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School of Education

The mission of the School of Education is to create and disseminate knowledge that improves teaching and learning, and to develop and implement effective programs for the preparation of education professionals who will enhance both the practice and outcomes of education.

The School of Education is primarily a graduate school that offers certificate and certification programs and masters and doctoral degree programs. All certificate and certification programs are offered at the graduate level only.

The School of Education is organized into four academic departments and one interdisciplinary degree:

Faculty

          School of Education Faculty

Contact Information

Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services
School of Education
5500 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
412-648-2230
Fax: 412-648-1899
E-mail: soeinfo@pitt.edu
www.education.pitt.edu

Programs Offered

The School of Education offers a variety of programs as outlined below.  In addition, the school coordinates the Commonwealth Teacher Education Certification Programs. (For more detail, see the individual descriptions listed under the appropriate department.)

Administrative and Policy Studies

This department offers the following degrees in administrative and policy studies with programs (areas of concentration) in higher education management, school leadership, and social and comparative analysis in education:

  • Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Education (MEd)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Health and Physical Activity

This department offers the following degrees in health and physical activity with areas of concentration in health and fitness; and health, physical activity, and chronic disease. Two focus areas are available with each option: clinical/practitioner track and research track:

  • Master of Science (MS)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Instruction and Learning

This department offers the following degrees in instruction and learning with areas of concentration in english and communications education, foreign language education, reading education, social studies education, mathematics education, science education, vision studies special education, special education, early intervention special education, general special education, early childhood education, preK-4 education, foreign language education and language, literacy and culture:

  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
  • Masters of Education (MEd)
  • Master of Science (MS)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Learning Sciences and Policy

A PhD degree in Learning Sciences and Policy is available.

Psychology in Education

This department offers the following degrees in psychology in education with areas of concentration in research methodology and applied developmental psychology:

  • Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Education (MEd)
  • Master of Science (MS)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Commonwealth Teacher Education Certification Programs

Teacher education certification programs are offered in both general and special education.

Option 1. Initial Certification—Only available for Primary Plus: PreK Teacher Certification does no provide a graduate degree.

Option 2. Certification Plus a Graduate Degree—for students seeking initial general or special education teacher certification along with a master's degree (e.g., Master of Arts in Teaching [MAT] or Master of Education [MEd]).

Option 3. Dual certification (MOSAIC) e.g. Secondary Certification and 7-12 special education; PreK-4 and preK-8 special education.

Option 4. Additional Field Certification—for students already certified in one or more teaching fields who are seeking teacher certification in an additional specialty area but who are not pursuing a graduate degree.

Advanced certification programs include:

  • Supervisory Certification (e.g., Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education)
  • Educational Specialist Certification (e.g., as a reading specialist)
  • Administrative Certification (e.g., as a principal, superintendent)

University certificates are awarded to non-degree students who complete commonwealth teacher education certification programs offered in instruction and learning (certificates in teaching or reading specialist) and in administrative and policy studies (certificates in educational administration or educational supervision). Students in these programs must apply for graduation at the beginning of the term in which they expect to complete their programs.  Eligibility for the University certificate is verified at the same time that a student’s application for commonwealth certification is endorsed by the School of Education and sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Education in Harrisburg.

In addition, a University certificate in orientation and mobility is awarded from the Department of Instruction and Learning to non-degree students receiving vision study certification through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals.

Teacher education certification programs and advanced certification programs are described further in the sections for the departments that offer those programs.

Admission

Admission Deadlines and Requirements 

Admission Application

Admission Procedure

Faculty members in the program to which the student applies evaluate the applicant's credentials and recommend admission for those applicants meeting the criteria set by the program.

Approved applicants will be notified of their admission for a specific term and asked to indicate whether or not they accept the offer of admission. Should they be unable to register for courses for the term specified in their admission letter, they should notify the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services. Approved applicants may defer admission for up to one year from the term specified in their admission letter. Approved applicants unable to register for courses within one year of the term specified in their admission letter must reapply for admission.

Changing Programs for Graduate Study

A student wishing to change programs for graduate study must file a new application for admission, noting the request for the change, in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services. All work taken both in undergraduate and graduate study will be reviewed by the program to which the student is applying before a decision will be made about admission to the new program. Any change from one program to another in the School of Education while the student is on active status will not alter that status. Thus, the student must register within the dates set for continuing active students.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is available to graduate students through graduate student assistantships (GSA), teaching assistantships (TA), teaching fellowships (TF), graduate student researchers (GSR), a variety of scholarships and fellowships, and loan programs. GSA, TA, TF, and tuition scholarship awards are primarily merit-based. GSA, TA, and TF awards provide a stipend and tuition in return for carrying out assigned duties. (See Teaching and Research Appointments under Financial Aid for further detail.) Other merit-based scholarships and fellowships established through gifts or grants both within and outside the University are also available to students.

