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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
    
 
  Jun 13, 2024
 
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog

School of Education



Mission/Vision

The following statement is the Mission/Vision of the School Education, which was adopted in January 2019.  It encapsulates what we do, what we believe, and who we continually seek to become as members of the School community.

We ignite learning. We strive for well-being for all. We teach. We commit to student, family, and community success. We commit to educational equity. We advocate. We work for justice. We cultivate relationships. We forge engaged partnerships. We collaborate. We learn with and from communities. We innovate and agitate. We pursue and produce knowledge. We research. We disrupt and transform inequitable educational structures. We approach learning as intertwined with health, wellness, and human development. We address how national, global, social, and technological change impacts learning. We shape practice and policy. We teach with and for dignity. We think. We dream. We lead with integrity. We are the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh.

Contact Information

Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services
School of Education
5900 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
412-648-2230
Fax: 412-648-1899
E-mail: soeinfo@pitt.edu
www.education.pitt.edu

Admission

Admission Procedure

Faculty members in the program to which the student applies evaluate the applicant’s credentials and recommend admission for those applicants meeting the criteria set by the program.

Approved applicants will be notified of their admission for a specific term and asked to indicate whether or not they accept the offer of admission. Should they be unable to register for courses for the term specified in their admission letter, they should notify the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services. Approved applicants may defer admission for up to one year from the term specified in their admission letter. Approved applicants unable to register for courses within one year of the term specified in their admission letter must reapply for admission.

Changing Programs for Graduate Study

A student wishing to change programs for graduate study must file a new application for admission. All work taken both in undergraduate and graduate study will be reviewed by the program to which the student is applying before a decision will be made about admission to the new program. Any change from one program to another in the School of Education while the student is on active status will not alter that status. Thus, the student must register within the dates set for continuing active students.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is available to graduate students through graduate student assistantships (GSA), teaching assistantships (TA), teaching fellowships (TF), graduate student researchers (GSR), a variety of scholarships and fellowships, and loan programs. GSA, TA, TF, and tuition scholarship awards are primarily merit-based. GSA, TA, and TF awards provide a stipend and tuition in return for carrying out assigned duties. (See Teaching and Research Appointments under Financial Aid  for further detail.) Other merit-based scholarships and fellowships established through gifts or grants both within and outside the University may also be available to students.

Advising

Each student is assigned an academic advisor at the time of admission to a program. All course work scheduled must be approved by the academic advisor, who assists in the preparation of a student’s plan of studies and who regularly meets with the student to review the student’s academic progress. Most School of Education faculty members are not in residence from May until late August. Thus, students should consult with their academic advisors prior to the end of the Spring term to complete registration forms for the upcoming Summer and Fall terms.

Each graduate student who is completing a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation works with a research advisor who provides guidance during the conduct of the thesis or dissertation research. The research advisor may be the same faculty member as the academic advisor or another faculty member. Whatever the case, the faculty member’s consent to serve as the research advisor must be formally obtained. A student continuing from a master’s program involving a thesis to a doctoral program may select a different research advisor to provide guidance for the doctoral dissertation.

The student, the advisor, the program, or the department may initiate a change of the academic advisor or the research advisor. 

Commonwealth Teacher Education Certification Programs

Teacher education certification programs are offered in both general and special education.

Option 1. Initial Certification-Available for Primary Plus PreK-4, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) PreK-12, secondary content areas - Math, English, Science and English Education 7-12 and World and Heritage Languages (K-12).  These programs result in eligibility for a teaching certification without a graduate degree.

Option 2. Certification Plus a Graduate Degree-for students seeking initial general or special education teacher certification along with a master’s degree (e.g., Master of Arts in Teaching  [MAT] or Master of Education [MEd]).

Option 3. Dual certification (MOSAIC/CASE) e.g. Secondary Certification and preK-12 special education; PreK-4 and preK-12 special education.

Option 4. Additional Field Certification-for students already certified in one or more teaching fields who are seeking teacher certification in an additional specialty area but who are not pursuing a graduate degree.

Advanced certification programs include:

  • Supervisory Certification (e.g., Curriculum and Supervision, Special Education)
  • Educational Specialist Certification (e.g., as a reading specialist, TVI, Special Ed Teacher Prep.)
  • Administrative Certification (e.g., as a principal, superintendent)

University certificates are awarded to students who complete commonwealth teacher education certification programs offered in Teaching, Learning, and Leading. Students in these programs must apply for graduation at the beginning of the term prior to the term they expect to complete their programs.  Eligibility for the University certificate is verified at the same time that a student’s application for commonwealth certification is endorsed by the School of Education and sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Education in Harrisburg..

Option 5. Joint Program - Available for students in the MSW/CAST program are eligible for an initial teaching certificate secondary content areas - Math, English, Science and English Education 7-12 and World and Heritage Languages (K-12) paired with and a Masters Degree in Social Work (MSW).

 

Commonwealth Teacher Education Certification Regulations

The following section details regulations pertaining to the school’s teacher education certification programs.

Instructional I and II Certification

The Instructional I, or provisional, certificate is issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to applicants who:

  • possess a baccalaureate degree with a 3.0 grade point average;
  • have successfully completed a PDE-approved teacher certification program;
  • pass all required PRAXIS, PECT and/or PAPA Examinations; and
  • are recommended for certification by the college or university offering the PDE-approved teacher certification program.

An Instructional I certificate is valid for six years.

The Instructional II, or permanent, certificate is issued by PDE to applicants who have completed all of the following:

  • A PDE-approved induction program for beginning teachers.
  • Three years of satisfactory teaching in the field specified on an Instructional I certificate, attested to by the chief school administrator of the approved public or non-public school in Pennsylvania in which the most recent service of the applicant was performed.
  • Twenty-four credit hours of post-baccalaureate study or in-service courses approved by PDE. (Some credits earned beyond the baccalaureate degree in teacher education study at the University of Pittsburgh may be used to satisfy this requirement.)

