Higher Education Administration Program at KU
Although there are some similarities between the Ph.D. and Ed.D. in terms of the core experiences, the major difference between the two degrees is the focus of the research expectations. The Ph.D. is a research degree and prepares students to contribute to the general and theoretical knowledge about higher education issues. The Ph.D. dissertation will be theoretically grounded and should make an original contribution to the literature.
The Ed.D. prepares students to apply the most current knowledge about colleges and universities and their constituencies to administrative practice. Ed.D. students may choose to focus their capstone project—the Ed.D. dissertation—on a problem relevant to improving their own or their organization's education practice. To this end, the emphasis of the research component of the Ed.D. is learning to use research skills to improve everyday practice.
Each doctoral candidate must fulfill a residency requirement during which time the student is engaged in full-time academic study. Residency may be fulfilled in a number of ways and students are encouraged to consult the Graduate catalog for detailed description of residency options.
All students are required to take a comprehensive examination, which consists of a written and oral portion. The comprehensive is normally taken after successful completion of most of the appropriate coursework, the research competencies, and minor, if applicable. Both the oral and written portions of the exam must be successfully completed before the student is allowed to begin work on the dissertation.
In contrast to the academic coursework which is designed to develop the knowledge base necessary for effective administration, the dissertation's purpose is to study one higher education problem in depth. A formal dissertation proposal will be prepared by each student and approved by a dissertation committee of at least three graduate faculty prior to the beginning of the dissertation research. Under the guidance of the dissertation committee, the student is expected to generate or clarify knowledge in a specialized field and contribute to resolving important problems or questions within the field of educational leadership. The field of inquiry and method of analysis are limited only by the availability of faculty to sponsor the project. A final oral examination on the dissertation is scheduled when the dissertation has been tentatively accepted by the committee.