Advising

Each student is assigned an academic advisor at the time of admission to a program. All course work scheduled must be approved by the academic advisor, who assists in the preparation of a student's plan of studies and who regularly meets with the student to review the student's academic progress. Most School of Education faculty members are not in residence from May until late August. Thus, students should consult with their academic advisors prior to the end of the Spring term to complete registration forms for the upcoming Summer and Fall terms.

Each graduate student who is completing a master's thesis or doctoral dissertation selects a research advisor to provide guidance during the conduct of the thesis or dissertation research. The research advisor may be the same faculty member as the academic advisor or another faculty member. Whatever the case, the faculty member's consent to serve as the research advisor must be formally obtained. A student continuing from a master's program involving a thesis to a doctoral program may select a different research advisor to provide guidance for the doctoral dissertation.

The student, the advisor, the program, or the department may initiate a change of the academic advisor or the research advisor. Any such change must be made according to applicable departmental policy. Notification of such a change must be sent to the student, to the new and former advisors, and to the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services.

Commonwealth Teacher Education Certification Regulations

The following section details regulations pertaining to the school's teacher education certification programs.

Instructional I and II Certification

The Instructional I, or provisional, certificate is issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to applicants who:

  • possess a baccalaureate degree with a 3.0 grade point average;
  • have successfully completed a PDE-approved teacher certification program;
  • pass all required PRAXIS, PECT and/or PAPA Examinations; and
  • are recommended for certification by the college or university offering the PDE-approved teacher certification program.

An Instructional I certificate is valid for six years.

The Instructional II, or permanent, certificate is issued by PDE to applicants who have completed all of the following:

  • A PDE-approved induction program for beginning teachers.
  • Three years of satisfactory teaching in the field specified on an Instructional I certificate, attested to by the chief school administrator of the approved public or non-public school in Pennsylvania in which the most recent service of the applicant was performed.
  • Twenty-four credit hours of post-baccalaureate study or in-service courses approved by PDE. (Some credits earned beyond the baccalaureate degree in teacher education study at the University of Pittsburgh may be used to satisfy this requirement.)

Applicants already holding the Instructional I certificate who are seeking admission to the School of Education in pursuit of Instructional II certification may be admitted under special graduate status. Applicants desiring to combine Instructional II certification with a master's or doctoral degree must apply for admission to an academic program offering the desired degree.

Additional Field Certification

The School of Education offers additional field certification study opportunities to students already holding a Pennsylvania Instructional I or Instructional II certificate. Students must complete major field prerequisites, course work in the subject area pedagogy, and an advanced teaching practicum (modified student teaching) and pass the PRAXIS or PECT Examination specialization test in the additional area. They must also successfully complete a PDE 430 in the additional area. Individuals who possess an Instructional II certificate and who complete requirements for an additional certification area will receive Instructional II certification in the additional certification area.

Grade Point Average/Academic Probation

All students enrolled for teacher education study are required to maintain a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.00. The cumulative GPA is based on all course work taken after enrollment for teacher education study. A student is automatically placed on academic probation when the cumulative GPA, exclusive of transfer credits, falls below 3.00. No student on academic probation is permitted to participate in student teaching, a teaching internship, or an advanced teaching practicum. Although the credits allowed for acceptable work completed elsewhere by transfer students count toward the total number of credits required for teacher education study, the grades earned in such courses are not included in GPA computations, except in determining GPA's required for admission to the School of Education.

Credit Requirements

Teacher education study in the Instructional I certification program requires the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 30 credits of course work approved by the department and the school. The Master of Arts in Teaching option requires 36 credits. Credit requirements for other certification options vary. Certification by the Pennsylvania Department of Education is recommended only for those students who have satisfactorily completed all courses required for certification with at least a 3.00 GPA.

Teacher Certification Testing Program

The PAPA battery of tests, required for some students seeking their first Instructional I certificate, consists of a series of examinations to assess basic communication skills, general knowledge, professional knowledge, and specialized area knowledge. Persons with an undergraduate degree already holding a Pennsylvania Instructional I or II certificate are exempt from the PAPA series. Individuals seeking Instructional I certification in more than one area must take and pass specialization area tests in all areas in which certification is sought. Individuals seeking additional field certification must pass the PRAXIS Examination in the specialization area.

