8: Curry School of Graduate Education

General Information | Categories of Graduate Degree Status and Program/Degree Requirements
Program Descriptions | Course Descriptions | Faculty

Professional Development | Master's Degrees | Doctoral Degrees

Doctoral Degrees

There are two distinct doctoral degrees in education available at the University of Virginia, a Doctor of Education degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree. For purposes of policy and procedure in the Curry School of Education regarding graduate programs, "program area" and supporting areas shall mean a graduate program representing a discrete area of study identified by an IPEDS code number or approved by the student's major department and the dean. The following list represents those approved areas as of April 22, 1988.

Curriculum, Instruction & Special Education
Curriculum and Instruction
Elementary Education
English Education
Mathematics Education
Reading Education
Science Education
Social Studies Education
Special Education (Behavioral Disorders, Learning Disabilities, Mental Retardation)

Human Services
Adapted Physical Education
Audiology
Clinical and School Psychology
Counselor Education
Exercise Physiology
Motor Learning
Physical Education -- Pedagogy/General
Speech/Language Pathology
Sports Medicine
Sport Psychology

Leadership, Foundations & Policy
Administration and Supervision
Adult Education
Community College Instruction and/or Administration
Educational Evaluation
Educational Psychology
Educational Psychology -- Gifted
Educational Research
Elementary Administration
Higher Education
Higher Education -- Administration
Higher Education -- Policy Analysis
Instructional Technology
Middle School Administration
Secondary Administration
Social Foundations of Education
Student Personnel Administration
Supervision

Doctor of Education Degree

The primary purpose of the Doctor of Education degree program is to provide experienced educators with a broad and systematic understanding of professional education, a definite knowledge of selected aspects of educational theory and practice, and an ability to conduct research and evaluation and to apply research findings in an informed and critical manner. The Ed.D. degree is the highest professional degree in education. Candidates for this degree are recognized for their commitment to the application of knowledge in behalf of improved educational practice. The typical Ed.D. program consists of practicum credit, dissertation credit, and at least 54 credits of course work, including work completed for the master's degree and excluding non-topical research or dissertation credit. The requirements for this degree were modified in May 1987. Students entering prior to July 1, 1987 may elect either these policies or those described in the 1986-87 Record.

Admission Requirements   In addition to the admission requirements described for the M.Ed., an applicant to the Ed.D. program must hold a master's degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university, must have an outstanding record as a student and should have previous professional experience in an area related to the proposed major. Professional qualifications and experience are weighted heavily.

Residence Requirement   A student must complete a minimum of 24 credits on-grounds during a 15-month period. The 24 credits cannot include credits for internship, independent study, practica, or dissertation. Residency must be met after completion of a master's degree.

Enrollment Requirements   A student must be continuously enrolled at the University while working toward the degree and must reapply for admission into the Ed.D. program if no credit toward the degree is earned for one year (12 months). (See Reduced University Charges.)

Time Limit   All requirements must be completed within four years after passing comprehensive examinations. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by all members of the doctoral committee and the Associate Dean of the Graduate Programs, and will be granted only when some emergency, such as illness, interrupts the student's work. In such cases, the student may be required to validate out-of-date work by examination. Program committees must determine the appropriateness and currency of all coursework, especially if it is eight or more years old.

Program Requirements   To earn a Doctor of Education degree the following minimum requirements must be met:

  1. Students must successfully complete a program of studies established by their doctoral committee including course requirements in a major program area and in two supporting areas, with a minimum of 12 credits each. One supporting area must be outside the department.
  2. The student must successfully complete preliminary examinations as may be required by the program area or the doctoral committee.
  3. All students must successfully complete written comprehensive examinations prepared by the student's doctoral committee. Comprehensives must be completed before the dissertation proposal is completed. Oral comprehensives may also be required.
  4. The student must pass six credits of research courses at the University of Virginia.
  5. The student must pass six credits of supervised practicum or internship work (as judged by the student's doctoral committee and approved by the associate dean). These experiences must be completed after admission to the Ed.D. program, and must be supervised by University of Virginia. faculty or other approved professionals.
  6. The student must successfully complete all dissertation requirements including (a) defending a dissertation proposal as determined by the student's doctoral committee, (b) the planning, including appropriate human subjects approval, and carrying out of a research study (dissertation) appropriate to the field of specialization, and (c) passing an oral examination on the conduct and conclusions of the dissertation. (All other requirements must be completed before this defense.)
  7. The student must complete all additional requirements as specified by the student's department, program area, doctoral committee, and/or advisor.

