Ed.D. Dissertation and Exams


The dissertation will be a substantial contribution to knowledge in which the student exhibits original scholarship and the ability to conduct independent research. Its subject must be in the area of the student’s major and be approved by the student’s dissertation director and, ultimately, by the dissertation committee.

More detailed information about  CAHA 799 can be found via these links: 

  • Dissertation requirements can be found in the Graduate Catalog. Be sure to read the sections entitled Dissertation Requirements, Oral Defense of Dissertation, and Composition of Examination and Thesis Committees. 
  • Another site exists that is completely dedicated to Thesis and Dissertation. This site has the various forms you will need to submit in order to apply for thesis/get committee members, request oral defense, and the oral inquiry form. It also provides an in-depth look at the requirements for the thesis and dissertation including calendars, IRB requirements and examples.

How long does it usually take to complete the dissertation?

Generally, with regular progress, and steady work you should plan on around 1.5 to 2 years to complete your dissertation. This process however is very individualized and, depending on your topic and research processes, it may take you more or less time.

How many hours of dissertation do I have to take?

15 hours minimum of dissertation hours need to be taken. When students pass their required exams and are eligible for the dissertation, they must remain continuously enrolled and take a minimum of 3 credit hours of dissertation hours per semester (including summers).

Candidacy Exam

This exam provides the student with an opportunity to review and synthesize specific learning gained during graduate study at NIU. The examination is written (1) when at least 36 hours of graduate course work beyond the master's degree have been completed, (2) within the limitation of time (9 years) of the doctoral program, (3) when a Program of Study is on file with the department, and (4) when an application to write the examination has been completed and filed with the department (in the semester prior to taking the candidacy exam). The candidacy exam must be completed in conjunction with CAHA 798. Once a student has successfully completed all examinations and is admitted to candidacy, she or he must assemble a dissertation committee.