Students completing an Instructional I certificate in preK-4 education, a dual certificate in preK-4/preK-8 special education or a dual secondary/7-12 special education certificate must pass the appropriate PECT tests.

Students may take the PRAXIS Examinations at any point during or after attendance at a post-secondary institution. The tests are administered four times each year at the University of Pittsburgh. Some tests are offered every day (when the testing sites are open) while others are administered during a "testing window" which is usually a two week period, usually occurring monthly. Go to the PRAXIS website for information on registering to take the exams

(www.ets.org/PRAXIS).

Student Teaching

In most programs, field experience in local public schools is required throughout the academic year (August to June). When a student accepts their offer of admission, they are required to complete information about student teaching. Applicants must also submit results from a tuberculin test, child abuse clearance, and criminal history check, as required by Pennsylvania Acts 33 and 34. Students must also submit results from a Federal Criminal History Record check by obtaining fingerprint results through the FBI.  Lastly, students must successfully pass an online training, Protecting Children from Abuse and also read the PA Mandated Reporter law and sign to indicate understanding.   

Student teaching usually begins in early January and sometimes sooner than the opening day of University classes. Specific procedures and regulations governing student teaching practicum can be found in the student teaching handbook.

Teaching Internship

Students in the Master of Arts in Teaching option must complete an academic year (August to June) teaching internship in lieu of student teaching. The internship requires a minimum of 20 hours per week in the Fall term and 30 hours per week in the Spring and Summer terms. To qualify for the internship and the Pennsylvania Teacher Intern certificate, applicants must:

  • As required by Pennsylvania Acts 33 and 34 submit the following clearances: Federal Criminal History Record; Pennsylvania State Criminal Record Check; Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance.  If there is a criminal infraction on any of these clearances, school placement for the school is unlikely, which will require the student to withdraw from the class. The University cannot guarantee that a person with entries in their criminal record will be permitted to do assignments in a school. While State law bars certain offenders from schools, districts often impose more extreme requirements. Students who have entries in their records should consult the Coordinator of Clinical Practice on whether a placement will be likely
  • pass the Content Knowledge test (Praxis II) during the first semester of their program in order to obtain their Intern Certificate
  • satisfy the requirements for a Pennsylvania Instructional I Certificate (pending passing scores on the national PRAXIS II Exam, successful completion of the PA Statewide Evaluation Form for Student Professional Knowledge and Practice (PDE 430), and satisfactory performance in courses and in the internship)

Students must also submit results from a Federal Criminal History Record check by obtaining fingerprint results through the FBI.  Lastly, students must successfully pass an online training, Protecting Children from Abuse and also read the PA Mandated Reporter law and sign to indicate understanding

 

Advanced Teaching Practicum

Students in the additional field certification option must complete an advanced teaching practicum, (modified student teaching experience) which usually lasts from three to six weeks depending upon the applicant's background knowledge and professional experience. Students must file an application for advanced teaching practicum in the Office of Teacher Education, 5300 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, during the term prior to the practicum. Specific guidelines governing advanced teaching practicum are available in the Office of Teacher Education, 5300 Wesley W. Posvar Hall.

Master’s Degree Requirements

The requirements presented in this section are primarily school-wide requirements that have been established in addition to the University-wide requirements detailed under general academic regulations. Students should review the general academic regulations section in addition to the specific school information detailed below. School-wide master’s degree requirements integrated with the University-wide master’s degree requirements are available by accessing the above Web site link.

Common Requirements

All master's degrees awarded by the School of Education require the completion of an approved plan of studies consisting of a minimum of 36 credits (including 9 credits in Basic Areas of Education) and the passing of a comprehensive examination.

Acceptance of Transfer Credits

For University-wide rules, see Acceptance of Transfer Credits under General Academic Regulations. School-specific detail follows.

A maximum of 6 transfer credits may be counted toward an MA or MS degree. A maximum of 12 transfer credits may be counted toward an MAT or MEd degree.

Grade Point Average/Academic Probation

All students enrolled in master's degree programs are required to maintain a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.00. The cumulative GPA is based on all course work taken after enrollment in the appropriate graduate program. A student is automatically placed on academic probation when the cumulative GPA, exclusive of transfer credits, falls below 3.00. Ordinarily, students are required to terminate graduate study after two terms on probation. Although the credits allowed for acceptable work completed elsewhere by students enrolled in the School of Education count toward the total number of credits required for the graduate degree, the grades earned in such courses are not included in GPA computations.

