University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Program Overview

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Program Overview

The University of Pittsburgh is a center for excellence in professional programs, and the School of Education school-wide Doctor of Education (EdD) program is based on this commitment to excellence. The program aims to prepare scholarly practitioners to develop deep specialized knowledge in their area of concentration and apply their intellectual and practical skills to address and mitigate enduring problems affecting children, families, and communities.

The EdD program objectives are to:
  • Prepare you to be to be leaders in pre-K–12 schools, institutions of higher education, community-based organizations, research institutes, government agencies, and health and human services agencies
  • Offer opportunities for you to gain an interdisciplinary perspective through courses that are created and taught by faculty across departments in the School of Education
  • Promote collaborative learning, shared experiences, and interdisciplinary knowledge through a cohort structure
  • Equip you with the knowledge and experience to be educational innovators who can address enduring problems of practice in their fields
  • Accommodate your needs as working professionals
  • Provide a clear pathway for completing the degree in three years

The EdD is a three-year structured program built on a cohort model, which means that you are admitted as a group, have shared courses, and progress through the program on a shared timeline. The cohort of students admitted complete a 90-credit program (30 credits transferred from a relevant master’s degree and 60 credits completed in the EdD program).


Summer Fall Spring Summer

Foundation 1: Framing, Identifying, and Investigating Problems of Practice (3 credits)

Practitioner Inquiry 1 (3 credits)

Foundation 2: Leadership in Groups and Organizations (3 credits

ARCO: Course 1 (3 credits)

Foundation 3: Education Contexts (3 credits)

ARCO: Course 2 (3 credits)

Foundation 4: Investigating Policy as a Lever for Change (3 credits)

Practitioner Inquiry 2 (3 credits)

Benchmark #1: Plan of Studies / Course Credits Accepted
A draft Plan of Study (POS) is created on a POS template by the student and reviewed the EdD Program Coordinator before student sends to ARCO advisor. This is completed before the end of the first fall term. Course Credits Accepted Form is submitted with the draft POS. Candidates transfer up to 30 credits from relevant graduate work. Any credits counting toward the doctorate from an institution other than the University of Pittsburgh must appear on the student’s transcript.

Benchmark #2: Preliminary Examination / Advancement to Doctoral Study
EdD Preliminary Exam Statement on Problem of Practice and Completion of Foundations 1, 2, & 3. The preliminary examination is designed to assess and support the student’s continued success in EdD study. The exam consists of a written statement of a defensible problem of practice. The statement is a three (3) to five (5) page- paper that articulates the proposed topic, the significance of the problem, scope of inquiry, and questions that will be asked of the literature. This initial assessment is structured to achieve two purposes: (a) to evaluate the student’s strengths, weakness, motivation, and potential for acquiring an in-depth knowledge of education issues in the declared area of study and (b) to assess the student’s ability to write clearly. A first year review is conducted. The review will focus on students’ progress in courses and trajectory towards completion, career goals, and the position statement on problem of practice (preliminary examination).


Fall Spring Summer

Supervised Practitioner Inquiry (3 credits)

ARCO: Course 3 (3 credits)

Practitioner Inquiry 3 (3 credits)

ARCO: Course 4 (3 credits)

Inquiry Practicum (3 credits)

Supervised Internship (3 credits)

Benchmark #1: Comprehensive Exam
Comprehensive Exam Review of supporting scholarship related to the problem of practice.

Benchmark #2: Applied Inquiry Plan
Develop a potential solution to their problem of practice, such as an intervention or policy change, and a plan to study the implementation and predicted outcomes OR collect and analyze data to identify underlying causes and associated factors related to their problem of practice.


Fall Spring Summer

Dissertation of Practice (6 credits)

Dissertation of Practice (6 credits)

Dissertation of Practice (6 credits)

Benchmark #1: Internship Experience
Supervised Internship ARCOs will develop guidelines and assessment criteria for the supervised internship Dissertation in Practice.

Benchmark #2: Demonstration of Excellence
ARCOs will determine format for the for the Demonstration of Excellence that supports the advancement of the students profession, e.g., publishable article in a practitioner journal, white paper, traditional chapter, presentation to a Board of an organization or agency, etc.