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Part III: Graduate Programs

1.1     Criteria

Applicants for regular admission to a master's degree program or a Certificate for Advanced Graduate Study (C.A.G.S.) are expected to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.7 (on a 4.0 scale), and a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in the major field. Applicants to a doctoral program are expected to have a master's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum grade point average of 3.4 (on a 4.0 scale) in the major field.

Applicants with credentials from an international institution that are equivalent to those stated in Criteria 1.1 above may be considered for admission to a graduate program. In addition, international students are required to provide the School of Education and the Graduate School (for Ph.D. applicants) with the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam scores. The minimum TOEFL score for admission is 550 on the paper scale or 80 on the internet-based test (IBT).

If the documents are not in English, they must be accompanied by an official translated copy. All international transcripts must be evaluated by the World Education Service (WES) or the American Association of Collegiate Registrar and Admissions Officers (AACRAO).

No application will be reviewed until all required documents are submitted. Application materials include:

  • an application form with a statement of interest and/or goals,
  • the application fee,
  • three letters of recommendation,
  • official transcripts,
  • a resume, and
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores (for Ph.D. applicants only).

Admission to graduate programs is under the jurisdiction of the various departments. An applicant is expected to have adequate educational preparation and experience for the field in which graduate work is to be done. Students with inadequate preparation may be required to take additional courses as prescribed by the department of major concentration.

1.2     Admission Procedures for Graduate Programs in the School of Education​

The admission process for all programs is conducted within the School of Education, with the exception of the Ph.D. programs. Admission to Ph.D. programs is completed in the Graduate School, and all admissions information can be found on the following website:

In the School of Education, graduate applicants submit applications online. When applications are complete, the admissions committee will review them. The admissions committee in each department is comprised of representatives from each of the respective programs. Each committee member reviews each completed file and writes an independent evaluation providing an assessment of the applicant and a recommendation for acceptance or denial. Each evaluation is collected and polled for a final decision.

Once departmental decisions have been made, admission decisions will be sent to students from the Office of Admission and the chairperson of the respective programs. A faculty advisor, identified in the letter of acceptance, will assist the student with developing a course of study for the first academic year. The assigned advisor may continue to serve in this capacity throughout the student’s tenure in the program. The student or advisor may formally request the department chairperson to assist in the selection of a different advisor.

1.3      Application Deadlines​

Curriculum and Instruction M.Ed.:
          Fall - February 15th
          Spring - November 1st
          Summer - April 1st
          Rolling Admission per department approval

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Ed.D.:
          Fall - March 15th

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies M.Ed.:
          Fall - April 15th

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies CAGS Program:
          Rolling Admission

School Psychology and Counseling Services M.Ed.:
          Fall - February 15th
          Spring - November 1st
          Rolling Admission per department approval

Counseling Psychology, Educational Psychology and School Psychology Ph.D.:
          Fall - December 1st

1.4     Categories for Admissions

1.41     Degree Student - Regular
An applicant who fully meets the stated requirements for a graduate program will be accepted as a regular degree student.

1.42     Degree Student - Provisional

  • An applicant who does not fully meet academic preparation or scholarship and who is otherwise judged as having potential for success in a graduate program may be accepted on a provisional basis. The student in this category may take no more than (nine) 9 graduate credit hours per semester and will be allowed a maximum of one calendar year to qualify as a regular degree student.
  • In those cases in which the student does not fully meet academic preparation, the attainment of regular status will require the completion of those courses designated by the department with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and not more than 3 semester hours below the grade of B.
  • When the student’s academic performance is low, the attainment of regular status will require the completion of at least one semester full time (9 semester hours) or the equivalent number of semester hours in part-time status (not exceeding one calendar year) with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and no more than three (3) semester hours below the grade of B. If the provisions stipulated by the department are not met, the student will be academically suspended from the graduate program. Confirmation of the requirements for attainment of regular degree student status must be made in writing and signed by both the student and the department chairperson.

1.43     Non-Degree Students
Persons who desire to enroll in graduate courses but do not wish to pursue a degree may be admitted as non-degree students. Applicants must meet the admission requirements as set forth by the department. Departments will determine the number of non-degree students who may be accepted. Upon approval by the department, non-degree students may qualify for another category of admission and may transfer a maximum of six (6) semester hours of credit with grades of B or better into a degree program.

