First Steps

  • During the first two foundational seminars, each student will be assigned a mentor and a research topic. The student will also become part of a team of individuals studying the same topic under the same mentor. Under the supervision of his or her mentor and in dialogue with fellow team members, the student will develop a research question that will form the foundation for his or her thesis. In selected seminars throughout the program, students will draft chapters in preparation for the completion of this thesis.
  • The theses developed within each research team will build on one another. Together, these interlocking theses will provide a solution to some particular problem or will demonstrate the validity of a particular approach to an education- or leadership-related issue.

Thesis Prospectus

  • Throughout the seminars, the student will develop, in consultation with his or her mentor and with other faculty members, a thesis prospectus that includes the first chapter of the thesis and summarizes the student’s research question and strategy.
  • The student will defend the thesis prospectus during the course 92070 Mentorship and Guided Research in a closed hearing with his or her mentor, one other faculty member, and the members of his or her research team. The student should bring with them the Prospectus Approval Form to be signed by the committee.
  • Students will make corrections suggested during the prospectus defense and then submit the prospectus to the RDS Office. Once it has been approved by the faculty, students will be notified that they are approved to continue research and writing.
  • The student may not engage in empirical research with human subjects until the methodology has been approved by the Ethics Committee and until the thesis prospectus has been approved by his or her mentor and the seminary faculty.
  • All students doing a Research Project must submit a Research Profile for approval by their supervisor and the Research Ethics Committee prior to conducting the research project and/or any work with human subjects. Use all documents below in creating the Research Profile.Submit the Research Profile through the Research Doctoral Studies office at any point following final proposal approval and prior to beginning the project. Contact our office with any questions regarding these forms.

Thesis Defense

  • The final thesis will focus on one particular research question and will be 20,000-25,000 words in length. The research for the thesis may be text-based or empirical.
  • The completed thesis will be defended in an open hearing scheduled and supervised by the student’s faculty mentor. The student’s thesis committee will consist of the faculty mentor and a practitioner in the field of study. The student’s research team will also be present for the hearing.
  • Students should bring two copies of the “Approval Sheet” from their thesis to the oral defense (on cotton bond paper) so that their committee members may sign them upon successful defense of the thesis
  • The thesis must also be presented to an external audience appropriate to the topic, such as (but not limited to) the faculty of an educational institution, a denominational association, an education-focused group within a state denominational convention, or a state or national gathering of educators.
  • To graduate, the student must receive a minimum grade of “B” (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) on the thesis. A grade of “B-” (2.7 on a 4.0 scale) or below will require the student to rewrite the thesis and defend again. Failure to pass the second submission and defense of the dissertation will result in forfeiture of the Doctor of Education degree. The thesis, upon completion, is submitted for copyrighting, digital preservation, and binding.
  • It is anticipated that the combined theses from each research group will be published by an academic press with the group’s faculty mentor serving as editor.