College of Education

The College of Education, as a part of the premier educational institution in Alabama, strives to provide teaching, research and service that not only address state and regional interests but also accommodate national and international perspectives. The College of Education offers graduate programs leading to the master of arts, the educational specialist, the doctor of education and the doctor of philosophy degrees.


Masters Degree Programs in Education

The College of Education offers graduate work for the master of arts degree in counselor education (school counseling, clinical mental health counseling and rehabilitation counseling); educational leadership; higher education administration; educational psychology: general educational psychology; educational psychology: school psychometry; elementary education; human performance; secondary education (music education is available as a specialization within secondary education); and special education.
 
The rules of The University of Alabama Graduate School pertaining to transfer of credit, academic progress, graduation requirements, admission to candidacy and time limits apply to all students in College of Education masters degree programs and are found in the Degree Requirements section of this catalog.

Masters Programs Prerequisites

The prerequisites for programs leading to the master of arts degree in education include:

  • the completion of an appropriate baccalaureate curriculum, and in most programs
  • professional teacher certification.

For a student in music education, audition, ensemble performance or teaching sample and music history and music theory testing are required prior to or during the first 12 hours of graduate study.

For the Class A Reading Specialist program, two full years of full-time classroom teaching experience are required. Additionally, the Praxis for Teaching Reading is required for those with prerequisite certification in a teaching field other than Elementary, Early Childhood or Collaborative (K-6).

Effective July 1, 2017, two full years of full-time, acceptable professional educational work experience will be required for admission to Class A instructional support programs (School Counseling, School Psychometry and Sport Management—also includes Library Media in the College of Communication and Information Sciences).
 
For a student in educational leadership, a valid Alabama Class B Professional Certificate in a teaching field or a valid Alabama Class A Professional Certificate in a teaching field or instructional support area and three full years of full-time, acceptable professional educational experience in a P-12 setting, which must include at least one full year of full-time P–12 teaching experience, are required. In addition, students preparing for positions in educational leadership are required to complete screening procedures, including special tests, interviews and portfolios.

Masters Degree Requirements

There are two study plans available to students pursuing the master of arts degree. Candidates for the masters degree under Plan I must earn a minimum of 24 semester hours of credit in coursework and must write a thesis. Candidates for the masters degree under Plan II must earn a minimum of 30 semester hours of credit; a thesis is not required.
 
Masters degree programs leading to professional certification normally require a minimum of 30 semester hours. Nontraditional, alternative certification programs requirements vary; however, they normally require 39–45 graduate hours in addition to any of the applicant's undergraduate deficiencies. Courses that are taken for undergraduate credit may not be repeated for graduate credit. In compliance with regulations established by the Alabama Department of Education and outlined in the Alabama Administrative Code, coursework used to meet Class B certification requirements may not be used to meet requirements for Class A certification in any teaching field or area of instructional support.

A student completing requirements for a masters degree during a semester or summer session who does not need a full class load to meet those requirements may, with approval of the advisor and department head, register for additional courses toward a Class AA Professional Certificate, not to exceed the maximum prescribed class load.

Additional details on  all other degree requirements are in the Degree Requirements section of this catalog and may be outlined in the individual program descriptions in this catalog. Under each plan (including the nontraditional, alternative program) the student must pass a comprehensive assessment in the field(s) of study at an appropriate time toward the close of the student's work. The assessment may include, but may not be limited to, an oral exam.

Nontraditional, Alternative Initial Teacher Certification

The College of Education has been approved by the state board of education to offer special programs of study leading to the masters degree for degree holders who have not previously completed a teacher-education program. Admission to these programs requires a passing score on an entrance examination-- the revised Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT)--appropriate for admission to the Graduate School and a minimum 3.0 grade point average for all previous college-level work attempted. Individuals may be considered for admittance if the graduate admission test score or GPA does not meet the above criteria. For admission to an Alternative Class A program, effective July 1, 2017, and thereafter, one must have earned a bachelor’s degree with a minimum, overall GPA of 2.75 or a master’s degree (or higher) with a minimum GPA of at least 3.0.

Also for admission, effective September 1, 2017, applicants to alternative certification programs must earn passing scores on the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Tests of mathematics, reading, and writing. Information about the Praxis Core Tests is available online at https://www.ets.org/praxis/register/centers_dates or in Student Services, 104 Carmichael Hall. [NOTE: Individuals who earned passing scores on all three components of the previously allowed Basic Skills tests prior to September 1, 2017, may use those scores prior to September 1, 2022, in partial fulfillment of requirements for admission to an Alternative Class A program.]

Individuals applying to alternative initial teacher certification programs must also meet the minimum qualifications that are expected of candidates entering and completing undergraduate (Class B) certification in the same discipline. This usually means minimum GPA requirements in the core curriculum as well as minimum GPA requirements within the disciplines in which the applicant is seeking certification. Other requirements, such as completion of writing tests, passing scores on the Praxis Core Tests, and other screening associated with undergraduate certification, must be completed before formal admission to the alternative teacher education program. Some additional undergraduate work may also be required for admission. In addition to admission to the Graduate School, each prospective student must secure an appropriate transcript evaluation letter from personnel in the Office of Student Services and Certification, 104 Carmichael Hall. Students may not complete more than five approved program courses prior to unconditional admission.

