Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What degree will I be earning?

A: The Ed.D. and Ph.D. degrees involve different approaches to doctoral studies; the Ed.D. is not the study of “Education,” and the Ph.D. is not the study of “Philosophy.” The Ed.D., rather than the Ph.D., was chosen for the Doctor of Education degree with a major in Organizational Leadership in order to promote a focus on field-based leadership development, solution finding, best practices in organizational leadership, and scholarly research. The Ed.D. requires a strong focus on theory and practice, culminating in a dissertation based upon rigorous quantitative and qualitative research that will add value in the field of study. The degree may be earned in three years; however, once students complete all coursework and qualifying exams, they may take from one to three years to complete and defend the doctoral dissertation.

Q: What is Organizational Leadership?

A: The University defines an organization as a group of people working together under a common structure to attain shared goals. Doctoral students in the cohort learning community will represent organizations or institutions including small companies, Fortune 500 companies, faith-based institutions, non-profit organizations, education, health care, and churches. Doctoral students, practicing organizational leadership principles and skills, will study and research ways to improve organizational behavior and organizational learning. The goal is the continuous improvement of the culture, performance, and productivity of the organization.

Q: When does the program start?

A: A new cohort of students begins in July of each year.

Q: What are the prerequisites for entering into the program?

A: Applicants gaining admission into the doctoral program will have earned a master’s degree and have five or more years of full-time work experience, with an interest in and commitment to learning to conduct field-based research and advancing to higher levels of leadership influence in organizations. In reviewing applications, the admissions committee will be looking for evidence of the candidate’s ability and commitment to grow as a leader, foster continuous improvement in his or her organization, and conduct scholarly research.

Q: What tests should I take to qualify for the program? Are there minimum scores?

A: All applicants must take either the general portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). The MAT is given weekly at the IWU Marion, Indiana, campus. You may contact IWU's Center for Student Success at 765-677-2257 or center4success@indwes.edu to schedule an appointment. While there is no minimum test score that the admissions committee requires, good performance on one of the tests can offset deficiencies in other portions of the application requirements.

Q: Is financial aid available?

A: Financial aid is available in the form of grants, loans, scholarships, veterans benefits, and even employer reimbursement. For information about financial aid, call 800-621-8667, ext. 2516, visit our Financial Aid website, or e-mail apsfinaid@indwes.edu.

Q: Can the application fee be waived?

A: No. The application fee cannot be waived and must accompany the application. Applications sent without the fee will not be processed.

Q: When is the application due?

A: Applications and supporting documentation (current résumé, letters of recommendation, essay, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, and test scores) are due by April 1st for the July 2013 cohort group.

Early applications are considered.

Q: Is the TOEFL required? Can it be waived if time has been spent living or studying in an English-speaking country?

A: If your native language is not English, you must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 600 (250 computer-based or 100 Internet-based). The TOEFL requirement may be waived if you have earned a graduate degree in an English-speaking country from an institution where English is the language of instruction. To have the TOEFL requirement waived, you must include a letter requesting the waiver with your application and provide documentation that your medium of education was English.

Q: How long does it take to complete the program?

A: The lock-step integrated curriculum is designed to be completed in approximately 27 months. The dissertation can commence during this 27 months, allowing some students to complete and defend the dissertation by the three-year mark. However, the program does allow the flexibility for a student to submit the dissertation proposal, write the dissertation, and then take two to three years to defend the dissertation. Therefore, the length of time needed to complete the program will depend on how long the student takes in completing and defending the dissertation.

Q: Is there a residency requirement? What is its length?

A: The three-year program is designed for the self-directed adult learner who chooses to maintain a full-time job and can make the commitment of 15 to 25 hours per week of study, review of literature, interaction with colleagues, field-based action learning, and research. Students will participate in an eight-day residency during summers I, II, and III. They will also be engaged in field-based action learning and organizational improvement projects, and nine Saturday classes during each of the first two years of the program.


During the academic years, doctoral students will be engaged in fulfilling action learning and assessment requirements via interactive online courses, to be supplemented by one-day live seminars and assessment sessions with University advisers.

Q: Is there a foreign language requirement?

A: No. The University does recognize the global nature of commerce and the need to be able to communicate with customers, suppliers, and alliance colleagues from other countries and differing cultures. However, we do not require foreign language capabilities.

Q: Is it possible to arrange an interview as part of the application process?

A: Applicants are encouraged to interview with faculty in person or via telephone or e-mail interaction. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 765-677-1388.

Q: What is the cost of the program?

A: In addition to the per-unit tuition charge and the cost of books, there is an Educational Resource Fee, a Graduation Fee, and a non-refundable Application Fee. If selected for admission, there will be a required deposit that will go toward your tuition. See the Tuition & Financial Aid page for more information.

Q: When will I be notified whether I’m admitted? When do courses begin?

Applicants will be notified by e-mail by late May about the admissions committee decision. You will then have one week to accept the admissions offer and make the deposit. If applications are submitted before April 1st, an early decision may be made. If you do not meet the deadline, the offer will be rescinded and the next applicant on the waiting list will be contacted.


The first two courses begin online in early July and focus on required readings that prepare students for the Summer Residency. (Required reading assignments will be e-mailed to you by early June.) The Summer Residency takes place in mid-July.

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