University of Pittsburgh

Key Contact Person:
Charlene A. Trovato, PhD
Chair, Doctor of Education Program
Phone:   412-648-7429

Program Description: 

Our CPED-influenced school-wide EdD is a three-year structured program, built on a cohort model and goal driven with a) very clear timelines and benchmarks; b) coherence in courses, including specifically designed applied research courses; and c) executive and hybrid course delivery structures to accommodate the needs of the working profession.   By cohort mode we mean that the program is built on the premise that students are admitted as a group, have shared courses and go through the program on a shared timeline.  The cohort of students admitted would complete a three-year 90-credit program, which includes 30 credits transferred from relevant master's degree.  As a terminal professional degree program the ideal EdD student enters the program with clear professional goals and views the EdD as central in their trajectory towards meeting these goals.  Therefore, the program is built to guide students towards achieving these goals through targeted milestone projects and core foundation courses.  Our chief metric of success in the program is whether the EdD program is successful in supporting students towards meeting their professional goals.  While a vast majority of EdD experiences will be shared, students will pick one of the following areas of concentration (ARCOs):

1.   Education Leadership
2.   Health & Physical Activity
3.   Higher Education Management
4.   Informal Learning
5.   Language, Literacy & Culture
6.   Social & Comparative Analysis in Education
7.   Special Education
8.   Science, Technology, Engineering & Math

EdD students will 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 applied research. 

Candidates also develop specialized knowledge in their area concentration through course projects, relevant internships, four 3000 level ARCO courses (12 credits), and four benchmark proje

Stage in Redesign Process: Implementation
Signature Pedagogy: 

Scholarly Practitioner Communities of Practice.  Working groups of cross-disciplinary faculty with similar or complementary areas of expertise collaborate to design courses,  the delivery of the curriculum merges several types of learning environments, including week-long intensive on-ramp experiences, hybrid seminars, week-long intensive institutes, cross-disciplinary applied research seminars, and aspirant internships.  Integrating diverse learning environments offers a range of structues and opportunities for doctoral students and facultty to form and access communities of practice face-to-face in a classroom or vis CourseWeb (discussion boards, wikis, blogs, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, etc).  We intentionally create diverse collaborative learning environments that extend and enrich intellectual discourse within a socially constructed space for part time doctoral students to thrive as scholarly practitioners.


Laboratories of Practice: 

Candidates have multiple opportunities to engage in laboratories of practice to prepare for the complex realities of their organizations and agencies now and in the future.  Their workplace and courses become settings where they can experiment and engage more deeply in learning about themselves and apply their new knowledge and skills.  Additionally, there are three types of internship experiences students may complete.  This includes job-embedded internships, an aspirant internships and a global studies experience. 

Students engage in a leadership education methodology reflective of the integration of adult development and leadership theory and grounded in students’ experience in and out of the classroom. Unlike traditional case studies and lectures that are often hypothetical and/or primarily theoretical or analytical exploration of leadership, this course uses the “case-in-point” methodology and the notion of the “studio-laboratory” to draw on students’ practical leadership experience. 


Our capstone is the integration and culmination of four benchmark projects conducted over the course of the program.  The final benchmark project is a Dissertation of Practice, which we refer to as a Demonstration of Excellence.   

Candidates write a review of literature on their problem of practice, and then prepare an Applied Inquiry plan. Candidates enact their Applied Inquiry Plan (Project #2 and write a report of the findings under the close supervision of an advisor.  The report becomes the basis for one or more of the of the following examples of demonstration of excellence:  presentation bof an applied research paper at a professional conference; an original applied research article for publication; other applications for disseminating of applied research (e.g., policy presentations, professional development sessions, new curricula, white papers, position papers, etc.); become active in a related professional association.

Description of each year of the Program: 

In year one of the program, students participate in a full week “on-ramp” experience that includes orientation and welcoming activities and intense work focused on understanding enduring problems of practice in education. This one-week experience will be students’ first core course: Framing, identifying and investigating problems of practice. Students also gain an interdisciplinary perspective through three other foundations courses that are created and taught by faculty across departments.  Additionally, students begin to develop deep specialized knowledge through courses in their area of concentration, course projects and supervised inquiry. Finally, they end the first year with a supervised inquiry course.  The outcome is a review of the literature in the student’s area of interest.

In year two of the program, students continue to develop their practitioner inquiry skills and deep specialized knowledge in their areas of concentration through coursework and projects. Additionally, students engage in one of three types of internship experiences.  These include a job-embedded internship, an aspirant internship or a global studies experience.

In the final year of the program, students complete a substantive inquiry project demonstrating excellence and representing the culmination of doctoral study.  As such, the project involves a substantive, sustained examination of a problem of practice directly relevant to the student’s academic and professional preparation.  The product is meaningful, clear, and beneficial to the student’s academic and/or professional field. 

Program Milestones: 

There are four benchmark projects that are required over the three-year program.  These benchmark projects are informed by coursework, internship experiences, and mentor advisors.

Project #1: Statement of Problem of Practice and Review of Supporting Scholarship
Project #2: Applied Inquiry Plan
Project #3: Reflective Essay about Internship Experience
Project #4: Demonstration of Excellence

Admission Requirements: 
The admission requirements reflect state-of-the-art thinking in acquiring strong candidates who ofen have extensive experiential learning but will benefit themselves and society by gaining advance preparation through a degree that is relevant to academic and professional leaders.  Candidates are considered who meet the requirements and have the experience and personal characteristics that indicate potential for high achievement as a doctoral student and future leader in the field.  However, admission is on a competitive basis to allow for the program individualization that is necessary for optimal learning.
A school-wide EdD Admission Committee is comprised of one representative from each area of concentration; additionally, the EdD Chair will head the committee.  The admission committee establishes application deadlines and other admissions processes and procedures.  Faculty in each area of concentration will review the applicants for that ARCO.
Specific admissions criteria are:  academic record, resume or CV, narrative statements, letters of recommendation, and interviews (face-to-face or interactive technologies). 
Does your department / school offer a PhD or "Traditional EdD" as well?: 
Are there any distinct admission requirements? How do they inform the admissions process / program?: 

Our program is school-wide and is comprised of eight (8) areas of concentration.  Many of the areas of concentration conduct face-to-face, telephone or Skype interviews.  These interviews offer prospective students an opportunity to expand or extend the application materials submitted electronically.  

General Information:
  • Program Delivery: Hybrid
  • Average number of students admitted into the EdD program each year: 65
  • Number of credits in the program (beyond the Masters): 60
  • Professional qualifications required of prospective students: The expectation is that prospective students are experienced working professionals in their repective fields. 
  • Length of Program: Less than 4 years
  • Percentage of students that graduate on time: Our first cohort of students will complete the program in 2017
  • Are most students part time or full time?: part time
  • Admissions Cycle: Our application deadline is February 1st, acceptance letters are sent by the end of February, orientation is at the end of March or early April, and the students begin class the second week in May.
  • Financial aid available to students: There is no financial aid available to our part-time EdD students
  • Average number of students enrolled in each cohort: 65
  • Graduation Rate: This information will be available in 2017 when our first cohort graduates.
Core Courses:

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 research and research methodology.

Foundation Courses: Identifying, Framing and Investigating Problems of Practice, Leadership in Groups and Organizations, Contexts of Practice, and Policy as a Lever for Change

Research Courses: Practitioner Inquiry I through III and Practitioner Inquiry Practicum

Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED)
Headquartered @ The University of Pittsburgh School of Education
5522 Posvar Hall - 230 S. Bouquet Street - Pittsburgh, PA 15260   +1 (412) 648-7428