1.44     Change of Program after Admission​
In order to have a degree or program change after being accepted into a graduate program, a student must complete a minimum of nine (9) hours of study in his/her major (excluding electives) and earn a 3.00 grade point average. The student must also submit a signed statement regarding the reason for requested change. Students should use the Change of Program Transfer Form, which is provided through the department offices.

2.1     Good Standing

Graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) to be considered in good academic standing. Only students in good academic standing will be recommended to receive a graduate degree.

2.2     Probation

A student is placed on academic probation when his or her cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).

2.3     Suspension

2.31     A student who is on academic probation and does not achieve good academic standing by the end of the next semester in residence will be suspended from the graduate program. A student who is suspended will not be permitted to register in the next semester, and must apply for readmission.

2.32     A student who accumulates nine (9) semester hours of grades below a B shall be suspended from the graduate program. This provision applies to each of the several degree programs but is not cumulative from one degree to another.

2.4     Readmission After Suspension

2.41     A student who has been suspended from a graduate program may not be readmitted until one full semester (excluding the summer session) has passed.

2.42     A student who desires readmission after academic suspension must submit a University application to the Office of Admissions and must petition the Dean of the School of Education (use Readmission Petition Form). The petition must indicate the reason(s) for the previous poor performance and any new circumstances that would justify readmission. Evidence of academic or professional productivity during the period of suspension may also be presented.

2.43     Petitions for readmission will be considered by the Committee on Academic Standards of the department in which the student was enrolled. The departmental recommendation will be forwarded by the chairperson to the dean. A recommendation to readmit a student must stipulate any conditions pertinent to the student's pursuit of the program upon reenrollment.

2.5     Grading

The School of Education uses a letter grade system: A,B,C,D,or F. Other symbols that may appear on a student’s transcript include AU (Audit); I (Incomplete); P (Pass); S (Satisfactory); U (Unsatisfactory); and W (Withdrawal).

2.51     No credit toward a graduate degree is given for a course in which a letter grade of D or F is received. In this event, the course(s) must be repeated with a passing letter grade to be counted as credit toward a graduate degree.

2.6     Change of Grade

A grade assigned for work in a course is not subject to change. Exceptions may be considered in the case of a specific error. Students who believe that an error was made in assigning a grade must petition the instructor within four weeks after the beginning of the next semester. Grading errors may be corrected by the instructor of the course through a Special Grade Report submitted to the Registrar’s Office.

2.7     Incomplete Grades

The grade of Incomplete (I) may be given to those students who, upon petitioning the instructor, have provided acceptable justification for failure to complete some portion of the course requirements by the end of the formal exam period as listed on the University calendar. An Incomplete Grade Contract must be signed by the student, instructor of the course, and the Department Chair and filed with Enrollment Management. All Incomplete grades must carry an alternative grade indication, which is the grade that the student would receive if the missing course requirements were never completed. Exceptions may apply for thesis research, dissertation research, directed individual study, practicum and internship courses. Incomplete grades must be removed by the last day of the next semester during which the student is enrolled in the University. If the Incomplete grade is not removed, the alternate grade becomes the permanent grade.

2.8     Undergraduate Courses Taken by Graduate Students

Grades earned in undergraduate courses taken while enrolled in a graduate program are calculated in the grade point average, but credit earned in such courses may not be used in meeting the requirements for a graduate degree.

2.9     Time Limitation for Graduate Course Credit

2.91     No course that was pursued more than five years prior to the term in which a student is recommended for a master’s degree or the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (C.A.G.S.), or more than seven (7) years for the Doctor of Education degree shall be credited toward the requirements of that degree.

2.92     Course credits can be renewed upon the written recommendation of the chairperson of the department offering the course, based upon an examination of the candidate by the instructor of the course. Evidence shall be available to support the validity of each such recommendation. At the discretion of the department, a departmental comprehensive examination may be used to validate the recommendation for renewal of courses. The concurrence of the department’s executive committee is required for each renewal.

3.1     The transfer of credit refers to an arrangement whereby a course taken at another college or university is entered into the student's official record at Howard University, and the credit earned is counted toward Howard University degree requirements.

3.2     The request for transfer of credit is initiated by the student to the major department, which transmits its recommendation to the dean for consideration by the executive committee. When the course proposed for transfer is to be used to replace or as the equivalent of a course offered within the School of Education, the recommendation of the department that offers the course being replaced must also be transmitted to the executive committee.

