Catalog 2010-2012

Doctor of Education Degree

Students interested in this Doctor of Education degree must submit a completed Application for Admission to Graduate Study and should contact the appropriate department for any other admission requirements.  Graduate information and application for graduate admission can be found at

This program is intended to provide practicing educators the opportunity to continue their study and earn the terminal professional degree in their field. The Ed.D. degree requires a minimum of 60 semester hours of credit beyond the master's degree. The Graduate Record Examination (General Test) is required for admission to the program. There are three components to the program: 15 semester hours in a Professional Common Core of work in educational foundations, fundamentals, and research; 38 semester hours of Advanced Professional Study in one of six areas of intensive study and a related area; and a Dissertation of 7 semester hours.

By design, then, all students are required to study in basic areas that undergird and define educational practice and develop skills of problem definition, data collection and analysis, and interpretation. The six areas of intensive study provide for a specialized focus on practice. The six intensive study areas are: Community Health Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership, Leisure, Youth and Human Services, Rehabilitation Studies, and Special Education. (In some areas, it is possible to combine doctoral degree study with work toward an endorsement to perform a particular role in K-12 education.) Brief definitions of the six areas are as follows.

Community Health Education.  This area of intensive study is designed to equip community health promotion and public health education professionals for positions of leadership in applied community and public health education settings. Graduates of the program are prepared for careers in applied academic settings including (but not limited to) allied health and nursing colleges, universities with a focus on teaching, and liberal arts colleges, as well as leadership positions in major community and public health organizations such as county, state, and national departments of public health, and government and non-government health organizations. (For more information, contact the Chair, Health Promotion and Education Division, School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services.)

Curriculum and Instruction. This area of intensive study is designed to prepare scholar-practitioners to plan, implement, evaluate, and supervise educational programs for children and adult learners. (For more information, contact the Head, Department of Curriculum and Instruction.)

Educational Leadership. This area of intensive study involves the preparation of personnel for leadership roles in PK-12 schools, postsecondary institutions, and non-school educational settings. (For more information, contact the Head, Department of Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Postsecondary Education.)

Leisure, Youth and Human Services. This area of intensive study is designed to interpret and apply youth development models and concepts as well as nonprofit administrative practices to the planning, management, supervision and evaluation of informal education programs in the community. Graduates are prepared for careers as applied scholars, administrators of community nonprofit organizations, youth serving agencies, public parks and recreation, foundations, and government agencies. Program of study will be based upon student's needs, interests, and upon approval by academic advisor and program of study committee. (For more information, contact the Chair, Leisure, Youth and Human Services Division, School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services.)

Rehabilitation Studies. This area of intensive study is designed to prepare Certified Athletic Trainers and/or other Allied Health professionals to plan, implement, evaluate, and supervise educational programs as well as develop a scholarly agenda. Graduates will be prepared for careers as athletic training program directors, clinical coordinators, applied scholars, and practicing clinicians. This program focuses on a holistic approach of preparing students by including administration, education, and rehabilitation studies within the curriculum. (For more information, contact the Chair of the Division of Athletic Training within the School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services.)

Special Education. This area of intensive study is designed to provide students with a variety of leadership positions in public schools, higher education and human services agencies serving infants, children, youth and adults with disabilities. This program will center on preparing leaders who will be able to promote new meanings about diversity, develop inclusive school cultures and instructional programs, and forge productive relationships between schools and their communities. (For more information, contact the Head, Department of Special Education.)

Specific program requirements are listed within each department (Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Department of Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Postsecondary Education, School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services - Division of Athletic Training, and Division of Health Promotion and Education, and Department of Special Education)

Admission to Doctoral Study

Initial Admission

Formal application to doctoral study should be made to the appropriate intensive study area office, where descriptive materials and application packets may be obtained.

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.

  1. The applicant must hold a master's degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.
  2. Each applicant must submit transcripts of all previous academic work. Applicants with a grade point average of less than 3.50 for all prior graduate work will not usually be considered for regular admission.
  3. Examinations. The following examination is required of students enrolled in the Doctor of Education program
    Graduate Record Examination. Students applying for admission to the Ed.D. degree program must have their verbal, analytical, and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination forwarded directly to the Office of the Registrar in order to be considered for degree status admission. The Graduate Record Examination is required in the doctoral intensive study areas of Community Health Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership, and Rehabilitation Studies.
    The doctoral intensive study areas in Leisure, Youth and Human Services and Special Education require a written statement from each applicant as part of the total application packet. The written statement should articulate the applicant's professional background, reasons for seeking the doctoral degree and a statement of career goals. Also required is a sample of professional writing that will be formally assessed. The professional writing sample may consist of a master's research paper or thesis, published article, a paper prepared for presentation at a professional conference, or similar document. The Graduate Record Examination is not required.
  4. The applicant must have a minimum of three years of professional educational experience.
  5. Three letters of recommendation must be submitted from individuals familiar with the applicant's potential for advanced professional study, at least one from a professor familiar with the applicant as a student and at least one from an educational employer/supervisor.
  6. Applicants for whom English is not their first language must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language Examination (TOEFL) and check with their desired intensive study area regarding acceptable scores.

