Jul 18, 2024  
2015-2017 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2017 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Philosophy in Education: Educational Leadership

Department of Organizational Leadership
480D Pawley Hall  (map)
(248) 370-3070 • Fax (248) 370-4605

Julia B. Smith
475B Pawley Hall
(248) 370-3082

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Graduate Catalog Addendum  

Program description

The Doctor of Philosophy in education with a major in educational leadership is designed to develop individuals who can provide leadership to educational practice in the 21st century, whether through roles in public and private schools, colleges and universities, or by contributing to research and teaching about educational policy and practice. Core concepts in the program include systems thinking, learning theory and research methodology.

Application terms and deadlines

Before an applicant’s file can be reviewed for full program admission, all application documents must be received in Graduate Admissions by the semester deadlines listed below.

  • February 1 for fall semester

Application requirements

To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must submit all Graduate Application Requirements and additional department requirements by the published application deadlines:

  2. Additional department application requirements
  • Additional Recommendation for Graduate Admission form
    In addition to the two recommendations listed above, a third recommendation is required by the program.
  • Goal statement
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • Official GRE scores
  • One writing sample written in response to specific prompts provided by the department one week after the application deadline.

Admission review and assessment

Applicants with an undergraduate GPA less than 3.0 with the appropriate academic background and strong letters of recommendation may be considered for admission with limited standing. Applicants who qualify for this admission status must complete a minimum of 16 credits of graduate-level work, with a GPA of 3.0 or above within the first year of their program, to be advanced to full admission.

Admission to the Doctor of Philosophy in education with a major in educational leadership degree program is selective. In addition to graduate admission general requirements, applicants must also satisfy the admission requirements established by the academic program as listed below. Candidates for the Ph.D. in education with a major in educational leadership will be selected based on experience, especially leadership experience, as reflected in an analysis of several criteria:

  • The vitae
  • The content of three Recommendation for Graduate Admission forms to be solicited by the applicant
  • The candidate’s graduate grade-point average as reported on official transcripts
  • The score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • A goal statement
  • The writing sample requested by the department following submission of application materials to the graduate admissions office
  • An interview with the department may be requested.

Degree requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy in education with a major in educational leadership degree requires a minimum of 76 credits beyond the master’s degree: 12 credits in the foundation core; 20 credits in the department core; 28 credits in the cognate; and a minimum of 16 credits for the dissertation.

Course requirements

c. Cognate requirement (28 credits)

Students may complete their cognate requirement in an allied field of study or through a personalized cognate plan developed in conjunction with the program adviser.

Students who have completed an Education Specialist degree from Oakland University or another accredited university may receive cognate credit up to 28 credits for their work on this degree.

Cognate in Higher Education Administration (HEA) (28 credits)

A cognate in higher education is available for students interested in higher education leadership in a college or university, or in higher education planning and policy formation in a governmental, accreditation, or other related agency or organization. Prior admission into the Ph.D. in education program is not required for enrollment in HEA cognate courses. Students who have completed the Post-Master’s Graduate Certificate in Higher Education from Oakland University may receive cognate credit up to 28 credits for their work on this certificate.

d. Dissertation (minimum of 16 credits)

Satisfactory academic progress

Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) is the term used to denote a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a certificate or degree. Federal regulations require the Office of Financial Aid to monitor Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for all financial aid recipients. The required types of monitoring include Time Limit, Completion Rate, Excessive Withdrawals and GPA Requirements. Students who fall behind in their coursework, or fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average and completion of classes, may lose their eligibility for all types of federal, state and university aid. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional details.

Good academic standing

All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing  throughout the entire course of their graduate program. To be in good academic standing, a graduate student must make satisfactory progress toward fulfilling degree requirements, including the completion of critical degree milestones as set forth by the applicable program and maintain a minimum semester and overall GPA of 3.0.

Good academic standing is a requirement for:

  • Holding a Graduate Assistantship
  • Receiving a fellowship or scholarship
  • Advancing to candidacy for a graduate degree
  • Going on a leave of absence
  • Obtaining a graduate certificate or degree from Oakland University.

Additionally, graduate students must meet all department academic standards which may be more stringent than the minimum set forth by the University.

Graduate students who are not in good academic standing for any reason are subject to probation and/or dismissal from further graduate study.

Related program information

Academic advising

Upon acceptance into the program, the Ph.D. program coordinator will assign an initial adviser. Students who must complete a cognate will be assigned to a program adviser to assist in planning a cognate course of study. Each student will seek a dissertation chairperson after completion of all coursework.

Plan of study

All accepted applicants, in consultation with their assigned faculty program adviser, must develop a plan of study that details specific courses the students will use to satisfy their degree requirements. The plan of study must be approved by the faculty program adviser and submitted to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.

Master’s and graduate certificate students must submit a department-approved plan of study by the end of their first semester of graduate coursework. Doctoral students must submit an approved plan of study prior to completion of the first year of coursework. (See the Graduate Student Responsibility  section of this catalog.)


Students must complete a residency for the purpose of concentrating study and fostering close and continuous contact with faculty, fellow graduate students and other professionals. The residency is met by completing 16 credits, excluding dissertation, in two consecutive semesters or 20 credits, excluding dissertation, in one calendar year.

Continuous enrollment

The continuous enrollment policy for doctoral students requires continuous registration of graduate students for at least 1 credit each semester in the academic year to maintain an active graduate student status. This includes semesters in which the comprehensive examination is taken, as well as each subsequent term (fall and winter) until the degree requirements are met and the dissertation is submitted to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.

Some agency and graduate assistantship eligibility may have course-load requirements that exceed the minimum registration requirements of the Continuous Enrollment Policy (e.g., Veterans Affairs, Immigration and Naturalization for international students, and federal financial aid programs). Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to register for the appropriate number of credits that are required for funding eligibility and/or compliance as outlined by specific agency regulations under which they are governed.

Time to degree

The maximum time limit for completing a Ph.D. degree is no more than ten years from the term of the first course enrollment in the doctoral program.

The Time Limit for Completing a Ph.D. Degree policy requires a student to achieve candidacy within six years from the first course enrollment in the doctoral program. After being advanced to candidacy, a student is expected to complete the remaining degree requirements within four years (including the dissertation defense).