The Ed. D. program provides practicing educators the opportunity to continue their study and earn the terminal professional degree in their field. A minimum of 60 units of credit beyond the master's degree is required. The program consists of three components: a professional common core of work in educational foundations, fundamentals and research (15 units); advanced professional study in an area of intensive study (32 units) and an area of related study (6 units); and a dissertation component of seven units (1 unit for Doctoral Seminar, 6 units for Dissertation Research). It is possible to combine doctoral degree study and study leading to licensure (endorsement/approval) in selected areas.


General Characteristics and Regulations


Initial Admission

Formal application to doctoral study should be made to the Educational Leadership office. Admission to the program will be granted to those applicants who provide evidence of prior academic success; successful and appropriate professional experience; effective oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills; and professional and academic goals which may be effectively served by the degree program offered. Additional criteria may be established by an area of intensive study since some previous specialization work is presumed.

Each applicant must submit official transcripts of all previous academic work.  These transcripts must be sent directly from that institution to the UNI Registrar's Office - Graduate Admissions.  Applicants with a grade point average of less than 3.50 for all prior graduate work will not usually be considered for regular admission.  

All students enrolled in the Doctor of Education program must submit results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).  Students applying for admission to the Ed.D. Degree program must have their GRE scores forwarded directly to the Office of the Registrar in order to be considered for degree status admission.


Candidacy Status

To become a candidate for the doctoral degree, each student admitted to doctoral study with Degree Status must gain formal approval of a planned program of study.  There is an Academic Advisement Report template created for each student when they are admitted, which can be found on MyUNIverse.  You can print a copy to bring to your appointment with your advisor to develop your Ed. D. program of study.

After consulting with your advisor, you will need to submit a Student Request though MyUNIverse to transfer courses into your program of study, which can be found in the "Forms and Requests" section of the Student Center.  You will need to include the course number, title, and credit hours/units in order to complete the request.  Please list all of your courses to transfer, such as those from your ASC principal or ASC superintendent endorsement on one student request (rather than multiple requests), which will help speed up the approval process.  Student requests are approved by your advisor and the coordinator of the doctoral program before being sent to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College for final approval.  Finally, your student request will be sent to the record analyst in the Registrar's office who will make the changes to your Academic Advisement Report.  You will be able to track the status of your student request through MyUNIverse.  During the course of your program, you will need to submit other student requests to update your Academic Advisement Report.

Students can apply toward a doctorate a combined maximum of 15 hours of transfer credit and a second or third master's, or specialist degree credit (maximum of 6 hours).


Comprehensive Examination

All candidates for the Doctor of Education Degree are required to take a comprehensive examination over coursework completed in the degree program. Successful completion of this examination qualifies a student to continue studies and work on the dissertation. The comprehensive examinations may consist of one of several approved by the student's Dissertation Committee under the leadership of the doctoral advisor. At this time the Educational Leadership Intensive Study area requires a written and an oral examination.  All coursework must be complete before you are eligible to take the comprehensive examination; you may be enrolled in your last course during the semester that you take the exam.



The candidate must satisfy the predissertation research experience before proceeding with Dissertation Research (INTDEPED 7399). The advisor is responsible for determining when this requirement has been met. Each candidate will present a formal proposal for a dissertation to his/her doctoral committee. This presentation will be open to the University community. The dissertation, the culminating experience in the doctoral program, is intended to involve the application of existing knowledge and/or the results of the individual's research to an educational problem or situation. A formal defense of the dissertation will be conducted by the doctoral committee; consistent with University traditions, and will be open to the University community.


Transfer Credit

Usually, a maximum of twelve (12) to fifteen (15) hours of credit from accredited graduate institutions may be applied toward meeting minimum unit requirements of the Doctor of Education degree (subject to the Recency of Credit regulation). Work taken at the University of Northern Iowa prior to formal admission, but not previously applied to any other degree program, is considered transfer credit.


Recency of Credits

Courses taken more than seven years prior to the granting of candidacy status cannot be used to meet degree requirements.



The residency requirement will be satisfied by completing the Professional Common Core (15 units) delivered by UNI faculty.


Maximum Academic Load Allowed

The maximum graduate load during an academic year semester is fifteen (15) units per semester; for the 12-week summer session nine (9) units is the normal maximum; and for shorter pre-and post- sessions, the maximum graduate load is normally calculated at one unit per week of course contact work.