Applicants already holding the Instructional I certificate who are seeking admission to the School of Education in pursuit of Instructional II certification may be admitted under special graduate status. Applicants desiring to combine Instructional II certification with a master’s or doctoral degree must apply for admission to an academic program offering the desired degree.

Additional Field Certification

The School of Education offers additional field certification study opportunities to students already holding a Pennsylvania Instructional I or Instructional II certificate. Students must complete major field prerequisites, course work in the subject area pedagogy, and an advanced teaching practicum (modified student teaching) and pass the PRAXIS or PECT Examination specialization test in the additional area. They must also successfully complete a PDE 430 in the additional area. Individuals who possess an Instructional II certificate and who complete requirements for an additional certification area will receive Instructional II certification in the additional certification area.

Grade Point Average/Academic Probation

All students enrolled for teacher education study are required to maintain a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.00. The cumulative GPA is based on all course work taken after enrollment for teacher education study. A student is automatically placed on academic probation when the cumulative GPA, exclusive of transfer credits, falls below 3.00. No student on academic probation is permitted to participate in student teaching, a teaching internship, or an advanced teaching practicum. Although the credits allowed for acceptable work completed elsewhere by transfer students count toward the total number of credits required for teacher education study, the grades earned in such courses are not included in GPA computations, except in determining the GPA required for admission to the School of Education.

Credit Requirements

Teacher education study in the Instructional I certification program requires the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 30 credits of course work approved by the department and the school. The Master of Arts in Teaching option requires 36 credits. Credit requirements for other certification options vary. Certification by the Pennsylvania Department of Education is recommended only for those students who have satisfactorily completed all courses required for certification with at least a 3.00 GPA.

Teacher Certification Testing Program

The PAPA/core battery of tests, required for some students seeking their first Instructional I certificate, consists of a series of examinations to assess basic communication skills, general knowledge, professional knowledge, and specialized area knowledge. Persons with an undergraduate degree already holding a Pennsylvania Instructional I or II certificate are exempt from the PAPA/core series. Individuals seeking Instructional I certification in more than one area must take and pass specialization area tests in all areas in which certification is sought. Individuals seeking additional field certification must pass the PRAXIS Examination in the specialization area.

Students completing an Instructional I certificate in preK-4 education, a certificate in preK-4/preK-12 special education or a secondary/preK-12-12 special education certificate must pass the appropriate PECT and Praxis tests.

Students may take the PRAXIS Examinations at any point during or after attendance at a post-secondary institution. The tests are administered four times each year at the University of Pittsburgh. Some tests are offered every day (when the testing sites are open) while others are administered during a “testing window” which is usually a two week period, usually occurring monthly. Go to the PRAXIS website for information on registering to take the exams.

Student Teaching

In most programs, field experience in local public schools is required throughout the academic year (August to June). When a student accepts their offer of admission, they are required to complete information about student teaching. Applicants must also submit results from a tuberculin test, child abuse clearance, and criminal history check, as required by Pennsylvania Acts 33 and 34. Students must also submit results from a Federal Criminal History Record check by obtaining fingerprint results through the FBI. Lastly, students must successfully pass an online training, Protecting Children from Abuse and also read the PA Mandated Reporter law and sign to indicate understanding.

Student teaching usually begins in late August and sometimes sooner than the opening day of University classes. Specific procedures and regulations governing student teaching practicum can be found in the student teaching handbook.

Teaching Internship

Students in the Master of Arts in Teaching option must complete an academic year (August to June) teaching internship in lieu of student teaching. The internship requires a minimum of 20 hours per week in the Fall term and 30 hours per week in the Spring and Summer terms. To qualify for the internship and the Pennsylvania Teacher Intern certificate, applicants must:

  • As required by Pennsylvania Acts 33 and 34 submit the following clearances: Federal Criminal History Record by obtaining fingerprint results through the FBI; Pennsylvania State Criminal Record Check; Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance. If there is a criminal infraction on any of these clearances, school placement for the school is unlikely, which will require the student to withdraw from the class. The University cannot guarantee that a person with entries in their criminal record will be permitted to do assignments in a school. While State law bars certain offenders from schools, districts often impose more extreme requirements. Students who have entries in their records should consult the Coordinator of Clinical Practice on whether a placement will be likely
  • Pass the Content Knowledge test (Praxis II) during the first semester of their program in order to obtain their Intern Certificate
  • Satisfy the requirements for a Pennsylvania Instructional I Certificate (pending passing scores on the national PRAXIS II Exam, successful completion of the PA Statewide Evaluation Form for Student Professional Knowledge and Practice (PDE 430), and satisfactory performance in courses and in the internship)

Students must also successfully pass an online training, Protecting Children from Abuse, submit a signed Arrest/Conviction Report and Certification Form, and also read the PA Mandated Reporter law and sign to indicate understanding

Advanced Teaching Practicum

Students in the additional field certification option must complete an advanced teaching practicum, (modified student teaching experience) which vary based on the program requirements. 

Master’s Degree Requirements

The requirements presented in this section are school-wide requirements that have been established in addition to the University-wide requirements detailed under general academic regulations. Students should review the general academic regulations section in addition to the specific school information detailed below. .

Common Requirements

Most master’s degrees awarded by the School of Education require the completion of an approved plan of studies consisting of a minimum of 30 credits and the passing of a comprehensive examination.

Acceptance of Transfer Credits

For University-wide rules, see Acceptance of Transfer Credits under General Academic Regulations  . School-specific detail follows.

A maximum of 6 transfer credits may be counted toward an MA or MS degree. A maximum of 12 transfer credits may be counted toward an MAT or MEd degree. Only graduate courses taken as a graduate student may be transferred and applied toward a master’s degree.  The only exceptions are courses taken while an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh during undergraduate study that meet the requirements in the Academic Regulations  . 

