The Dissertation

Dissertation Proposal

The Student Dissertation Procedures Handbook

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Passage of the dissertation proposal examination constitutes formal approval for the candidate to proceed with the dissertation research as proposed, subject to approval as necessary of the Institutional Review Board.

Ed.D. Dissertation Proposal Requirements

  1. The student submits the Ed.D. dissertation proposal for approval following the procedures and format established by the campus Ed.D. Program Faculty.
  2. The dissertation proposal will normally contain, at a minimum, a description of the problem, a review of the relevant literature, a statement of the research question, and a description of the research methodology.
  3. The proposal must contain either (i) materials that have been already submitted to the Institutional Review Board regarding the proposed dissertation research or (ii) materials completed for submission to the Institutional Review Board to meet human subjects requirement.

The student must receive written approval of the proposal by the committee and written notification by the Institutional Review Board that human subjects review requirements have been met in order to proceed with the formal conduct of the dissertation research.


The focus of the third academic year of study will be the student's dissertation research and preparation of the dissertation. The conduct and presentation of the dissertation will conform with the proposal as approved by the Advancement to Candidacy Committee. This culminating work may cover any of a wide range of topics and utilize research methods.

Ed.D. Program Dissertation Guidelines

  • The dissertation research will normally focus on a significant professional problem or issue and have the potential to contribute generally or in the context of a particular educational institution to improvement of public K-12 or community college/higher education.
  • Work in support of the dissertation is embedded throughout the Ed.D. curriculum. However, formal dissertation research is subject to passage of the dissertation proposal examination specified in (1) (C) above and human subjects approval by the Institutional Human Subjects Review Board.
  • The dissertation must demonstrate a strong scholarly and professional foundation of knowledge on the part of the candidate and the ability to apply this knowledge to rigorous study of K-12 or community college/post-secondary education.

Process for Appointment of Dissertation Committee

  1. The student and advisor together propose members of the dissertation committee.
  2. The proposed membership of the committee is forwarded to the Program Director.
  3. The Program Director, upon review and approval of the proposed membership, appoints the dissertation committee.

Institutional Review Board Approval of Ed.D. Research

  1. Appropriate Institutional Human Subjects Review Board (IRB) approvals must be received in order for dissertation research that involves human subjects to be conducted.
  2. The dissertation committee chair is normally the faculty member who signs the IRB forms and works with the student to ensure that human subjects review requirements are met on a timely basis.
  3. Failure to obtain required IRB approvals prior to collection of data on human subjects may disqualify a student from making any use of those data.

Final Examination Oral Defense of Dissertation

During the final oral examination the candidate defends the dissertation. The dissertation defense will address the theoretical and conceptual background, relevant literatures, data collection techniques, data analysis strategies, and results and implications concerning the question(s) studied.

  1. The final examination will be an oral examination during which the candidate defends the dissertation. This examination will be administered by the dissertation committee.
  2. Unanimous agreement of the dissertation committee is required for approval of the dissertation and recommendation that the Ed.D. degree be conferred.
  3. In the event that the dissertation committee requires substantive changes to the dissertation, the final vote of the committee will be postponed until the changes are completed.

Submission of the approved dissertation is the last step in the program leading to the award of the Ed.D. degree.