Nontraditional, alternative certification programs are available in elementary, English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), foreign languages, music education, physical education, secondary education (most fields), and special education (collaborative, early childhood special education, gifted, and multiple abilities).
 
To graduate, students in these programs must complete the required semester hours in specific graduate courses. Upon completion of an Alternative Class A (master's level) program, the student is eligible to be recommended for an Alabama Class A Professional Educator Certificate. For most programs, no more than 12 semester hours of graduate courses may be completed in a nontraditional, alternative program before the removal of all admission deficiencies, unless special permission is granted by department heads in conjunction with personnel in the Office of Student Services and Certification, 104 Carmichael Hall. A student with a master's or higher degree in a secondary teaching field (or K–12 in music) generally may apply up to 12 semester hours from that degree to the fulfillment of teaching field requirements.

Clinical Placements

All Class A and Alternative Class A programs require extensive field experiences in diverse settings. The majority of field experiences must occur in P-12 schools, and at least half of the field experiences shall be in the candidate’s teaching field or area of instructional support. These placements are in the greater Tuscaloosa area (with the exception of music education and distance learning) in order to facilitate supervision of students. For Early Childhood Special Education and Early Childhood programs, field experiences shall include placements in at least two of the three main types of early education settings: K-3, child care centers and homes, and Head Start programs. With approval, individuals who are employed in positions appropriate to the area of their current program may complete field experiences on the job, but those experiences must be planned with specific purposes and assessment.

All clinical placements in the College of Education relating to teacher certification are coordinated through the Office of Clinical Experiences. For students in the Class A Instructional Leader program, internships are coordinated through the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Technology Studies.

Professional Liability

Students enrolled in College of Education courses that require a clinical placement are required to provide proof of professional liability insurance before being allowed to participate in a clinical placement. Professional liability insurance may be purchased through an independent insurer or is available to students who are members of the Student Alabama Education Association (SAEA), the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), or Collegiate Music Educators National Conference (CMENC). Further information and membership applications may be obtained from the Office of Clinical Experiences.

Teaching Internship Requirements

The teaching internship (formerly called student teaching) is one of the most important experiences College of Education students have. It is generally regarded as the culminating activity of one's preparation to become a teacher.
 
At The University of Alabama, the internship is a full-semester, full-time assignment and must be taken in residence.
 
Both alternative (nontraditional, fifth-year) and graduate students must file internship applications with the Office of Clinical Experiences in 105 Graves Hall during the semester preceding the semester of the planned internship. The application process begins by attending a mandatory application session, which is held the first Wednesday in October for spring-semester interns and the first Wednesday in March for fall-semester interns. The time, date, and place of the application session are announced at the beginning of each semester. The deadline for filing applications for a spring-semester internship is October 31; for a fall-semester internship the deadline is March 31.
 
Students may apply to enroll for an internship if they meet the following criteria:

  • The student must have completed all courses in the major or majors, or must secure written permission to enroll for an internship from the appropriate department head.
  • The alternative master's student must show proof of a passing score on the appropriate Praxis assessments.
  • The traditional master's student must show proof of a passing score on the appropriate Praxis subject assessment(s) if seeking certification in an area which differs from current certificate.
  • The student must have achieved a minimum grade point average of 3.0, both for all University of Alabama courses attempted and for all University of Alabama courses and transfer courses combined.
  • The student must have achieved a minimum grade point average of 2.75 in each major, both for University of Alabama courses in each major and for combined University of Alabama courses and transfer courses in each major.
  • The student must have achieved a minimum grade point average of 2.75 for professional education coursework.
  • The student must have completed all methods courses and appropriate professional coursework with grades of "C" or better.
  • The student must have removed from the transcript any grade of incomplete ("I") recorded in required courses; grades of incomplete are treated as grades of "F."

Registration for Internship Credit Hours

Graduate students are required to register for the number of internship credit hours specified by their program. In some programs, graduate students may be allowed to choose a 6-hour registration or a 9-hour registration; course requirements are the same whether 6 hours or 9 hours are taken. Graduate students whose program requires two internship placements should register for two sections of internship (3 hours per section or 4.5 hours per section). Students enrolled for internship must not expect to be enrolled in other courses while interning.

Policy on Internship Placements

All internship placements are coordinated by the College of Education Office of Clinical Experiences. Placement sites are selected so as to ensure the quality of the internship experience and of the supervision provided by the cooperating teacher. All internship placements are in the greater Tuscaloosa area (with the exception of music education) in order to facilitate supervision of students by University of Alabama faculty or other designees of the department heads. Placements outside the greater Tuscaloosa area are made only if the director of clinical experiences and/or the department head determines that an appropriate local placement is unavailable.

With approval, a candidate admitted to a traditional Class A or an Alternative Class A program who is employed in an Alabama school may complete the internship in the candidate’s classroom if the candidate holds a valid Interim Employment Certificate (IEC or SAC) for the appropriate teaching field and assignment. 

