Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership for Changing Populations


Degrees offered



Main Campus
Anne Arundel Community College
Eastern Shore Higher Education Center (ESHEC)
Southern Maryland Higher Education Center (SMHEC)


The Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership for Changing Populations prepares graduates to provide instructional leadership for linguistically and culturally non-mainstream learners and conduct research that will contribute to knowledge and practice in the field.  This Program of Study applies the most current, relevant, contemporary scholarship to bear on creating learning environments that improve the academic performance of all students and meets the particular needs of these learners.  The Program requires a knowledge core, a research core, comprehensive examinations, and a formal dissertation.  The course content includes study of language, learning, and instruction; historical, global, and philosophical perspectives; change theory; and educational policy and legal issues.


Depending on prior graduate work of the student, 45 to 60 credits will be required to complete the degree.  Students receiving a grade less than a B in the Ph.D. Program of Study must repeat the class.  If they do not earn a grade of B or better in the repeated class, the student will be withdrawn from the program.  Students are required to be enrolled in fall, spring, and summer or request a leave of absence. 


     Introductory Course (must be taken in the first or second semester of the program)

          EDU-XXX Research Writing for Doctoral Students

     Language and Learning (9 Credits)

          EDU-624 Dialects in American Schools (3)
          EDU-698 Linguistic and Cultural Diversity (3)
          EDU-747 Learning, Language, and the Brain

     Philosophical Perspectives (9 Credits)

          EDU-674 Global and International Perspectives in Education (3)
          EDU-772 Changing School Populations in Historical Perspectives (3)
          EDU-775 Democracy and Education: Philosophical Perspectives (3)

     Changing Populations (9 Credits)

          EDU-715 Educator as a Change Leader (3)
          EDU-722 Education and Policy Analysis for Changing Schools (3)
          EDU-760 Legislative and Legal Decisions Affecting Changing School Populations (3)

     Research Core (9 Credits)

          EDU-695 Research Design (3)
          EDU-701 Methods of Quantitative Research (3)
          EDU-703 Methods of Qualitative Research (3)

     Special Interest Area (6 Credits)

          Students select any two graduate level courses related to an area of special interest. 

     Dissertation Courses (6 Credits plus Dissertation Continuation)

          EDU-705 Dissertation Seminar (3)
          EDU-706 Dissertation Methodology (3) or EDU 707 Historical Methodology (3)
          EDU-800 Dissertation Continuation (2 credits per semester up to 8 credits)*

          *Students requiring EDU 800 enrollment beyond four semesters must request extension through their advisor.


Comprehensive Examinations

Students complete written and oral comprehensive examinations demonstrating knowledge of the broad conceptual and procedural aspects of instruction for changing populations.  The written portion of the exam requires students to write essay answers demonstrating proficiency in writing, critical thinking, and holistic perspectives, and to demonstrate the ability to articulate perceived role as agents of change in education.

Written and oral examination s must be passed in the following areas: 

  • Higher education theory
  • Philosophical perspectives of education
  • Changing populations

Written comprehensive examinations are administered in August and January.  If a student fails any section of the examination, the student will have one opportunity to rewrite the failed section.  Written examinations are read by two faculty members.  In the event of divided scoring, a third faculty member will be asked to review the examination.  After two failures of any section, the candidate may not continue in the Ph.D. program.  Written examinations are not returned to students.

Grades assigned to comprehensive examinations are:

  • High Pass
  • Pass
  • Fail

Students are officially notified of the results by the Assistant Dean, School of Education.  Students must complete the comprehensive examination requirement within two years of completing course work.


The dissertation is the culmination of the student’s doctoral studies.   In this scholarly work of original and independent research, the student addresses a problem or issue relevant to education, conducts research that is quantitative, qualitative, or historical/philosophical (depending on the chosen subject), and develops a dissertation that adds knowledge to the field.

During the dissertation courses (705 and 706), the student confers with the Dean, School of Education, to select a Dissertation Committee (a Chair and two readers) who are subsequently appointed by the Ph.D. Committee.

After completing the Dissertation Seminar(s), students must enroll in EDU-800 Dissertation Continuation for each academic semester (Fall, Spring, and Summer) until they graduate. 

When the student completes the dissertation proposal and the Chair and two readers approve it, the student submits the proposal to the School of Education Ph.D. Committee to approve.  Students are expected to submit a proposal to the School of Education Ph.D. Committee within two years of passing comprehensive examinations.  If a student fails to submit a proposal within this timeline, the student must appeal to the Dean, School of Education, for an extension of time.

Advancement to Candidacy

Once the School of Education Ph.D. Committee approves the dissertation proposal, the student is considered a Ph.D. Candidate. The student then  applies to the University IRB for approval of the research. This approval must be granted before the candidate can conduct the research.

Submission of the Dissertation

The candidate submits drafts of the dissertation to the dissertation Chair and readers for suggestions and review throughout the process of reading and writing.  When the candidate, advisors, and readers agree that the dissertation is ready for final review by the School of Education Ph.D. Committee, the candidate submits required copies to the Dean, School of Education.  The School of Education Ph.D. Committee reviews the full dissertation and if the Committee finds the dissertation to be satisfactory, the Committee schedules the defense.  Manuscripts must follow the format expectations set forth in the Dissertation Handbook or will not be accepted by the Committee.

Dissertation Defense

The candidate defends the dissertation before the Ph.D. Committee in consultation with the advisor and readers.  The defense must be successfully completed by April 1 for May graduation or by November 1 for December graduation.  These are firm deadlines. 

Candidates are expected to defend their dissertation within two years of being admitted to candidacy.  If a candidate fails to defend a dissertation within this timeline, the candidate must appeal to the Dean, School of Education, for an extension of time.