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Graduation Requirements for Doctoral Programs

In order to qualify for the doctoral degree, a candidate must complete all the degree requirements with a minimum grade point average of 3.25.

 Procedure for Graduation

When the degree program has been approved by the Program Director, all admission requirements or other conditions have been met, all doctoral coursework has been completed with a minimum grade point average of 3.2, and the dissertation has been submitted according to procedure and cleared for graduation, the student must obtain from his or her doctoral office, complete, and submit to the appropriate Program Director and doctoral committees, an "Application to Graduate" form. This submission for formal approval must be received by the appropriate Program Director no later than 90 days prior to the commencement date of the semester he or she intends to graduate. 

The student must officially apply for graduation. The student must meet all requirements to graduate in the semester of application to graduate. Note: If the student does not apply for graduation in the semester in which requirements are completed, then the degree will be posted in the next graduation after the official application has been received.

Time Limit for Completion

All requirements for the PHD degree must be completed within a period of seven years from the date of initial enrollment in the program. All requirements for the EDD degree must be completed within a period of seven years from the date of initial enrollment in the program. Matriculation in the first seminar or courses as a doctoral student establishes the beginning of the respective time period for completion.

Doctoral Residency Requirements

Each student will fulfill residency requirements by attending the Dallas campus or travel institutes at least ten days each of three summers and three two-day weekends through each of the fall and spring semesters for three years. The summer courses will be comprised of at least thirty (30) residency class hours each, and courses offered on weekends during the long semesters will total thirty (30) residency class hours each. All of the residency courses will be three-credit-hour courses. At least thirty-six (36) of the sixty (60) degree credit hours will be required as residential, keeping the cohort members together in the same seminars throughout their core leadership and research studies.

Heuristic Skills: Research and Statistics

Doctoral students must possess proficiency in the use of all research skills necessary to complete the doctoral dissertation successfully. Following the successful completion of all required coursework, all students must demonstrate such proficiency by earning a grade of “B” or higher on all of their Research and Statistics Seminars or successfully completing the Research and Statistics Competency Examination.

All research and statistics seminars must be taken in sequence (i.e., Research I should be taken before Research II). The same is true of the statistics courses. A graduate-level Statistics I course is a pre-requisite for Statistics II. If the student has not earned a grade of “B” or higher in Statistics I at the master’s level, the student must take Statistics I as a designated elective prior to enrolling in the doctoral-level Statistics II course.

These requirements are to be viewed as minimal requirements. Consequently, the Director, in consultation with the Dean of the Gary Cook School of Leadership and the PHD or EDD committees, may require additional research courses either for all of the students or as a requirement for an individual student based upon specific need.

Comprehensive Examinations

PHD Cohort Program Comprehensive Examinations

PHD cohort students are required to demonstrate competency at two points during the program. The first will be given at the end of the student’s third-year completion of all Research and Statistics Seminars in the program and will test the student’s knowledge of research and statistics. A student who earns a “B” or better in each of the required Research and Statistics courses, thereby demonstrating competency in the course content and application, shall be exempt from the Comprehensive Research and Statistics Competency Examination. If a student does not earn at least a “B” in any of the required Research and Statistics courses, the student must take the Research and Statistics Comprehensive Examination in order to demonstrate competency over the content of the course in question. 

At the end of the third year, comprehensive written and oral examinations will be given overall reading lists and the seminar content portion of the student's program in order to gauge the student's breadth and depth of knowledge.  Upon successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination, the student will be admitted into candidacy and the written prospectus and dissertation phase will commence.

A student who fails to pass either competency barrier may petition the Academic Director of the PHD program to re-take the examination. Approval may be granted by the Academic Director, in consultation with the PHD program faculty and the PHD Committee, for the student to re-take either examination one additional time. However, it is understood that approval is not guaranteed, and a time limitation may be assigned in which to re-take the examination. A student may be disenrolled from the PHD program for failure to achieve satisfactory Comprehensive Examination scores.

EDD Program Comprehensive Examinations

EDD students are required to complete and pass written comprehensive examinations in the third year of study.

The comprehensive examinations provide doctoral students with the opportunity to demonstrate learning and understanding of the curriculum content for the EDD program, as well as critically engage the knowledge through a synthesis of the subject matter. The examinations assist faculty in the evaluation of the doctoral student’s knowledge and capacity to continue the scholarly exercise of the dissertation.

Two comprehensive, written examinations will be given with a focus on the core curriculum as well as the concentration curriculum. There are no exemptions from taking the Comprehensive Examination. All students are required to take the written Comprehensive Examination prior to becoming candidates for the EDD and moving into the dissertation phase of the program.

Successful Completion of Doctoral Cohort Program Dissertation

Evaluation of the Dissertation

The dissertation will be submitted to members of the candidate’s Dissertation Committee and one additional reviewer, chosen from among the EDD or PHD faculty by the Academic Director in consultation with the doctoral director.

Once the manuscript has been approved by the dissertation chair and dissertation committee for defense, the candidate must seek Research Methodology approval and initial Form and Style approval then the candidate submits a Schedule of Defense Form with a printed copy of the dissertation to the EDD or PHD program office. The student must post an electronic copy of the dissertation to the Cook School of Leadership Blackboard site and Turnitin. The EDD or PHD Program Director and the Dean of the Gary Cook School of Leadership may approve the dissertation for defense, return it with comments for required modifications, or decline approval. The EDD or PHD Program Director will outline to the candidate and his or her chair the decision reached and any subsequent actions to be followed in each of the cases described above. If the dissertation is approved for defense, the program office will schedule the defense and notify the student and his or her dissertation committee.

 Defense of the Dissertation

The oral defense is the formal presentation of the dissertation to the dissertation committee. Approved Gary Cook School of Leadership doctoral faculty and doctoral candidates currently registered in dissertation hours may attend and participate in a designated question and answer time. Outside guests, family, or friends are not permitted to attend this academic presentation. All attendees will be asked to leave during dissertation committee deliberations. The dissertation committee may approve the dissertation, approve pending revisions, or reject the dissertation. It is most common for the committee to approve a dissertation, pending revisions. Upon completion of the dissertation defense, the dissertation committee chair must submit a Defense Completion Form to the EDD or PHD program office.