Students may apply for overseas internships if they meet certain criteria and if appropriate placements can be coordinated by the Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching (COST) and/or The University of Alabama. Applications for overseas internships are taken during January for placements for the next fall semester, and in May for placements the succeeding spring semester. Contact the Office of Clinical Experiences in 101 Graves Hall for additional information.

Internship Assignments

  • Elementary education (K–6) interns will receive a placement in lower elementary (grades K-3) and upper elementary (grades 4-6) unless substantial field experiences are required and completed at both levels.
  • Secondary education (6–12) interns with a comprehensive major may receive one or two internship assignments; students with two secondary majors will receive a split internship assignment; half in each major.
  • Special education-Collaborative (K–6 or 6–12) interns will receive a split internship assignment: half in a severe and profound setting and half in a mild to moderate setting. The placements will be divided according to their certification grade levels. For candidates seeking certification in BOTH Collaborative K-6 and Collaborative (6-12), the internship shall be divided between early childhood/elementary and middle/secondary grades.
  • Special education-early childhood (birth–age 8) interns will receive a split internship assignment: half in a special education preschool setting and half in a kindergarten through 2nd grade setting. These placements will be in a public school setting where a child has been identified with a disability.
  • MAP (P–6) interns will receive a minimum of four placements covering two semesters: The placements will be in lower elementary (grades K-3) and upper elementary (4-6), and at least two of the following age groups: birth-age 3, age 3-5, and age 5-8. Placements will include children with and without identified disabilities.
  • P–12 programs in physical education, foreign language, or music education interns should expect to have a split internship assignment between an elementary and a secondary school.
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) interns should expect to have a split internship assignment between an elementary and a secondary school or if ESOL interns are employed full-time as an ESOL teacher in a public school setting, they may complete one semester of internship in their own classroom under the supervision of their building principal and a first-term summer semester of internship in an ESOL summer program coordinated by the Office of Clinical Experiences under the supervision of a University of Alabama ESOL faculty member.

If a candidate is seeking certification in two or more distinct teaching fields, an additional internship(s) will be required (unless the internship is defined according to the State-approved program.)

If a candidate is seeking certification in two or more related fields, the internship may be divided between the two teaching fields.

Summer Internship

Summer internships are rarely available and then only to persons who hold an undergraduate degree and certification and have one or two years of successful teaching experience at the level and in the subject for which they are seeking certification (with approval from the department head). In addition, summer internship assignments are allowed only if an appropriate placement can be secured in the Tuscaloosa area and appropriate supervision can be provided. These conditions also apply to those seeking to update or renew their certification or add an additional endorsement to a current certificate. To apply for a summer internship, file an appropriate application with the Office of Clinical Experiences in 105 Graves Hall by March 31 of that year.

Educational Specialist Degree Requirements

The College of Education offers graduate work for the educational specialist (EdS) degree in counselor education; educational leadership; educational psychology: general educational psychology, educational psychology, educational research, and school psychology; elementary education, secondary education (music education is available as a specialization within secondary education); and special education.

The College of Education conducts its EdS programs in accordance with The University of Alabama Graduate School policies outlined in this catalog. The EdS degree requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of study beyond the master's degree. (Students completing an EdS program and also expecting to receive an Alabama Class AA certificate for service in the public schools must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours and achieve a minimum 3.25 grade point average on all work attempted.) Effective for candidates admitted July 1, 2017, and thereafter, a cumulative grade point average of not less than 3.50 is required for all courses in a Class AA teaching field or area of instructional support. Additionally, for admission to Class AA instructional support programs (School Counseling or School Psychology), at least two full years of full-time acceptable professional work experience is required. For admission to Class AA Teacher Leader, a minimum of three full years of full-time teaching experience in a P-12 setting is required.

Admission to the Graduate School does not mean that the EdS student is admitted to candidacy for the degree. Requirements for admission to candidacy for the EdS degree are the same as those for the master's degree in the same area. A student should note any foreign language requirement. Each EdS student completes the Admission to Candidacy for the EdS Degree form that is on the Graduate School's website and submits it to the Graduate School.  The Graduate School must approve the student's EdS plan of study prior to admission to candidacy for the degree.

A standard form for an EdS plan of study is not available at the Graduate School's website, because each department or program participating in the EdS degree has established a  framework of requirements for the degree that indicates the general structure of its program.

Additional information concerning the plan of study, admission to candidacy, admission and degree requirements may be outlined in the individual program descriptions, College of Education Admission requirements and the Graduate School's Admission Criteria and Degree Requirements sections of this catalog.

See the Admission Criteria section of this catalog for more information.

Class AA Certification Programs

Graduate students seeking Class AA certification must enroll in and complete the EdS (or doctoral) program in that certification area in order to obtain University of Alabama recommendation for Class AA certification. A student who takes a course for credit in a master's level program may not take the same course for credit in a sixth-year program. In compliance with regulations established by the Alabama Department of Education and outlined in the Alabama Administrative Code, coursework used to meet Class B or Class A certification requirements may not be used to meet certification requirements for Class AA certification in any teaching field or area of instructional support.

