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Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis

College of Education

Qualifying Exams

Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis Qualifying Exams

Important Information


The Qualifying Exam is generally completed during the semester that you take ELPA 7813 (Research Methods). If you have questions about when you should take the Qualifying Exam you should contact your Cohort Advisor or the ELPA 7813 instructor. At the beginning of the semester that you are completing the written portion of the Qualifying Exam you should contact the Graduate Program Coordinator for your concentration to let her or him know of your desire to complete the Qualifying Exam.

In order to sit for the qualifying exams, ELPA students must have completed the following requirements:

  1. Submitted and have approved a residency activities portfolio
  2. Dissertation Committee Assignment Form submitted and signed (your signature)
  3. Complete and submit a Candidacy Form
  4. Currently enrolled in a minimum of 3 semester hours
  5. Currently enrolled in or completed ELPA 7813

Oral exams are conducted by the student’s dissertation committee and are scheduled approximately two weeks after the written portion of the exam is submitted. Successful completion of Qualifying Exams leads to a departmental recommendation of the student for candidacy.


The written and oral portions of the qualifying examination are designed to determine the student's readiness to begin the dissertation phase of the program. Emphasis is placed on the student's ability to apply, synthesize, and evaluate knowledge in the areas of research, educational leadership, and educational foundations. The written portion of the exam is a semester-long project and typically orals are held on a pre-determined dates in the months of January, May, and August.


Students who are not successful on the qualifying exam are provided with a remediation plan, which will assist them in re-submitting or in preparing for a re-examination in a future semester. Students who are unsuccessful in only one area of the exam will be re-examined (in both written and oral formats) in that specific area. Students who are unsuccessful in two or more areas (one or more for post Ed.S. students) must retake the complete examination at a regularly scheduled examination date in a subsequent semester. Failure on any portion of the second administration of the examination will disqualify the student from further participation in the doctoral program.

For detailed information about the Qualifying Exam and Orals contact your Graduate Program Coordinator. 

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