Statute of Limitations

All requirements for a master's degree must be completed within a period of four consecutive calendar years from the student's initial registration for master's study in an MA or MS degree program or within five years in an MAT or MEd program.

Under certain conditions, the dean/associate dean may grant an extension of a student’s statute of limitations.

Plan of Studies

Before completion of 15 credits, students, in consultation with their academic advisor, should complete a Plan of Studies that conforms to program requirements. The plan of studies, approved by the academic advisor and the program coordinator, is filed in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services.

Any changes in the Plan of Studies must be approved by the academic advisor and the program coordinator, conform to program requirements, and be filed in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services. At the time of graduation, completed courses must comply with the approved Plan of Studies.

Basic Areas of Education Requirement

All master's degrees conferred by the School of Education require a minimum of 9 credits of study from the Basic Areas of Education (BAE), 3 credits each from courses offered in the content areas of psychological perspectives on education, social and cultural perspectives on education, and research methods. A maximum of 6 credit hours of BAE courses may be taken from those offered within a single department. The courses in each area that may be used to meet this requirement are listed below.

Psychological Perspectives on Education

EDUC 2000 Psychology of Learning and Development for Educators

EDUC 2006 Psychomotor Development

EDUC 2007 Human Learning

EDUC 2008 Conception to Early Childhood in Social Context

EDUC 2009 Middle Childhood and Adolescence in Social Context

EDUC 2010 Psychological Development in Maturity and Old Age


Note: Research Methodology students who have completed a degree in human development, psychology, or a related discipline may substitute a qualitative research course.

Social and Cultural Perspectives on Education

EDUC 2100 Education and Society

EDUC 2102 History of Education

EDUC 2103 Race and Racism in Education and Society

EDUC 2104 Leadership in Service-Learning

EDUC 2105 Sociology of Education

EDUC 2106 Education and Culture

EDUC 2107 Comprehensive Health Education for Tomorrow

EDUC 2108 Politics of State/National Education

EDUC 2109 Anthropology of Education

EDUC 2110 Gender and Education

EDUC 2111 Contemporary Philosophy of Education

EDUC 2112 Politics and History of Higher Education

Research Methods

EDUC 2200 Disciplined Inquiry*

EDUC 2201 Introduction to Research

EDUC 2202 Educational and Psychological Measurement

EDUC 2204 Qualitative Methods of Research and Assessment

EDUC 2205 Field Methods

*Enrollment limited to MAT students

Master's Comprehensive Examination

The School of Education requires a comprehensive examination for all master's degrees. The comprehensive examination is designed to assess the student's mastery of the general field of graduate study. The comprehensive examination is constructed, administered, and scored by the program or department to which the student has been admitted. Procedures and schedules of administration are available from the program or department. *The student must be enrolled to take the comprehensive examination.

*See also Comprehensive Examination under Regulations Pertaining to Master of Arts and Master of Science Degrees. The University-wide regulations on comprehensive examinations detailed there apply to all School of Education master's programs.

Thesis, Thesis Equivalent, and Research Paper Requirements

Some MA and MS degree programs within the School of Education are offered with a thesis requirement while others are offered with the option of completing either a thesis or a thesis equivalent. All MAT degree programs and some MEd programs require the completion of a research paper.

Master's Degree with Thesis

The master's degree with thesis is intended for graduate students who have pursued advanced graduate study in at least one field of education specialization and have demonstrated through the master's thesis the capability to plan and carry through a project of original research. The plan of studies should include at least 6 credits in thesis work.

Thesis Overview

The thesis overview is a written proposal for the thesis. The overview is presented to the master's committee, which consists of a minimum of three faculty members (at least one from another program or department) selected in consultation with the student by the research advisor and approved by the department. The student must submit a form for approval of the thesis committee. A student must be registered in the term during which the thesis overview meeting is scheduled. A unanimous vote of the master's committee is required for approval of the overview. The outcome of the overview meeting is submitted on the appropriate form along with a corrected copy of the overview to the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services.

Approval of Research with Human Subjects

If the research proposed in the overview involves human subjects, the proposed research must be approved by the University Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Protection of Human Subjects before it may be carried out. Information on materials that must be submitted and the procedures that must be followed for an IRB review are available in departmental offices and the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services.

Advancement to Master's Candidacy

To be advanced to candidacy for the master's degree with thesis a student must:

  • be admitted to full graduate status;
  • have a minimum grade point average of 3.00 (transfer credits not considered);
  • have an approved plan of studies on file in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services;
  • have passed the comprehensive examination;
  • have an approved overview on file in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services; and
  • if the proposed research involves human subjects, have a letter on file in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services from the IRB approving the proposed research.

