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Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis

College of Education

Dissertation Information

All students must complete and defend a dissertation in order to be awarded their Ed.D.

After successfully completing the Qualifying Exams a student is now considered a Doctoral Candidate who must complete a dissertation. While writing the dissertation each student must remain enrolled in 3 dissertation hours through Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.

The School of Graduate Studies offers training on E-Dissertations and other tools that can assist during the process of researching and writing a dissertation. Another helpful resources through School or Graduate Studies is the Dissertation Boot Camp. These sessions can help to brainstorm topics, provide writing strategies, assist with literature searches, or even provide a quiet environment to focus and write.

The Graduate Student Success Specialist is also available for assistance in setting goals, overcoming obstacles, locating resources and general support for graduate students at ETSU. Find information about this resource here

Upon completing the dissertation and having it approved by your committee, you must submit the final product to the Graduate School in pdf format. The ELPA computer lab and Graduate Studies have several computers to assist in the converting of various files to pdf.

In writing the dissertation or proposal two references will be essential: the most recent edition of the American Psychological Association (APA) Manual, and The Graduate School Guide for Preparation of Electronic Theses and Dissertations.

Another valuable tool is the Institutional Review Board (IRB) web page. Upon successful defense of  your dissertation proposal, you are required to obtain IRB approval before the collecting of any data, including existing data already on file with the institutions. The IRB web site contains all the instructions and forms necessary to seek this approval. You must prepare the requisite number of copies of the IRB materials and submit them to your dissertation chair for approval and signature. 

The dissertation is often regarded as the most challenging educational activity many graduate students have ever faced. Remember that the dissertation is a team effort. It is essential to work closely with your dissertation chair from the very beginning of the process, to maintain good communication with the committee at all crucial decision points, and to develop a strong peer support system throughout the dissertation process. 

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