Academic Catalog

Doctoral Degrees

The doctoral programs of the College of Education at Wayne State are designed to afford an opportunity for advanced study and research to persons who have demonstrated superior scholarship, promise in the field of research, and potential for professional leadership. Advanced graduate degrees are conferred not merely upon the completion of a prescribed number of courses, nor necessarily after a given period of residence; but, rather, in recognition of outstanding ability and high attainment in course work, examinations, research, scholarly writing, and personal fitness for the profession.

The Ed.D. degree is typically more application-oriented; the Ph.D. degree is more research-oriented. Ed.D. study includes the development of specialized practitioner skills; application of other educational foundations and techniques to a field; or applied research that primarily addresses localized practitioner problems. Ph.D. study includes theoretical foundations in the field; application of foundational or related disciplines; or research directed toward theory-building.

Doctoral degree programs are administered by the following academic divisions of the College:

  • Administrative and Organizational Studies
  • Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies
  • Teacher Education
  • Theoretical and Behavioral Foundations

Admission to Doctoral Programs

1. An undergraduate grade point average of 'B' or above (3.0 on a 4.0 point scale). Applicants with grade point averages of less than 3.0 for the baccalaureate must present evidence of superior academic achievement in a Master's Degree program (3.5 or above) before being considered for admission.

2.  Admission to these programs is contingent upon admission to the Graduate School.  Application information is available on the Graduate Admissions website.

Specific admission requirements associated with individual majors and areas of concentration can be found in the respective divisional sections; generic degree requirements applicable to all Divisions are stated below.

Doctor of Philosophy Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy is available in the following majors: Counseling Psychology, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Educational Studies, Learning Design and Technology, and Kinesiology. 

Ph.D. programs in the College of Education require a minimum of ninety graduate credits beyond the bachelor's degree. Of the minimum of ninety graduate credits, a minimum of twenty credits in coursework must be completed in the major field, including at least twenty-four credits of graduate work in Education. Thirty credits in dissertation research are required in the Ph.D. program. The thirty credit dissertation registration requirement is fulfilled by registering for the courses ED 9991, ED 9992, ED 9993, and ED 9994 (Doctoral Dissertation Research and Direction I, II, III, and IV, respectively), in consecutive academic year semesters. The remaining credits will be assigned to research or coursework in accordance with the needs of the students and the requirements in the field of concentration. A minimum of fifteen credits in research technique courses approved by the College's Doctoral Advisory Committee are required. A cognate in a field inside or outside the College of Education is optional at the discretion of the major advisor.

A Plan of Work, qualifying examinations, and a Final Public Lecture Presentation are required. Satisfactory completion of the full-time residency requirement must be certified by the advisor and the College graduate officer. For additional information, Ph.D. applicants should consult the Graduate School's Graduate Degree and Certificate Requirements. Also, please consult the College of Education Doctoral Policies and Procedures handbook for further specific Ph.D. requirements.

Doctor of Education Requirements for Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Credit Requirements and Time Limitation 

The minimum credit requirement for the Ed.D is sixty-six credits in graduate work beyond the baccalaureate degree. All course work must be completed in accordance with the academic procedures of the College of Education and the Graduate School's regulations governing graduate scholarship and degrees.

All degree requirements must be completed within seven years from the time of admission as a doctoral applicant.

Residence Requirement 

At least twenty-five credits of course work beyond the master’s degree and excluding dissertation research credit, must be taken in residence at Wayne State University.

The Ed.D. program requires the completion of six graduate credits in regular course work in each of two successive semesters after admission as an Ed.D. applicant. The residence requirement must be completed following admission to the Ed.D. program.

At least twenty-five credits exclusive of dissertation credit, must be taken in course work open only to graduate students (7000 course level or above).

Research Methods

 A minimum of ten credits is required in course work, approved by the College's Doctoral Advisory Committee, aimed at developing competence in statistics and research methodologies.


Electives may be chosen with advisor approval.

Concentrations (Major)

At least 15 credits of course work in the major is required. 


A cognate in professional education or in a single field is optional at the discretion of the major advisor. Courses included in the cognate are approved by the advisor.

Plan of Work

A Plan of Work must be filed and approved by the advisor and graduate officer during the semester in which the student is completing eighteen credits of work under advisement. Failure to file a Plan of Work may preclude further registration.

The Plan of Work must include twenty-five credits of Education course work.


Candidacy is achieved when the dissertation prospectus receives final approval by the Graduate Director, which is preceded by approval by the Dissertation Advisory Committee through a proposal oral defense and approval by the Internal Review Board (when applicable).

Selection of Advisor and Dissertation Advisory Committee

Students will be assigned an advisor at the time of admission. The advisor acts as the chairperson of the student's doctoral committee, which will consist of a minimum of three members: the advisor. one member representing the area of the concentration, and one member outside of the concentration area

Two members of the committee, including the advisor, must hold a Regular Graduate Faculty Appointment. The committee must be fully constituted not later than the time the student begins active work on dissertation research or project. The main function of the doctoral committee is to advise the student in research activities and to administer the final defense. The dissertation committee chair assumes the responsibility for overseeing the procedures of the dissertation defense, serving as the advocate for the student and resolving conflicts.


The doctoral student is required to submit a dissertation on a topic satisfactory to the doctoral committee. Ten credits are required in dissertation research (ED 9989). Prior to completion of the Qualifying Exam, students may register for up to two (2) credit hours.  The balance of hours are completed after passing the Qualifying Exam. In each semester, registration must be completed prior to Census Day.  All 10 semester hours of dissertation research must be registered prior to the Final Public Lecture-Presentation Defense.

Final Written and Oral Examinations

Final written and oral examinations in the major field of concentration are required. Testing in the cognate is optional at the discretion of the major advisor. The exact times of these examinations are determined by the Graduate Officer. Students will register for the examinations with advisor approval. The committee must consist minimally of three graduate faculty members from the major department (faculty from the College of Education), at least two of whom hold a Regular Graduate Faculty Appointment valid through the completion of the Qualifying Examination period. The major advisor must be one of the two members with a valid Regular Graduate Faculty Appointment. When performance on a final examination is unsatisfactory, the student may request a re-examination which must be taken within one year of the date of the examination and after one semester has elapsed since the examination. The second examination shall be considered final.

Final Public Lecture-Presentation Defense

A final oral examination on the dissertation is conducted by the student’s doctoral committee under the auspices of the Education Graduate Office. Students must be registered the semester of the Final Defense. Students that have completed 10 semester hours of dissertation research may register for ED 9995, Candidate Maintenance Status. 

Annual Progress Reports

Annual Progress Reports are required and completed at the end of the winter semester (due by April 30). The annual review of student progress is an important cornerstone of quality training of doctoral students. An Annual Review from each year of the program is required when requesting a time extension.

Time Extensions

Time Extensions may be granted to candidates in good standing with demonstrable progress towards completion of the dissertation. The request for a time extension must be made within six months of the original 7-year completion deadline and the student’s dissertation proposal must have been approved prior to making the request. Students who have not completed the Ed.D. requirements within ten years of their application date are required to re-take the Final Qualifying Examination and may need to complete additional coursework to prepare for the examination. The total time for earning the Ed.D., including all time extensions and any required revalidation, is 12 years.

Back to top