Thesis Preparation

The thesis research is completed and the thesis is prepared under the direction of the research advisor according to the approved overview. In preparing the thesis, the student must follow the University's ETD Format Guidelines, and specific departmental or program requirements.

Final Oral Examination

The completed thesis is submitted to the master's committee for the final oral examination. The student must be registered in the term during which the final oral examination is scheduled. The final oral examination is devoted primarily to the thesis, and an affirmative vote by a majority of the committee members is required to pass the examination. One corrected copy of the thesis as approved by the master's committee must be filed, along with one copy of a research advisor approved abstract and the form showing a passed final oral examination, no later than one week before the end of the term during which the student expects to graduate. The dean/associate dean must approve any exception to this requirement.

Master's Degree with Thesis Equivalent Option/Research Paper

Master's degrees with the thesis equivalent option or research paper requirement are intended for graduate students who have pursued advanced study in at least one field of educational specialization and have demonstrated capability of presenting information relevant to an issue or problem in education. The plan of studies should include at least 3 credits in a research seminar, supervised research, or directed study involving research in the student's focus area.

Research Paper Requirements

Each candidate for the master's degree with the thesis equivalent option or research paper requirement must complete, in acceptable form, a research paper that demonstrates the ability to locate, organize, and summarize information bearing on an issue or problem in education. This project is usually initiated and completed in the research seminar of the student's major. For certain majors, this requirement may be met by other means, such as successful exhibits or demonstrations.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

The requirements presented in this section are primarily school-wide requirements that have been established in addition to the University-wide requirements detailed under General Academic Regulations. Students should review the general academic regulations section (in particular the regulations pertaining to doctoral study) in addition to the school-specific information detailed below. School-wide doctoral requirements integrated with the University-wide doctoral requirements are available by accessing the above Web site link.

Doctoral Programs

Doctor of Education (EdD) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree programs are offered by the School of Education to provide advanced graduate study and professional specialization in education. Each recipient must show evidence of superior scholarship, mastery of a special field of knowledge, and ability to do significant and relevant research. In doctoral study in the School of Education, a distinction is made between the preparation of education professionals resulting in the EdD degree and the preparation of education professionals resulting in the PhD degree. While EdD and PhD degrees produce experts in critical inquiry, the School of Education distinguishes the degrees according to, among other factors, the focus of the area of inquiry, the type of knowledge advanced, and the career path chosen by the individual student.

PhD research focuses on the study of basic problems arising primarily from behavioral and social science theory with the goal of advancing such theory and knowledge. Individuals pursuing this degree often seek academic positions in universities or research institutes. EdD research focuses on the study of applied, practical problems with the goal of contributing to solutions. Careers for these individuals often center on professional positions as administrators, curriculum developers, or specialists in schools and clinical settings.

Important features of doctoral programs of study required by the School of Education include two requirements that are common to the PhD and EdD degrees and four requirements that clearly distinguish the degree programs.

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Starting Summer 2014, a redesigned EdD program began. The three-year structured EdD program is built on a cohort model and is goal driven. The cohort of students admitted complete a three-year 90-credit program, which includes 30 credits transferred from a relevant master’s degree. A student must have a master’s degree to enter the program.

While a vast majority of EdD experiences are shared (common coursework, internship experiences, and common outcome metrics) students pick one of the following areas of concentration:

  1. Special Education
  2. Language, Literacy & Culture (LLC)
  3. Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM)
  4. Education Leadership
  5. Higher Education Management
  6. Social and Comparative Analysis in Education
  7. Health & Physical Activity (HPA)
  8. Applied Developmental Psychology

EdD students take eight core courses (24 credits). This includes four courses (12 credits) focused on building foundational knowledge and four courses (12 credits) specifically focused on research and methodology. Candidates will also develop specialized knowledge in their area of concentration through course projects, relevant internships, and four 3000 level courses (12 credits). Students take six credits each term, making them part time students throughout the duration of the program.

Coursework will be offered by alternative delivery models. Week-long intensive on-ramp experiences, hybrid seminars, week-long intensive institutes, cross-disciplinary research seminars, and aspirant internships are available. Integrating diverse learning environments offers a range of structures and opportunities for doctoral students and faculty to form and access “communities of practice” face-to-face in a classroom or via CourseWeb (discussion boards, wikis, blogs, SKYPE, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, etc). Communities of practice are intentionally created collaborative learning environments that extend and enrich intellectual discourse within a socially constructed space. This flexible structure is especially important for part time doctoral students to thrive as scholarly practitioners.

