Ph.D. Program


This is a guide for students in the Ph.D. degree program in the Department of Educational Policy & Leadership (EPL) at UAlbany.  This guide addresses the following requirements and regulations: 

    Pre-Core Courses
    Core Courses
    Concentration Courses
    Support Discipline Courses
    Statistics Requirement
    Research Sequence Courses
    Electives Courses
    Full-time Study in Residence
    Advanced Standing and Transfer Credit
    Doctoral Examination
    Admission to Candidacy
    Continuous Registration
    Leave of Absence
    Statute of Limitations

  • Pre-Core Requirements :  6 credits

    All EPL doctoral students must complete (1) EAPS 600 or EAPS 601 and (2) EAPS 614.  These two pre-core course requirements may be satisfied by advanced standing/transfer credit when appropriate. Students must receive a grade of “B” or better in these courses. 

    • (1) EAPS 600 Introduction to Organizational Analysis
    • EAPS 601 Introduction to Social Analysis

      (2) EAPS 614 Quantitative Methods  
  • Core Requirements :  6 credits

    The core requirements consist of two courses which must be completed at UAlbany by all EPL doctoral students. Students must receive a grade of “B” or better in these courses. The two courses are: :

    • EAPS 700 Advanced Organizational Studies 
    • EAPS 701 Advanced Social Analysis  >>CLOSE
  • Concentration :  15-18 credits

    The concentration is selected in consultation with the academic advisor and should align with the student’s interests and career goals. At least 15 credits of coursework in the doctoral program must be applicable to the concentration area.

    The Department offers three concentrations of study:

    School Leadership

    This concentration prepares students for leadership positions in preschool, elementary, and secondary schools, and university faculty appointments in the area of school leadership.

    Higher Education Leadership

    This concentration prepares students for leadership, policy, and faculty positions in post-secondary and related institutions. It may also be suitable for students pursuing positions in adult and continuing education programs in various organizations.

    Educational Policy

    This concentration provides students with a working knowledge of social science approaches to the policy process, including policy adoption, implementation, and evaluation. It is suitable for students preparing for roles in government, positions in research and advocacy organizations, and university faculty positions.   >>CLOSE

  • Support Disciplines :  12-15 credits

    The study of educational policy and leadership includes many concepts from the social sciences. In order to ensure that students understand social science concepts and insights, the Department requires a minimum of 12 credits in appropriate course work. Examples of courses that satisfy this requirement are listed below. This is not an exclusive or exhaustive list:

    • EAPS 500 US Educational Governance, Policy and Administration
    • EAPS 570 Introduction to Law and Education
    • EAPS 602 Economics of Education
    • EAPS 604 Macro-Sociology of Education and Educational Leadership
    • EAPS 605 Micro-Sociology of Education and Educational Leadership
    • EAPS 606 Ethics and Education
    • EAPS 608 Politics of Education
    • EAPS 609 Leadership for Cradle to Career Education Systems
    • EAPS 618 Family and Community Partnerships
    • EAPS 631 Public School Finance
    • EAPS 656 Sociology of Higher Education
    • EAPS 657 History of Higher Education
    • EAPS 658 Politics of Higher Education
    • EAPS 674 Educational Leadership in Federal and State Governments
    • EAPS 718 Interprofessional Leadership for School, Family, and Community Partnerships
    • EAPS 750 Higher Education Finance
    • EAPS 770 Educational Policy and Law
    • EPHL 601 Philosophy of Education

    Other appropriate social science courses offered by EPL, other departments, or other institutions may also fulfill the support disciplines requirement. All courses on the student’s Ph.D. program plan must be approved by the student’s advisor and the EPL Curriculum Committee.   >>CLOSE

  • Statistics Requirement

    Before enrolling in the Research Sequence courses, all doctoral students must satisfy the department’s statistics requirement by passing EAPS 614 with a grade of "B" or better, completing an approved equivalent quantitative research methods course with a grade of "B" or better, or passing a research methods qualifying examination based upon the cumulative final examination of EAPS 614.   >>CLOSE

  • Research Sequence

    Satisfactory completion of the required research sequence consists of meeting the statistics requirement and completion of the following three courses with a grade of “B” or better:

    • EAPS 714 Introduction to Research Methods in EPL
    • EAPS 715 Research Practicum in EPL

    In EAPS 714 and EAPS 715, students develop skills and complete work that provide a foundation for subsequent completion of the dissertation proposal.  >>CLOSE

  • Electives :  21-24 credits

    Elective courses should support the student’s concentration area and are not unrestricted choices; electives should be selected in consultation with the academic advisor. The student must complete a minimum of 21 credits in this category.  

    EAPS 890 Independent Study may be taken as an elective while working on the dissertation proposal under the supervision of the prospective or official dissertation committee chair.

  • Dissertation Research:  EAPS 899
    Following approval of the dissertation proposal, continuous registration may be fulfilled by registering for one credit of EAPS 899 in the fall and spring semesters. 

