Welcome to The University of Iowa's Educational Leadership Ph.D. program. The Educational Leadership faculty and students come from a variety of backgrounds and work experiences. The Educational Leadership program is committed to preparing educators to be effective school leaders, professors, and policymakers.This handbook is intended to serve as an introduction, a guide, and a resource for all students in our graduate programs.

The Educational Leadership doctoral program requires 90 semester hours (s.h.) beyond a Bachelor’s degree: 12 s.h. of common courses, 9 s.h. of a cognate area in a different department, 29 s.h. of electives, 12 s.h. of a specific area of concentration, 18 s.h. of research courses, and 10 s.h. of dissertation research. The program prepares students for a wide range of leadership positions in education and public sector settings. This degree does not result in any kind of licensure or endorsement.

The purpose of the program is to prepare scholarly professionals for leadership positions in a wide range of educational and public sector settings. The Educational Leadership Ph.D. is designed to provide students with strong backgrounds in three domains: leadership, policy, and research. The program prepares scholarly professionals who discover, integrate, and apply knowledge as transformational leaders.

Professional and Ethical Expectations and Behavior

All students in the Educational Leadership Program are expected to comply with the highest professional and ethical standards in all of their activities, including their classes and research, as advisees, when interacting with peers, and as graduate assistants. Students should honor commitments, keep confidences, make and keep appointments, fulfill assignments in a timely manner, avoid plagiarism, conduct themselves in accordance with all ethical standards in research, and be honest in their interactions with faculty and students.

Examples of misconduct include, but are not limited to, cheating on examinations, signing another person’s name on a form, misrepresenting the truth about oneself or others, submitting the same paper for two or more classes, and submitting another student’s paper as one’s own. Students are expected to behave ethically in and out of the classroom. Students should be familiar with appropriate ethical standards that help define their professionalism.

When preparing papers and reports, students are responsible for following the style manual recommended by the instructor (typically APA). Not knowing how to give credit and cite sources is not an acceptable reason for plagiarism or failure of attribution. Plagiarism and other misconduct are viewed seriously by the faculty and can result in disciplinary action by the Department, College, and University.

Academic Progress

We follow closely the Graduate College policies regarding grades and progress toward degree. As such, students should be aware that any grade below a “C-“ is considered a failing grade and will not count toward your degree. Students should also be mindful of the threshold for academic probation status. These and other academic policies are detailed in the Graduate College Manual.

Marks Carrying Graduate Credit

These are A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, and S--satisfactory.

Marks Carrying No Graduate Credit

These are D+, D, D-, F, I--incomplete, W--withdrawn without discredit, R--registered, U--unsatisfactory, AUS--audit successful, and AUU--audit unsuccessful.

Doctoral Students

 A doctoral student on regular status shall be placed on probation if, after completing 8 hours of graduate work, the student's cumulative grade-point average on graduate work done at The University of Iowa falls below 3.00. If, after completing 8 more semester hours of graduate work at this University, the student's cumulative grade-point average remains below the required level, the student shall be dropped from the program and denied permission to reregister unless the student applies and is accepted for a nondoctoral degree or certificate program. If, after completing the second 8 semester hours, the cumulative grade-point average is at least 3.00, the student is returned to good standing.**

** This requirement shall apply to students entering doctoral programs beginning with the Fall 1979 Semester. A minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.70 is required of students admitted to doctoral programs prior to that session.

Restriction on Students on Probation

A student on probation shall not be permitted to take comprehensive or final examinations leading to any degree or certificate, nor may the student receive any graduate degree or certificate.

More information about residency, updating old credits, and registration requirements can be found on the Graduate College website.

Academic Advising

All Educational Leadership Ph.D. students are initially assigned to a faculty academic advisor. This assignment is not necessarily permanent, and can be changed at the request of the student in question. In the case of changing advisors, a conversation with all parties is recommended.

Comprehensive Exams and Dissertations

Upon completing the Ph.D. curriculum, students will undergo a comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination is an opportunity for Ph.D. students to demonstrate they can apply the knowledge gained in the program curriculum to a series of questions linked to a specific case or problem. In addition to the written comprehensive exam, an oral examination is required. Students must have completed all required core and specialization courses prior to their examination. Comprehensive exams are not administered in the summer.

A dissertation is a required part of the doctoral program at the University of Iowa. Educational Leadership Ph.D. students identify a dissertation topic with the assistance of their faculty advisor. Although students may take up to five years after successful completion of the comprehensive exam, to successfully defend the dissertation, it is strongly recommended that you finish as quickly as possible following your comprehensive exam. Although their coursework is completed, students must continue to be registered until the semester of their actual graduation. Consult the Graduate College manual for more information.

Examining Committees

Ph.D. students should work with an advisor to construct examining committees to include faculty members with varying, but related, areas of expertise. The College encourages departments and programs to construct Ph.D. examining committees which are comprised of faculty members with varying, but related, areas of expertise. The comprehensive and final examinations are conducted by committees of no fewer than five members of the Graduate Faculty appointed by the dean upon recommendation of the major department or program.

The constellation of the committee must include:

  1. At least four of the faculty members must be members of the University of Iowa tenure-track faculty.
  2. At least two of the faculty members are from the major department—EPLS-- (defined as faculty members who hold any appointment in the major department or program), and are members of the University of Iowa tenure-track faculty.
  3. At least one of the faculty members is from outside the major department on a thesis committee. This committee member can be an appointee if four tenure-track faculty are serving on the committee. A comprehensive exam committee would only need an outside member if a student is writing on a question from that area.

In the Educational Leadership program, written exams are take-home. Students typically have one week to complete written exams and dates for exams are by the Graduate College. Oral exams follow completion of written exams. Students typically are responsible for scheduling oral exams with their committee upon completion of written exams.

Departments and programs may request the dean's permission to replace one of the five members of the Graduate Faculty by a recognized scholar of professorial rank from another academic institution. This request must demonstrate that the external scholar brings expertise or experience not available among University of Iowa faculty.

*The policies of the Graduate College and College of Education will take precedence over program policies.

Forms and Worksheets

Please contact the department office if you have questions.