Doctoral Committees   The Ed.D. program of study is directed by the student's doctoral program committee. After approximately twelve credits of study, a doctoral committee is formed and is responsible for the design of the program of study and supervises the student through all activities until the comprehensive examination is completed. The committee must consist of a minimum of four faculty members of the regular University, appointed to the rank of assistant professor or higher, with at least one faculty member representing the major and each of two supporting areas. One supporting area must be from outside the program department and two members must be from the Curry School, including the committee chair or co-chair who is from the major area. Where one supporting field is not offered at the University, a fifth committee member from outside the University must be added to represent this field if approved by the student's major department, the four University faculty who have agreed to serve on the committee, the Academic Affairs Committee, and the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs.

The representative of a supporting field must be academically qualified in that field and a member of a department offering a program in that field. Supporting field representatives are responsible for program planning and the comprehensive examination in that area.

When all program requirements are met, including the successful completion of the doctoral comprehensive examination, the student must seek to appoint a Doctoral Dissertation Committee. This committee will be responsible for the approval of a dissertation proposal after it has been presented and defended, for the supervision of the dissertation, for the final approval of the dissertation based on its written form and the student's oral defense of the dissertation. The dissertation committee must include at least four University of Virginia faculty members including at least two from inside the major department (one of whom must agree to serve as the advisor/chair or co-chair) and one from outside the major department. It is the student's responsibility to find appropriate members of the University faculty who will agree to serve on the dissertation committee.

All doctoral committee actions except doctoral committee membership changes require concurrence of all committee members. Any committee appointment or change must be approved by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies on the recommendation of the student's advisor and departmental chair. Students who are ready to have a committee appointed must seek faculty who agree to serve on the committee and have them sign an advisory committee card. Cards are available in the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs. All parties involved should be notified of any changes in the committee structure. After approval of the dissertation proposal all committee members must remain on the committee through the final oral defense of the dissertation, unless otherwise approved by the department and associate dean in the case of vacancies.

All actions of doctoral committees must be approved by all members of the committee. There may be more than four members of any committee, but there must be at least four University of Virginia members (including the chair and outside member) present for any presentation or oral defense, and all members must agree to the outcome.

Appointment of the Doctoral Committee   After admission to the doctoral program and with the recommendation of the temporary advisor, the student requests that the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs appoint a doctoral program committee of at least four members, including one outside the department, and two inside the department (one of whom must agree to be the chair. When students are ready to have a committee appointed, they must contact faculty members to serve on the committee and have an advisory committee card signed by the proposed committee, and departmental chair or program area director. These cards are available in the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs. After all program requirements, including comprehensive examination, are completed, a dissertation committee should be appointed using the same procedures.

Program Area Specializations   The student must select a program area specialization and complete the course requirements specified for the major area. master's degree work completed by the student may be applied to the program or specialization when approved by the doctoral program committee. All requirements for the doctoral program area must be approved by all doctoral program committee members.

Supporting Fields   Within the student's program of study, a minimum of 12 credits of work must be completed in each of two supporting fields. The supporting fields may be selected from outside the offerings of the Curry School of Education. Typically, each supporting field will include courses beyond the level to which undergraduates are admitted. When approved by the doctoral committee, master's degree work completed by students may be approved for their program. Requirements for both supporting fields must be approved by all doctoral program committee members. At least one supporting area must be outside the major department.

Record of Progress   Students must complete and keep current their official Record of Progress Form. This form may be obtained from the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs, and the original copy must be kept on file there. The Record of Progress should be started upon initial registration.

Preliminary Examinations   Preliminary examinations may be required by individual departments, program areas, or doctoral committees. If exams are taken, all committee members must verify that the examinations have been successfully completed.

Comprehensive Examinations   When the student feels prepared in the program areas and has the permission of each committee member, the student will request a written examination in the field of specialization and supporting areas. This examination must be developed, administered, and evaluated by all members of the doctoral program committee, all of whom must judge the student's performance to be satisfactory. If the student performs unsatisfactorily on the written examination, the committee may be petitioned for one re-examination. Subsequent failure on the written examination precludes further doctoral study in the Curry School of Education. The time, place, and specific format of the examination shall be determined by the committee.

If the student performs satisfactorily on the written examination, an oral examination may be required at the discretion of the committee. The student's performance on the examination must be evaluated by each of the members of the committee, all of whom must judge the student's performance to be satisfactory. If the student performs unsatisfactorily on the oral examination, the committee may be petitioned for one re-examination. Subsequent failure in the non-written examination will result in enforced withdrawal of the student from the doctoral program.