3.3     Requests for transfer of credit must reach the dean no later than the end of the second full week of the semester in which the student seeks to graduate. An official transcript reflecting the course to be transferred must accompany each request.

3.4     No more than six (6) semester hours of credit may be transferred to a master’s degree program or a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (C.A.G.S.) program, and no more than thirty (30) semester hours may be transferred to a Doctor of Education program. This limit on the number of transferable credits does not apply to credits earned in other graduate units of Howard University, but all such courses must be transferred formally in the prescribed manner if they are to count toward the requirements for a degree in the School of Education.

3.5     Courses requested for transfer must have been taken in a graduate school having regional accreditation, and the courses must be recognized as regular graduate degree courses by the institution where they were taken.

3.6     Only those courses may be transferred in which a grade of B or better was earned.

3.7     Courses requested for transfer shall not have been used to meet the requirements for an undergraduate degree.

3.8     Transferred courses may not be used to satisfy the residency requirements for a degree, except as provided under 4.4 below.

4.1     A student is considered to be in full-time enrollment during a regular semester (fall, spring) when enrolled in at least nine (9) semester hours. In a summer session, full-time enrollment requires enrollment in at least six (6) semester hours.

4.2     A student is considered to be in part-time enrollment during a regular semester (fall, spring) when enrolled in fewer than nine (9) semester hours. In a summer session, a student is in part-time enrollment when enrolled in fewer than six (6) semester hours.

Residence means continuous enrollment, part-time or full-time. Students must be continuously enrolled every fall and spring semester of the academic year until such time as the degree is conferred, unless a temporary leave has been requested and granted for personal or professional reasons. Students who discontinue enrollment must apply for readmission to the University and will be subject to the admissions requirements at the time the application is submitted.

4.3     Enrollment in excess of twelve (12) hours in a single semester requires the written approval of the assigned advisor and the department chairperson. Copies of these approvals must be submitted to the Office of the Dean prior to the deadline for withdrawing from a course in the current semester. When these approvals are lacking, a student may be required to drop courses in excess of the maximum.

4.4     A student must be enrolled for at least two (2) semesters (either in part-time or full-time status) in a graduate program of the School of Education to be recommended for a degree. Upon recommendation of the department, enrollment in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences or in other graduate programs within the University may be counted toward this requirement.

4.5     A student must be enrolled (either in part-time or full-time status) during the semester in which the degree is to be awarded; this requirement may be waived for a student who has met all requirements for a degree except financial clearance, upon written petition to the dean.

4.6     Once students enter or reenter the University, they are eligible to register at the beginning of the first semester and subsequently may register in October for the spring semester and in March for the following fall semester. All students register using the Bison Web system ( Students who do not register during the published General Registration periods will be required to pay a late registration fee and participate in late registration at the beginning of the semester. Courses that are not paid by the published deadline are subject to a late payment fee.

Students are considered officially enrolled by making satisfactory financial arrangements with Student Financial Services. Selection of classes will not be allowed if any of the following “holds” appear on a student’s registration account: academic, admission, international, medical, student affairs, library, or treasurer. Tuition and fees must be paid by the published deadlines. If a student does not meet the payment deadlines, his or her classes are purged.

A student will be admitted to candidacy upon completion of a majority of the requirements for the master’s degree.
Prior to admission to candidacy, a student must:

  1. Submit an admission to candidacy form within TaskStream (also labeled application for graduation) available on the School of Education website, which lists graduate courses completed, in process, and yet to be completed.
  2. Pass all the required core courses.
  3. Pass the comprehensive examination administered by the department (where applicable).
  4. Demonstrate proficiency in expository writing.
  5. Pass the foreign language examination or fulfill the approved substitute where applicable.

Admission to candidacy must be achieved at least six weeks prior to the end of the semester in which the student expects to receive the degree. Candidacy for the master’s degree shall be valid for no more than two academic years. Any student seeking renewal of candidacy must apply to the School of Education through the department for reinstatement. The department in which the student is seeking the degree shall determine the conditions under which the student may be reinstated, subject to the approval of the Executive Committee of the School of Education.

5.1     Expository Writing Proficiency​

All graduate degree programs require that each student recommended for graduation shall have demonstrated competency in the English language, as evidenced by a passing score on the Expository Writing Examination. Students who do not pass the Expository Writing Examination must successfully complete the one credit independent study course in writing offered through the Curriculum and Instruction department. All graduate students, both part-time and full-time, must satisfy this requirement during their first year of enrollment.

