Ed.D./Ed.S. FAQ

What Makes ACE Different

  • Credits are considered for transfer when they are from a regionally accredited institution using equivalent credit hours comparable to ACE and at least a grade of a B in the course.
  • All degree-seeking students may seek to transfer up to 6 semester credits; For doctoral transfer credit, recent changes have been made to allow more credits. We will accept completed Ed.S. degrees and have a pathway for ABD students as well.
  • ACE does not require in-person residency, while many schools require at least one residency for students to visit a central location and meet in-person. Travel adds additional costs, including transportation, lodging, meals, and time off work.
  • Instead, ACE offers virtual seminars that are self-paced and span a 5-week term. During the seminars, you will gain information, tips, and readings on the various stages of the dissertation. You may also attend a webinar series with live Q&A sessions.
  • Our Ed.D. program is structured so all components can be completed virtually to eliminate both inconvenience and additional travel costs. This does not mean you will be isolated in your program. Students have ample opportunities for community engagement and networking throughout the program through the seminar, study groups, and online Doctoral Commons discussion forum.
  • Once you complete your degree, you will also have the option to attend commencement, either virtually or in-person, for your hooding ceremony. Some faculty will attend in-person to celebrate this monumental occasion with you.
  • For a typical 10-week term, a full course load is 6 to 7 credit hours. The ACE Registration coordinator will schedule you for fewer hours if you need an accommodation. You have the ability to take up to 9 credit hours in a given term upon special request. Our Ed.D. program offers flexibility so you can take as few or as many (up to 9) hours as your schedule will allow.
  • Our registration team can work with you, building your schedule based on course availability. Assignments are also flexible. While the assignments provide structure, the information is broad enough for students to develop scholarly critical thinking skills within a field of interest. The application of leadership happens within any field.

We understand some students are returning to the classroom after a long career, and the online learning environment is new in concept. With these considerations in mind, ACE has a variety of resources for meeting our student needs:Writing Center: The Writing Center is available to assist students in developing scholarly writing skills, and to boost their enthusiasm and fluency as writers.

Writing Center staff provide assistance in the various steps of the writing process, including brainstorming and outlining, sentence structure and usage, APA formatting, and paper organization. Writing consultants do not edit papers—they provide meaningful feedback and support for enhancing writing and editing skills.

  • Online Library Resources: Instead of requiring textbooks, ACE offers an online library with extensive databases, including access to scholarly research and peer-reviewed journals. ACE intentionally limits course expenses and fees in order to pass cost-savings to our students. We understand you need the most current and reliable sources of information; therefore, including textbooks that could be 5-7 years old will not benefit your process. If, however, you need a print text, you are welcome to use Interlibrary Loan. You will also become comfortable using the databases regularly to locate peer-reviewed research, which is critical to the dissertation process and invaluable if you want to publish your studies.
  • Webinars: Virtual seminars are a primary feature of the dissertation courses. A webinar instructor is available to answer student questions in real time. If you are unable to join the live session for any reason, you can review a recorded session. Some webinars are also included in other courses throughout the program.
  • Tutorials: We provide tutorials to benefit different learning styles. These are particularly beneficial in the quantitative research classes. Rather than reading a text, sometimes students need to observe a step-by-step process.
  • Study Groups: ACE offers student-driven communities in which you can work with a classmate outside of the classroom, ask questions, and offer each other advice or tips on assignments or approaching the research. You also have an opportunity to network and get to know your class community.

Ed.D./Ed.S. FAQ's

  • Doctoral Commons – Discussion forum to answer questions, generate discussions, and provide resources from peers and faculty.
  • Enrollment Counselor to guide you through the Enrollment process and help you choose the program that is right for you.
  • Student Services is available to support students in their journey at ACE:
    • Advising, directing, or coordinating when academic progress is at risk
    • Course navigation
    • General assistance
    • Support during Orientation/On-boarding
    • Outreach on behalf of student
    • Complaint Resolution
    • Technical support
  • The Office of Academic Excellence is available to assist with scholarly writing, career services, and disability support.
  • Other support services offered are:
    • Academic Advising
    • Admissions Assistance
    • Bursar – Payment processing
    • Diploma ordering
    • Faculty Support
    • Library
    • E-Transcripts
  • There are no “team assignments” or “group assignments”, though we have a few peer review components in some of the research and seminars in which you will look at a peer’s concept paper, which is the mini 10-page dissertation. This is where you will receive feedback and offer feedback on their ideas and research design. Many students gain a lot of insight from one another and tend to brainstorm ideas from those reviews.
  • Collaboration outside of the courses, such as finding conferences or publishing resources, can certainly take place in the student work groups or student study groups which take place virtually on our Canvas system.
  • Most Ed.D./Ed.S. courses are 10 weeks and we schedule students for multiple courses at a time unless otherwise requested.
  • All of the courses from the Ed.S. program to the Ed.D. are the same, with the exception of the capstone course, in which the research paper is completed. The completion of the Ed.S. takes about 18 months – 2 years, depending on your work load.
  • If you decide you want to change into the Ed.D. program, you can certainly do so and finish the second half of that degree within an additional 18 months.
  • The reverse is also true, if you decide that the Ed.D. is not for you and you want to switch to the Ed.S. program, you can also turn that into an easy transition.
  • No, the Ed.S./Ed.D. programs are not designed to lead to licensure. These programs are more broadly based and do not contain the Educational Leadership curriculum or the practicum/internship component.
  • This can definitely help you meet some of the criteria required for state Administrative and Principal Certification.
  • Every state’s requirements are different for Principal certification.
  • We suggest you check with your state’s Department of Education website to fully understand what those requirements are.
  • Benchmark 1 – Research Competency Exam which is a formal evaluation to determine your understanding critical concepts.
  • Benchmark 2 – Concept Paper – When you have completed 52 credit hours, you are eligible to submit your concept paper.
  • Benchmark 3 – Dissertation or the Capstone Experience Portfolio – You will present your completed research finding and defend the results before a Dissertation Committee.
  • All Seminars are virtual, self-paced, and span over a 5-week term.
  • They offer information, tips, and readings on various stages of the Capstone or Dissertation
  • There is a webinar series available for live participation and Q&A sessions.
  • In support of the College mission, our program is structured so that all components can be completed virtually to eliminate both the inconvenience and cost of travel for our students. However, there are ample opportunities for interaction and networking in the program through both the seminar and through study groups.
  • Upon completing your degree you will have the option to attend commencement for your hooding ceremony either in person or virtually. Our doctoral chair and other faculty will be there to celebrate this occasion with you.
  • For a typical 10 week term, a full course load is considered to be 6-7 semester hours and our registration coordinator will schedule you for this unless you need an accommodation based on your situation. Up to 9 hours may be taken in a term upon special request.
  • Our program does offer flexibility and if you need to take fewer hours we can work with you to make this happen. Our Registration team will build your schedule based on your inputs and course availability.

