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Degree Offerings / Doctoral Degree

The doctoral program in Career and Technical Education (CTE) is designed to provide a rigorous and intellectually stimulating experience compatible with the graduate student’s needs and goals and the requirements of career and technical education in the future. The program of study provides the student with competence in areas such as foundations, research, and leadership. Graduates of the program have assumed leadership positions and have followed professional careers in education, government, and the private sector.

The graduate student may develop a program of study leading to the Doctor of Education or the Doctor of Philosophy degree. For either program, at least 60 semester credits of post-master’s degree courses are required. The five components included in the program of study for either degree include:

  • Professional education studies,
  • Applied area of study in CTE,
  • Research and evaluation studies,
  • Cognate studies, and
  • Dissertation research.

A residence requirement is required for either degree.

To earn the Ph.D. Ed.D degree, the following minimum requirements must be met:

  • The student must complete 30 semester hours of graduate credit beyond those courses required for a master’s degree. Of the minimum of 60 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree, at least 30 credits must be taken at Virginia Tech.
  • All courses included on the Education Specialist degree approved plan of study must be completed. The plan of study will be developed by the student and advisor and approved by the student’s three-member (minimum) advisory committee no later than the completion of 9 semester hours of credit. The chair or co-chair of the advisory committee must be a faculty member in CTE and at least one other member must be in the School of Education. To prepare for the qualifying exam, at which the plan of study is approved, the student will also write and distribute to the committee a paper describing education and work experiences and career goals.
  • All graduate credit included on the candidate’s program of study and approved by the candidate’s advisory committee must be no more than 5 years old when the plan of study is approved, unless a justification is approved by the student’s advisory committee and the Graduate School.
  • The student must complete a comprehensive research study (dissertation) on a topic of his/her choice and one that relates to the student’s career interest and aspirations.  The Ph.D. candidate must conduct a theoretical-based study.  The Ed.D. candidate may conduct a more applied-based study.
  • Prior to conducting the research study, the student must present the topic and a research proposal (prospectus) to committee members and it must be approved by the committee.
  • The student is required to enroll in 30 semester hours for the dissertation (spread out over several semesters).
  • When the study is complete, the student is required to schedule a defense meeting, and the dissertation report must be approved by a majority of the advisory committee members.
  • Students must successfully pass a written and oral final examination related to the areas in the plan of study by receiving a majority of passing votes from the committee.
  • All students must complete a minimum of 21 semester hours of course work at Virginia Tech after acceptance into the doctoral program. These courses may be taken through distance learning. Virginia Tech credit used to satisfy the requirements for the master’s degree cannot be used to satisfy these 21 hours. No more than 6 semester hours of independent or special study can be used to satisfy this requirement.

Each student pursuing the doctoral degree in CTE must complete at least the specified credits of course work in the following areas, which may include studies from the master’s degree:

Research/Measurement/Statistics 15 semester hours minimum beyond master’s degree
Dissertation30 semester hours minimum
Foundations/ Professional Studies9 semester hours minimum
Concentration/Applied Studies 30 semester hours minimum (at least 21 hours in CTE)
Cognate6 semester hours minimum
Total 90 semester hours minimum

Each doctoral degree student must successfully pass the following examinations: admissions interview, qualifying examination, preliminary exam, prospectus exam, and final examination(dissertation defense).


Residence Requirement

Ph.D. Candidate:

Residence requirement must be two consecutive semesters of a full-time credit hour load on the Blacksburg campus (summer sessions can not be used to meet residence requirements)

Ed.D. Candidate:

Residence requirement must be two consecutive semesters of a full-time credit hour load on the Blacksburg campus (summer sessions may be used to meet residence requirements)