Current Doctoral Students


As doctoral students, you are expected to take initiative in your program and demonstrate commitment to your studies. Students need to prepare for class by reading and writing as per the syllabus and come to class with things to say about what they’ve read. Find ways to manage your time and studies in a way that’s best for you to succeed – regular investment of time during the week is usually key to success. As well as being responsible for your success through preparation you are also responsible for ensuring that your student plan in the management system accurately reflects your progress. If it does not, please bring this to the attention of your advisor immediately.

Program Resources

Pathway to Doctoral Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation is, at minimum, a five-chapter product that includes Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results/Findings, and Discussion. For the dissertation proposal, students are expected to propose what they want to do for their dissertation with content that provides rationale, support and anticipated methods for their chosen project. The form of the proposal is something to discuss with your chair. The end-product of the doctoral dissertation is a publishable and/or professionally presentable scholarly work. 

Writing a doctoral dissertation is a multi-step process. Doctoral candidates are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Pathway to Doctoral Dissertation. 

View the Pathway to Doctoral Dissertation Checklist

Dissertation Committee Formation

Doctoral students must recruit a dissertation chair that is a full-time faculty member in the School of education. Students will then work with their dissertation chair to identify a committee and a topic. Once the topic and committee have been identified in the 860B course, the student must file a Dissertation Committee form which is submitted to the Office of Student Success. This form helps us track your chair, committee members, and topic. 

Dissertation Committee Form

If there is a change in Dissertation Committee members, a Dissertation Committee Member Change Form must be submitted. 

The Dissertation Proposal

The development of the research proposal is an important first step in the dissertation process. The student is expected to work closely with their committee chair in developing the proposal. Students must successfully defend their proposal to their committee to be able to progress with their dissertation.

There are three possible outcomes for the proposal defense: Pass, Pass with Changes, Not Pass. If the proposal is not passed, the committee will provide the student with written feedback that must be addressed in a revised proposal that must be presented at another proposal defense to the committee. If the proposal is passed with changes, the student will receive all stipulations from the committee in writing and your chair will ensure that these are addressed in your continuing work. Chair and committee members will sign the Dissertation Proposal Defense Form to indicate the outcome of the defense. Any requested changes in the case of a pass with changes, or comments in the case of not passing will be attached to this form.

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Once your dissertation proposal is passed you may apply for human subjects approval of your study to the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Please ensure that you have read information about IRB process. You can find information through the myRedlands portal in the Documents, Forms and Policies section. IRB approval is required before any recruitment of participants for your study or data collection can begin. To apply for IRB approval you must have taken and passed the CITI collaborative institutional training. Once your CITI training is complete you may fill out and submit your IRB application. (Please see the university website for the following resources IRB Manual, IRB FAQ’s, and Application to Use Human Subjects in Research). Your application may need to go through revision with IRB before it is approved (this is very common but can effect your time-line). Your dissertation chair will be available to help you navigate this process. When your study is approved you may begin your research in accordance with IRB guidelines. If you need to make a change in your study (See Application to Revise an Approved Protocol) you must request permission to make any changes to your initial protocol. In addition, if you have an adverse event (See Adverse Incident Report Form) you must report it to your chair and IRB immediately. When your study is complete and your dissertation defense passed you should complete a final report for IRB (See Final Report).

Depending on your study, you may also need permission from schools, school districts, and other universities to proceed with your work. Essentially you will need to go through the approval process for those organizations to do your work too. IRB will need those approvals and the organizations will also need to know you are going through the IRB process.

These ethical procedures are very important but can take time.

University of Redlands Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The Dissertation Defense

The student should consult regularly with the dissertation chair, and as appropriate with the other committee members during the process of data collection, data analysis, and writing. Minor changes in the proposal which arise in the course of actually conducting the research must be approved by the chair. Major changes which substantially alter the nature of the research project must be approved by the entire committee, and may require resubmission to the IRB. As you write please make sure you adhere to the style guidelines for the format of your dissertation. Appendix A outlines how you should format your dissertation.


When the chair determines that the dissertation is ready for final review, the chair gives permission for the student to submit the entire document to the committee members. At this time, the chair will also help the student schedule their dissertation defense. Once a date is set, you should fill out the Dissertation Defense Notification form and submit to the administrative assistant responsible for scheduling rooms (currently Maria Williams, This form indicates that you’ve been released for a defense by the chair, and that your committee has been given the draft with at least 14 days for review prior to the defense date. The form also asks details about you and the dissertation that will be used to notify the School of Education community about your defense for both transparency and as an invitation should you wish to have an open defense that the public can attend. As with the dissertation proposal, committee members may provide feedback prior to the scheduled dissertation defense if the chair and student find it suitable, but most will typically provide feedback at the defense itself. Committee members must be given at least 2 weeks to review the document before the scheduled date of the defense.

At the dissertation defense, students present their work to the committee. Your chair will inform you how long this presentation should be and give you advice on the balance of content for the presentation. Typically, a defense is structured similarly to a dissertation proposal defense:

1) the committee meets briefly

2) the student is invited in to present

3) faculty ask questions of the student

4) the student leaves so the committee can discuss, and

5) the student returns to learn the outcome of the defense including any feedback. If there are guests, the guests are also asked to leave when the student is asked to leave.

Like the proposal defense, the dissertation defense has different possible outcomes that are indicated on the Dissertation Defense Form. Students are responsible for bringing this form to the defense. Possible outcomes are: Pass, Pass with Minor Changes, Pass with Major Changes, Not Pass. If the final defense is not passed, the committee will provide the student with written feedback that must be addressed before another defense is scheduled. If the dissertation defense is passed with changes (minor or major) the student will also receive all stipulations from the committee in writing. The committee will decide at the defense if they need to see the document again, particularly in the case of major changes, or if they are happy with the dissertation chair supervising these changes.

After the dissertation defense and any edits are completed, the chair will decide when the document is ready for all the committee members to sign the Dissertation Signature Page (for the copy of your dissertation as per Appendix A) and the Ed.D. Degree Clearance Form. The Ed.D. Degree clearance form needs to be signed by your chair and the department chair and is submitted to the Registrar’s Office. To get those signatures you must have final approval of your dissertation as indicated by your Dissertation Signature Page and completed all three items below in the document submission section.

Document Submission

The final stages of the process are document submission and degree clearance.


The University of Redlands Armacost Library does not have a technical reader. All students are to contract with an approved editor for this service, as well as any other editorial support that may be required to ensure that the dissertation is written well, follows the style guidelines of the APA Manual and the Ed.D Handbook, and is error free. Students are responsible for making all technical corrections required by the editor and for paying appropriate fees for the services of the editor. Students must also submit an affidavit from the editor to your dissertation chair testifying to the fact that their work has satisfied the aforementioned requirements.


Submission to InSPIRe. The final step is to submit the dissertation to InSPIRe and register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office. This is a requirement of all doctoral graduates of the University of Redlands. All you need to do is upload the final, single document in PDF format to the website and pay the required fees.

Please refer to InSPIRe for submission guidelines. 

You will receive e-mail verification once you have completed this process. This verification must be provided to the Department of Leadership and Higher Education Chair so that your degree clearance can be signed and your degree posted.

After completing these steps, your dissertation will be listed in Dissertations Abstracts International and, with your permission, made available in full-text for other scholars through the InSPIRe database. 

Note: Students will not have their degree clearance signed until the Department of Leadership and Higher Education Chair has received confirmation of the posting of their dissertation to InSPIRe. The signing and transmittal of the degree clearance form will result in the posting of the degree by the Registrar’s Office.