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Doctor of Education (EdD)*: Graduation Requirements (details)

Doctor of Education

A student is required at entry to hold a Master’s degree and to be a mature adult with a history of community involvement or successful professional practice. A minimum of three (3) years of study (60 semester units) is required of students for the degree.   Pre-dissertation projects must constitute at least 45 of the required 60 semester units. [Previously enrolled PhD students must complete at least 42 semester units of pre-dissertation projects, on their way to the 54 semester unit PhD.]

*Effective June 1, 2013, WISR admits all new doctoral students to an EdD program, while previously enrolled doctoral students complete their PhDs–we made the decision to switch the PhD program to an EdD program to enable us to explore the possibility of seeking national accreditation with an agency approved to accredit professional doctoral degrees.

In practice, several exceptional WISR students have completed their doctoral studies in two and one-half very intense years, and most take three or four years beyond the MA, and quite a few choose a longer period of time and more gradual pace. Faculty assess the quality of the student’s learning, the quality of the student’s written product and other demonstrated accomplishments, and the quantity of the student’s efforts in relation to what would be expected of students in more conventional doctoral level classes. Typically, students earn at least three or four units for each project, and about twelve to fifteen units for the dissertation.

A doctoral student must complete a range of projects, culminating in papers comparable in quality (not necessarily in form or content) to papers expected for doctoral seminars at more traditional institutions. In practice, about ten such projects, and readings involved in developing the required annotated bibliographies,in addition to the dissertation, are necessary to demonstrate:

• breadth of expertise in one’s major field(s) of emphasis;
• ability to use theory and practice creatively, and to create theories and action strategies;
• ability to integrate WISR’s two core areas–
Action Research Methods and Theories of Social Analysis and Change–into one’s thinking and action; and
• completion of a dissertation project that shows significant intellectual and practical creativity in an area of personal interest and potential importance to others.

Further, each doctoral student is required to plan and conduct at least one seminar session on a subject which reflects a major interest of theirs, and to demonstrate how it relates to theories and practices in the broad, interdisciplinary field of higher education and social change.

Doctoral students are strongly encouraged to attend seminars, WISR’s annual conference, and the semi-annual All School Gatherings, whenever possible.  Those outside the Bay Area are expected to visit at least one time each year for two or three days.  Doctoral students at WISR learn about theories and strategies pertaining to higher education and social change, and about research methodology, especially qualitative methods and participatory action-research. Through seminars, readings, and individual discussions with faculty advisers, doctoral students are expected to learn about theories and research methods, and to use and critique some of these theories in their papers and in the dissertation.