The College of Education conducts its EdS programs in accordance with The University of Alabama Graduate School policies outlined in the Degree Requirements section of this catalog.  The EdS degree requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of study beyond the master's degree. (Students completing an EdS program and also expecting to receive an Alabama Class AA certificate for service in the public schools must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours and achieve a minimum 3.50 grade point average on all work attempted.)

Clinical Placements

All Class AA programs require extensive field experiences in diverse settings. The majority of field experiences must occur in P-12 schools, and at least half of these shall be in the candidate’s teaching field or area of instructional support. These placements are in the greater Tuscaloosa area (with the exception of music education and distance learning) in order to facilitate supervision of students. For Early Childhood Special Education and Early Childhood programs, field experiences shall include placements in at least two of the three main types of early education settings: K-3, child care centers and homes, and Head Start programs. Placements for students in the Class AA Instructional Leader program are coordinated through the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Technology Studies.

All clinical placements in the College of Education relating to teacher certification are coordinated through the Office of Clinical Experiences.

Professional Liability

Students enrolled in College of Education courses that require a clinical placement should have professional liability insurance. Professional liability insurance may be purchased through an independent insurer or is available to students who are members of the Student Alabama Education Association (SAEA), the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), or Collegiate Music Educators National Conference (CMENC). Further information and membership applications may be obtained from the Office of Clinical Experiences.

Doctoral Programs in Education

Programs leading to the doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree are offered in counselor education, educational administration, higher education administration, educational psychology, educational research, elementary education, human performance, instructional leadership, school psychology, secondary education (music education is available as a specialization within secondary education), and special education. Programs leading to the doctor of education (EdD) degree are offered in counselor education, educational administration, higher education administration, educational psychology, elementary education, instructional leadership, school psychology, secondary education (music education is available as a specialization within secondary education), and special education. The doctoral programs are designed for school personnel and others engaged in educational service and leadership.

 
A masters degree from an accredited institution is required for admission into most of the EdD or PhD program in the College of Education. Some program areas, however, will consider applicants with only a bachelor's degree for admission into a 90 hour doctoral degree program. Other objective and subjective criteria are employed to select students whose success can be reasonably predicted. Some doctoral programs have further prerequisites for admission such as a professional teaching certificate and/or certain experience in teaching or a related activity. Those who wish to pursue doctoral study in the College of Education should communicate directly with the head of the department to ensure they meet the prerequisites for the area in which they wish to study.
 
In planning a program, doctoral students should follow these steps:

Declaration of Intent

If applicable, before establishing a doctoral committee, students must successfully complete a screening process in the department in which they wish to study. The applicant initiates the screening process by filing a declaration of intent form with the appropriate department head. The forms are available in the departmental offices.

Preliminary Conference

As part of the screening process in some departments, appropriate faculty members review information the applicant has supplied and interview the applicant. In this preliminary conference, consideration is given to factors such as the applicant's academic and professional background, test scores, personal traits, professional goals and aspirations, and other factors that pertain to the ability to complete the program successfully and continue a productive career. The applicant is notified of the decision of the screening committee by the department head within a few days following the preliminary conference. The department head notifies the College of Education Office of Student Services of the decision by returning the appropriately marked declaration of intent form.

Appointment of Advisor and Doctoral Program Advisory Committee

Students accepted for doctoral study will be asked to confer with the appropriate department head regarding the appointment of advisors and program advisory committees. Nominations for appointment to these committees are made by the program chairperson through the department head to the dean of the College.
 
EdD program advisory committees usually consist of a minimum of three members of the graduate faculty: a chairperson who represents the student's major area of study and who will be the major advisor for the student in program planning and research, and two members (one from outside the department of the College in which the student is majoring) who can also be of assistance in their areas of expertise.
 
PhD program advisory committees must have at least five members: a chairperson, who is drawn from the graduate faculty and who represents the student's major area of study (the chairperson serves as the major advisor in program planning and research) and  four members, one of whom must be from outside the department of the student's major.

Program Planning

As soon as possible after the appointment of the doctoral program advisory committee, but no later than the end of the first semester of doctoral study, the student and the major advisor should convene a meeting of the program advisory committee. At this program-planning meeting, the student provides each member with a formal written summary of graduate study to date. The student and the committee then plan a program of study to meet the academic and professional needs of the student and fulfill all requirements of the program, the College, and the Graduate School. Plan of Study forms for both doctoral degrees may be obtained in the departmental offices.
 
Official copies of the Plan of Study agreed upon by the student and the committee shall be dated, signed by the committee members and the department head, and distributed to the Office of the Graduate School, to the student's program office for inclusion in the student's program file, to the dean, and to the committee members. Any deviation from the Plan of Study must be approved by the committee and noted by the chairperson on the student's official record.  An amended Plan of Study (if needed) must be submitted to the Graduate School when the student submits the form for Admission to Candidacy for Doctoral Degree.
 
All doctoral students must have a completed Plan of Study approved by the Graduate School no later than the semester during which the student will complete 30 semester hours of UA and/or transfer credit for the doctoral degree.  Otherwise, a "hold" may be placed on future registrations.
 
