Doctor of Education Program (EdD) Student Handbook

Revised July 2023

The Mission

Faithful to the mission of the University of St. Thomas and the core Basilian values, the Doctor of Education Program is rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition and the dialogue between faith and reason, tradition and modernity, and theoretical and practical concerns, UST’s EdD program provides virtue-based leadership training grounded in life-long character formation developed in a supportive and collaborative community driven by an authentic notion of human flourishing and the principles of Catholic social teaching and fidelity to the Catholic Magisterium and the principles of Ex Corde Ecclesiae.

The Program

The EdD program is a three-year, year-round, full-time, multi-track, Saturday-only, online, and in-person program. Cohorts of 25 students are admitted for a summer start. Applicants will have a master’s degree, professional experience, and a commitment to academic research and writing. Targeted students will be from the following fields: education, non-profit, corporate, human resources, medical, law and law enforcement, and student affairs.

The Degree Plan

Five Concentrations

  • Educational Leadership
  • Higher Educational Leadership
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Human Resources Leadership
  • Law, Society and Criminal Justice

The Core (42 Credit Hours)

EDUC 8362 Qualitative Methods
EDUC 8361 Quantitative Methods
EDUC 8364 Mixed Methods
EDUC 8363 Statistics
EDUC 8366 Philosophical Foundations
EDUC 8351 Leadership and the Soul
EDUC 8354 Social Justice
EDUC 8369 Interdisciplinarity and Leadership
EDUC 8357 Administration I
EDUC 8358 Administration II
EDUC 8380 Dissertation Introduction
EDUC 8384 Dissertation Completion (9 Credit Hours)

Educational Leadership

EDUC 8352 History of Education I
EDUC 8356 History of Education II
EDUC 8367 Law and Leadership
EDUC 8359 Organizational Change

Higher Educational Leadership

EDUC 8334 Assessment and Evaluation of Programs
EDUC 8367 Law and Leadership
EDUC 8336 Theories, Models and Practice of Student Services
EDUC 8337 Foundations of Leadership in Higher Education

Strategic Leadership

EDUC 8339 Models of Leadership
EDUC 8338 Strategic Management
EDUC 8359 Organizational Change
EDUC 8367 Law and Leadership

Human Resource Leadership

EDUC 8333 Theory and Function of Human Resources
EDUC 8332 Staffing and Succession Planning
EDUC 8331 Human Capital and Strategy
EDUC 8335 Human Resources and Law

Law, Society, and Criminal Justice Leadership

CRIM 8350 Philosophy of Criminal Justice
CRIM 8352 Advanced Criminology
CRIM 8354 Public Policy and Social Justice
CRIM 8356 Victimology and Social Justice

Admissions Requirements

Admission will be granted on a competitive basis. Candidates will be admitted who meet the academic qualifications and have a professional background that demonstrates a strong potential for success. Furthermore, they must exhibit an appropriate disposition and express a commitment to character-based leadership and the principles of Catholic education, in addition to meeting the following requirements:

  • An online EdD application
  • A baccalaureate degree and master's degree from accredited institutions with a GPA in graduate study of 3.25 or above
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work
  • Professional CV/resume describing prior work experiences
  • Two recommendation letters
  • A 500-words written essay
  • An interview with one or more EdD program faculty members may be included in the admission process

Additional Requirements for International Students

  • Completion of the equivalent of a four-year bachelor's degree and a two-year master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution (course work taken at technical or non-university affiliated institutions may not be considered for academic credit), with transcripts officially evaluated.
  • School or university must be officially recognized by the Ministry of Education in the applicant's home country as a degree-granting institution
  • Transcripts written in a language other than English must be accompanied by an official translation
  • International students are responsible for satisfying visa requirements
  • Submission of official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 90 (Internet-based test) or 580 (paper-based test)
  • F1 Visa students, due to government regulations, must attend all classes in person


The deadline for submission of all applicant materials for review is May 1 for the summer start, though applicants are encouraged to submit materials early to ensure consideration for admission and to pursue potential financial aid and scholarship opportunities. 