Grade Point Average/Academic Probation

All students enrolled in master’s degree programs are required to maintain a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.000. The cumulative GPA is based on all course work taken after enrollment in the appropriate graduate program. A student is automatically placed on academic probation when the cumulative GPA after 6 credits or more, exclusive of transfer credits, falls below 3.00. Although the credits allowed for acceptable work completed elsewhere by students enrolled in the School of Education count toward the total number of credits required for the graduate degree, the grades earned in such courses are not included in GPA computations.

While on probation students are limited to registering only for courses in which a letter grade is given.  To be removed from probation status, a student must achieve a 3.500 GPA in the next term (of at least 6 credits) or raise the cumulative grade point average above 3.000.  A student can only be placed on academic probation status once during their program of study.  Students placed on academic probation status will receive notification in the form of a letter from the School of Education, and they will be recommended to seek guidance from their academic advisor.

Ordinarily, students are required to terminate graduate study after one term on probation.  A student who does not meet the GPA or credit requirements will be dismissed from the School of Education, unless serious extenuating circumstances exist. The request for continuation must include a recommendation made by the Department Chair (or designated faculty member) and the academic advisor, with the recommendation approved by the Dean of the school.

Statute of Limitations

All requirements for a master’s degree must be completed within a period of 4 consecutive calendar years from the student’s initial registration for master’s study in an MA or MS degree program or within 5 years in an MAT or MEd program.

Under certain conditions, the dean/assistant dean may grant an extension of a student’s statute of limitations. The request for extension must include a recommendation made by the academic advisor, with the recommendation approved by the Dean’s Office of the school.  The statute of limitations can only be extended once.

Leave of Absence

Under special conditions, graduate students may be granted one leave of absence. A maximum leave of one year to may be granted to master’s students. The rationale for the leave of absence must be stated in advance, recommended to the dean by the department, and approved by the Dean’s Office. If approved, the time of the leave shall not count against the total time allowed for the degree being sought by the student. Readmission following an approved leave of absence is a formality.

Academic Integrity Policy

Students have the right to be treated by faculty in a fair and conscientious manner in accordance with the ethical standards generally recognized within the academic community (as well as those recognized within the profession). Students have the responsibility to be honest and to conduct themselves in an ethical manner while pursuing academic studies. Should a student be accused of a breach of academic integrity or have questions regarding faculty responsibilities, procedural safeguards including provisions of due process have been designed to protect student rights. These general procedures may be found in Guidelines on Academic Integrity: Student and Faculty Obligations and Hearing Procedures at www.provost.pitt.edu. The School of Education has its own academic integrity policies, posted on the School of Education website.  Students are encouraged to review these school-specific guidelines as well.

Plan of Studies

Before completion of 15 credits, students, in consultation with their academic advisor, should complete a Plan of Studies that conforms to program requirements. The plan of studies, approved by the academic advisor and the program coordinator.

Any changes in the Plan of Studies must be approved by the academic advisor and the program coordinator, conform to program requirements. At the time of graduation, completed courses must comply with the approved Plan of Studies.

School of Education Master’s Degree Comprehensive Milestone Assessment Policy

Students invest in graduate school to advance their knowledge and skills. With many different training experiences and course assignments, this newly-acquired knowledge and skill base can feel disjointed or segmented. 

World-class training programs create synthesizing experiences for students to organize and apply their knowledge and skills. The University of Pittsburgh requires completion of a comprehensive exam or its equivalent for all M.A., M.Ed. and M.S. degree completion. Comprehensive exams are separate from a thesis for programs with a thesis option and are required regardless of thesis completion.  This requirement takes different forms across the School of Education and is referred to as comprehensive milestone experiences or assessments throughout this policy. 

Programs with Culminating or Comprehensive Milestone Experiences: 

Master-level students may be required to complete other kinds of scholarly and/or professional milestone experiences that serve as a student’s comprehensive milestone assessment as determined by their majors, programs, or departments. Culminating milestones that are capstone courses, theses, projects, portfolios, practicums, demonstrations, simulations, or presentations will follow the requirements on the timelines established by their respective majors, programs, or departments.

Programs with Comprehensive Milestone Assessments:

Completion of comprehensive, end of program milestones (ex. take home or timed exams, oral exams, etc.)  are one key mechanism promoting integration of that knowledge.  Against the backdrop of this worthy learning goal, however, is the reality that milestone assessment completion, especially one that influences successful completion of a training program, can produce high levels of anxiety. 

Mindful of this unintended consequence, faculty in the School of Education have handcrafted the following student-centered milestone policy. 

Assessment window:

Fall and spring terms:  Comprehensive milestone assessment administration will take place between weeks 6-8 of the term.  All milestone assessments must be submitted by week 8.  Scoring occurs between weeks 8-10.  Following, students will receive an official email from the program coordinator noting successful completion of this milestone assessment and completion is noted on the student transcript through Career Services. 

With the joint aims of fairness and transparency, milestone assessments will be scored by a faculty committee and rated as “pass,” “needs revision,” or “unsatisfactory.”  It is not unusual given the scope of the task and for the fact that many students have never attempted a task of this kind before, that a student may need more support to be successful. We’ve planned for this reality in our scoring process. In the case that a student needs more support, milestone assessments scored “needs revision” will be returned to students for improvements through a revision process and resubmitted by week 11. Revised milestone assessments will be re-scored and students will be notified of their revised score by week 12.  Many students report the opportunity to revise work was among the single greatest learning experience of their program. For this reason, revising a milestone assessment is not viewed as a failure, but rather an opportunity for further learning. To provide students the most optimal conditions for success, students may only revise and resubmit once per term. 

To ensure that a student has obtained the skills and knowledge commensurate with the degree, we offer students an additional term of study. So that if a student scores “unsatisfactory” on the first attempt or if the revisions are scored as “unsatisfactory,” the student returns the next term the milestone assessment  is offered to retake a new comprehensive milestone assessment for graduation. In the rare case that a student is not successful on their second attempt, faculty will counsel the student on options for next steps. Additional attempts are not guaranteed and can only be provided to students who are considered active by the university and within their statute of limitations. 