The program advisory committee continues to assist the student in program planning and advisement until the student satisfactorily completes all major and minor comprehensive examinations.

Degree Requirements

The PhD requires a minimum of 72 hours of graduate study beyond the master's degree, comprising at least 48 hours of coursework and 24 hours of dissertation research. The course of study must include no fewer than 24 semester hours in a major field, a minimum of 12 semester hours in foundational coursework, and a minimum of 12 semester hours in research methods. Although there is no longer a college-wide requirement, individual departments may stipulate additional hours for a minor requirement or research methods.
 
The EdD degree requires a minimum of 72 hours of graduate study beyond the master's degree, including at least 60 hours of coursework and 12 hours of dissertation research. The course of study must include no fewer than 24 hours in a major field, a minimum of 12 semester hours in foundational coursework, and a minimum of 12 semester hours in research methods. With the approval of the Student's program advisory committee, some departments permit up to 6 semester hours of dissertation research credit to be included in the 60 hours of required coursework. In such cases the minimum number of hours is 66.
 
Students pursuing PhD and EdD degrees in the College of Education must satisfy the following foundations requirement: 12 hours of graduate coursework comprising (1) any BEF or BEP classes or (2) any non-research methods courses outside the student's department. Foundations courses cannot come from the student's major program. Approved by the program study committee, these classes should introduce the student to theoretical discourses and bodies of knowledge that provide a depth and breadth of understanding necessary for fluency with the research, theory, and scholarship foundational to the student's field of inquiry and dissertation research. A 12–15 semester hour research/statistics competency is also required in all PhD and EdD programs.
 
Additional information is in the Degree Requirements section of this catalog.

Major and Minor Examinations

Each PhD candidate must demonstrate competence in his or her major fields (and minor fields, if required by the department). Each EdD student must demonstrate competence in the broad area of knowledge and any areas of specialization specified in his or her program of study. Written comprehensive examinations are required to determine competence in the student's major (PhD) or broad area of knowledge (EdD); an oral defense of the written examination may be requested. A student who fails a major or minor examination may repeat it only once.
 
A student may apply to take the comprehensive examination in the major after filing a Plan of Study, completing at least one semester in residence, and obtaining approval of the department head (or the department head's designee) to take the examination. An examination application should be filed with the appropriate department head at least four weeks in advance of the scheduled testing date.
 
Comprehensive examinations in minor fields or areas of specialization can be taken after the student has completed all coursework in the minor field. The chairperson of the program or department offering the minor or area of specialization may establish evaluating procedures other than a written comprehensive examination.

Dissertation Committee

The dissertation committee, with the director of the dissertation as its chairperson, is responsible for assisting the doctoral student in developing and conducting dissertation research. Once the dissertation committee is formed, the student's program planning committee is disbanded. To form the dissertation committee, the student meets with the chairperson of the program advisory committee to discuss a potential dissertation topic and identify faculty with relevant expertise who by virtue of full membership in the graduate education faculty may chair the dissertation committee. The student then requests such a faculty member to chair the dissertation committee, and together they recommend at least four additional members of the committee, at least one of whom is from outside the department that includes the student's major field of study.
 
The graduate dean’s approval of the proposed dissertation committee is expected to be obtained before significant progress is made on the dissertation--typically just before or just after the dissertation proposal meeting. For this purpose, the student submits the form for Appointment/Change of a Doctoral Dissertation Committee.
 
Selection of the committee chairperson and members should be based on the relationship between the expertise and scholarly interests of the faculty members and the student's proposed dissertation topic. The student and committee chairperson recommend the committee to the program chairperson who recommends the committee to the department head, who in turn recommends the committee to the dean of the College of Education.
 
The dissertation committee chairperson provides intense counsel in selecting the dissertation problem, developing the proposal, coordinating input from committee members, chairing committee meetings, guiding the student's dissertation research, guiding the writing of the dissertation, and chairing the oral defense of the dissertation. The dissertation committee assists the student in developing the proposal, conducting dissertation research and writing the dissertation, and judges the adequacy of the student's dissertation defense. Close cooperation and involvement of all committee members are expected at all stages of the dissertation process, from the development of the proposal to successful oral defense of the dissertation. The student, in consultation with the chairperson of the committee, is responsible for scheduling committee meetings.

Dissertation Proposal

The dissertation is a contribution to research and literature in a field. It represents the student's ability to identify a problem; develop an understanding of the relevant literature and previous research in an area of inquiry; formulate cogent research questions or hypotheses; report and discuss results of investigation; and derive conclusions, implications, and recommendations from results. The dissertation proposal is the first major step in this process.
 
The topic of the dissertation should evolve from the student's academic and professional interests. The topic will not be accepted until the dissertation committee formally meets and approves a comprehensive dissertation proposal. While a student may present a brief prospectus to the committee informally, the acceptance of the complete dissertation proposal is necessary before the student has approval from the committee to pursue the dissertation, and before the student is admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree.
 
