Program Advising

Doctoral students will have the benefit of three phases of advising as they pursue their degree.


Phase l

The doctoral Program Coordinator or an assigned faculty member serves as the "temporary advisor" when students enter the program. During this phase, the advisor plans a course of study with students during the initial stages of the program. A Program Planning Sheet is used to document tentative plans for projected coursework. The student should keep the planning sheet and a copy should be provided to the advisor.


Phase 2

By the end of the first year of the program, students select a "program advisor" to serve as a guide through the completion of the coursework. This person also serves as the coordinator of the process to complete the Qualifying Examination. This advisor also helps the student identify faculty whose research interests and expertise are congruent with the student's probable area of inquiry for the dissertation. This advisor in consultation of the student has the responsibility for creating a "doctoral committee" that is made up of the faculty who prepares and evaluates the written and oral comprehensive qualifying exam. (See Qualifying Examination section.)

The responsibility of the doctoral committee members includes:

1.        the approval of the student's course of study;

2.        approval of the dissertation proposal; and

3.        evaluation of the final dissertation and oral defense.

QUALIFYING EXAMS are offered twice a year. 

In SUMMER 2016: 
July 1 to July 31, 2016 (writing) and 
August 15 to September 15, 2016 (orals) 

In SPRING 2017: 
February 1 to February 28, 2017 (writing) and 
March 15 to April 15, 2017 (orals). 


Phase 3

Upon successful completion of the Qualifying Examinations, students are recommended for admission to candidacy. They may then select a "dissertation advisor" and a dissertation committee and complete a "Change of Advisor Form" if needed. These committee members are appointed to serve on the committee with mutual consent between the student and each faculty member. The committee consists of four members of the Graduate Faculty: the Chairperson and two other members from the Department and one member appointed by the Graduate School from outside the Department of Educational Leadership.

The purpose of this process is to provide students with an opportunity to develop a direct working relationship with several faculty members. At the same time, it provides an individualized and personalized approach to the advising process. For example, some students may choose to keep the same faculty member to serve as both the program advisor and the dissertation advisor. Likewise, the doctoral committee and the dissertation committee could include some (or all) of the same faculty.


Higher Education Suggested Plan of Study
2-yrs +dissertation 3-yrs +dissertation 4-yrs +dissertation