  • Full-time Doctoral Study in Residence

    The requirement of full-time study at UAlbany for at least one academic year after completion of the master’s degree or equivalent, and following admission to the doctoral program, is designed to ensure a sustained period of intensive intellectual growth.

    Doctoral students must satisfy the departmental full-time study requirement by fulfilling one of the following two options:

    1. Option 1. Demonstrate engagement in work or other experience of at least one year in duration that is relevant to the doctoral program and contributes to intensive intellectual growth. The advisor and Curriculum Committee must approve this option. The UAlbany requirement of continuous course registration must be met during this period.
    2. Option 2. Earn a minimum of 24 course credits in two regular sessions, not necessarily consecutive, except as indicated here:
      • a. Students authorized to register for work on a dissertation may fulfill the residency requirement with satisfactory completion of 16 registered credits minimum plus formal registration for work on the dissertation.
      • b. Graduate assistants holding a full assistantship may fulfill the residency requirement with one academic year in such a position, including the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 15 registered credits during the year plus satisfactory completion of assigned duties.
      • c. Students may fulfill the residency requirement by registering for 9 credit hours during a summer session and 15 credit hours during an adjacent fall or spring session.

    The full-time study requirement should be completed within four calendar years from the date of initial registration in the program in the fall, or three and one-half years from the date of initial registration in the spring.   >>CLOSE

  • Internship

    While not required, EAPS 895, an internship course, may be included in the Ph.D. program. Upon approval of the advisor and Curriculum Committee, the internship may qualify as a course in the electives category of the Ph.D. program plan. The student, the advisor, and the Coordinator of Field Experiences determine the specific internship experience that will be most beneficial for the student’s program of study. The student develops an internship plan which is submitted for approval by the advisor, Coordinator of Field Experiences, and Curriculum Committee. The plan must specify the roles and responsibilities of the intern, dates and hours to be devoted to the internship, and projects to be completed by the intern. The plan must show a minimum of 300 hours.

    The student should apply to the Coordinator of Field Experiences at least two months before the start of the semester during which the internship experience is anticipated. The required internship forms (an application and an internship agreement) are available on the EPL website or from the Department. The Department Coordinator of Field Experiences works with the student and internship site personnel to finalize an appropriate internship experience.

    The internship is typically arranged after the student has completed at least 27 credits of his or her program, of which a minimum of 15 credits must have been completed in the EPL department. Students must have a grade point average of “B” or better in the Ph.D. program in order to complete the internship.   >>CLOSE

  • Advanced Standing and Transfer Credit :  Up to 34 credits 

    Students who have completed graduate coursework elsewhere, may apply for advanced standing credits or transfer credits to count toward the Ph.D. course requirements.  A maximum of 34 credits may be awarded in the form of advanced standing or transfer credit.

    Upon recommendation of the student's advisor and concurrence of the Curriculum Committee, courses taken outside the Department in which the student receives a grade of “B” or above and which are comparable to Department graduate courses, may be accepted for credit toward the EPL Ph.D. Courses completed more than 10 years prior to the semester in which the student is admitted to the doctoral program undergo special scrutiny by the advisor and Curriculum Committee.

    Advanced standing or transfer credit cannot be used in place of EAPS 700, EAPS 701, EAPS 714, and EAPS 715.

    Students who wish to apply for credit for courses completed prior to the EPL doctoral program must submit the Advanced Standing or Transfer Credit form to the advisor and Curriculum Committee for approval. “Advanced Standing” refers to courses completed as part of a degree held by the student. “Transfer Credit” is awarded for courses completed elsewhere that did not culminate in a degree. Additional information on advanced standing and transfer credit policies, and the requisite forms, are available on the EPL website or from the Department.   >>CLOSE

  • Doctoral Examination

    The doctoral examination is designed to assess student mastery of the basic knowledge of educational policy and leadership; pertinent theoretical concepts; and, appropriate analytical methods of social, behavioral, organizational and managerial/leadership sciences.

    The doctoral examination is administered once at the beginning of each semester. Students planning to sit for the doctoral exam must file a Doctoral Examination Request form with the Department at least 1 month prior to the semester of the examination.

    The doctoral examination should be taken when the student has sufficient background to perform well on the examination. Typically, students should sit for the examination after no more than two years of full-time or three years of part time study.  Students must have completed (or be in the process of completing) a minimum of 18 credits, maintained a 3.3 GPA, and have no Incomplete grades. They should have completed (or received waivers for) EAPS 600, 601, 614 and at least one core course (EAPS 700 or EAPS 701). Taking into account these requirements, the decision on when to sit for the examination is made by the student in consultation with the advisor.

    In order to take the doctoral examination, the student must have a record of continuous registration in the doctoral program. Otherwise, the student must reapply for admission to the program and cannot take the examination unless readmitted to the program.

    Examinees are expected to honor conventions of academic honesty throughout the examination process. Each section of the examination is evaluated by three regular faculty members of the Department. In order to enter into formal “candidacy” for the doctoral degree, the student must pass the examination.

    Results of the doctoral examination are announced after the Department as a whole has reviewed and approved the recommendations of the Curriculum Committee.

    A student who fails the exam may appeal to the Department faculty for the opportunity to sit for the exam a second and final time.   >>CLOSE

  • Admission to Candidacy

    A Ph.D. student is considered for admission to candidacy upon completion of the following requirements:

    • 1. Doctoral Study in Residence.
    • 2. Satisfactory academic record.
    • 3. Doctoral examination.
    • 4. Research sequence coursework.
    • 5. Department approval of the dissertation proposal.
    • 6. Any other University rules pertaining to doctoral studies.

    Admission to candidacy is not automatic; the student becomes a candidate upon approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies acting on the recommendation of the Department and School of Education.

    The student must be admitted to candidacy at least one fall or spring semester before the acceptance of the dissertation and completion of all requirements for the doctorate.  >>CLOSE

  • Dissertation

    The dissertation is the culmination of the Ph.D. program. As such, it must indicate a high degree of scholarly competence. The dissertation must report, in an accepted scholarly style, an original investigation of a significant topic in educational leadership and policy. The student, through broad reading, coursework, and consultation with faculty, identifies a dissertation topic and prepares a formal statement on a proposed dissertation problem.

    Dissertation Committee The student should approach a faculty member to discuss possible service as the dissertation committee chair. The chair must be a full-time faculty member in the Department. In consultation with the chair, the student selects two additional members of the dissertation committee. At least one of the additional committee members must be a regular or adjunct faculty member of the Department. Exceptions to these requirements must be approved by the Department faculty and meet School of Education and University requirements. Inclusion of other university faculty or experts from institutions other than universities may be appropriate in some cases. A completed form, Appointment of Dissertation Committee, must be filed with the Department.

    Dissertation Proposal and Proposal Hearing Under the guidance of the dissertation committee, the student develops a dissertation proposal. The proposal must define the problem and present a study design that includes careful attention to theoretical constructs, analytical frameworks, and appropriate research methods.

    When the dissertation committee and student determine that the proposal is ready for review, the committee invites a faculty member to serve as a reader. The reader may not be a member of the student's dissertation committee.

    The dissertation committee and reader review the dissertation proposal in a hearing during which the student responds to questions and comments of the reader and committee members. After the hearing, the dissertation committee deliberates. If the dissertation committee approves the proposal, a one-page abstract and a completed form, Approval of the Dissertation Proposal, must be filed with the EPL Department.

    Research Involving Human Participants Federal, state, and university regulations require prior approval of all plans for research involving human participants. All research involving human participants (including class projects and dissertations) must be approved by the UAlbany Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to conducting the research. Further information and requirements are available from the UAlbany Office for Research.

    Dissertation Defense After the dissertation committee determines that the dissertation is ready to be presented at a public hearing, the dissertation defense hearing is scheduled. Notice of the dissertation defense hearing is posted by the Department at least two weeks prior to the defense. Acceptance of the dissertation occurs by a unanimous (100%) vote of the dissertation committee in favor of approval.

    After the dissertation committee determines that the dissertation is ready to be presented at a public hearing, the student schedules with the Department a dissertation defense hearing. Notice of the dissertation defense hearing is posted by the Department at least one week prior to the examination. Acceptance of the dissertation occurs by a unanimous (100%) vote of the dissertation committee in favor of approval.

    Final copies of the dissertation must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies in accordance with requirements of that office.   >>CLOSE

  • Continuous Registration

    Students in the doctoral program must maintain continuous registration for each fall and spring semester (except for approved leaves of absence) until completion of all program requirements. Minimum registration consists of 3 credits of approved coursework up until approval of the dissertation proposal. Following approval of the dissertation proposal, continuous registration may be fulfilled by registering for one credit of EAPS 899 in the fall and spring semesters. Summer session registrations cannot be accepted in lieu of registrations for fall and spring semesters.

    A student who neither registers for each fall and spring semester nor has received an official leave of absence may be dismissed from the program unless the student demonstrates good cause not to dismiss.   >>CLOSE

  • Leave of Absence

    When a student is prevented by unusual and unforeseen circumstances from progressing in the Ph.D. program, the student may petition the Department for a leave of absence. A combined maximum of four semesters of leave is permitted. >>CLOSE

  • Statute of Limitations

    All requirements for the Ph.D. program must be completed within eight calendar years from the date of initial registration in the Ph.D. program, unless an extension is granted by the Department and University. This eight year time frame does not include semesters during which a student is on an approved leave of absence. These statutes apply equally to students who enter with or without advanced standing or transfer credits.   >>CLOSE