The dissertation proposal will include an introduction to the problem, a statement of the problem, research questions or hypotheses, a comprehensive review of literature and related research, a description of the methods of inquiry or research methods to be employed in the investigation, and the results of pilot studies (where appropriate). It is expected that the information presented in the proposal will be comprehensive and will include discussion of the areas just mentioned in a form that is essentially the same as the final dissertation. Some departments require a formal prospectus prior to the dissertation proposal.
 
Prior to the formal proposal meeting of the dissertation committee, the student should confer with all committee members. The written dissertation proposal must be provided to members of the committee at least 10 working days prior to the proposal meeting. The Graduate School policy on article-style dissertations may be found in the Degree Requirement section of this catalog.
 
Upon acceptance of the dissertation proposal, including completion of any changes recommended by the committee, each committee member will sign the acceptance page of the dissertation proposal. One copy of the signed proposal will be filed with the chairperson of the dissertation committee and one copy will be forwarded to the program chairperson and department head for the student's permanent file. The student is then eligible for admission to candidacy for the degree; the application for admission to candidacy for degree must be completed. The dissertation proposal will be maintained in the program and departmental office until the student completes and successfully defends the dissertation.
 
Typically, the student's major advisor (chairperson of the dissertation committee) will serve as the chief advisor for the dissertation research and preparation of the dissertation. However, another advisor may be selected if the choice of topic warrants such action. Such a change must be approved by the program chairperson and department head, in consultation with the student. In addition, more than five faculty members may serve on the dissertation committee. Students are encouraged to seek advice and assistance with their research from any member of the dissertation committee and from staff members in the College of Education Research Assistance Laboratory.
 
The dissertation must comply with the regulations in A Student Guide to Preparing Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Graduate School deadlines, including each semester's dissertation deadlines, are available at the Graduate School's homepage.
 
Additional information is in the Degree Requirements section of this catalog. The length of work on dissertation research will vary. In no case shall the student be allowed to take an oral examination on the dissertation before having been admitted to candidacy.

Admission to Candidacy

After approval of the dissertation proposal, and completion of all major and minor examinations, the student is eligible for admission to candidacy for the degree. The Admission to Candidacy for the Doctoral Degree form for the PhD or EdD degree is provided by the Graduate School. The student completes the form; obtains the signatures of the dissertation committee, department head, and other appropriate officials; and has the form forwarded to the dean of the College of Education for signature. The completed candidacy form is submitted to the Graduate School for final approval. The department head reports the results of all comprehensive examinations to the College's Office of Student Services and Certification and to the Graduate School.
 
No student may be admitted to candidacy in a program requiring teaching experience before completing the minimum number of years of appropriate teaching or other experience acceptable to the dissertation committee. A statement of experience from previous employers may be required.
 
Once a student has met the requirements for admission to candidacy for a doctoral degree, doctoral students (except those in the DMA program) must pursue completion of the dissertation without interruption by enrolling each semester for at least 3 hours of dissertation research; DMA students must enroll each semester for at least 1 hour of document research. This is true whether or not the student has submitted an application for Admission to Candidacy for the Doctoral Degree.  Each PhD student must have completed a minimum of 24 hours of such dissertation work upon completion of the degree.  Additional information is in the Degree Requirements section of this catalog.

Oral Examination

Since the dissertation research results from the acceptance of the proposal, a minimum of two semesters normally is anticipated prior to oral defense of the dissertation. This time frame ensures adequate attention to discussion of results, their implications for the field, and recommendations for future scholarship.
 
When all requirements have been met and the dissertation is completed, the student shall arrange a meeting of the dissertation advisory committee; the student shall distribute copies of the dissertation to the members at least 10 working days prior to this meeting.
 
At least 10 working days prior to defending the dissertation, the student must send an abstract of the dissertation to all faculty in the College of Education along with an invitation to attend the defense that indicates time and place of the defense. The student must defend the dissertation satisfactorily in that meeting and must pass any other examinations considered appropriate. The record of the student's performance on the final defense of the dissertation will be noted on the proper forms, in accordance with requirements of the Graduate School. These forms will be signed by committee members.
 
It is the responsibility of the student to submit to the Office of the Graduate School, six weeks prior to graduation, two copies of the dissertation and the abstract in the final, approved form. Further changes or corrections may be suggested by the Graduate School at this time, and these must be completed or reconciled before graduation.

Time Limits for Doctoral Study

All degree requirements must be completed within seven years (21 fall, spring, and summer semesters) following admission to the doctoral program. For example, a student being admitted to and enrolled in the 2009 fall semester may utilize appropriate coursework earned during the 2003 fall semester and may also utilize appropriate coursework earned through the 2016 summer semester.
 
Previous graduate credit may be applied to the doctoral degree if the credit was earned during the six-year period prior to admission to the doctoral program. Such credit must be identified clearly on the Plan of Study and requires Graduate School approval. Only those students graduating within the time limit for their doctoral program may apply previous graduate credit to the doctoral degree if the credit was earned during the six-year period prior to admission to the doctoral program.