Summer terms:  Comprehensive milestone assessment administration will take place between weeks 1-2 of a six week term.  Students enrolled in a 12 week summer term will have the comprehensive milestone assessment administered during weeks 3-5.  Scoring and notification of results will occur 2 weeks after the submission window closes.  

Milestone assessments will be scored by a faculty committee and rated “pass,” “needs revision” or “unsatisfactory.”  Milestone assessments  that are scored needs revision will require revision and resubmission one week after notification. Revised milestone assessments will be scored and students will be notified of their revised score one month prior to graduation.  Students will only be given one chance to revise and resubmit once per term. 

If a student scores unsatisfactory on the first attempt or if the revisions are scored as unsatisfactory, the student must return the next term the milestone assessment is offered to retake a new comprehensive milestone assessment  for graduation. Successful completion of the milestone assessment is required for graduation. 

Signing up for the comprehensive milestone assessment:

Two weeks prior to the milestone assessment window, students are required to sign-up for the comprehensive milestone assessment via the School of Education intranet.  Students sign up via the following link:  

Comprehensive Exam Sign Up

Directions for signing up for the comprehensive milestone assessment:

  1. Log into my.pitt.edu.  
  2. Go to Pitt’s School of Ed. home page:  https://www.education.pitt.edu
  3. At the bottom of the page under:  SOE Resources click SOE Portal 
  4. On the right hand side, click on Masters Comprehensive Milestone Assessment Sign up
  5. Click on the plus sign that says NEW
  6. Complete the form choosing your advisor and  program
  7. Click save (you will not receive a confirmation) 

Thesis, Thesis Equivalent, and Research Paper Requirements

Some MA and MS degree programs within the School of Education are offered with a thesis requirement while others are offered with the option of completing either a thesis or a thesis equivalent. All MAT degree programs and some MEd programs require the completion of a research paper.

Master’s Degree with Thesis

The master’s degree with thesis is intended for graduate students who have pursued advanced graduate study in at least one field of education specialization and have demonstrated through the master’s thesis the capability to plan and carry through a project of original research. The plan of studies should include at least 6 credits in thesis work.

Thesis Overview

The thesis overview is a written proposal for the thesis. The overview is presented to the master’s committee, which consists of a minimum of three faculty members (at least one from another program or department) selected in consultation with the student by the research advisor and approved by the department. The student must submit a form for approval of the thesis committee. A student must be registered in the term during which the thesis overview meeting is scheduled. A unanimous vote of the master’s committee is required for approval of the overview. The outcome of the overview meeting is submitted on the appropriate form to the Office of Student and Career Services.

Approval of Research with Human Subjects

If the research proposed in the overview involves human subjects, the proposed research must be approved by the University Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Protection of Human Subjects before it may be carried out. Information on materials that must be submitted and the procedures that must be followed for an IRB review are available in departmental offices.

Advancement to Master’s Candidacy

To be advanced to candidacy for the master’s degree with thesis a student must:

  • be admitted to full graduate status;
  • have a minimum grade point average of 3.00 (transfer credits not considered);
  • have completed a plan of studies approved by academic advisor;
  • have passed the comprehensive examination;
  • have an approved overview; and
  • if the proposed research involves human subjects, have a letter from the IRB approving the proposed research.

Thesis Preparation

The thesis research is completed and the thesis is prepared under the direction of the research advisor according to the approved overview. In preparing the thesis, the student must follow the University’s ETD Format Guidelines, and specific departmental or program requirements.

Final Oral Examination

The completed thesis is submitted to the master’s committee for the final oral examination. The student must be registered in the term during which the final oral examination is scheduled. The final oral examination is devoted primarily to the thesis, and an affirmative vote by a majority of the committee members is required to pass the examination. The form showing a passed final oral examination must be submitted to the Office of Student and Career Services prior to the term’s graduation deadlines. The dean/assistant dean must approve any exception to this requirement.

Master’s Degree with Thesis Equivalent Option/Research Paper

Master’s degrees with the thesis equivalent option or research paper requirement are intended for graduate students who have pursued advanced study in at least one field of educational specialization and have demonstrated capability of presenting information relevant to an issue or problem in education. The plan of studies should include at least 3 credits in a research seminar, supervised research, or directed study involving research in the student’s focus area.

Research Paper Requirements

Each candidate for the master’s degree with the thesis equivalent option or research paper requirement must complete, in acceptable form, a research paper that demonstrates the ability to locate, organize, and summarize information bearing on an issue or problem in education. This project is usually initiated and completed in the research seminar of the student’s major. For certain majors, this requirement may be met by other means, such as successful exhibits or demonstrations.

 

Doctoral Degree General Requirements (EdD and PhD)

The requirements presented in this section are school-wide requirements that have been established in addition to the University-wide requirements detailed under general academic regulations. Students should review the general academic regulations section in addition to the specific school information detailed below.

Doctoral Programs

Doctor of Education (EdD) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree programs are offered by the School of Education to provide advanced graduate study and professional specialization in education. Each recipient must show evidence of superior scholarship, mastery of a special field of knowledge, and ability to conduct significant and relevant research. In doctoral study in the School of Education, a distinction is made between the preparation of education professionals resulting in the EdD degree and the preparation of education professionals resulting in the PhD degree. While both the EdD and PhD degrees produce experts in critical inquiry, the School of Education distinguishes the degrees according to, among other factors, the focus of the area of inquiry, the type of knowledge advanced, and the career path chosen by the individual student.

PhD research focuses on the study of basic problems arising primarily from behavioral and social science theory with the goal of advancing such theory and knowledge. Individuals pursuing this degree often seek academic positions in universities or research institutes. EdD research focuses on the study of applied, practical problems with the goal of contributing to solutions. Careers for these individuals often center on professional positions as administrators, curriculum developers, or specialists in schools and clinical settings.