Expository Writing Exam Rubric

6.1     Upon admission, each student shall be assigned to a faculty member who shall provide academic advisement related to matters such as program planning, course selection, and the satisfaction of degree requirements. Students have the option to change advisors; faculty members have the option to change advisees. All requests for such changes must be made using the Request for Change in Advisor Form and submitted to the chairperson of the department.

6.2     Within the first semester of a student’s enrollment, the faculty advisor shall assist the student in developing a tentative program of study, which will include all courses needed to obtain the degree; any courses to be transferred, waived, or used as substitutes for required courses; and other program requirements. A copy of this tentative program, signed by the advisor and advisee, shall be maintained by the advisor, the student, and the chairperson of the department (paper and electronic copies).

6.3     The academic advisor facilitates the student’s selection of courses each semester. A log of advisement meetings and types of advice provided to each candidate will be maintained in the student’s advisement department file. All students are required to meet with their academic advisors to plan a program of study and in preparation for registration each semester. Alternate Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) for registration will be issued to students by their faculty advisors after advisor approval of courses to be taken in the next semester.

6.4     Departmental faculty is expected to provide continuous advisement to students throughout their residence in a graduate program.

6.5     The faculty in each department shall have the responsibility for monitoring and advising students on academic probation.

7.1     Leave of Absence for Personal and Family Circumstances​

In recognition of the effects that childbirth, adoption, illness, disability, caring for incapacitated dependents (e.g., children, ill or injured partners, or aging parents), military service, or other personal or family circumstances may have on the time and energy that graduate students have to devote to their educational programs, the University allows students in such circumstances to apply for a leave of absence.

A leave of absence must be requested and approved prior to the beginning of the academic term for which it is being requested. A letter of request should provide a detailed explanation of the circumstances leading to the request and a justification of the length of the requested leave. Students should describe the progress they have made in their graduate program and indicate if the requested leave of absence is expected to affect the time-to- degree, course viability, or course-restoration limitations set forth in Section 2.9. The letter of request should be sent to the Dean of the School of Education and, in cases of disability, the Office of Special Student Services. The letter of request must also state whether the request is supported by the student’s faculty advisor and the director of Graduate Studies and include supporting documentation. The faculty advisor, director of Graduate Studies, Office of Special Student Services, and/or the dean may request a doctor’s statement to document any limitations arising from a student’s disability or illness.

Students on approved leaves of absence are not registered at the University and, therefore, do not have the rights and privileges of registered students. Upon the conclusion of an approved leave of absence, a student may register without applying for readmission to the University. Students must be registered during a semester in which they fulfill a University or departmental degree requirement, such as taking qualifying exams or submitting a thesis or dissertation. In addition, students must be registered in order to be eligible for any form of University financial aid (including teaching or research assistantships) and to be certified as full-time students.

7.2     International Students

Non-immigrant F-1 and J-1 students and their dependents must maintain legal immigration status at all times. Students with F-1 or J-1 visas must be enrolled full-time every semester at the University while they remain in the United States. The only possible exception that might allow a student to remain in the United States while on an approved leave of absence might be a serious illness or medical condition. International students are advised to consult with the staff of the Office of International Educational Services for more information when considering a leave of absence.

7.3     Time to Degree​

During an approved leave of absence, time-to- degree continues to move forward; time-to- degree will include the length of time a student takes during an approved leave of absence. Time to degree does not stop during a student’s leave of absence.

Students whose work is interrupted by absence from residence for any cause for more than two consecutive semesters (excluding summer) should not expect to graduate under the degree requirements in effect at the time of their initial enrollment, but rather under those requirements in effect at the time of their return to residence.

Procedures for Total Withdrawal are described in Section IV, General Policies and Procedures.


8.1     Students in all educational degree programs must submit the School of Education Graduation Application within TaskStream by the deadline announced by the University for the specific semester in which graduation is expected. Prospective Graduates will also be required to submit a University Application for Graduation via BisonWeb. Procedures for graduating will be explained at that time.

8.2     Students will be recommended to receive degrees by vote of the faculty, based upon certification of departmental approval and verification by the dean that all academic and financial obligations have been satisfied.

Degrees are conferred in May, July and December. Enrollment is required for the semester during which the degree is to be conferred. All degree requirements must be completed by the last day of final examinations for that semester.

Requirements for Graduation Approval are listed in Section IV, General Policies and Procedures.