Time Limits Extension Request

Only under well-documented, extraordinary circumstances beyond the student's control, a student may petition for a one-semester extension to the seven-year time limit that, if recommended by the department head and approved by the college dean and finally the graduate dean or his designee, will not require the student to validate any out-of-date courses. Validation of out-of-date courses is not an option in the College of Education. If a student fails to complete all degree requirements within seven years of his or her admission to the doctoral program or within a Graduate School approved one-semester extension, the student will be officially suspended from the doctoral program and must reapply for admission.

Repeating Courses When Given an Extension

When requests are made for extension of Graduate School deadlines, and it is deemed that an out-of-date course is integral to the degree program, the dean of the College of Education may request permission of the Graduate School for the course to be repeated. In such instances, both grades shall be used in calculation of the GPA.

Residence Requirements for Doctoral Study

A minimum of two academic years of graduate study beyond the masters degree is required for completion of EdD and PhD programs in the College of Education. At least one academic year of doctoral study (or its equivalent, as noted below) must be spent in continuous residence as a full-time student on the campus of The University of Alabama.
 
Doctoral program advisory committees may approve either of the following alternatives for meeting residence requirements:

  • one full summer term and the following fall semester engaged in coursework on a full-time basis on the campus
  • a spring semester and the following full summer term engaged in coursework on a full-time basis on the campus

Students pursuing alternative doctoral residency in the Instructional Technology concentration of the Instructional Leadership Ph.D. degree will enroll in 18 hours of approved graduate level coursework across three consecutive semesters. The 18 hours of coursework must include at least nine hours of approved coursework at the Tuscaloosa campus, three hours of coursework in AIL 691 Doctoral Seminar: Instructional Technology, and no more than six hours of advisor approved online/distance education/Gadsden coursework.  
 
Students in the secondary education and educational leadership EdD (not PhD) programs have the option to meet the doctoral residency requirement by following an alternative policy that is on file with the Graduate School. Contact the Graduate School for details.
 
Students at the Gadsden Center may fulfill EdD residency by completing 24 graduate hours while continuously enrolled for a period of 24 months.

Transfer Credit

Appropriate graduate credit beyond the master's degree that was earned in other accredited institutions may be transferred (with departmental and Graduate School approval) and applied to doctoral requirements, but in no case can the amount of transferred credit exceed one-half of the hours required for the degree. In calculating the number of transferable hours, dissertation-research credit hours are subtracted from the total degree requirements. A student completes a Request for Transfer of Graduate Credit and submits it to the Graduate School. The student also must ensure that the Graduate School has an official (not faxed or copied) transcript of the credit involved. It is best to apply for official transfer of credit in the student's first semester of doctoral enrollment; otherwise, the student and advisor will be unsure about the number of course hours needed when submitting the required Plan of Study.  Plan of Study forms for both doctoral degrees may be obtained in the departmental offices.
 
Additional information concerning admission and degree requirements may be outlined in the individual program descriptions in this catalog.  Admission and degree requirements for the Graduate School (Admission Criteria and Degree Requirements) and the College of Education (General Admission, EdS, PhD) are detailed below.

See the Admission Criteria section of this catalog for more information.

General Admission Requirements

To be considered for regular admission to a graduate program in the College of Education, a student must satisfy both of the following admission requirements, unless otherwise specified:

  • An entrance examination* score of at least 300 on the revised Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or a score no lower than the 50th percentile on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) if the MAT is accepted by the department
  • An undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, a 3.0 average for the last 60 semester hours in a degree program, or a 3.0 or higher in a completed graduate degree program

An applicant whose credentials do not meet the above requirements may be considered in some programs for admission if one of the following minimum requirements is satisfied:

  • an overall grade point average of 2.75
  • an entrance examination score no lower than the 40th percentile on the entrance examination required by the department

*Entrance examination: The GRE is REQUIRED for all degree programs, except as indicated below:

The following programs will accept the GRE or MAT:

  • Counselor Education, MA/EdS/PhD
  • Elementary Education, MA/EdS
  • Educational Leadership, MA/EdS/EdD
  • Educational Psychology (General), MA
  • Higher Education Administration, MA/EdD
  • Instructional Leadership, PhD (Technology)
  • Secondary Education (including Music Education), MA/EdS
  • Secondary Education (Music Education only), EdD/PhD
  • Special Education, MA/EdS

The following programs do not require an entrance exam:

  • Instructional Leadership, PhD (Social and Cultural Foundations)
  • Instructional Leadership, EdD (Nurse Educator)

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission, only that students will be reviewed for admission. Applications are reviewed by departmental screening committees with consideration given to such factors as academic and professional backgrounds, test scores, personal traits, professional goals and aspirations and other factors that pertain to the ability to complete the program successfully and continue a productive career. The Graduate School makes final admissions decisions based on departmental recommendations and the Graduate School's review of applications.

With approval, a student may enroll for one semester only as a non-degree student in the College of Education and is subject to the conditions outlined in this catalog for non-degree students. Responsibility rests with the student to observe the limitations imposed on credit hours, coursework and transfer of credit.

An applicant to a College of Education program that leads to professional certification must submit references from current and former professors and supervisory personnel knowledgeable of the applicant's academic and professional capabilities.