Transfer Credit

Two non-research methods doctoral-level courses (not exceeding 6 credit hours) taken as a matriculated student from a regionally accredited institution five or fewer years prior to admission with a grade of “B” or better may be transferred into the program, subject to the approval of the Program Director. Certification coursework taken beyond a master’s degree will not be considered for transfer.  Transfer credits must be approved by the Director at the time of admission and align with the program.

Employee Applicants

Employees seeking to apply for the EdD should reference the policies in the Tuition Remission Benefit Handbook.  Due to the high demand and limited availability in the capped cohorts, “admissions will give priority to applications from paying students who are applying for master’s level programs, doctorate programs or high-demand undergraduate programs over applications from employees who have applied for a tuition remission education benefit.” (no.3) If space remains for employee applicants, the below procedures, approved by Grad Council, will be followed for all qualified applicants, both new prospective students as well as those already enrolled in the program.

Employees will be interviewed by the SEHS Dean and the EdD Program Committee no earlier than April 15 and receive a decision no later than May 15 will be given no access to the reasoning of the committee’s decision. Employees will be assessed on speaking, writing, disposition, academic and professional experience, and adherence to mission.

Program Requirements


  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 for graduation
  • Minimum of 2.7 for research courses
  • Courses with substandard grades (D or F) must be retaken within one calendar year at student’s expense (may include retaking a course as an independent study)
  • Probation will result for any of the following reasons:
    • Substandard grade in any course (D or F)
    • Failure to make up a substandard grade within one calendar year
    • GPA below 3.0

Grading Policy

The UST grading policy for the EdD program is as described in the UST Graduate Catalog. As noted there, “Graduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better in their course work at UST. Students who have completed nine UST semester credit hours and whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.00 will be placed on academic probation.”

Incomplete Grading Policy

A grade of Incomplete (“I”) may be given at the discretion of the instructor to students who are making satisfactory progress in a course but will not be able to complete course requirements by the end of the term. Incompletes are typically given for emergency situations which prevent the student from completing course requirements.

The University of St. Thomas maintains a policy in regards to petitioning for an Incomplete grade (“I”). The complete policy is available to all students online. Policies regarding probation and dismissal are also accessible in the graduate catalog. The process for management of probation is described below. The EdD program allows students to formally appeal dismissals by submitting the Academic Dismissal Appeal Form with supporting documents to the Graduate Program Chair. The Appeal will be reviewed by the EdD Program Committee.

University Academic Policies

UST provides comprehensive information on Academic Policies that apply to all graduate students, and thus to the EdD students. These are available online in the UST Graduate Catalog and include policies on the following topics.  Students are advised to access this information and the Graduate Program Chair provides direction and guidance regarding the implementation of these policies within the EdD Program.

  • Student Complaints
  • Academic Integrity Policy
  • Academic Warning
  • Academic Probation
  • Academic Dismissal
  • Repeating Courses
  • Incomplete Grade Policy
  • Adding, Dropping and Changing Classes
  • Withdrawal (Including Medical Withdrawal)
  • Absences from Final Exams
  • Academic Record Changes
  • Student Access to Records

Grievance and Complaint Procedure

Grievance on the part of any student will be processed as described in the University of St. Thomas Graduate Handbook and Graduate Student Grievance Procedures available at the University of St. Thomas School website. This includes but is not necessarily limited to grievances pertaining to probation, dismissal from a graduate program, or improper handling of financial aid. Allegations of discrimination or sexual harassment will be handled according to the Office of Equal Opportunity.

