Aug 02, 2021  
Graduate Record 2008-2009 
Graduate Record 2008-2009 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Doctor of Education

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The primary purpose of the Doctor of Education degree program is to provide experienced educators with a broad and systematic understanding of professional education, a definite knowledge of selected aspects of educational theory and practice, and an ability to conduct research and evaluation and to apply research findings in an informed and critical manner. Candidates for this degree are recognized for their commitment to the application of knowledge on behalf of improved educational practice. The requirements below pertain to students admitted into the Ed.D. program for the 2008-2009 academic year or before. Degree requirements for Ed.D. students beginning their studies in the fall of 2009 are posted on the Curry web site.

Admission Requirements In addition to the admission requirements described for the M.Ed., an applicant to the Ed.D. program must: hold a master’s degree or its equivalent, have an outstanding record as a student, and have previous professional experience in an area related to the proposed major. Professional qualifications and experience are weighted heavily.

Residence Requirement Each Ed.D. student must complete a minimum of 24 credits of course work taught by resident faculty, exclusive of internship, practicum, independent study, and dissertation credit. This requirement must be completed after admission to the Ed.D. program. Individual program areas may have additional requirements.

Enrollment Requirements Students must be continuously enrolled at the University during the fall and spring semesters while working toward the Ed.D. degree. If students are not taking courses or working with a committee they may maintain enrollment by paying a University non-resident fee through the Office of Admission in the Curry School. Failure to maintain continuous enrollment will require students to reapply for admission. Students must be enrolled for dissertation hours during any semester in which they are working with their committee.

Time Limit All requirements must be completed within four years after passing the Ed.D. comprehensive examination and within seven years of admission to the Ed.D. program. In special cases, the student may be required to validate out-of-date work by examination. Program committees must determine the appropriateness and currency of all course work, especially if it is eight or more years old.

Program Requirements

To earn a Doctor of Education degree, students must:

  1. Successfully complete a program of studies established by their doctoral committee which includes a minimum of 72 credits. Students may apply 12 hours of dissertation credit and 6 hours of practicum credit towards the total of 72. Up to 24 credits from a master’s degree can be applied toward the total hours if approved by the program area.
  2. Successfully complete written comprehensive examinations or, in some areas, a project approved by the doctoral committee. Comprehensives must be completed before the dissertation proposal. Oral comprehensives may also be required by some program areas;
  3. Pass a minimum of six credits of research courses at the University of Virginia;
  4. Pass six credits of supervised practicum or internship work (as judged by the doctoral committee and approved by the associate dean). These experiences must be completed after admission to the Ed.D. program and supervised by University of Virginia faculty or other approved professionals.
  5. Successfully complete all dissertation requirements, including (a) defending a dissertation proposal as determined by the doctoral committee; (b) planning the dissertation, obtaining appropriate human subjects approval, and carrying out a research study appropriate to the field of specialization; and (c) passing an oral examination on the conduct and conclusions of the dissertation. (All other requirements must be completed before this defense. Guidelines for dissertation work can be found on the the Curry website.)
  6. Complete all additional requirements as specified by the student’s department, program area, doctoral committee, and/or advisor.

Doctoral Program Committee

Depending on the program area, the Ed.D. program of study is directed by the student’s doctoral program committee or by program area faculty. After approximately twelve credits of study approved by the student’s advisor,  a doctoral committee is formed; this  committee is responsible for the design of the program of study and supervises the student until the comprehensive examination is completed. The committee must consist of a minimum of three faculty members of the University, appointed to the rank of assistant professor or higher, with at least one faculty representing the major. One faculty member on the committee must be from outside the student’s major program area and two members must be from the Curry School, including the committee chair or co-chair who is from the major area.

Record of Progress

Students must maintain an official Record of Progress Form. This form may be obtained online from the Curry website.  The Record of Progress should be started upon initial registration and kept up to date throughout the doctoral program. 

Preliminary Examinations

Preliminary examinations may be required by some program areas. If exams are taken, all committee members must verify that the examinations have been successfully completed.

Comprehensive Examinations

When nearing completion of the program of study, and with the approval of the major advisor, the student requests a written examination, or, in some areas, a comprehensive project in all areas appropriate to the student’s planned program. The time, place, content, specific format, and evaluation of the examination shall be determined by the doctoral committee. All committee members must judge the student’s performance to be satisfactory and must verify successful completion of the exams by signing the student’s Record of Progress form. If the student performs unsatisfactorily on the written exam, the committee may be petitioned for one re-examination. Subsequent failure on the written exam precludes further doctoral study in the Curry School of Education.

Practicum Requirements

Each student must complete at least six credits of supervised practicum or internship credit. Practicum requirements must be completed after enrollment in a doctoral program in the Curry School and before the defense of the dissertation proposal. Experiences must be supervised by a Curry School faculty member or approved supervisor.

Research Requirements

Each student must pass at least six credits of research courses at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville (additional requirements may be specified by program areas). Research requirements must be completed after admission to the doctoral program and before the defense of the dissertation proposal.


See Curry Dissertation Manual for information about forming a dissertation committee and for a full description of dissertation guidelines, procedures, and deadlines.

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