Practicum Requirements   Each student must complete six credits of supervised practicum or internship credit. Practicum requirements must be completed after enrollment in the Curry School, and before the defense of the dissertation proposal.

Research Requirements   Each student must pass six credits of research courses at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville (additional requirements may be specified by program areas). Research requirements must be completed before the defense of the dissertation proposal.

Dissertation Proposal   The student must prepare and orally defend a written dissertation proposal. The student is responsible for scheduling all committee meetings and distributing copies of the proposal and any revisions. At least four University of Virginia faculty must be present for the defense and all committee members must approve it. The committee chairperson or co-chair, who must be from the student's major, will conduct all sessions. The acceptance of the dissertation proposal will be verified on the Record of Progress Form by the committee chairperson after all revisions of the dissertation proposal have been approved. A copy of the signed proposal must be attached to the student's official Doctoral Degree Record of Progress. All committee members must approve the dissertation proposal.

After approval of the dissertation proposal, all committee members must remain on the committee through the final oral defense of the dissertation.

Dissertation Requirements   Students are urged to consult fully with all dissertation committee members during the planning, conduct, and writing of their dissertation, although the work will be directly supervised by the committee chairperson. The general procedures for preparing and submitting the dissertation are available in the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs. Students must consult their advisor regarding the specific style to be used in writing the dissertation. The results of the dissertation defense must be verified on the Record of Progress Form by all members of the committee. A minimum of 12 credits of dissertation must be earned, including registration during each semester when working with faculty or using University resources.

Approval and Inspection of Dissertation   A copy of the dissertation must be approved in the Office of Academic and Student Affairs of the Curry School. Consult the calendar of the Curry School to determine the deadline for each semester (generally four weeks before the end of the term).

Oral Defense of Dissertation and Final Examination   All other requirements for the degree must be completed before scheduling the dissertation defense. The dissertation defense is an open, public examination of the doctoral research project. The defense date, time, and place must be announced at least 14 days in advance. A Dissertation Abstract and announcement must be filed with the doctoral secretary in the Office of the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, 104 Ruffner, from which it will be directed to each department of the Curry School.

At least four University of Virginia faculty members from the doctoral dissertation committee including one from outside the student's major department must be present for the oral defense. All members must attest to the successful completion of the defense and final examination.

Application and Registration for Degree   Application for the Ed.D. degree must be submitted by the student in accordance with the calendar deadlines. Forms can be obtained from the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs of the Curry School of Education and should be submitted to that office through the student's department. Students must be registered during the semester in which the degree is to be awarded.

Candidates who do not receive degrees in the session for which their applications have been approved must renew their applications in proper form at the beginning of the session in which candidacy for the degree is desired.

Non-resident degree applicants must be registered for the semester in which the degree is to be awarded. More details related to this requirement and to application deadlines are stated in the Curry School's "General Academic Requirements" section of this Record under the heading "Application and Registration for Degrees."

The student's completed Record of Progress along with an official transcript of all applicable course work from the University of Virginia or elsewhere must accompany this application for final review by the dean's office.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The Ph.D. degree is the highest "academic" degree awarded by the University. The primary purpose of the Ph.D. degree is to develop educational scholars who seek to conduct original research and interpret and communicate the results of such research as authors, university professors, and/or governmental or research agency officials.

Admission Requirements   The student desiring to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy degree must submit an application for admission to the Curry School of Education. The applicant to this degree program must:

  1. Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. (Most Ph.D. specialities require a master's degree before admission.)
  2. Have an outstanding record as a student.
  3. Submit an application for admission and official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work.
  4. Submit two references strongly endorsing him or her for doctoral work.
  5. Submit an official report of the Graduate Record Examinations Aptitude Tests and Advanced Tests as appropriate.
  6. Submit a statement of professional goals.
  7. Meet any additional department or area of specialization requirements.
Residence Requirement   Ph.D. candidates must complete at least three academic years (Fall-Spring semester) of full-time (12 credits) graduate work. One year of this requirement is waived for candidates who have already earned a master's degree. Upon approval of a petition to the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs of the Curry School of Education, up to one year of the required three years may be undertaken at another graduate school, or may be completed at this University on a part-time basis. In addition, up to one year or equivalent may be spent in dissertation research elsewhere, while enrolled as a full-time student (and not simultaneously employed on a full-time basis).

Enrollment Requirements   Students must be continuously enrolled at the University, during the fall and spring semesters, while working toward the Ph.D. degree. If students are not taking courses, they may still maintain enrollment by paying a non-resident fee through the Office of Admissions of the Curry School. Failure to maintain continuous enrollment will require students to reapply.