A school-wide EdD admissions Committee reviews all applications for the EdD degree program.  The prospective concentration advisor also reviews the application to affirm the match between student and faculty interests. A 3.5 master’s GPA is recommended and GRE scores are not required.  For international students a TOEFL score of 100 on the internet-based test with a minimum of 21 on each subtest, 240 on the computer-based test, or 600 on the paper-based test. Interviews will be conducted.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Starting Fall 2014, a redesigned PhD program began for programs other than Health and Physical Activity. This change affects PhD programs in the Departments of Administrative and Policy Studies, Instruction and Learning, Psychology in Education and the Learning Sciences and Policy Center.  The new PhD program is a research-intensive training model that prepares students to be nationally competitive for research careers in both academic and non-academic institutions.

Admissions requirements include the GRE for both national and international applicants.  International students will require a minimum of 100 or higher TOEFL composite score with sub-scores of 21 or higher or 7.0 IELTS with subscores of 6.0 or higher. After screening, a small group of applicants will be interviewed prior to a final decision.  Only applicants committed to full-time study will be considered (except in unusual circumstances where the applicant works in a setting where research opportunities are available such as a research assistant on a funded project at LRDC or WPIC).

The students are admitted into one of the following areas of concentration:

  1. Language, Literacy & Culture (LLC)
  2. Mathematics Education
  3. Science Education
  4. Special Education – Education of Students with Mental & Physical Disabilities
  5. Special Education – Early Intervention
  6. Vision Studies
  7. School Leadership
  8. Higher Education Management
  9. Social and Comparative Analysis in Education
  10. Research Methodology
  11. Applied Developmental Psychology
  12. Learning Sciences and Policy

There are five milestones required for completion of the program, preliminary exam, pre-dissertation, comprehensive exam, dissertation overview, and dissertation. Each specialization area has specific requirements.

Doctoral Program Requirement Prior to Summer 2014:

 

Common Requirement I: Research Methodology Course Work

EdD and PhD students are required to complete 12 credits of research methodology courses.

Common Requirement II: Supervised Research

EdD and PhD students are required to complete a supervised research experience that results in a written report of the experience. Enrollment for six credits of supervised research, internship, practicum, or directed study is required.

Distinguishing Requirement I: Residency

EdD: No residency requirement.

PhD: Two consecutive terms of full-time, on-campus study, including involvement in research activities.

Distinguishing Requirement II: Supporting Field(s)

EdD: A minimum of nine credits in fields other than the area of specialization or required research methodology courses. The program or department determines specific requirements regarding appropriate supporting fields.

PhD: This requirement may be met in three ways:

  1. For a student who does not have a bachelor's degree or an equivalent number of credits to that for a bachelor's degree in an appropriate academic discipline, a minimum of 18 credits must be taken outside the School of Education in one field or in an interdisciplinary concentration (e.g., Latin American studies or psycholinguistics) as approved by the program or department. No more than 6 of these credits may be used to satisfy research methodology requirements.
  2. For a student who has a bachelor's degree or an equivalent number of credits for a bachelor's degree in an academic discipline, a minimum of 9 credits must be taken outside the School of Education in one field or in an interdisciplinary concentration as approved by the program or department. None of the 9 credits may be used to satisfy research methodology requirements.
  3. For a student who has a master's degree or an equivalent number of credits toward a master's degree in a relevant academic discipline, no additional credits outside the School of Education need to be taken.

Distinguishing Requirement III: Dissertation

EdD: A dissertation that contributes to the improvement of practice in the student's area of specialization and reflects the application of relevant theory and knowledge.

PhD: A dissertation that reports research that contributes to the development of theory or methodology in the student's area of specialization or one of the recognized disciplines.

Distinguishing Requirement IV: Doctoral Committee

EdD: At least one member of the doctoral committee must be from another program within the student's major department, from another department in the School of Education, from another department in the University of Pittsburgh outside the School of Education, or from an appropriate graduate program at another academic institution. (See Doctoral Committee below for additional requirements.)

PhD: At least one member of the doctoral committee must be from another department outside the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh or from an appropriate graduate program outside education at another academic institution. (See Doctoral Committee below for additional requirements.)

In formulating the doctoral Plan of Studies, both the student and the academic advisor must pay close attention to these School of Education requirements as well as requirements specific to the particular program or department in which the degree specialization is taken. It is the responsibility of the student to learn particular requirements from the academic advisor.

Acceptance of Transfer Credits

PhD students should review the section on Credit Requirements, under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees, and Acceptance of Transfer Credits in conjunction with the school-specific information detailed below.

