Jun 22, 2021  
2019 - 2020 Graduate Catalog 
2019 - 2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Educational Policy, Planning & Leadership (EPPL)

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Degree Programs in EPPL   Dissertation Committee
EPPL Courses   EPPL Comprehensive Exam
Concentrations for Doctoral Programs  

Master’s Degree Programs

The Master’s Degree program in Educational Leadership blends elements of well-grounded theoretical perspectives with innovative practices in the preparation of educational leaders for entry-level positions in educational organizations. The program offers two majors: PK-12 Administration & Supervision and Higher Education Administration.

Doctoral Degree Programs

For those students who already hold a master’s degree, we offer two options for advanced study:

  • Our Executive Ed.D. is designed for the working practitioner.
  • Our Ph.D. programs are intended for students interested in scholarly practice, research and/or teaching at the university level.

The Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership doctoral programs have the following components:

  • Program Area Core Course Requirements
  • Research Methodology courses (PhD) or Research Inquiry Courses (Executive Ed.D)
  • Concentration Options
  • Comprehensive Examination
  • Dissertation

Concentrations for Doctoral Programs

The purpose of the concentration is to enable the student to develop in-depth knowledge and understanding of principles, concepts, theories, and practices in a particular area of Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership.  Each student will be required to declare a concentration during the admission process.

For the Executive Ed.D program, there are concentration in K-12 Administration, Higher Education, Gifted Education, and School Psychology.

For the Ph.D. program, there are concentrations in K-12 Leadership, Curriculum & Learning Design, or Higher Education Administration

Dissertation Committee - EPPL

In EPPL, the Dissertation Committee includes the Chair or Co-Chairs, and one or more additional members, with a minimum of three members.  The composition of the Committee must include at least one member from the student’s department.  The following guidelines apply in eligibility to serve on doctoral committees.

  • The Committee Chair must be a faculty member within the School of Education; a minimum of two members of the Committee must be faculty in the School of Education.  For Ph.D. students, the committee chair must be a full-time tenured, tenure-eligible, or non-tenure-eligible faculty member from the student’s department. A minimum of one member must be a faculty member in the student’s program area.
  • For Ed.D. students, the committee chair may be a tenured, tenure-eligible, or non-tenure-eligible affiliated faculty member who regularly teaches full- or part-time in the Ed.D. program. Affiliated faculty members will be approved using departmental-criteria.  A list of approved affiliated faculty will be maintained by the School of Education Registrar.  Affiliated faculty members may serve as chair on Ed.D. dissertations after serving as co-chair with a full-time faculty member on at least two successful dissertations.
  • Members outside of the School of Education must be approved by the Committee Chair as committee members. 
  • The academic advisor originally assigned to the student for program planning may be invited by the student to serve on or chair the Committee, but inclusion of the academic advisor is not mandatory. 
  • All members of the Committee must have terminal degrees and are required to participate fully in review and assessment of the proposal and dissertation.

Students should complete the Dissertation Committee Approval form and obtain the signatures of each committee member.  The completed form should be submitted to the School of Education Registrar.  Changes in the composition of the dissertation committee, once it has been formed, may be requested by contacting the School of Education Registrar.

EPPL Comprehensive Exam


The EPPL Comprehensive Exam is a five-calendar-day take-home exam comprising two sections: a section that requires knowledge, synthesis, and/or application of topics addressed in the four EPPL core courses (EPPL 601, 602, 603, and 604), and an article critique that assesses knowledge of research design and methods gained in the required research or inquiry courses.

In section one, students respond to a prompt based on topics and materials from the EPPL core curriculum. The focus is on integration and application of knowledge explored in the core courses (EPPL 601, 602, 603, and 604).

In section two, students produce a methodological critique of a scholarly article chosen from a set provided by the faculty. Key to the assessment of this portion of the exam response is the sophistication of the student’s critique of the selected study’s design, suggestions for improvement, and explanations of all points and suggestions made. Prior knowledge of the content addressed in the selected article is not required to write a successful response to this section of the exam.


Doctoral students are eligible to take the comprehensive exam after successful completion of the required EPPL core and research/inquiry courses. The exam can be taken prior to completion of Ph.D. advanced-level research electives (e.g., EDUC 700 and EPPL 765). The student must be enrolled for at least one credit hour during the semester when the exam is taken.


The comprehensive exam must be taken within one year of completing the required EPPL core and research/inquiry courses. The comprehensive exam must be passed within five years from the time that the student is admitted to doctoral study. 


Each comprehensive exam will be read independently by two EPPL faculty members, with a third reader assigned if there is a discrepancy between the assessments of the first two readers. Exams will be evaluated using blind review and on a pass/fail/honors basis. A unanimous vote is required for an honors designation; a majority is necessary for pass or fail evaluations. The review of exam responses will be completed within three weeks from the last day of the exam period. The designated review committee chair will notify the EPPL department chair of the evaluation results. The department chair will then inform the Office of Academic Programs, which subsequently will notify the student.

If any part of the exam receives a “fail” evaluation, the designated committee chair will provide feedback to the student’s program advisor, including recommendations for addressing deficiencies. A second exam will be scheduled during the next exam period for the portion(s) of the exam that were failed.  If the student fails either section of the comprehensive exam twice, the student will be withdrawn from the program.

More information regarding policies for doctoral students can be found on the Doctoral Policies  page.