Academic Probation

The Registrar will notify the Director that the student is on probation. A probation hold will be placed on the student’s myStThom account which can be released by the Director, who will meet with the student and develop a learning contract for the student to remediate the deficient academic performance. Students on academic probation, to address deficiencies, may be required to repeat courses at their own expense. Students unwilling to accept the conditions of their probation will be dismissed. The Director will notify the Registrar concerning the student’s compliance with the learning contract and the need for dismissal. As noted above, the student can formally appeal a dismissal by submitting the Academic Dismissal Appeal Form with supporting documents to the Graduate Program Chair. The Appeal will be reviewed by the EdD Program Committee.

Academic Dismissal

Dismissal from the EdD program can result from substandard performance as determined by the Director.  The following reasons can serve as grounds for initiating procedures for academic termination: unsatisfactory progress, poor academic performance, failure to remediate, excessive time in completing degree requirements, and poor disposition. 

Leave of Absence

Because the program is sequential, any breaks in study are disruptive. Under special circumstances, with the approval of the Director, graduate students may apply for a one-year leave of absence and return with the next cohort where they left off in the program. Leaves of less than one year are prohibited. Assuming appropriate documentation is provided, the circumstances justifying a leave include but are not limited to personal or family medical conditions, call to active military duty, maternity leave, or death in the immediate family. The rationale must be documented by the applicant using the official University form.


A student who has not been granted a leave of absence and who fails to register for coursework for a period of three years will be dropped from the program and cannot petition for reinstatement. In this case, the student must reapply through the normal admissions process to gain admission to the program. Readmission does not change the student’s original entry date. Time to degree will be calculated from date of first entry.


Students who have not been registered for at least one graduate credit hour at UST that contributes to degree requirements (as determined by the graduate program) in an academic year are considered inactive. To regain active student status, students may petition the EdD Director for reinstatement. Additionally, students will need to apply for reinstatement and pay reinstatement fees to continue their degree. Reinstatements are available to students who have been inactive for up to three years. Students who have not been enrolled for any credits in their graduate program for a period longer than three consecutive years are not eligible for reinstatement and must apply for readmission to the university.

Receipt of Handbook and Policies

Each student must sign the official form indicating they have read and accept the procedures, policy, and guidelines presented in this handbook.

The Dissertation

The EdD dissertation is an original scholarly research document that addresses a problem of practice.  It is traditionally divided into five chapters.

  1. INTRODUCTION: The Introduction overviews the purpose of the study by stating the problem, detailing the background of the problem, and the significance of the study.  Moreover, terms are defined, and assumptions and limitations are clearly explained, and the chapter provides a summary of results and their implications.
  2. LITERATURE REVIEW: This chapter seeks to conduct an overview of the relevant literature on the topic (either chronologically, historically, theoretically, or thematically), analyzing strengths and weaknesses and synthesizing key insights.
  3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY: This chapter focuses on the methodology employed in the study (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods) and discusses the research design, research questions, data collection, participants, and analysis.
  4. RESULTS AND ANALYSIS: This chapter discusses in detail the results of the student’s research, using statistics, tables, charts, and graphs to describe and summarize key findings to arrive at actionable conclusions.
  5. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: This chapter provides a summary of findings to illustrate the importance of the study and discuss implications, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as offer suggestions for future research and recommendations for the practical application of the study.

The Chair and Committee

Students will be assigned a dissertation Chair according to the needs of their topic at the beginning of the Year 2 Fall semester.  The Chair will guide the dissertation process, setting timelines, reading drafts, and making edits and substantial suggestions. 

The dissertation committee consists of a minimum of three UST full-time faculty members.  An (external) academic with appropriate experience outside UST may become a committee member if recommended in writing with an attached CV and approved by the Director.  The committee will convene twice during the dissertation process, at the proposal and defense.

The Director of the EdD has final authority to recruit and approve chairs to ensure they have the appropriate expertise and the ability to serve throughout the dissertation process.  Subject-related matches will be attempted by the Director as much as possible. Students should follow the APA style guide, which will be discussed in EDUC 8380 Dissertation Introduction.

