How long does it take to complete the SAA Ed.D. program? expanding section

This degree is intended as a three-year, cohort program. The program is designed such that students begin their dissertation in the second year and complete it during the third year. Although students have seven years from the time they begin courses to complete the degree, the intention is for students to complete it in three years.

Am I required to complete a dissertation? expanding section

Yes. The dissertation process will begin in the second year and be completed during the third year of the program.

Are all classes online? expanding section

Yes. All courses are online, and there is no residency requirement.

The curriculum offers the opportunity for shared electives; what does that mean? expanding section

A unique feature of this program is that students have the opportunity to take elective courses with students from three other University of Wisconsin (UW) System institutions. As part of an innovative cooperative agreement, our program is collaborating with UW-Green Bay (Ed.D in First Nations), UW-Oshkosh (Ed.D in Educational Leadership), and UW-Stevens Point (Ed.D in Sustainability Education). You will have the option to take elective courses offered by these institutions. Please note, however, that not all offered courses are available online.

Do the online classes "meet" at certain times during the week? expanding section

All courses are asynchronous by nature. Some will include activities that require virtual meetings with faculty or classmates at certain times.

What happens if I don't complete the dissertation in time for the May graduation but have completed all of my other coursework? expanding section

Per UWL Graduate Studies policy, students who have completed all coursework required for a graduate degree but who are still working on required research, comprehensive exams, or terminal projects (thesis, capstone or other culminating graduate project) must register for GRC 799 for up to two semesters of continuous registration. (If students can complete their work in one semester, then only one semester is necessary. If students take more than one semester, they must take two and no more than two continuous semesters of GRC 799). Fees for GRC 799 will be equivalent to 1 in-state graduate credit each semester.

What are the admission requirements and how do I apply? expanding section

You can find this information on the Apply page. Please note that the priority deadline is December 15th. We admit one cohort per year. Cohorts begin coursework in late-May.

Is there a time limit on completing the degree? expanding section

You have ten years from the start of your first course to complete your degree. Please go to the Graduate Catalog for more information about this policy.

I currently do not work in a higher education setting and have no higher education experience. Am I eligible for this program? expanding section

Unfortunately, not at this time. This program is for individuals working in higher education who want to advance to upper level administrative positions such as a Director, Dean or Vice Chancellor. If, however, you work in a related professional setting and have related prior graduate work, you may be eligible for the program. Please contact for additional information.

Can I transfer doctoral credits in from another institution? expanding section

Depending on the coursework, you may be able to transfer 9 credits from other doctoral programs. Only courses that have been completed within ten years of your anticipated completion date can be considered for transfer credit. All transfer credits must be approved by the SAA faculty. For a course to be considered for transfer credits, the course must closely resemble a course in the SAA Ed.D. curriculum. You must submit a Transfer Credit Request Form for credits to be considered. For detailed information, please see the Transfer Credit Policy in the Graduate Catalog.

Can I take classes as a special student even though I am not formally admitted in the program? expanding section

Decisions about allowing students into classes as a "special student" are done on a case by case basis. Please contact the Ed.D. program director if you are interested in requesting permission to take a particular SAA course.

Can I get scholarships or grants to help cover my student costs? expanding section

Yes. Start by checking out the Financial Support page. In addition, you are strongly encouraged to explore opportunities through your employer and external agencies. In many cases, institutions offer tuition reimbursement or educational assistance programs for employees. This option is newly available for UWL employees.

How does the SAA Ed.D. help my career in student affairs? expanding section

The goal of this program is to prepare student affairs professionals for significant leadership roles at diverse institutions of higher education. A doctoral degree in student affairs provides the academic preparation necessary to complement significant professional experience in student affairs, opening doors to apply for such positions as Director, Dean, or Vice Chancellor/Vice President.

What are important deadlines and dates? expanding section

Dec. 15, 2020 - Priority deadline for applications

Feb. 1, 2021 - Complete the FAFSA for financial aid considerations (including scholarship awards)

Feb. 19, 2021 - Prospective students are notified about the admissions decision

March 15, 2021 - Admitted students make their decision

April 19, 2021 - Online orientation opens for new doctoral cohort

May 24, 2021 - Classes start