Credit Requirements

PhD degrees require a minimum of 90 credits in a degree program beyond the baccalaureate, distributed as follows: a minimum of 72 course credits (including transfer credits) and a minimum of 18 dissertation credits. EdD degrees require a minimum of 84 credits in a degree program beyond the baccalaureate, distributed as follows: a minimum of 66 course credits (including transfer credits) and a minimum of 18 dissertation credits. Doctoral-level courses are numbered in the 3000 series, but courses numbered in the 2000 series may also be appropriate for doctoral study. Generally, courses numbered below 2000 do not meet the minimum requirements for doctoral study. Exceptions require the approval of the program or department. No lower-level undergraduate course (numbered 0001-0999) may be applied toward a doctoral degree.

Grade Point Average/Academic Probation

All students enrolled in doctoral degree programs are required to maintain a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.300. The cumulative GPA is based on all course work taken after enrollment in the appropriate doctoral program. A student is automatically placed on academic probation when the cumulative GPA after 9 credits or more, exclusive of transfer credits, falls below 3.300. Although the credits allowed for acceptable work completed elsewhere by students enrolled in the School of Education count toward the total number of credits required for the graduate degree, the grades earned in such courses are not included in GPA computations.

While on probation students are limited to registering only for courses in which a letter grade is given.  To be removed from probation status, a student must achieve a 3.500 GPA in 6 credits or more.  A student can only be placed on academic probation status once during their program of study.  Students placed on academic probation status will receive notification in the form of an email from the School of Education, and they will be recommended to seek guidance from their academic advisor.

Ordinarily, students are required to terminate graduate study after one term on probation.  A student who does not meet the GPA or credit requirements will be dismissed from the School of Education, unless serious extenuating circumstances exist. The request for continuation must include a recommendation made by the Department Chair (or designated faculty member) or the academic advisor, and be supported by both the advisor and department chair, with the recommendation approved by the Assistant Dean for Student Engagement of the school.

Leave of Absence

Under special conditions, graduate students may be granted one leave of absence. A maximum leave of two years may be granted to doctoral students. The length and rationale for the leave of absence must be stated in advance, supported by the advisor and department chair, and approved by the Assistant Dean for Student Engagement. If approved, the time of the leave shall not count against the total time allowed for the degree being sought by the student. 

Academic Integrity Policy

Students have the right to be treated by faculty in a fair and conscientious manner in accordance with the ethical standards generally recognized within the academic community (as well as those recognized within the profession). Students have the responsibility to be honest and to conduct themselves in an ethical manner while pursuing academic studies. Should a student be accused of a breach of academic integrity or have questions regarding faculty responsibilities, procedural safeguards including provisions of due process have been designed to protect student rights. These general procedures may be found in Guidelines on Academic Integrity: Student and Faculty Obligations and Hearing Procedures at www.provost.pitt.edu. The School of Education has its own academic integrity policies, posted on the School of Education website.  Students are encouraged to review these school-specific guidelines as well.

Doctor of Education Specific Requirements

The three-year structured EdD program is built on a cohort model. The cohort of students admitted complete a three-year, 84-credit program, which includes 24 credits transferred from relevant graduate coursework. The majority of EdD experiences are shared across areas; however, students pick one of the following academic majors:

  1. Education Leadership    
  2. Health and Physical Activity    
  3. Higher Education  
  4. Out of School Learning  
  5. Science, Technology, Engineering & Math  
  6. Social and Comparative Analysis in Education   (Education Policy and Social Change will replace this major starting in the summer 2023 term)
  7. Special Education   
  8. Urban Education  

EdD students take eight core courses (24 credits). This includes four courses (12 credits) focused on building foundational knowledge and four courses (12 credits) specifically focused on improvement and research methodology. Candidates will also develop specialized knowledge in their academic major through course projects, relevant applied experiences, and four 3000 level courses (12 credits). Students take six credits each term, making them part time students throughout the duration of the program.

Coursework will be offered by varied delivery models, including in-person class sessions, online activities, a week-long intensive on-ramp experience, and applied experiences. Integrating diverse learning environments offers a range of structures and opportunities for doctoral students and faculty to form and access “communities of practice” face-to-face in a classroom or via Canvas (discussion boards, wikis, blogs, Zoom, etc.). Communities of practice are intentionally created collaborative learning environments that extend and enrich intellectual discourse within a socially constructed space. This flexible structure is especially important for part time doctoral students to thrive as scholarly practitioners.

A school-wide EdD admissions committee reviews all applications for the EdD degree program.  The prospective advisor also reviews the application to affirm the match between student and faculty interests. A 3.5 master’s GPA is recommended and GRE scores are not required.  For international students a TOEFL score of 100 on the internet-based test with a minimum of 21 on each subtest, 240 on the computer-based test, or 600 on the paper-based test. 

Acceptance of Transfer Credits

EdD students apply a maximum of 24 post-baccalaureate credits for transfer from other institutions in keeping with University-wide requirements (see Acceptance of Transfer Credits).  Both applicants for admission and continuing University of Pittsburgh doctoral students seeking acceptance of transfer credits toward a doctoral degree must submit their transcripts with a completed “Course Credits Accepted” form, available on the School of Education website. The registrar, after notification of acceptance of transfer credits, will enter the transfer credits on the student’s transcript. Grades (and quality points) are not recorded for credits accepted by transfer.

Each course transferred must meet the following conditions:

  • The course grade must be at least B (GPA=3.0) or its equivalent.
  • The course must be judged relevant to a student’s doctoral studies by the program or department.
  • The course must be approved for equivalent graduate degrees at the accredited institution, extension, or off-campus center of other institutions at which the course was taken.

Course Requirements

The EdD includes the following degree requirements:

  • EdD Foundations Courses (12 credits)
  • EdD Practitioner Inquiry Courses (12 credits)
  • Academic Major Courses (12 credits)
  • Additional relevant Courses (24 transfer credits)
  • Supervised Practitioner Inquiry and Laboratory of Practice (6 credits)
  • Dissertation in Practice (18 credits)

All EdD students will complete eight common core courses: four EdD Foundations Courses (12 credits) and four EdD Practitioner Inquiry Courses (12 credits) designed specifically for EdD students and aligned with the requirements of the program.  In addition to the eight common courses, students take four courses in their academic major.  Each academic major has specified the courses which fulfill this requirement. 