Students will take EDUC 8380 in the Spring semester of Year 2, followed by three sequential semesters of EDUC 8384 Dissertation Completion (9 total Credit Hours) in Year 3.  EDUC 8384 is a pass/fail research course in which students work with their Chairs to write all five chapters of the dissertation from proposal to final defense. Students who fail EDUC 8384 Dissertation Completion for any reason, including lack of progress or substandard work, will be required to repeat it at their own expense, thus delaying graduation. Students may not finish early and are required to have 9 Credit Hours of EDUC 8384.  

Academic Honesty Policy

Every offense against academic honesty seriously undermines the teaching-learning process for which the University exists, and such offenses will be dealt with expeditiously according to the following criteria:

Definition: Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to:

  • Cheating on an examination or test; for example, by copying from another’s paper or using unauthorized materials before or during the test.
  • Plagiarism, which represents as one’s own the work of another, whether published or not, without acknowledging the precise source.
  • Knowing participation in the academic dishonesty of another student, even though one’s own work is not directly affected.
  • Any conduct which reasonable persons in similar circumstances would recognize as dishonest in an academic setting.

The penalty for an incident of academic dishonesty is, at the discretion of the faculty member, either a mark of zero for the work in question or the grade of “F” for the course.

Procedures for cases of Academic Dishonesty

Faculty who considers that they have a valid case of academic dishonesty against a student must inform the student of the charge and penalty in writing, using the Report of Academic Dishonesty Form available from the Registrar. The faculty member will inform the student no later than the date when course grades are due for the semester or other academic session. If necessary, the faculty member will send the student a copy of the report by certified mail. The student has the right to appeal the facts of the charge but not the penalty.

Procedure Without Appeal

  • The original signed report will be submitted for the record to the Registrar, who will keep it in a locked confidential file until the student graduates.
  • The case will be treated as a matter of deferred adjudication; only when the student graduates, will the record be expunged.

Course Descriptions

CRIM 8350 Philosophy of Criminal Justice
Focuses on general questions about the criminal justice system: what is the nature and proper scope of the criminal justice system? How should the criminal justice system enforce laws? Why do societies punish and is it effective? What is the philosophy of social control? Examples of criminal justice initiatives are related to the theories studied.

CRIM 8352 Advanced Criminology
Examines the criminological, criminal justice and administration of justice theories. Includes an analysis of the interrelatedness of justice theories and recent theoretical developments.

CRIM 8354 Advanced Public Policy and Social Justice
Explores different approaches to public policy and analysis, the diverse conceptions of the goals and objectives that should be served by policy, and the appropriate role of the policy analyst. Policy consequences are addressed as to indirect and/or subtle incentives and disincentives. Special attention is devoted to applying Catholic social justice to contemporary developments in law enforcement, corrections and judicial policy and planning.

CRIM 8356 Victimology and Social Justice
Examines patterns and trends in victimization. Identifies the categories of people facing the greatest risks and assesses victim-blaming arguments that invoke facilitation, precipitation and provocation. Analyzes the handling of street crime victims by the criminal justice system and explores Catholic social justice in the fair treatment, empowerment in decision making, restitution and compensation.

EDUC 8331 Human Capital Strategy
This course examines the external challenges and trends facing contemporary human resource management and the importance of aligning human resource strategy, goals, performance, and budget with organizational strategy, values, and culture. Students will examine the role of HR in an organization’s competitive advantage and sustainability and the relationship of human capital management with long-term strategic success.

EDUC 8332 Staffing and Succession Planning
This course examines the process of identifying, retaining, and developing talent to accommodate organizational growth and restructuring as well as employee separation, promotion, and retirement. Key themes discussed are training, development, career planning and management, and replacement management.

EDUC 8333 Theory and Function of Human Resources
This course examines and overviews current methods and practices of human resource management and the importance it plays in organizational competitiveness, effectiveness, and sustainability. Attention will be given to central issues such as recruitment, selection, training, evaluation, compensation, and retention.