Ed.D. Dissertation Process

First, select an area that holds your passion – After all, you will study this topic throughout the program, and even afterward. Once you determine a research topic, consider any problems or issues you notice in that field, and think about solutions. Then, draft a question you would like to explore. The answer to your question could possibly add something new to your field or challenge a critical problem. Use this thought process to help choose a unique topic.

The short answer is no; This is a leadership degree, so the dissertation should reflect a general study of leadership and add to the body of literature within your field or industry. Learning is the focus for education regardless of the field.
At the end of the program, students who complete all requirements will receive a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership. Dissertation research should reflect a general study of leadership and aim to contribute to the body of literature of applied educational research. As our students pursue careers and leadership positions in a broad range of settings, research informs and impacts formal and informal educational settings in diverse industries such as schools, health care settings, correctional facilities, non-profit organizations, and businesses, among others.

The ACE program is unique. From the beginning of the program, each course can be applied directly to your doctoral dissertation (Ed.D.) or capstone (Ed.S.) project. You begin with the end result in mind, and we have designed the program to support your becoming an expert in your chosen area of study.

In your first course of the Ed.D. program, you will begin to generate ideas for your topic. As you move through other courses, you learn about leadership and its application in diverse settings, and explore literature appropriate to include in your dissertation that will apply research to practice. In the research courses, you will learn about qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research methods to determine the design you will use in your dissertation.

With our virtual platform, and in acknowledging that our students are located across the globe, you have more flexible options to defend your dissertation through web applications, or web or phone conferencing. You do not need to travel anywhere for your oral defense.
You will be required to present and defend your dissertation before your dissertation committee. You will prepare a PowerPoint or similar presentation of your findings to your committee who will ask questions regarding the topic, methodology, and results from your study. By this time, you will have become an expert on your chosen topic. A typical dissertation defense takes between one and two hours.

Initially, you will work with your course instructors to develop and refine your dissertation topic. You will create a concept paper outlining the problem you will address, the purpose of your research, guiding research questions, and proposed research strategy. Full-time Ed.D. students will typically complete their concept paper, which must be approved by faculty and the chair of the Department of Leadership, at the end of their second year. Students then apply for doctoral candidacy. The approval of your doctoral candidacy application triggers the appointment of your dissertation committee, comprised of a dissertation chair (your primary point of contact and one-on-one mentor) and two committee members.

Career Paths

See focus of study section.

  • Leaders model, train others, and enhance the human resources of an organization. Education happens where learning happens.
  • Here’s how you could benefit: Aspiring and current organizational, community or school system leaders can benefit from conducting focused studies within their fields, which they can apply to their professional work. This degree can also benefit many professionals who want to research leadership. These individuals develop an applied research background to initiate programs, conduct innovative research to fashion best practices, and even form consulting businesses later on.
  • You may have the opportunity to present at conferences or publish your own articles or studies to become a leading expert in your field.
  • Ultimately, all professionals who want to teach in higher education (in both traditional and non-traditional settings) within their chosen field can benefit from leadership studies. With a terminal degree, you can work in any post-secondary institution. Some prefer to teach, while others work at the executive level as a department chair or dean.
  • Finally, others might go on to start non-profit organizations or businesses.
  • Here’s what our current students indicate they do outside of education: Healthcare: Start health-related programs they are passionate about. Teach and lead other medical professionals and develop comprehensive plans to address specific organizational issues. Criminal Justice: Build awareness for a particular policy or law. Teach and lead others at a managerial or executive level.
    Business: Build a consulting practice, start a non-profit, develop corporate or professional training initiatives, or lead others at a managerial or administrative level.

No, the Ed.D. program is not currently designed to lead to licensure. This program takes a broader approach and does not contain the Educational Leadership curriculum or practicum/internship component. This program can support you, however, in meeting some of the criteria required for state Administrative and Principal Certification. Each state’s requirements vary for principal certification. We strongly suggest you check with your state’s department of education website to fully understand the requirements for the position matching your interests, and that you contact your state licensing body to confirm that ACE coursework will meet your state’s requirements for any certification, licensure, or other benefit you seek.

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