Supervised Practitioner Inquiry and Internship

Students in enroll in Supervised Practitioner Inquiry to prepare a critical review of literature related to a problem of practice that students identify in consultation with their advisors.  The Laboratory of Practice is intended to engage students in integrating their learning from multiple experiences and courses throughout the program. Three types of experiences are possible:

  1. Job-embedded experience. Students already working in their field of choice may elect to engage in a laboratory of practice experience within their place of work. If the advisor and student agree that the student may conduct such a project, then a plan will be developed that will engage the student in a learning project within their job.
  2. Aspirant experience. Students may elect to have an apprenticeship experience in which they shadow and collaborate with a trained mentor in their discipline.
  3. Global studies experience: Students may elect to design and conduct an international experience that provides direct observation or experience with practice or policy in another country.

Statute of Limitations

From the student’s initial registration for doctoral study at the University of Pittsburgh, all requirements for the EdD must be completed within a period of 12 years (or 10 years if the student has received credit for a master’s degree appropriate to the field of study).

Under certain conditions, the dean/associate dean may grant an extension of a student’s statute of limitations. The request for extension must include a recommendation made by the academic advisor, with the recommendation approved by the Dean of the school.  The statute of limitations can only be extended once.

Advancement to Doctoral Study

To advance to doctoral study, a student must:

  • be admitted to full graduate status;
  • have completed at least 15 post-master’s graduate credits at the University of Pittsburgh;
  • have earned a GPA of at least 3.30 (transfer credits not considered) in post-master’s graduate study at the University of Pittsburgh; and
  • have successfully completed the comprehensive examination as described below.

Comprehensive Examination

Completion of EDUC 3008 , Practitioner Inquiry 4 constitutes successful completion of the comprehensive exam. Successful completion of this course signals that the student has completed the EdD program of courses and is ready to embark upon their Dissertation in Practice.   

Dissertation in Practice

The Dissertation in Practice denotes a culminating, doctoral- level project that focuses on addressing a problem of practice. Unlike a PhD Dissertation, which focuses on original research, the Dissertation in Practice is an applied improvement project, rooted in a student’s context (most often their place of employment). Students prepare for this improvement project in their first and second years and carry out the project in their third year. We require students to provide Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval-or evidence that IRB review is not required-before carrying out the proposed project. The culmination of the Dissertation in Practice is the defense meeting, held in students’ final semester, in which the committee comes together with the student to discuss the project. The Dissertation in Practice is ultimately put into Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) format and uploaded to D-Scholarship at Pitt (http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu), making the document publicly available.  

Doctoral Committee

EdD doctoral committees are constructed in consultation between the student and their advisor. Committees must consist of at least three members. Some students choose to invite a 4th member in order to round out the committee’s expertise. The following requirements apply:

  • All members must have earned a terminal degree (EdD, PhD, JD, MD, MFA, etc.)
  • 1 member must be the student’s designated School of Education advisor.
  • 1 additional member must be full-time faculty of the School of Education: tenured, tenure stream, or appointment stream; one may be recent emeritus (i.e., retired within 2 years). 
  • 1 member must be a practitioner (currently or previously active) who holds expertise or a faculty member who has appropriate practitioner knowledge related to the student’s problem of practice*. 

*A practitioner (currently or previously active) is defined as a person engaged in (or previously engaged in) the activities related to the problem of practice addressed in the Dissertation in Practice. A practitioner may also be someone who has appropriate practitioner knowledge related to the problem of practice addressed in the Dissertation in Practice. The goal for having this member serve on the Committee is to benefit and advance the student’s work by providing specialized expertise and perspectives relevant to practice. This person will facilitate the project by serving on the committee and advising the student in their study. No particular affiliation is required for the practitioner committee member.

The proposed committee goes through the following approval process: it is first approved by the student’s advisor, then the coordinator of the student’s major, and finally, the Director of the EdD. Any subsequent changes in the doctoral committee must go through this same process.   

The doctoral committee will decide on the acceptability of the final Dissertation in Practice submission, with each committee member indicating whether they deem the project to be a pass or fail.

Additional Program Requirements 

The following requirements are designed to help the students successfully move toward their Dissertation in Practice: the Problem of Practice Statement, guidelines and supports around assembling a doctoral committee, and the Dissertation Overview meeting in which a student’s project plan is presented.  

Submission Requirements and Fees

For general information concerning preparation of the dissertation, refer to the ETD website.

The following requirements must be completed as outlined by the Doctoral Graduation Checklist for the intended graduation term and submitted to the Department of Student and Career Services:

  • Dissertation defense form (submitted in the online milestone system)
  • ETD approval form (submitted in the online milestone system)
  • Completed Association of American Universities Data Exchange (AAUDE) survey
  • Receipt from the Student Payment Center for payment of the ETD processing fee

Information concerning requirements for preparing the abstract, the forms to be completed, and the amount of the fees to be paid is available in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services. The dissertation and abstract will be examined there to see that they are prepared in an acceptable form and style. For dissertation preparation style information refer to the ETD Format Guidelines. Questions not answered in these documents regarding form and/or style will be referred to the dean/associate dean for review and final decision.

Doctor of Philosophy Specific Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in the School of Education is a research-intensive training model that prepares students to be nationally competitive for research careers in both academic and non-academic institutions

International students require a minimum of 100 or higher TOEFL composite score with sub-scores of 21 or higher or 7.0 IELTS with sub-scores of 6.0 or higher. After screening, certain applicants may be interviewed by faculty prior to a final decision on admission. The students are admitted into one of the following majors:

Plan of Studies

Prior to advancement to the formal stage called Doctoral Study, the student, in consultation with the academic advisor, must complete a plan of studies that conforms to program requirements. The plan of studies is approved by the academic advisor and the department chair.