Time Limitation   All requirements must be completed within four years after passing comprehensive examinations and within seven years of admission to the Ph.D. program. In special cases, upon approval of the doctoral committee and associate dean, work out of date may be revalidated by examination.

Program Requirements   To earn a Ph.D. degree the following minimum requirements must be met:

  1. The student must successfully complete a program of study determined by their doctoral committee. The student must earn 72 credits, including at least 54 credits for courses other than non-topical research or dissertation credit and at least 12 dissertation credits. A maximum of 24 credits from the master's program may be counted toward either the 72 or 54 credits. A minimum of 36 credits (not including internships, independent study, practica and dissertation credit) must be earned on-grounds.
  2. The student must successfully complete preliminary examinations if required by the program area or the doctoral committee.
  3. The student must successfully complete written comprehensive examinations and an oral examination if required, as determined by the student's doctoral committee. Comprehensives must be completed before the dissertation committee is appointed and before the dissertation proposal is defended.
  4. The student must demonstrate research proficiency by passing the Curry School Research Examination which covers quantitative research methods, qualitative inquiry, statistics, tests and measurement and research design; or by an alternative method developed by the Ph.D. program area (listed under Areas of Graduate Study) in which the student is completing the degree. Alternative methods must comply with the specific departmental program area requirements and be approved by the Academic Affairs Committee.
  5. The student must successfully complete all dissertation requirements including (a) defending a dissertation proposal as determined by the student's doctoral committee, (b) planning and carrying out a research study (dissertation) appropriate to the field of specialization, and (c) passing an oral final examination on the conduct and conclusions of the dissertation. All other requirements must be completed before this defense.
  6. Students must complete all additional requirements as specified by their department and program area in the Curry School of Education, doctoral committee, and advisor.
  7. The student must pass the final examination (oral, written or both).

Record of Progress   The student must complete and keep current an official Record of Progress Form which should be started upon initial registration, and must be kept on file in the Office of Student Affairs, Curry School of Education. This form with instructions is obtained from the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs.

Doctoral Committee   The Ph.D. program of study is directed by the student's doctoral program committee. After approximately 12 credits of study, a doctoral committee is usually formed. This committee shall be responsible for the design of the program of study and supervise the student through all activities until the comprehensive examination is completed. The committee must consist of a minimum of four faculty members of the regular University appointed to the rank of assistant professor or higher, with at least two members from inside the major department (one of whom must agree to be the advisor/chair) and at least one outside of the major department. (Note: Ph.D. candidates are not required to designate minors or supporting areas. However, if such a designation is made, there must be at least one representative for each supporting area.) An additional committee member from outside the University may be added if approved by the chair of the student's major department, four University faculty who have agreed to serve on the committee, the Academic Affairs Committee, and Associate Dean for Graduate Programs.

When all program requirements are met, including the successful completion of the doctoral comprehensive examination, the student must seek to appoint a Doctoral Dissertation Committee. This committee will be responsible for the approval of a dissertation proposal after it has been presented and defended, for the supervision of the dissertation, for the final approval of the dissertation based on its written form and the students oral defense of the dissertation (the Ph.D. final examination). The dissertation committee must include at least four University of Virginia faculty members approved by the dean's office, and who agree to serve, including at least two from inside the major department (one of whom must agree to serve as the advisor/chair or co-chair) and one from outside the major department.

Any committee appointment or change must be approved by the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs on the recommendation of the student's advisor and departmental chair. Students who are ready to have a committee appointed must seek faculty who agree to serve on the committee and have them sign an advisory committee card. Cards are available in the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs.

All actions of doctoral committees must be approved by all members of the committee. There may be more than four members of any committee, but there must be at least four University of Virginia members (including the chair and outside member) present for any presentation or oral defense, and all members must agree to the outcome.

Major Program Areas   The student must select one major program area of the Curry School of Education and complete the course requirements specified by the doctoral committee for that major area. master's degree work completed by the student may be applied to the program when approved by the doctoral committee. Requirements for the major program area must be approved by all doctoral program committee members. Exceptions due to emergency must be approved by all committee members and the associate dean.

Preliminary Examinations   Preliminary examinations may be required by individual departments or program areas or at the discretion of the doctoral committee. All committee members must verify that such examinations have been successfully completed by signing the Record of Progress.

