PhD Roadmap

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Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis
School of Education
UW-Madison
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MadisonWI  53706-1326

Tel: 608/262-3106
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Email: elpa@education.wisc.edu
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The main part of intellectual education is not the acquisition of facts but learning how to make facts live. —Oliver Wendell Holmes

Ph.D. Roadmap

Complete A Program Plan

The student’s program plan is developed in consultation with a departmental advisor.  The program plan is signed by the student and advisor and is then submitted to the Department of approval.   Program plans may be changed with advisor approval. 

Credit/GPA Requirements

Overall, doctoral students must take 75 credits of course work, distributed across the categories indicated on the program plan.  At least 39 credits of the total program have to be in Educational Policy and Analysis courses. 

Transfer students from other institutions must enroll for at least 39 credits from UW-Madison. 

No more than 6 credits of special student course work are applicable toward degree requirements.   Once you become a graduate student, you can no longer take courses as a special student.

The student must maintain a minimum overall GGPA of 3.00 in educational administration coursework between admission and the time of the preliminary examination (see below). 

The Ph.D. qualifying examination must be passed as a partial requirement for completion of the Ph.D. degree.  

The qualifying exam is a two-week take home exam designed to assess a student’s ability to synthesize and communicate in writing the theoretical, conceptual and empirical knowledge base of the field as it applies to issues of leadership and policy in the student’s area of specialization in education.  

In lieu of the written qualifying exam, Ph.D. students can prepare and submit a sole-authored, publishable-quality journal manuscript as evidence of their scholarly and professional competence in educational leadership and policy analysis. To meet the requirement, students can use or adapt sole-authored research papers developed throughout graduate courses, in research assistantships, as a result of writing the dissertation proposal, or other professional endeavors to meet this requirement.

The qualifying exam must be completed prior to scheduling preliminary exams. 

Preliminary Examination

The Ph.D. preliminary examination must be passed as a partial requirement for completion of the degree.  The student must have completed or must expect to complete the research requirements during the semester in which the preliminary examination is taken.  The student’s program plan, research requirement plan, and minor option plan must have been approved by the Department prior to taking the preliminary examination.

The preliminary examination is an oral examination based on the departmentally approved program requirements and the dissertation proposal.  The examination committee is composed of three faculty members, two of which must be from the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis. 

The preliminary examination must be passed with seven years from the date of admission to the program. The dissertation must be satisfactorily completed within five years of passing the preliminary examination.

Dissertator Status

Once the preliminary examination is passed and all course work is completed, a Ph.D. student becomes a "dissertator."  The Graduate School requires that after completion of the preliminary examination and all program requirements, students enroll for at least three graduate credits (990 credits) each semester as a "dissertator" until completion of the final oral examination.  You do not need to enroll as a dissertator during the summer session unless you intend to do your final oral examination during the summer.   Dissertator credits require departmental permission prior to registration.

Final Oral Examination

The final oral exam must be passed as a partial and final requirement for completion of the degree.  The student must have completed or expect to complete ALL program requirements during the semester in which the final oral examination is taken.  Certification of program completion must have been obtained by the Department Chair prior to scheduling the examination.  The final oral examination committee is composed of a three-member reading committee and two additional professors, non-readers, who make up the five-member final oral committee.  At least three (3) of the final oral committee members must be from the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis.  If a student follows the Minor Option A Plan, then at least one member must be from the Option A department.  In both Option A and Option B plans, at least one member must be from outside the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis.

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