PhD students are required to file a Plan of Studies during the first year in the program. In formulating the doctoral Plan of Studies, both the student and the academic advisor must pay close attention to these School of Education requirements as well as requirements specific to the particular program or department in which the degree specialization is taken. It is the responsibility of the student to learn particular requirements from the academic advisor. The completion of requirements for the doctorate must be satisfied through registration at the University of Pittsburgh.

Courses approved for transfer credit must be listed individually on the plan of studies. Also, when a student plan of studies lists directed study credits, a directed study agreement form must be completed, signed by both the student and faculty supervisor, and submitted for each directed study at the time of registration. Forms are available from the department.

Any changes in the plan of studies must be approved by the academic advisor and the department chair and must conform to program requirements. At the time of graduation, completed courses must comply with the approved plan of studies.

Credit Requirements

The PhD degree requires a minimum of 90 credits in a degree program beyond the baccalaureate, distributed as follows: a minimum of 72 course credits (including transfer credits) and a minimum of 18 dissertation credits. Doctoral-level courses are numbered in the 3000 series, but courses numbered in the 2000 series may also be appropriate for doctoral study if approved on a plan of studies. Generally, courses numbered below 2000 do not meet the minimum requirements for doctoral study. Exceptions require the approval of the program or department. No lower-level undergraduate course (numbered 0001-0999) may be applied toward a doctoral degree. The University Catalog lists specific degree requirements.

Acceptance of Transfer Credits

PhD students apply a maximum of 30 post-baccalaureate credits for transfer from other institutions in keeping with University-wide requirements (see “Acceptance of Transfer Credits” and “Credit Requirements”). Both applicants for admission and continuing University of Pittsburgh doctoral students seeking acceptance of transfer credits toward a doctoral degree must submit their transcripts with a completed “Course Credits Accepted” form, available on the School of Education website. When approved, transfer credits must appear on the student’s Plan of Studies. The registrar, after notification of acceptance of transfer credits, will enter the individual transfer credits on the student’s transcript. Grades (and quality points) are not recorded for credits accepted by transfer.

Each course transferred must meet the following conditions:

  • The course grade must be at least B (GPA = 3.00) or its equivalent.
  • The course must be judged relevant to a student’s doctoral Plan of Studies by the program or department.
  • Course must have been completed in a degree granting graduate program at another appropriately accredited institution and should be evaluated for acceptability as transfer credit early in the student’s graduate career subject to University policy, course equivalencies, and individual school requirements.

The completion of requirements for the doctorate must be satisfied through registration at the University of Pittsburgh. However, under certain circumstances, a student may earn in an accredited graduate institution other than the University of Pittsburgh a limited number of credits toward a doctoral degree. 

Doctoral students desiring to take courses at another institution following admission to the University of Pittsburgh should review the course descriptions and receive approval from their academic advisors and program or department prior to registering for those courses if they wish to ensure that these credits will be acceptable for transfer. See University Regulations about Acceptance of Transfer Credit.

Residency

According to University policy, students seeking the PhD degree are required to engage in a minimum of one term of full-time doctoral study, which excludes any other employment except as approved by their departments or programs.

Supervised Research

PhD students are required to complete a supervised research experience that results in a written report of the experience. Enrollment for six credits of supervised research, internship, practicum, or directed study is required. To satisfy the supervised research requirement, PhD students complete Milestones 1 and 2, as described below.

Statute of Limitations

From the student’s initial registration for doctoral study at the University of Pittsburgh, all requirements for the PhD must be completed within a period of 10 years (or 8 years if the student has received credit for a master’s degree appropriate to the field of study).

Under certain conditions, the dean/associate dean may grant an extension of a student’s statute of limitations. The request for extension must include a recommendation made by the academic advisor, with the recommendation approved by the Dean of the school.  The statute of limitations can only be extended once.

Doctoral Preliminary Evaluation

Each doctoral student is required to complete a preliminary evaluation designed to assess the breadth of the student’s knowledge of the discipline, the student’s achievement during the initial phase of graduate study, and the student’s potential to apply research methods independently. The preliminary evaluation is administered by the program or department to which the student has been admitted. The preliminary examination (Milestone 1) is a proposal for a pre-dissertation research project. At the beginning of the second full year, the student submits a proposal for their pre-dissertation research project. The student’s pre-dissertation project committee is composed of three faculty (the advisor and two additional faculty). The student defends the proposal in a meeting of the committee, and the proposal needs to be approved by the unanimous vote of the committee.

Pre-Dissertation Research Project

At the beginning of the third full year, the student submits the completed pre-dissertation research project (Milestone 2) for review by the student’s pre-dissertation project committee. The student defends the completed project in a meeting of the committee, and the project needs to be approved by the unanimous vote of the committee.

Advancement to Doctoral Study

To advance to doctoral study, a student must:

  • be admitted to full graduate status;
  • have completed at least 15 post-master’s graduate credits at the University of Pittsburgh;
  • have earned a GPA of at least 3.30 (transfer credits not considered) in post-master’s graduate study at the University of Pittsburgh;
  • have a Plan of Studies approved by the academic advisor and the department chair  on file in the School of Education Records Office; and
  • have passed the doctoral preliminary evaluation.

Comprehensive Examination

After advancement to doctoral study, each doctoral student is required to take a comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination is constructed, administered, and scored by the department or program to which the student has been admitted. Procedures and schedules of administration are available from the department or program.

In accordance with University graduate program regulations, the comprehensive examination should be administered at approximately the time of the completion of the formal course requirements and should be passed at least eight months before the scheduling of the final oral examination and dissertation defense. In no case may the student  graduate in the same term in which the comprehensive examination is taken. After the comprehensive examination is passed, the student has the remaining time specified by the statute of limitations to complete all remaining doctoral degree requirements. Satisfactory completion of the doctoral comprehensive examination requirement is part of the demonstration of doctoral competency.