9.1     A department has the right and responsibility to determine the required course of study for an academic program.

9.2     Some required courses may be waived if a student presents satisfactory evidence to the department offering the course that the course objectives have already been mastered.

9.3     A request for waiver of a course must be initiated by the student to the department offering the course, with the approval of the major department. The recommendations of both departments should be forwarded to the dean for consideration by the executive committee.

9.4     Approval for the waiver of a course does not confer graduate credit, but merely eliminates that course as a requirement. The total credits required for a particular degree must be satisfied regardless of the waiver of one or more courses.

Graduate students in the School of Education may enroll in courses in other colleges and universities through the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. (For a list of these institutions, see the Howard H-Book). Courses completed at any Consortium member college or university can be transferred if that particular course is not offered at Howard University at that time. Prior approval of Consortium courses by the student’s advisor is required, and the student must be concurrently enrolled at Howard for the same number of credit hours as he or she is enrolled in Consortium courses. Students are advised to consult the Office of the Registrar and the Consortium Coordinator regarding the University’s policies, procedures and guidelines for enrollment in courses in the Consortium(

11.1     Total Credits​
The minimum credit hours required for the Master of Education degree vary by program from 36 to 60 hours. Students admitted provisionally may be required to earn more than the minimum credit hours.

11.2     Course Distribution​

11.21     All programs leading to the M.Ed. degree include a common core of required courses (or approved equivalents) as specified by the faculty of the School of Education.

11.22     All programs leading to the M.Ed. degree require a minimum of twelve (12) semester hours of credit in the major area as prescribed by the respective departments.

11.23     The remaining credits may be taken in the major area, or in other areas as published on the program schemes or as approved by the advisor.

11.24     The faculty of each department shall specify the departmental requirements for each of its programs. Such departmental programs must have the approval of the executive committee and the faculty of the School of Education.

11.3     Comprehensive Examinations​

11.31     Candidates for the master’s degree may be required pass a written comprehensive examination, as prescribed by the faculty of the major department, prior to being recommended for the degree. Students desiring to take the examination must give notice of intent by the announced deadline date.

11.32     Students must be enrolled in the University and be in good academic standing in the School of Education during the semester in which the comprehensive examination is taken. A student whose performance on the comprehensive examination is unsatisfactory may request a second attempt. The second examination may be taken no earlier than the next regular administration of the comprehensive examination. The student, in conjunction with the advisor and/or the program area faculty, must prepare a written plan of study for taking the comprehensive examination the second time, which becomes a part of the student’s file. The department may require the student to take additional course work in preparation for the second attempt. A student who fails the second comprehensive examination will be dismissed from the program.

Students must complete the following general requirements in order to receive a Master of Education degree:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in expository writing,
  • Pass all required courses,
  • Pass comprehensive exams,
  • Pass all program-specific exams (e.g., SLLA, Praxis), and
  • Receive the approval of the faculty and dean.

12.1     Total Credits
The minimum academic credit required for the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (C.A.G.S.) is 30 semester hours of graduate credit beyond the master's degree. Individual departments may require credits in excess of the minimum, and students admitted provisionally may be required to earn more credit hours than the minimum.

12.2     Course Distribution​

Each program will determine the core of required courses, and the faculty must approve these courses.

12.23     Any remaining credits may be earned in the major area or in areas supporting the major area as approved by the department.

12.24     The faculty of the department in which the student is majoring shall specify the departmental requirements for each of its programs. Such departmental programs must have the approval of the executive committee and the faculty of the School.

Students enrolled in the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) are not eligible for financial aid given to degree candidates.

13.1     Total Credits 

The minimum academic credit required for the Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership and Policy is 66 credit hours. Students admitted provisionally may be required to earn more than the minimum number of credit hours.

13.2     Advisement

During the first semester of enrollment, each student will be assigned to an advisor who has the responsibility for guiding the student’s academic program of study.

