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The Dissertation

Below we offer more information about the Learning and Instruction dissertation process. If you have more questions about writing a dissertation and/or the required courses, please contact your faculty advisor.

Dissertation Proposal Seminar

From the time you enter the doctoral program, and particularly after you complete the portfolio process, you will be encouraged to consider potential topics for your research and plan out your coursework in consultation with your faculty advisor.  After you have acquired a minimun of 30 units, you can enroll in the Dissertation Proposal Seminar where you will begin to develop a research proposal leading to the dissertation. This and the subsequent dissertation courses may be repeated.

Forming your Committee

As you develop your research interests, you will become aware of faculty who have specific knowledge and experience that can help you develop and evaluate your research topic. Key to the success of the project is the selection of your committee chairperson. With his/her advice, you will identify two additional members of the faculty whose expertise supports your research and who are willing to serve on your dissertation committee.

Writing the Dissertation Proposal

The next step will be to write a research proposal for the dissertation. Under the guidance of your chairperson, you will write a description of the background and need for your project, the methodology or design that you plan to use, a rationale or theoretical framework for your study, a review of the relevant literature, and the procedures that insure the protection of human subjects. The resulting proposal will then be submitted to the full committee for approval during an oral dissertation proposal defense.

Advancing to Candidacy

Upon the completion of university and program requirements, the approval of your research design by the human subjects committee, and the approval of your dissertation committee, you are ready to apply for advancement to candidacy. This application verifies the completion of required coursework and the submission of an approved dissertation proposal.

Writing the Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation will be a piece of original, independent research in an area of educational significance. The dissertation builds on your knowledge and understanding of the literature and the research methodology chosen for your work and represents a contribution to the knowledge base in your field or area of specialization. The final work must be submitted to the full committee for approval during an oral dissertation defense. Upon committee approval, the student is eligible for the Ed.D. degree.