Ordinarily, students do not register for dissertation credits until they have passed the comprehensive examination.

Doctoral Competency

Each doctoral student is required to demonstrate doctoral competency by satisfactorily completing the supervised research requirement and doctoral comprehensive examination. 

Doctoral Committee

For the PhD student, the doctoral committee consists of the research advisor and at least three other members, including at least one member from another department inside or outside the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh or from an appropriate graduate program at another academic institution. The research advisor and a majority of the total committee must be full or adjunct members of the graduate faculty of the University of Pittsburgh. Current graduate faculty membership may be found on the University’s Graduate Studies website.

The program faculty, the department chairperson, and the dean/assistant dean must approve membership on and subsequent changes in the doctoral committee. The student initiates the “Proposed Doctoral Committee” form, using the online milestone system, to obtain the signatures of the program coordinator, the department chairperson, and the dean/assistant dean. The dean/assistant dean must give final approval of the doctoral committee before the overview examination may be scheduled.

Dissertation Overview

The dissertation overview is a written proposal and must be presented to the doctoral committee for approval after doctoral competency has been demonstrated.

Overview Examination

The overview examination is conducted by the doctoral committee, is chaired by the research advisor, and is open to any faculty member of the graduate faculty of the University wishing to attend. Although any faculty member may participate in the examination, only members of the doctoral committee may be present during the final deliberation and vote on approving the overview. The student initiates the “Dissertation Overview Examination and Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy” form, using the online milestone system, to obtain committee signatures. The committee must unanimously approve the overview in order for the student to be advanced to doctoral candidacy.

Dissertation

Students should review the information detailed under Dissertation and Abstract and Final Oral Examination for University-wide regulations regarding dissertations and dissertation defenses. School of Education-specific rules follow:

Dissertation Defense

The same rules apply here as detailed under the Overview Examination above. 

Vote on the Dissertation Defense

Each member of the doctoral committee must approve the dissertation defense using the online milestone system and vote to pass or fail the student on the dissertation defense. If the decision of the committee is not unanimous, the case is referred to the Assistant Dean for Student Engagement for resolution.

Submission Requirements and Fees

For general information concerning preparation of the dissertation, refer to the ETD website.

Generally, final version, ETD-formatted dissertations must be submitted to the Office of Student and Career Services at least six weeks prior to the end of the term of graduation, in accordance with the date specified in the Doctoral Graduation Checklist, which can be found on the School of Education’s Graduation web page. All requirements of the Doctoral Graduation Checklist must be completed by their due dates in order for a student to graduate.

Faculty

School of Education Faculty

Akiva, Thomas Matthew Schweinh - PhD, University of Michigan
Anderson, Eleanor - PhD, Northwestern University
Arlotta-Guerrero, Anna M - PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Bachman, Heather J - PhD, Loyola University of Chicago
Bagnato, Stephen J - EdD, Pennsylvania State University
Boulder, Tinukwa - PhD, Mississippi State University
Campbell, Shanyce L - PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chambers, April - PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Conway, Sheila J - PhD, Temple University
Correnti, Richard James - PhD, University of Michigan
Crawford, Patricia A - PhD, Pennsylvania State University
Crowley, Kevin J - PhD, Carnegie Mellon University
Dancy, Elon - PhD, Louisiana State University
D’Andrea, Frances Mary - Master’s, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
Davis, Kelliann K. - PhD, University of Pittsburgh
DeAngelo, Linda Theresa - PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
Delale, Lori A - PhD, Northwestern University
Fonzi, Laura A - Master’s, University of Pittsburgh
Galla, Brian Matthew - Master’s, University of Pennsylvania
Gallen, Robert Timothy - PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
Garcia, Gina Ann - PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
Godley, Amanda Joan - PhD, University of California, Berkeley
Gunzenhauser, Michael G - PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Hays, Anne Elizabeth - PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Hendry, Heather Jean - PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Jacobs, Katharine E B - PhD, University of Pennsylvania
Kelly, Sean Patrick - PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kerr, Mary Margaret - EdD, Duke University
Kinloch, Valerie - PhD, Wayne State University
Kline, Christopher E - PhD, University of South Carolina
Kokka, Kari - EdD, Harvard University
Kostewicz, Douglas E - PhD, Pennsylvania State University
Lee, Bridget K. - PhD, University of Texas, Austin
Liguori, Carli A. - Masters, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Lopez, Josué Ricardo - PhD, University of Connecticut
Matsumura, Lindsay Clare - PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
McCambly, Heather Nicole - PhD, Northwester University
McCarthy, Tessa Shannon - PhD, Vanderbilt University
McClure, Maureen W - PhD, University of Rochester
McGlaughlin, Kevin
Means, Darris - PhD, North Carolina State University
Nagle, Elizabeth - PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Ortiz, Lisa - PhD, University of Illinois
Osai, Esohe R. - PhD, University of Michigan
Patel, Leigh - PhD, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Perry, Jill Alexa - PhD, University of Maryland, College Park
Petrosky, Anthony R - EdD, State University of New York at Buffalo
Porter, Maureen K - PhD, Stanford University
Qin, Xu - PhD, University of Chicago
Quigley, Cassie Fay - PhD, Indiana University
Rainey, Emily C. - PhD, University of Michigan
Robertson, Rachel E - PhD, Vanderbilt University
Ross, Sharon Elizabeth - PhD, Pennsylvania State University
Schuster, Maximilian Thomas - Master’s, University of Pittsburgh
Shafiq, Mohammad Najeeb - PhD, Columbia University
Sherman, Sally Anne - PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Sobolak, Michelle J - PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Sprowls-Repcheck, Carma R - PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Srsic, Amy - PhD, Georgetown University
Stein, Mary Kay - PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Vasudevan, Veena - PhD, University of Pennsylvania
Vaught, Sabina - PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Wanless, Shannon Beth - PhD, Oregon State University

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The School of Education is organized into three academic departments:

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