Comprehensive Examinations   All required courses must be satisfactorily completed before comprehensive exams are taken. When the student feels prepared, and in consultation with the major advisor, a written exam is requested in the field of specialization and related areas. This exam must be developed, administered, and evaluated by all of the members of the doctoral program committee, all of whom must judge the student's performance to be satisfactory. All committee members must verify successful completion of the exams by signing the Record of Progress form. If the student performs unsatisfactorily on the written exam, the committee may be petitioned for one re-examination. Subsequent failure on the written exam precludes further doctoral study in the Curry School of Education.

If the student performs satisfactorily on the written exam, an oral exam may be arranged at the discretion of the committee. Oral exams are required by some departments and program areas. The student's performance on the oral exam must be evaluated by each member of the committee, all of whom must judge the student's performance to be satisfactory. If the student performs unsatisfactorily on the oral exam, the committee may be petitioned for one re- examination. Subsequent failure will result in enforced withdrawal from the doctoral program.

Research Skills   Ph.D. students must demonstrate research proficiency. This is done most typically by passing the Curry School Research Examination which consists of two parts: a qualitative examination and a quantitative examination including quantitative research methods, statistics, tests and measurement and research design. An alternative method of demonstrating research skills competence may be approved in some program areas. Alternative methods must comply with the specific departmental program area requirements, and must have been approved by the Academic Affairs Committee. Consult the department or associate dean for a list of approved alternatives to the research examination.

Dissertation Proposal   The student must prepare and orally defend a written dissertation proposal. The oral presentation of the dissertation must be heard by at least four members of the doctoral dissertation committee, including the chair and the outside member, at which time a decision is made regarding continuation of the dissertation plan. Approval requires agreement of all doctoral dissertation committee members, at least one of whom must be from the student's program area, who serves as the chair or co-chair, and one from outside the department. After approval of the dissertation proposal, all dissertation committee members must remain on the committee through the final examination. The proposal may not be defended until successful completion of the comprehensive and research skills examinations.

The student is responsible for scheduling all committee meetings and distributing copies of the proposal and any revisions. The committee chairperson, however, will conduct all sessions. Advancement to candidacy is to be verified on the Record of Progress Form by the committee chairperson after all revisions of the dissertation proposal have been approved. A copy of the signed proposal must be filed with the student's official Record of Progress.

Dissertation Requirements   The student must successfully complete a dissertation and defend it in the final examination. All students must have registered for a minimum of 12 credits of dissertation, and be registered for credit during each semester when working with faculty or using University resources. The general procedures for preparing and submitting the dissertation are available in the Curry School of Education Office of Admissions and Student Affairs. The advisor must be consulted regarding the specific style to be used in writing the dissertation, and the manuscript must meet specified University standards.

Oral Defense of Dissertation and Final Examination   All other requirements must be satisfied before the dissertation defense. The dissertation defense is an open, public examination of the doctoral research project. The defense date, time, and place must be announced at least 14 days in advance. A Dissertation Abstract and announcement must be filed with the doctoral secretary in the Office of the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, 104 Ruffner, from which it will be posted for all members of the Curry School.

At least four University of Virginia faculty members from the doctoral dissertation committee including the advisor and the "outside" member must be present for the oral defense. All members must attest to the successful completion of the defense and final examination.

Through its chair, the examining committee may invite other members of the departmental faculty to take part in the examination; indeed, it is recommended that the doctoral examination be given before the entire professional staff of the department concerned. The result of the examination with the names of the examiners and the departmental affiliation must be reported by the chairman of the dissertation committee to the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs by submitting the final copy of the Record of Progress form which has been signed by all members of the dissertation committee.

Approval and Inspection of Dissertation   A copy of the dissertation title page must be approved in the Office of Academic and Student Affairs of the Curry School, five weeks before graduation and a copy attached to the Student's Record of Progress Form in the Curry School of Education. The original and one copy of the dissertation are to be approved and inspected in the Office of the Dean two weeks prior to the May or August graduation or by December 15 for the January graduation.

Application and Registration for Degree   Application for the Ph.D degree must be submitted by the student in accordance with the calendar deadlines listed in this Record. Forms can be obtained from the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs of the Curry School of Education.

Candidates who do not receive degrees in the session for which their applications have been approved must renew their applications at the beginning of the session in which candidacy for the degree is desired.

The student's completed Record of Progress Form along with an official transcript of all applicable course work from the University of Virginia or elsewhere must accompany this application for final review by the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs of the Curry School of Education.

Non-resident degree applicants must be registered for dissertation credit in the semester in which the degree is to be awarded.

Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology   The applicable Ph.D. program policy and requirements for the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology are those which are specified in the handbook of the Curry Programs in Clinical and School Psychology, in the following section for the Department of Human Services, and which apply to all Ph.D. programs in Education.


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