of the GRE registration verification. Please have the official scores sent to the EDD office as soon as possible.

Q: How much does it cost to fill out the CSU Mentor, graduate admission application?

A: It costs a non‐refundable $55 to complete the CSU Mentor application.

Q: When is the deadline to apply to the program?

A: Applications are due early spring (March 1) for Fall admissions.

Q: What is the minimum GPA for admission to the program?

A: A grade point average in upper division and graduate study of 3.0 or above is required.

Q: Does your office hold an informational session?

A: Yes, the Director holds an information session each month, normally on the first Monday evening. Click here for dates, times, and locations.

Q: Where can I find information about the admissions process?

A: Applicants can visit our website for admissions procedures including the on-line application and the supplemental application.

Q: How many transcripts do I need to submit?

A: You need to submit one set of Official transcripts from ALL colleges and universities attended, other than Sacramento State, to the Office of Graduate Studies, and one set of Unofficial Transcripts to the Ed.D. Program Office, Eureka Hall 318.

Q: What should the writing sample look like?

A: The writing sample should be a piece of scholarly work demonstrating an applicant’s basic writing and critical thinking skills, which are key to completing any doctoral program successfully. The writing sample could include, but is not limited to, some major components of research, data analysis, conceptualization ability, and problem solving ability. For example, a graduate course research paper, peer-reviewed article, grants, published works, or anything that exhibits your qualified writing skills.

Q: Do I need to choose a specialization?

A: Yes. During the admissions process you will be asked to choose between K-12 or Community College.

Q: What is the tuition for the program?

A: The program costs approximately $18,000 for a 12-month study. The annual fee will be assessed proportionally each term/session (typically three or four times), with a projected increase of about 5 – 10% per year.

Q: How do current students finance their education?

A: Applicants can visit the Graduate Studies website for additional information regarding grants and loans.  Students interested in financial aid should contact Sacramento State’s Financial Aid office

Q: Where is the Office of Graduate Studies?

A: The Graduate Studies Office is located in the River Front Center on the 2nd floor, Room 215. Phone (916) 278–6470.

Q: How many students will be accepted into the program?

A: There is no set limit for the number of students admitted, but generally cohorts are between 20–25 students per year.

Q: Is a Master’s degree required for applying to the Doctorate Program?

A: Yes, a Master’s degree from an accredited college/university is required for admission to the program.

Q: What are you looking for in a potential candidate?

A: It is required that all applicants have demonstrated a high level of educational leadership potential and skills including successful experience in school, postsecondary, community, and/or policy leadership. We also ask that the applicant has demonstrated academic excellence, problem solving abilities, and an interest in critically assessing and bringing improvements within current educational policies and practices.

Q: Is work or leadership experience required for applicants?

A: Work experience and leadership experience is not a requirement, but can make an applicant more competitive. Most applicants are in the educational field, and are looking to enhance their knowledge and marketability for future career opportunities. An understanding of our education system and structure is recommended. We encourage applicants to think creatively about their experience in leadership (ex: a teacher who organizes and establishes an annual field trip. This is demonstrating leadership, organizational, critical thinking, collaborative and communication skills.)

Q: Am I guaranteed admission to the program if I meet all the requirements?

A: While submitting all required materials does qualify applicants for admission consideration, it does not guarantee admission to the Program. Admission is on a competitive basis. Applications are reviewed and ranked by a departmental review committee.

Q: What is the advantage of a cohort-based program?

A: There is the expectation that the candidates will complete the program successfully. Cohort-based learning offers support to candidates, and provides opportunities for members to learn from one another. Students within a cohort are given the chance to establish professional ties that often last beyond the completion of the program, and are important to their continued professional support and growth.

Q: How long will it take to complete the program?

A: The Ed.D program is specifically designed to be completed within three (3) calendar years (two semesters per academic year and two summers). It is normally acceptable to allow completion of degree requirements within (3) calendar years. However, the maximum amount of years to complete the program is seven years.

Q: Does this program cater to working individuals?

A: The program, while rigorous, is planned to meet the needs of working professionals who are engaged in the profession of education. During the first two years, students typically take classes on Friday evenings and all day Saturday, every other week. Because of the infrequency of classes, attendance is mandatory. During the third year, students work independently on a doctoral dissertation under the guidance of a faculty committee. Students should also expect to do extensive reading and research outside of class meeting times.

Q: What is the workload like during the semester?

A: This is a condensed 36-month program that meets every other week. The workload is high and demanding, but manageable. Our faculty is very involved in the curriculum of our program, and will be available to help and guide students throughout the program.

Q: How many courses will a student take in a given term? Is the program offered part-time?

A: In the first two years, students will complete 18 units during the regular academic year, and six units during the summer session. Students will be given a Qualifying Exam by the end of the second year of the program. Students are required to follow the set course sequence and are expected to be full-time students.

Q: How long is the dissertation required to be?

A: There is no average length for a dissertation. You will be guided through the process of writing your dissertation, and will have multiple faculty members available to guide and assist you.

Q: Who do I contact if I have further questions?

A: Please contact the Doctoral Program Office at (916) 278‐2282, or by email at