Provisional degree status may be recommended for an applicant who does not meet all of the requirements or for whom it is felt that further graduate course work or professional experience would be useful in making the admission decision. Provisional degree status will not be considered for applicants whose admission files are incomplete. An individual admitted to provisional degree status must be formally reconsidered for regular admission, and course work completed during that time must be subsequently approved by an appropriate faculty committee before it may be applied to a degree.

Candidacy Status

Soon after full admission, an advisor will be appointed for each student. In most instances, the advisor will be from the student's area of intensive study. Prior to the completion of 15 semester hours of course work toward the doctorate at the University of Northern Iowa, the student should meet with their advisor to discuss the coursework to be submitted for approval for application to their 38-hour intensive study area.

General Regulations

  1. Scholarship. A cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or above (on a 4.00 scale) must be maintained for all course work taken toward the Doctor of Education degree at the University of Northern Iowa. No more than 6 semester hours of C credit (C-, C, C+) earned within the program of study may be applied toward credit for graduation.
  2. Recency of credit. Courses taken more than seven years prior to the granting of candidacy status cannot be used to meet degree requirements.
  3. Credit from Other Institutions. Usually a maximum of 15 hours of credit from regionally accredited graduate institutions may be applied toward meeting the minimum credit hour requirements for the Doctor of Education degree (subject to the Recency of Credit regulation). Usually not more than 3 hours of acceptable transfer credit may be applied toward any given subcomponents of the Professional Common Core.
    All transfer credit, including work taken prior to formal admission, is subject to review by the Dean of the Graduate College or designee, Dean or Associate Dean of the College of Education, and the College Committee for Doctoral Study. The student's doctoral advisor will make recommendations regarding the applicability of transfer credit.
    A student 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)
    1. Transfer credit. Usually a maximum of 15 hours of credit from regionally accredited graduate institutions may be applied toward meeting the minimum credit hour requirements for the Doctor of Education degree, subject to the Recency of Credit regulation. Hours that have been applied to meet the requirements of another degree cannot be transferred.
    2. Master's degree credit. A maximum of 6 hours of graduate credit applied to meet the requirements of a second or third master's degree may be applied toward the doctorate, subject to the Recency of Credit regulation. These hours must be approved by the Chair of the Intensive Study Area and the Department Head.
  4. Residence credit. Following admission to the Doctor of Education program, the student shall be enrolled for at least two courses from the approved program of study for each of two on-campus semesters.
  5. Maximum academic load. The maximum graduate load during an academic year semester is 15 hours; for the eight-week summer session, 9 hours is the normal maximum - a maximum of 6 hours during one four-week period and 3 hours during the other four-week period; or 3 three-hour courses during an eight-week period. The maximum load during a two-week post-session is 2 hours. Exceptions to these load restrictions may be granted only by the Dean of the Graduate College or designee.
  6. Level of courses. Credit earned as part of the candidate's program of study will be earned in courses which are at the graduate level. A minimum of 50 hours of course work at the 200- or 300-level must be completed. No more than 10 hours of credit at the 100g level (upper-level undergraduate and lower-level graduate) may apply toward this program of study.
  7. Examinations. The following examinations are required of all students enrolled in the Doctor of Education program:
    1. Doctoral comprehensive examination.The candidate requests permission to take the comprehensive examination through the Intensive Study Area office. Normally, such a request is made during the term prior to the administration of the comprehensive examination. The doctoral comprehensive examination is governed by the following conditions:
      1. The candidate will have completed 80 percent of her/his program of study.
      2. The candidate will have satisfied the research proficiency requirement.
      3. The examination is prepared within the guidelines established by the ISA.
      4. A candidate may be permitted to take the doctoral comprehensive examination a second time.
        Note: Upon successful completion of the Doctoral Comprehensive Examination, the degree candidate achieves the status of active candidate.
        Post-comprehensive registration: Doctoral students who have completed all of their program but the dissertation, and who have passed their comprehensive examination must be continuously registered until the degree is completed. Students reaching this stage will be automatically registered and assessed a fee for 190:300, the post-comprehensive course registration number.
    2. Doctoral dissertation examination. Upon completion of her/his doctoral dissertation, the active candidate will request and submit to a public examination over the content, design, and methodology used in conducting the dissertation research.
  8. Doctoral dissertation proposal. The student, in conjunction with her/his advisor, should make arrangements to present the dissertation proposal to the doctoral committee as a group. Formal work on the dissertation may not proceed without approval from this committee.