The completion of requirements for the doctorate must be satisfied through registration at the University of Pittsburgh. However, under certain circumstances, a student may earn in an accredited graduate institution other than the University of Pittsburgh a limited number of credits toward a doctoral degree (see Credit Requirements).

In addition to being able to apply a maximum of 30 post-baccalaureate credits for transfer from other institutions in keeping with University-wide requirements (see Acceptance of Transfer Credits), students may earn an additional nine doctoral-level credits from institutions fully accredited for doctoral degree study. Each course transferred must meet the following conditions:

The course grade must be at least B or its equivalent.

The course must be judged relevant to a student's doctoral Plan of Studies by the program or department.

The course must be approved for equivalent graduate degrees at the accredited institution, extension, or off-campus center of other institutions at which the course was taken.

Doctoral students desiring to take courses at another institution following admission to the University of Pittsburgh should review the course descriptions and receive approval from their academic advisors and program or department prior to registering for those courses if they wish to ensure that these credits will be acceptable for transfer.

Doctoral students already enrolled may, when approved in advance by their department and the dean/associate dean, spend a term or more at another graduate institution to obtain training or experience not available at the University of Pittsburgh and transfer those credits toward the requirement for a doctoral degree at the University of Pittsburgh. A doctoral student who has done additional academic work elsewhere will be reinstated upon application to the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services provided (a) the student received in advance written approval to study elsewhere and (b) the completed academic work is acceptable to the School of Education.

Both applicants for admission and continuing University of Pittsburgh doctoral students seeking acceptance of transfer credits toward a doctoral degree must submit their transcripts with a completed "Petition to Transfer Credits" form, available in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services. When approved, transfer credits must appear on the student's Plan of Studies. The registrar, after notification of acceptance of transfer credits, will enter the individual transfer credits as block credits on the student's transcript. Grades (and quality points) are not recorded for credits accepted by transfer.

Credit Requirements

Doctoral degrees require a minimum of 90 credits in a degree program beyond the baccalaureate, distributed as follows: a minimum of 72 course credits (including transfer credits) and a minimum of 18 dissertation credits. Doctoral-level courses are numbered in the 3000 series, but courses numbered in the 2000 series may also be appropriate for doctoral study. Generally, courses numbered below 2000 do not meet the minimum requirements for doctoral study. Exceptions require the approval of the program or department. No lower-level undergraduate course (numbered 0001–0999) may be applied toward a doctoral degree.

Grade Point Average

All doctoral students are required to maintain a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.30. The cumulative GPA is based on all course work taken after enrollment in the appropriate doctoral program. A doctoral student is automatically placed on academic probation when the cumulative GPA, exclusive of transfer credits, falls below 3.30. Ordinarily, students are required to terminate graduate study after two terms on probation. Although the credits allowed for acceptable work completed elsewhere by students enrolled in the School of Education count toward the total number of credits required for a graduate degree, the grades earned in such courses are not included in quality point computations.

Statute of Limitations

From the student's initial registration for doctoral study at the University of Pittsburgh, all requirements for the PhD must be completed within a period of 10 years (or eight years if the student has received credit for a master's degree appropriate to the field of study); all requirements for the EdD must be completed within a period of 12 years (or 10 years if the student has received credit for a master's degree appropriate to the field of study).

Under certain conditions, the dean/associate dean may grant an extension of a student’s statute of limitations.

Plan of Studies

Prior to advancement to the formal stage called Doctoral Study, the student, in consultation with the academic advisor, must complete a plan of studies that conforms to program requirements. The plan of studies, approved by the academic advisor, the program coordinator, and department is filed in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services.

A doctoral Plan of Studies should include the following parts:

  • Major Area of Study Courses (36–54 credits)
  • Supporting Field Courses (0–18 credits)
  • Research Methodology Courses (12 credits)
  • Supervised Research Courses (6 credits)
  • Dissertation Courses  (18 credits)

Courses approved for transfer credit must be listed individually on the plan of studies. Also, when a student plan of studies lists directed study credits, a directed study agreement form must be completed, signed by both the student and faculty supervisor, and submitted for each directed study at the time of registration.  Forms are available from the department.

Any changes in the plan of studies must be approved by the academic advisor and the program coordinator, conform to program requirements, and be filed with the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services. At the time of graduation, completed courses must comply with the approved plan of studies.

Doctoral Preliminary Evaluation

Each doctoral student is required to take a preliminary evaluation designed to assess the breadth of the student's knowledge of the discipline, the student's achievement during the initial phase of graduate study, and the student's potential to apply research methods independently. The preliminary evaluation is administered by the program or department to which the student has been admitted. Procedures of administration are available from the program or department.