13.3     Qualifying Examinations​

  1. There are three (3) graduate exams required in the Ed.D. program: the Graduate Expository Writing Exam, the Preliminary Exam and the Comprehensive Exam.
  2. Ed.D. students must be in good standing (as defined by the graduate school) and Master's students must be in good standing (as defined by the School of Education) to sit for the qualifying exam.
  3. The Graduate Expository Writing Exam is administered by the Graduate School. A passing score (demonstrated by a certificate) is a pre-requisite in order to sit for the Preliminary and Comprehensive Exams.
  4. A mandatory preparatory session is required before the administration of the Preliminary and Comprehensive Exam. Preparatory sessions are generally held on or around Reading Day of each semester.
  5. Satisfactory performance on a written preliminary qualifying examination is required for all doctoral students. The Preliminary Exam is administered twice a year, once in fall semester and once in spring semester. All parts of the Preliminary Examination are taken on site. The examination covers the major field of study and requires a minimum period of six clock hours. Successful completion of the specified pre-requisite courses is required to sit for the Preliminary Exam. Students who take additional courses prior to sitting for the Preliminary Exam assume the risk of accumulating additional credit hours without knowing if they can continue to matriculate in the program beyond the Preliminary Exam.
  6. Satisfactory performance on a written comprehensive qualifying examination is required for all doctoral students. This examination is taken after the student has passed the preliminary examination and completed all required course work except the Internship, Dissertation Seminar and Dissertation. The Comprehensive Exam is administered twice a year, once in fall and spring semesters.

13.31     A student whose performance on the Preliminary or Comprehensive examination is unsatisfactory may request departmental approval for reexamination after one semester. Any student who fails the examination for a second time will not be permitted to continue work for the Ed.D. degree.

13.32     Satisfactory performance on an oral qualifying examination is required. This examination is administered in connection with the defense of the dissertation and covers the candidate's field of research and related areas of study (see 13.54 below).

13.4     Candidacy

Admission to candidacy constitutes formal recognition of a student's advanced standing and departmental approval of the student's course of study. Admission to candidacy also serves to notify the University of the probable completion date. Students cannot graduate in the same semester in which they enter candidacy.

13.41     Students are admitted to candidacy when they have successfully completed all requirements for the Ed.D. degree except for the dissertation.

13.42     Students are eligible to enroll in dissertation research credits once they have been approved for candidacy. Before a student can be admitted to candidacy, he or she must have done the following:

  1. Completed an Admission to Candidacy form (available on the SOE website), which includes a list of graduate courses completed, being taken, and yet to be pursued in the field.
  2. Satisfactorily demonstrated expository writing proficiency and passed all qualifying exams administered by the department.
  3. Successfully defended a dissertation proposal. A copy of the approved dissertation proposal must accompany the Admission to Candidacy form.
  4. Received the signatory recommendation of his or her major advisor on the candidacy form.

13.43     Candidacy for the Ed.D. degree shall be valid for no more than five academic years. Any student seeking renewal of candidacy must apply to the School of Education through the department for readmission. The department in which the student is seeking the degree shall determine the conditions under which the student may be reinstated, subject to the approval by the department and School of Education Executive Committee.

13.5     Dissertation

13.51     The candidate for the Ed.D. degree is required to present a scholarly dissertation that is the result of sustained research or the extensive evaluation of an educational program.

13.52     A maximum of twelve (12) semester hours of dissertation research may be counted toward the total credits required for the degree. Students must be enrolled in a dissertation research course as long as they are using University facilities or conferring with the dissertation committee. When the maximum number of dissertation research credits has been earned that can count toward the degree, students should then be enrolled in Independent Study or Directed Individual Study to complete work on the dissertation.

The dissertation shall conform in form and style to the latest edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. The dissertation should also conform to the HUSOE Dissertation Guide, which can be found online at

Dissertation research courses will be assigned a grade of Incomplete while the work is in progress. The Incomplete grades will be removed upon successful passage of the final oral examination for the dissertation.

13.53     The student and the advisor shall select and submit to the departmental chairperson names of a committee of at least three university faculty to supervise the studies upon which the dissertation will be based.

13.54     The candidate shall be required to participate in a pre-final oral defense, as determined by the dissertation committee, and pass a final oral examination in defense of the dissertation. Although the examination will be based primarily upon the dissertation research, it may also include related aspects of the field (see 13. 31).

13.6     Procedures for Administering the Final Oral Examination​

13.61     Committee for the Final Oral Examination
The Final Oral Examination Committee for the Doctor of Education degree is composed of a minimum of four members, a majority of whom should represent the major department. The dissertation advisor provides the primary direction and support to the candidate throughout the research process and development and submission of the dissertation. Committee members may include department faculty, SOE faculty, faculty representing an allied Howard University School or department (if applicable), in addition to an external examiner with academic and professional credentials comparable to those of Howard University’s School of Education faculty.

