Doctoral Degrees

The doctoral programs of the College of Education at Wayne State are designed to afford opportunity for advanced study and research to persons who have demonstrated superior scholarship; leadership in education; 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 education as a profession.

The Ed.D. degree is typically more application oriented; the Ph.D. degree more research oriented. Ed.D. study includes development of specialized practitioner skills; application of other educational foundations and techniques to a field; or applied research which 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 Graduate 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 Masters Degree program (3.5 or above) before being considered for admission.

2. The following program requires a Masters degree from an accredited school: Counseling.

3.  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 Education Requirements

Credit Requirements

The minimum credit requirement for the Ed.D. degree is ninety 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.


At least one full year of course work, i.e., thirty credits of course work beyond the master’s degree, must be taken in residence at Wayne State University. This may include work in research techniques, but does not include dissertation research credit.

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.

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

Doctoral Seminars

Students must elect two doctoral seminars from an area outside the field of concentration from the following foundation areas:

  • educational administration
  • educational psychology
  • educational sociology
  • history and philosophy of education
  • curriculum and instruction

These seminars are open only to doctoral students.

Research Methods

 A minimum of eleven credits is required in course work, approved by the College's Doctoral Advisory Committee, aimed at developing competence in statistics and research methodologies. At least six credits of the minimum requirement will consist of a comprehensive course in evaluation and statistics and an advanced course in research methodology and experimental designs. The remaining five credits will include research electives appropriate to the needs of the student, department research seminars, internships in research, or any combination thereof.


Electives may be chosen from the foundations of education, non-dissertation research techniques, or any course work the applicant and advisor consider appropriate to the student’s individual program.


A minimum of thirty credits is required in the student’s area of concentration. The courses constituting the major will be specified by the department in which the student selects the concentration. Course work in the field of concentration is not restricted to courses offered by the College of Education.


A cognate in professional education or in a single field is optional at the discretion of the major advisor. Courses included in the cognate will be selected by the student and advisor in conjunction with the cognate field committee member.

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.


Candidacy is achieved when the dissertation prospectus receives final approval by the Graduate Officer following approval by the Dissertation Advisory Committee through a proposal oral defense and 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. Twenty credits are required in dissertation research (ED 9989).Prior to candidacy, students may register for up to eight (8) credit hours. The balance of hours are completed after advancement to candidate status.  In each semester, registration must be completed prior to Census Day.  All 20 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 20 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.

Doctor of Philosophy Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy embraces the same fields of concentration as the Doctor of Education, except that the Ph.D. degree is not available in the areas of Reading, Language and Literature; and Curriculum and Instruction: Bilingual-Bicultural Education, but is available in Educational Psychology and Kinesiology.

Ph.D. programs in the College of Education require a minimum of ninety graduate credits beyond the bachelor's degree, with the exception of the Ph.D. in Educational Psychology. The Educational Psychology Ph.D. requires a minimum of one hundred graduate credits beyond the bachelor's degree. Of the minimum of ninety graduate credits (or one hundred for the Ph.D. in Educational Psychology), 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, available in Room 489, Education Building, for further specific Ph.D. requirements.