Advancement to Doctoral Study

To advance to doctoral study, a student must:

  • be admitted to full graduate status;
  • have completed at least 15 post-master's graduate credits at the University of Pittsburgh;
  • have earned a GPA of at least 3.30 (transfer credits not considered) in post-master's graduate study at the University of Pittsburgh;
  • have a Plan of Studies approved by the academic advisor and the program coordinator on file in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services; and
  • have passed the doctoral preliminary evaluation.

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination

See Comprehensive Examination under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Study for an overview of the examination's form and nature. After advancement to doctoral study, each doctoral student is required to take a comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination is constructed, administered, and scored by the department or program to which the student has been admitted. Procedures and schedules of administration are available from the department or program.

A student must be registered in the term during which the comprehensive examination is taken. In no case may the student be graduated in the same term in which the comprehensive examination is taken. After the comprehensive examination is passed, the student has the remaining time specified by the statute of limitations to complete all remaining doctoral degree requirements. Satisfactory completion of the doctoral comprehensive examination requirement is part of the demonstration of doctoral competency.

Ordinarily, students do not register for dissertation credits until they have passed the comprehensive examination.

Doctoral Competency

Each doctoral student is required to demonstrate doctoral competency by satisfactorily completing both the supervised research and doctoral comprehensive examination requirements. The form certifying that a student has demonstrated doctoral competency is initiated by the student's academic advisor, signed by the academic advisor, the program coordinator, and the department chairperson, and then sent to the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services. The dean/associate dean notifies the student that doctoral competency has been demonstrated.

Doctoral Committee

For the EdD student, the doctoral committee consists of the research advisor and at least three other members, including one member from a program other than the student's major program. This member may be from another program within the student's major department, from another department in the School of Education, from another department in the University of Pittsburgh, or from an appropriate graduate program at another academic institution.

For the PhD student, the doctoral committee consists of the research advisor and at least three other members, including one member from another department outside the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh or from an appropriate graduate program outside education at another academic institution.

For both EdD and PhD committees, the research advisor and a majority of the total committee must be full or adjunct members of the graduate faculty of the University of Pittsburgh.

The program faculty, the department chairperson, and the dean/associate dean must approve membership on and subsequent changes in the doctoral committee. After the program has approved the doctoral committee, the research advisor initiates the "Proposed Doctoral Committee" form to obtain the signatures of the program coordinator, the department chairperson, and the dean/associate dean. The dean/associate dean must give final approval of the doctoral committee before the overview examination may be scheduled.

Dissertation Overview

The dissertation overview is a written proposal and must be presented to the doctoral committee for approval after doctoral competency has been demonstrated.

The Overview Examination

The overview examination is conducted by the doctoral committee, is chaired by the research advisor, and is open to any faculty member of the graduate faculty of the University wishing to attend. Although any faculty member may participate in the examination, only members of the doctoral committee may be present during the final deliberation and vote on approving the overview.  Each member of the doctoral committee must sign the overview form and vote on approving the overview. The committee must unanimously approve the overview in order for the student to be advanced to doctoral candidacy.

Dissertation

Students should review the information detailed under Dissertation and Abstract and Final Oral Examination for University-wide regulations regarding dissertations and dissertation defenses. School of Education-specific rules follow:

The Dissertation Defense

The same rules apply here as detailed under The Overview Examination above.

Vote on the Dissertation Defense

Each member of the doctoral committee must sign the dissertation defense form and vote to pass or fail the student on the dissertation defense. If the decision of the committee is not unanimous, the case is referred to the dean/associate dean for resolution.

Submission Requirements and Fees

For general information concerning preparation of the dissertation, refer to the ETD website.

At least one week prior to the end of the term, the dissertation is submitted in final form to the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services along with the following materials:

  • Signed dissertation defense form
  • Signed ETD approval form
  • Two copies of the dissertation abstract initialed by the research advisor
  • Completed Proquest Agreement forms
  • Completed Survey of Earned Doctorate form
  • Receipt from the Student Payment Center for payment of the dissertation processing fee
  • Two copies of the title page

Information concerning requirements for preparing the abstract, the forms to be completed, and the amount of the fees to be paid is available in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services. The dissertation and abstract will be examined there to see that they are prepared in an acceptable form and style. For dissertation preparation style information refer to the ETD Format Guidelines. Questions not answered in these documents regarding form and/or style will be referred to the dean/associate dean for review and final decision.

 
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