    The dissertation committee will consist of a minimum of five members of the UNI graduate faculty. One of the five members will be appointed by the Graduate Dean to serve as the committee member from outside the College of Education as well as the representative of the Graduate College. The names of two UNI graduate faculty must be recommended to the Graduate Dean when the Dissertation Committee Approval Form is submitted to the Graduate College. The Dean will appoint one of these people to serve on the committee.
    An expansion of the committee may occur if a non-faculty member or an external faculty member from a university other than UNI, agrees to serve due to expertise or as a representative of an area of knowledge. Approval shall comprise a written petition submitted in the normal procedure. Non-faculty personnel will participate in all committee responsibilities except for signature decisions.
  9. Time limitation. The program of study for the Doctor of Education degree must be completed within seven calendar years from the date that admission to candidacy is granted. Extensions in this time requirement should be the exception and will be granted only for good cause. Such extensions may be granted by the Dean of the Graduate College.
  10. Preview. During the semester in which the student intends to graduate, the student must make an appointment with the Graduate College for a dissertation preview to have the style and format of the dissertation reviewed. The student must have an approved program of study on file in the Graduate College, as well as a student request filed with the members of the dissertation committee listed before a preview meeting will be scheduled. All problems may not be detected during the preview; however, the major difficulties will be discussed. Often a brief consultation will uncover format problems that are easily remedied at this stage. No dissertation will be accepted by the Graduate College for final approval without the completion of this meeting.
  11. Filing of dissertation. A dissertation is required of all candidates for the Ed.D. degree. It will involve 7 hours of credit. The first one hour will be Dissertation Seminar. Regulations governing the physical appearance (format) may be obtained from the Graduate College. The dissertation must be in final copy form before doctoral committee members may affix their signatures for approval.
    The student must present three unbound copies of the dissertation in final form, either originals or photocopies, to the Graduate College no later than six weeks before graduation. Failure to meet this deadline will result in a delay in graduation. The requirements for the preparation and filing of the dissertation are set forth in the Thesis and Dissertation Manual. Copies of the manual may be obtained through the Graduate College and should be consulted prior to beginning the dissertation. Final copies submitted to the Graduate College must be on white, acid free, 24-pound, 25 percent or 100 percent cotton paper. The student may purchase the approved paper at the print center in the Physical Plant. Final copies must be clean and suitable for microfilming, with uniform darkness and a sharp imprint.
    In addition, student should check with the department granting the degree for the number of copies required, as the number varies.
  12. Abstracts of dissertation. Three copies of an abstract of the dissertation must be filed in the Graduate College Office at the time of final deposit of the dissertation. Regulations for the dissertation also apply to the abstract. The abstract must not exceed 350 words in length. Please see the most current edition of Thesis and Dissertation Manual for details.    
  13. Publishing Agreement. A Publishing Microfilm Agreement and Survey of Earned Doctorates must be completed and returned to the Graduate College with the final dissertation. An additional copy of the dissertation and abstract must be submitted to accompany the publishing agreement. This copy may be on regular printer paper.
    The University of Northern Iowa participates in a program sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries and conducted by University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan, for reproduction of doctoral dissertations on microfilm. If the dissertation has been copyrighted, this information must be included on the university agreement form.
  14. Dissertation fees. Several fees are required in connection with the dissertation; these include:
    1. a binding fee for the library and department copies of the dissertation. If a student wishes to bind additional copies, individual arrangements with a binder must be made.
    2. a microfilm fee to cover the cost of microfilming the dissertation and publishing the abstract.
    3. a copyright fee if the student wishes to have the dissertation copyrighted.
      Students should check with the Graduate College office for the amount of each of the above fees.
      The binding, microfilming, and copyrighting fees must be paid at the UNI Office of Business Operations and a copy of the receipt submitted to the Graduate College at the time the final copy of the dissertation is deposited.
  15. Application for Graduation. Candidates for the Doctor of Education degree must make application for graduation on appropriate university forms. Application for graduation can be completed on paper or electronically on My-UNIverse at the time students register for their last semester of classes, or any time up to the 12th week of classes (July 1 deadline for all summer sessions). During Fall and Spring semesters, the 12th week helps assure students' names will be included in the commencement publication. After the 12th week special application for graduation must be made on paper and submitted to the academic department for approval. Paper applications are available at MyUNIverse in the forms repository, at the Office of the Registrar, or in academic departments.
  16. Attendance at commencement. The candidate for the Doctor of Education degree is expected to secure the appropriate academic regalia and appear at commencement for the awarding of the degree.