EDUC 8334 Assessment and Evaluation of Programs
This course examines the purpose and practice of assessment as well as the central issues relating to quality assurance, improvement, and the alignment of policy and mission to the evaluation and assessment of academic and non-academic programs.  Data management, accreditation, programmatic alignment, and the development of outcomes and measures will all be examined.

EDUC 8335 Higher Education Leadership and Law
Legal issues relating to higher education leadership are examined, including those regarding students, administration, and faculty.  Important aspects of federal and state law to provide students with basic concepts and vocabulary of higher education legal issues, including contract law, employment law, obligations and workplace rights, conflict management, dispute resolution, and employee benefits.

EDUC 8336 Theories, Models, and Practice of Student Affair
This course focuses on various theories and models of leadership in student affairs as well as key issues relating to student engagement and success, including the development and oversight of programs and services as well as resource management, enrollment, advising, and counseling.

EDUC 8337 Foundations of Leadership in Higher Education
This course examines the history of higher education leadership and administration in the United States as well as philosophies that have guided it the development and evolution of institutions. Students will analyze contemporary challenges and trends.

EDUC 8338 Strategic Management
Strategic management is the process of setting goals, procedures, and objectives in order to make a company or organization more competitive and innovative. Strategic management has a history that dates to antiquity. Students in this course gain knowledge about strategic management and leadership by studying historical examples of successful and unsuccessful organizational strategies period this course examines the evolution of strategic management in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

EDUC 8339 Models of Leadership
This course examines key theoretical problems regarding leadership that have occupied moral and political thinkers from Plato and Aristotle to St Thomas Aquinas and the American Founders: The second half of the course will look at leaders in action, charting the efforts of politicians, intellectuals, grassroots activists, and moral and spiritual leaders to respond to the challenges of their time and shape the worlds in which they live.

EDUC 8351 Leadership and the Soul
Leadership and the Soul examines the spiritual dimension and impulse of leadership in the modern era.  Tying in anthropological themes introduced earlier in the program, both primary and secondary texts include treatments of various attempts at integrating spirituality into education (such as the Ignatian notion of education and the work of Elizabeth Anne Seton), relevant Catholic encyclicals, as well as American movements like the Puritan schools and the foundation of Ivy League institutions.  Various leadership models and styles are examined that highlight the spiritual dimension of leadership.

EDUC 8352 History of Education I
This course examines the historical roots of Christian education beginning with development of ancient Greek schools through the Renaissance to the Enlightenment.  Figures and movements include Augustine, the development of the school at Aachen, the cathedral schools, and the rise of the liberal arts to the French encyclopedists.

EDUC 8356 History of Education II
This course is an exploration of the history of education in America from the colonial era to the present day, focusing on key payers, essential movements, and underlying philosophical concepts.

EDUC 8758 Administrative Leadership 2
This course examines the management of finance and facilities. Topics include developing and overseeing a budget, financial forecasting, maintaining, and developing streams of revenue. Also, students will study facilities management, needs assessment, and construction management, and learn to assess and address other administrative, financial, and facility needs.

EDUC 8359 Organization Change
This course focuses on how organizations change and the role of leadership in organizational transformation with an examination of models and causes of change.  Institutional analysis and the mobilizing of resources are treated as well as the nature of institutions themselves. Especially emphasized are the change implementation process, necessary leadership qualities, and the leadership theory that undergirds change, both institutional and individual.

EDUC 8361 Quantitative Methods
This course focuses on descriptive and quasi-experimental methods design with mention of experimental design. Students learn the purpose, appropriate research questions and hypotheses associated each method, and strengths and weaknesses of each method.

EDUC 8362 Qualitative Methods
This course examines the qualitative strategies of inquiry (case study, participatory action research, interpretive practice and social action, grounded theory, narrative theory, ethnography, clinical research) and acquaints students with various qualitative designs and methods. The course will familiarize students with the debates around qualitative inquiry; address ethical dimensions of doing qualitative studies; and students will explore methods for collecting and analyzing qualitative data by conducting a small-scale study.