Members of the examination committee are expected to remain on the committee until the final oral examination process is complete. A member who finds it necessary to withdraw from the committee must write a letter to the department chair. The department chairperson is responsible for facilitating the appointment of a replacement and notifying in writing the Director of Graduate Studies (using the requisite committee membership form).

13.62     External Examiner for the Final Oral Examination​
The external examiner should meet the following roles and expectations:

  • Have academic and professional qualifications comparable to those of the Howard University faculty;
  • Be an impartial and disinterested examiner and arbiter; and
  • Have had no prior interaction with the candidate or with the candidate’s research or investigation before receipt of the completed dissertation. Specialists in the area of the dissertation research who have been involved in any way with the advisement of the dissertation are not eligible to serve as external examiners.

13.63     Dissertation Submission and Acceptance Standards
All committee members (excluding the external reviewer) must certify that they have read the dissertation and determined that it meets the standards of the School of Education and is in its final form (see SOE – Ed.D-4 Certification by Members of the Dissertation Committee), prior to submission of the document to the Office of the Dean for scheduling an oral examination defense date. If a committee member identifies deficiencies in the document, it is the committee member’s responsibility to communicate any concerns to the dissertation advisor and the candidate and to refuse to certify the document until it meets standards. Once the dissertation has been certified by the committee members, the Director of Graduate Studies accepts the document as “defense-ready.”

Under no circumstances is the committee chair, department chair, or dissertation advisor authorized to convene a final oral examination if any committee member expresses concern that substantial modifications of a clerical, organizational, or substantive nature are necessary.

13.64     Conducting the Final Oral Examination​

Oral Pre-Defense
An oral “pre-defense” shall be scheduled no later than three weeks before the date for the final oral dissertation examination. A pre-defense is intended to allow the student and members of the dissertation committee (with the exception of the external reviewer and the committee chair) to review the student’s oral presentation of the dissertation as well as the actual dissertation document. This meeting allows the student to receive feedback about progress and to determine whether the dissertation will be “defense-ready” by the date for the oral dissertation examination.

The final oral examination shall be scheduled no later than three weeks before the proposed date for the final oral dissertation examination. Final oral examinations must adhere to the School of Education’s published deadlines. Once the dissertation committee has determined that the dissertation is “defense-ready,” the advisor shall request permission from the Director of Graduate Studies to schedule an oral examination, adhering to the published deadlines. The Director of Graduate Studies serves as the committee chairperson and presides over the final oral examination. The committee chairperson and all five members, as specified above, will constitute a quorum.

13.65     The final oral examination shall be open to the University community, but the deliberations of the committee shall be private.

Upon a favorable unanimous vote of the examining committee, the candidate will be certified as having passed the final oral examination. It is expected that some modifications to the dissertation will be required as a result of the examining committee’s review and questions. All modifications recommended by the committee must be given in writing to the candidate. Any modifications must be completed in 10 business days according to the Procedures for Academic Final Oral Examinations for the Ph.D, Final Oral Exam Form GS-EAS. Also, the plan for making the modifications, including the names of members of the committee who will be responsible for making certain that the desired changes are complete, must be written and communicated to the candidate. A copy of this plan must also be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies in the Office of the Dean.

Candidates who fail the final oral examination may be given a second oral examination. The second examination must not be held earlier than sixty (60) days from the date of the first final oral examination. The Director of Graduate Studies must approve the application for a second oral examination. Failure on the second oral examination is final and will result in dismissal from the program.

13.66     Submission of the Final Dissertation
A final copy of the dissertation, incorporating required changes that resulted from the final oral examination, must be submitted to the Office of the Dean no later than 10 business days after the final oral examination. Dissertations not in final form (with typographical and/or formatting errors, incomplete and/or missing front matter, back matter, and required forms with signatures, etc.) or requiring revisions will be returned to the dissertation advisor. The dissertation advisor must provide certification that the final dissertation has been evaluated for plagiarism using the Turnitin software. Approval for graduation will NOT be granted until the Director of Graduate Studies determines that all revisions are complete and the dissertation is in its final form.

13.67     Within two weeks after passing the oral examination, the student shall submit to the Director of Graduate Studies one original and two copies of the dissertation, certified as approved by the oral examination committee (using the requisite Oral Examination form). The full dissertation shall be accompanied by four copies of an abstract that is approximately 500 words in length. The candidate must also provide evidence that an electronic version of the final approved dissertation has been uploaded to the HUSOE Taskstream system.

13.68     The title page of the dissertation shall conform to the following sample: