Ph.D. Program

Student Guide to the Ph.D. Program

February 2006


This document is a guide for students in the Ph.D. degree program in the Department of Educational Administration and Policy Studies (EAPS) at U-Albany. Students must meet certain requirements to proceed through the program. They are as follows:

Pre-Core Courses

The pre-core requirements consist of three courses which may be satisfied by advanced standing/transfer credit when appropriate. Students must receive a grade of “B” or better in these courses. The three courses are:

  • EAPS 600 Introduction to Organizational Analysis
  • EAPS 601 Introduction to Social Analysis
  • EAPS 614 Quantitative Methods

Core Courses

The core requirements consist of two courses which must be taken at U-Albany by all 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

Concentration Courses

Doctoral students select their concentration and courses in consultation with their academic advisor. These courses should reflect the student’s career goals and interests. They must complete 18 credits in their selected concentration area.

The Department offers three concentrations of study:

School Leadership

This concentration prepares students for (1) administrative positions in preschools, elementary schools, secondary schools, and other educational organizations, and (2) faculty positions in school administration at the university level.

Higher Education Leadership

This concentration prepares students for administrative, policy and faculty positions in post-secondary and related institutions. In addition, it may be used to prepare for administrative and staff positions in adult and continuing education programs in other educational, business, industrial, and labor organizations.

Educational Policy

This concentration provides students with a working knowledge of social science and philosophical approaches to policy adoption and implementation. It is suitable for students preparing for education policy and administrative roles in government, policy positions with research and advocacy organizations, and university faculty positions.

Support Disciplines

The study of educational administration and policy requires the use of many concepts drawn from the social and behavioral sciences. To ensure that students are exposed to these disciplines, the Department requires a minimum of 12 credits in appropriate course work. The following EAPS courses satisfy this requirement:

  • EAPS 602 Economics of Education
  • EAPS 603 Political Economy of Educational Planning
  • EAPS 604 Macro-Sociology of Education and Administration
  • EAPS 605 Micro-Sociology of Education and Administration
  • EAPS 606 Ethics and Education
  • EAPS 608 Politics of Education
  • EAPS 610 Organizational Development
  • EAPS 631 Public School Finance
  • EAPS 656 Sociology of Higher Education
  • EAPS 657 History of Education
  • EAPS 658 Politics of Higher Education
  • EAPS 674 Educational Administration in Federal and State Governments
  • EAPS 718 Interprofessional Leadership for School, Family, Community Partnerships
  • EAPS 750 Higher Education Finance
  • EAPS 751 Higher Education and the Law
  • EAPS 771 Educational Policy and Law
  • EAPS 727 Politics of Private and Independent School and College Administration
  • EAPS 745 Advanced Seminar in the Politics of Education
  • EPHL 601 Philosophy of Education

Appropriate courses from other departments or institutions may also fulfill the support disciplines requirement. These courses should support the student’s concentration and are not unrestricted choices. They are subject to the approval of the student’s advisor and the EAPS Curriculum Committee.

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, by completing an approved equivalent quantitative research methods course with a grade of "B" or better, or by passing a research methods qualifying examination based upon the cumulative final examination of EAPS 614.

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 Educational Administration and Policy Studies
  • EAPS 715 Research Practicum in EAPS
  • EAPS 891 Seminar in Administrative Research

Students must pass the Comprehensive Examination (see below) and complete EAPS 715 in order to be eligible to participate in the EAPS 891 seminar. In consultation with the student’s advisor, a student may petition the department to be permitted to complete EAPS 715 and EAPS 891 in the same semester. Following consultation with and permission of the student’s advisor and the EAPS 891 instructor, a student may enroll in EAPS 891 for the semester during which the student will sit for the comprehensive examination. However, if the student does not pass all parts of the comprehensive examination, the student will be required to withdraw from EAPS 891 that semester. During EAPS 891, the course instructor and the student's dissertation committee chair work with the student on the dissertation proposal. Students complete EAPS 891 when they successfully defend their dissertation proposal. The proposal preparation process often extends beyond the EAPS 891 semester. In such cases, the student receives an “I” (Incomplete) grade for EAPS 891 until he or she successfully defends the proposal.


Elective courses should support the student’s concentration and are not unrestricted choices; students should select electives in consultation with his or her academic advisor. A doctoral degree student must complete a minimum of 21 credits in this category.

Full-time Study

Full-time study beyond the master's degree at U-Albany for at least one academic year after 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. Demonstrating that the student is engaging in work or other experience of at least one year in duration which is relevant to the doctoral studies and contributes to intensive intellectual growth. The advisor and Curriculum Committee must approve this option. The U-Albany requirement of continuous course registration must be met during this period.
  2. Earning 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.

Students should complete the full-time study requirement 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.


While not required, Ph.D. students may include an internship in their program for the purposes of enhancing their academic and professional development. Upon approval of the advisor and Curriculum Committee, an internship typically qualifies as a course in the electives category of a student's Ph.D. program plan. A student, his or her advisor, and the Coordinator of Field Experiences determine the specific internship experience that would be most beneficial for the student’s program of study. The student then produces 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 opening of the semester during which the internship experience is anticipated. The required internship forms (an application and an internship agreement) are available on the EAPS website or from the department. The Department Coordinator of Field Experiences works with the student and personnel at the internship site to finalize an appropriate internship experience.

Normally, after completing at least 27 credits of the program, with a minimum of 15 EAPS credits, a student may participate in an internship. Students must have a grade point average of “B” or better in the Ph.D. program in order to complete the internship.

Advanced Standing and Transfer Credit

Applicants who have completed graduate coursework elsewhere, may apply for admission with advanced standing or transfer credit. A student may transfer a maximum of 39 credits 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 directly comparable to Department graduate courses in level, content, requirements and credit – may be accepted for credit toward the EAPS 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 doctoral core courses.

Students who wish to apply for credit for courses completed prior to the EAPS 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 prior degree that has been received by the student. Students may receive "Transfer Credit” for graduate courses completed elsewhere that did not culminate in a certificate. The Department and the EAPS website contains additional information on the advanced standing and transfer credit policies, and the requisite forms.

Comprehensive Examination - Policy Currently Under Review

Admission to Candidacy

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

  • Residency
  • Satisfactory academic record
  • Comprehensive examination
  • Research sequence coursework
  • Department approval of the dissertation proposal
  • Any other University rules pertaining to doctoral studies

Admission to candidacy is not automatic; the student becomes a candidate only with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies acting on the recommendation of the Graduate Academic Council and the Dean of the 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.


The culmination of the Ph.D. program is the dissertation. As such, it must attest to a high degree of scholarly competence. The dissertation must report, in an accepted scholarly style, an original investigation of a problem of significance in the student's area of research focus. The student, through broad reading, coursework, and consultation with faculty, identifies a dissertation topic and prepares a formal statement on a proposed dissertation problem.

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 conform to any other School of Education and University requirements. Inclusion of other university faculty or of experts from institutions other than universities may be appropriate in some cases. A completed form, Appointment of Dissertation Committee, must be filed with the School of Education Academic Council.

Under the guidance of the dissertation committee, the student works to develop 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 the student determine that the proposal is ready for review, the student provides one copy of the proposal to the Curriculum Committee chair who assigns a faculty member to serve as a reader. The reader may not be member of the student's dissertation committee.

The dissertation committee and reader review the dissertation proposal in an open hearing at which the student responds to questions and comments of the reader and committee members. Following the hearing, the committee reviews suggestions and comments discussed during the hearing. If there is approval of the proposal by the dissertation committee, one copy of the proposal, a one-page abstract, and a completed form, Approval of the Dissertation Proposal, must be filed with the EAPS Department secretary and the SOE Academic Council.

Prior to engaging in any research involving human participants, a student’s research plans must be approved by the U-Albany Institutional Review Board (IRB). Federal, state, and university regulations require prior approval of all plans for research involving human participants. The IRB must review and approve all research involving human participants (including class projects and dissertations) prior to conducting research. The U-Albany Office for Research contains further information and requirements.

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 the requirements of that office.

Continuous Registration

Students in the doctoral program must maintain continuous registration for each fall and spring semester (except for periods of official 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 1 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 good cause not to do so is shown by the student after notification of such pending action.

Statute of Limitations

Students must complete all requirements for the Ph.D. program within eight calendar years from the date of initial registration in the program.

These statutes apply equally to students who enter with or without advanced standing and to students who formally change their areas of specialization after admission and study in one advanced program.