EDUC 8363 Statistics
This course provides a survey of fundamental descriptive and inferential statistics through an introduction of basic concepts and terminology, including chi-square, analysis of variance, Pearson correlation, and regression analysis. Using statistical software as an analytical tool, students investigate educational issues and phenomena applying a variety of statistical methods resulting in understanding the difference between significance and meaningfulness of data.

EDUC 8364 Mixed Methods
This course introduces the student to a way to integrate both quantitative and qualitative methods to study complex research questions that require a multi-faceted, multi-perspective approach. Students learn how mixed methods complement each other and be able apply mixed methods approaches to data collection and analysis.

EDUC 8356 Social Justice
This course aims to introduce students to the Catholic notion of social justice, rooted in Catholic social teaching and the Catholic tradition of theological and political thought, offering comparisons to various secular models. The anthropological foundations of social justice will be stressed, and students will read widely in the tradition, from ancient writers to modern encyclicals.

EDUC 8757 Administrative Leadership 1
This course examines the nature and function of administrative leadership, emphasizing the concept and practice of human relations management through a study of models of organizational culture and administrative leadership. Special attention is paid to the theory of management, as well as conflict, project, and strategic management.

EDUC 8367 Law and Leadership
This course presents an in-depth examination of federal and state law as it relates to both public and private schools. Topics will include basic legal concepts, relevant court cases, identification of resources, and the application of principles to the crafting of policies and procedures.

EDUC 8366 Philosophical Foundations of Leadership
This course examines the nature of the human person, which constitutes the foundation of leadership theory.  Students will study the mind, will, passions, imagination, and memory.  Central to this study will be the pursuit of virtue and authentic human flourishing. This course draws on the ancient and proved sources of human experience, especially found in the works of Thomas Aquinas.

EDUC 8369 Interdisciplinarity and Leadership
Interdisciplinarity and Leadership examines the complex interplay of experience and formal learning that inform exemplary leadership.  Students learn to synthesize learning from a wide array of sources and integrate their learning with their personal experience to make prudent and wise decisions.

EDUC 8380 Dissertation Introduction
In this class, students will be introduced to the EdD dissertation, examining all the major components and stages of the process, including the chapters, IRB and proposal defense and data collection and analysis, as well as APA formatting.

EDUC 8384 Dissertation Completion
In this class, students will work with their chairs to write their dissertations. The What's chair will guide the student through the writing of all five chapters, as well as IRB and proposal defense, data collection and analysis, and final submission and defense.

About UST

The University of St. Thomas (UST) is Houston's Catholic University, committed to the religious, ethical and intellectual traditions of Catholic higher education. For more than 75 years, we've been graduating students like you into successful careers in medicine, education, business, public administration and more – throughout Houston and across the globe.

Our student body reflects the rich diversity of the city itself. We welcome undergraduate and graduate students of all faiths and of no faith.

The campus is located in Houston's Museum District and Innovation Corridor, a diverse and vibrant urban environment with professional opportunities. We're just steps from downtown and the famed Texas Medical Center where many students perform prestigious internships.

Support Contacts

IT Help Desk

Celt ID/Password

Student Financial Services

Report Sexual Misconduct or Assault
UST Police (713) 525-3888 or call 911

Counseling and Wellness Services.
(713) 525-2169 or ext. 6953
M-F 9am-5pm

After-Hours Psychological Crisis
Call 9-1-1 or go to nearest ER

Campus Police
Ext. 3888 from any campus phone or (713) 525-3888

TITLE IX Coordinator for Sexual Misconduct/Assault
(713) 525-3813 or Student Affairs (713) 525-3570

Doherty Library
Check the website for hours and contact info.

Code of Student Conduct

Academic Grievance Policy