Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Cost of the Program?

Please visit the Graduate Arts & Science Tuition page for the current tuition per credit hour. Students will take 48 credits of course work in the first three years. After the course work is completed, students will take a minimum of 12 dissertation credits. If students do not complete their dissertation during the two semesters of 12 credits, students are required to register for three credits until completion of the program. Also, students who have not met the requirement of a prerequisite research course may be required to complete EDL 600 prior to beginning the program.

Is financial aid available?

Saint Joseph's University is committed to providing information and resources to assist you in managing the costs of your graduate education, including need- and non-need-based loans and tuition financing options. The University has a tradition of extending educational opportunity to all academically qualified students. Further information referencing financial assistance for graduate students may be found on the Knowledge Base

Do I need to take the GRE examination?

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) may be required after review of application but is an elective as part of the application submission process.

When can I apply?

A new cohort of approximately 25 students begins in the fall of each year. The first course is a two-week seminar in August/September. IDEPEL utilizes a rolling admission policy. When the application is complete, an interview is scheduled, and if the applicant appears to have the capacity to complete the program, a program acceptance is offered. The application deadline is June 15.

To who do I send my application materials?

All application materials go to the SJU Office of Admissions at:
Office of Graduate Operations
Saint Joseph's University
5600 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131 

Once the application package is complete, then the materials are forwarded to the Program Director, at which time, an interview may be scheduled.

Is the program only for teachers and educational administrators?

The program is an interdisciplinary educational leadership program that may apply to individuals from fields other than education. IDEPEL students have represented fields such as higher education, criminal justice, medical related fields, industry, and others. The course work is interdisciplinary and promotes a broad theoretical understanding of topics such as contemporary curriculum; fiscal resources; human resource management; policy, politics, and community relations; ethics in education; educational environments; educational planning and evaluation, communication and public relations, and administering the dynamic institution.

Within the program's structure, there is a six-course track that allows students to select one of two course strands: a concentration in basic education or a concentration in higher education. Students who select the basic education strand are individuals who want to remain in basic education as teachers and administrators, or individuals who want to eventually teach basic education on a college level. This strand has an essentially educational administration focus. Within this strand, students can obtain a PA supervisor certification, and a PA superintendent letter of eligibility. Students select the higher education strand who already are or aspire to be higher education administration or faculty. This strand is also appealing to individuals who are not in the field of education (e.g., criminal justice, medicine, business, health services, etc.) but require administrative knowledge of an educational nature within their field. The commonality of both strands is that the students need administrative/leadership knowledge for their future goals.

The program contains a strong research strand in which students become proficient in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method research. In developing the capacity to design and implement their dissertation research, students develop the capacity to read and write within the technical requirements of the field.

Practicums (i.e., clinical service learning projects) are required in each fall and spring semester that allow students to do service learning projects specifically related to their goals that they wish to achieve within their field. The combination of theory, research, professional writing and presentation, and the practical experiences from the practicums prepare students to work effectively as educational leaders within diverse fields.

When are classes held?

All classes are held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 9:10 pm.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of a cohort program?

In the IDEPEL program, students in each cohort take the same courses in the same sequence. This guarantees that students will complete all course work by the end of their third year. In addition, students actively support one another in their completion of the program. One drawback is that students must continuously matriculate through the program unless they apply for and receive a leave of absence. Another drawback is that there are no elective courses.  

Can I transfer credits to the SJU IDEPEL program from other doctoral programs?

Because of the cohort structure, credits from other programs cannot be transferred to the SJU IDEPEL program. Also, since a master's degree is an admission requirement, master's degree credits are not part of the 60-credit SJU IDEPEL program.

What is the program length?

IDEPEL contains three years of course work and one year of dissertation study. An additional three years of dissertation study is available. The maximum possible length of the program is seven years. Students can apply for leaves of absence in relation to professional, personal, or financial situations. IDEPEL requires 48 credits of course work and a minimum of 12 credits of dissertation study. If dissertation research extends beyond the fourth year, then an additional three credits are required for each semester, excluding the semester in which the dissertation is successfully defended.

Can the program be completed within four years?

Three years of course work are required. Many students complete their dissertation in the fourth year. However, a four-year completion depends on the nature of a student's research and an individual's personal and professional commitments during the dissertation phase. The current average completion time is 4.5 years.

How many students complete the program?

The IDEPEL graduation rate is approximately 75%, and the program goal is to increase this rate through additional activities that build capacity for success in the program. The national average for doctoral program completion is approximately 50%.

How are our students supported during the program?

All of our students are assigned an initial advisor to support them during the three years of course work. Also, during this time, we ask our students to select a fieldwork mentor who we pay $1000 per year for their support of our students. In addition, as program director, within the courses that I teach I have embedded direct instruction on the dissertation process and technical writing. After the three years of course work, our students select a dissertation chairperson and committee who guide the student through the dissertation process. We do not assign dissertation chairs and committees. Built into our coursework is information about how to select appropriate committee members. One of our final courses is solely dedicated to our students writing the first three chapters of the dissertation. Finally, periodic optional workshops are provided on the dissertation process, committee formation, selection of a dissertation topic, and instruction on the field's technical writing format.