To earn a Ph.D. degree the following minimum requirements must be met:
Successful completion of a program of study determined by their doctoral committee. The student must earn 72 credits beyond the Bachelor’s degree, including at least 54 credits for courses other than non-topical research or dissertation credit, and at least 12 dissertation credits. This includes research methodology courses and 3 credits of research apprenticeship per semester for 3 years. Students can apply up to 12 dissertation credits towards the total of 72. A maximum of 18 credits from previous graduate work may be applied to the program. A minimum of 36 credits (not including internships, independent study, practica and dissertation credit) must be earned on grounds;
Specifically, educational leadership students must complete 4 graduate seminars in educational leadership (12 credits), 12 credits in an area of specialization (distinct from prerequisites), at least 15 credits in educational research methodology, 6 semesters of research apprenticeship, and a set of elective graduate courses that complement the students’ background and goals.
Successful completion of a written comprehensive examination as determined by the student’s doctoral committee. Comprehensives must be completed before the dissertation committee is appointed, the doctoral seminar taken and the dissertation proposal is defended;
Completion of all dissertation requirements, including defending a dissertation proposal as determined by the student’s doctoral committee; gaining approval from the University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the protection of human subjects; planning and carrying out a research study (dissertation) appropriate to the field of specialization; and passing an oral final examination on the dissertation. All other requirements must be completed before this defense; and
All additional requirements as specified by the doctoral committee and advisor.
Record of Progress
The student must maintain a current Record of Progress Form, which should be started upon initial registration and completed as the student progresses through the program. It is submitted for review prior to approval for graduation. The Record of Progress form can be accessed at: http://curry.virginia.edu/
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 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 University, appointed to the rank of assistant professor or higher, with at least two members from the program area (one of whom must agree to be the advisor/chair), and at least one outside of the student’s major program area. 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 area; four University faculty who have agreed to serve on the committee; and the Associate Dean for Doctoral Programs.
When all program requirements are met, including the successful completion of the doctoral comprehensive examination, the student must form a doctoral dissertation committee of four University of Virginia faculty members and/or research scientists. This committee is responsible for the approval of a dissertation proposal after it has been presented and defended; the supervision of the dissertation; the final approval of the dissertation, based on its written form; and the student’s oral defense of the dissertation (the Ph.D. final examination). See the Dissertation Handbook on the Curry School of Education website for guidance on the selection of the dissertation committee and the entire dissertation process.
Pre-dissertation Research Manuscript
All students will complete a pre-dissertation research project that results in a manuscript submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or other scholarly publication. The manuscript must be submitted before the student undertakes dissertation work. Papers that are co-authored with an advisor are acceptable. Students are encouraged to shape the manuscript to result in publication.
See the Dissertation Manual on the Curry School of Education webpage for guidance on the entire dissertation process.
Ph.D. students must demonstrate research proficiency. All Ph.D. students take Research Foundations, an introductory course in educational research. Additionally, educational leadership students are required to take an additional 15 credits in educational research with some courses at an advanced level. All students are expected to take EDLF 731 Stats I and EDLF 753 Qual I, unless the student has completed comparable coursework elsewhere.
Ph.D. students participate in 6 semesters of research apprenticeship with their educational leadership mentors prior to their dissertation research. During this 15-hour per week apprenticeship, students will assist with the advisor’s research and scholarship. This may include data collection, data analysis, library research, conference presentations, writing for publication, and other related activities. Students may also gain experience co-teaching educational leadership courses.
Educational leadership faculty members will review every student’s progress each year in the program. The review will assess not only each student’s course performance, but more importantly their ability to interpret and synthesize educational leadership literature; their knowledge of organizational theory, effectiveness, and leadership; their performance in the research apprenticeship; and their scholarly writing. Students will document their progress in these areas and receive written and oral feedback on their annual progress.
Ph.D. candidates must complete at least three academic years (fall-spring semesters) of full-time (9 credits) graduate work post-master’s degree.
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 maintain enrollment by paying a University non-resident fee through the Office of Admission of the Curry School. Failure to maintain continuous enrollment will require students to reapply for admission which is subject to changes in faculty availability and admission requirements.
Up to 18 credits from previous graduate work and/or non-topical research may be applied to the Ph.D. program with the approval of the doctoral committee.
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, department chair, and Associate Dean for Doctoral Programs, out-of-date work may be revalidated by examination.
Application for Degree and Graduation
Application for the Ph.D. degree must be submitted by the student in accordance with the calendar deadlines. Forms may be accessed through the Curry School website. 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, 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 Admission and Student Affairs of the Curry School of Education. Degree applicants must be registered for dissertation credit in the semester in which the degree is to be awarded.