Admission to the Graduate School is not equivalent to “unconditional admission” to a state-approved educator preparation program. Candidates admitted to the institution to enroll in courses in a Class A, Alternative Class A or Class AA program (other than Instructional Leader) may complete no more than five approved program courses prior to meeting ALSDE requirements for “unconditional admission.” For Class A and Class AA Instructional Leadership programs, individuals must meet ALSDE requirements for “unconditional admission” before enrolling in ANY instructional leadership courses in the program, as prescribed in the Alabama Administrative Code. 

LiveText Requirement

Live Text, a web-based student support system, is required of all students in programs leading to professional educator certification.

Fingerprinting Requirement

Applicants to a state-approved teacher education program shall be required to be fingerprinted for a criminal history background check through the Alabama State Department of Education to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) pursuant to ACT 2002-457. This includes all students (traditional, alternative, out-of-state and distance learners) enrolled in MA and EDS programs that lead to Alabama certification, regardless of whether or not they are pursuing Alabama certification. The background check is completed at the student’s expense, and suitability must be documented in the Office of Student Services & Certification before the student is assigned placement in a clinical setting. [Alabama Administrative Code]

A candidate whose suitability determination precludes admission to a state-approved teacher education program has the right to due process procedures in accordance with the current Educator Certification Chapter of the Alabama Administrative Code (Revocation and Suspension of Certificates and Unsuitability Determinations).

Policies for Out-of-State Students at the Master's Level (Class A) and Educational Specialist Level (Class AA) for Any Area Except Educational Administration

Admission requirements for master's level (Class A) programs for teachers include "eligibility for Class B certification in the teaching field(s) in which Class A certification is sought," except in a few specified fields.
 
Admission requirements for educational specialist level (Class AA) programs for teachers include "eligibility for Class A certification in the teaching field(s) in which Class AA certification is sought," except in a few specified fields.

Foreign Credentials

Coursework and/or a degree accepted from institutions outside the United States shall be substantiated by an evaluation of the foreign credentials from a state, federal, or private foreign credential evaluation service recognized by the Teacher Education and Certification Office. Contact the College's Office of Student Services & Certification for more information.

See the Admission Criteria section of this catalog for more information.

Professional Licensure (Certification)

Alabama Class A Professional Certificate

Class A teacher education programs are designed to help teachers more effectively serve the purposes defined for the same teaching field at the Class B level, provided such programs exist. The intent of the fifth-year program is to help the teacher develop higher levels of competence than is possible in the Class B program.

A cumulative grade point average of not less than 3.0 is required for all graduate work attempted in a Class A program, and a final comprehensive examination is required. Effective for candidates admitted July 1, 2017, and thereafter, a cumulative grade point average of not less than 3.25 is required for all courses used to meet the requirements on the approved program checklist for a Class A teaching field or area of instructional support.

A survey of special education course is required. An individual who completed a survey of special education course prior to meeting requirements for unconditional admission to a Class A program on July 1, 2017, and thereafter, must take an approved course focused primarily on one of the following categories: methods of accommodating instruction to meet the needs of students with exceptionalities in inclusive settings, multicultural education, teaching English language learners, rural education, or urban education. A course used to meet this requirement for one level of certification may not be used to meet the requirement for a higher level of certification.

Following a review by the Alabama State Board of Education, the Class A Professional Certificate is granted to the student who (a) has applied for and has been recommended for certification by the College of Education, and (b) has completed a pre-planned graduate program, approved by the state board of education, that includes a master's degree. It is important to remember that the awarding of a master's or higher degree does not necessarily imply that the student is eligible for Class A certification.

If applicable, applicants for the certificate must also present to the Alabama Department of Education evidence of successful and appropriate educational experience, as follows: for certification as a library/media specialist, two years; as a school counselor or psychometrist, two years; sport management, two years; as an instructional leader, three years. [Effective July 1, 2017, two full years of full-time, acceptable professional educational work experience will be required for admission to instructional support programs (Library Media, School Counseling, School Psychometry, and Sport Management.]

Applicants for initial certification in a teaching field or area of instructional support must meet the requirements of the Alabama Educator Certification Assessment Program (AECAP). Information about Praxis assessments is available at https://www.ets.org/praxis/al or in the Office of Student Services & Certification (104 Carmichael Hall).
 
An individual who completes an Alabama State-approved program must submit an application for Alabama certification within 60 calendar months of the program completion date. The Class A certificate is valid for five years and may be renewed according to regulations of the Alabama State Board of Education. Individuals are responsible for meeting renewal requirements and submitting the application for renewal.

Alabama Class AA Professional Certificate

The essential objective of the sixth-year program is to extend upward the level of competence of the teacher. Following a review by the Alabama State Board of Education, the Class AA Professional Certificate is granted to students who (a) have applied for and are recommended for certification by the College of Education, and (b) have completed a pre-planned graduate program, approved by the state board of education. Students seeking Class AA professional certification must enroll in and complete the EdS. (or doctoral) degree program in the desired certification area in order to obtain the University's recommendation for Class AA professional certification. Courses used to qualify for a lower-level supporting certificate may not be used again as part of a higher-level certification program.
 
A cumulative grade point average of not less than 3.25 is required for all graduate work attempted after the master's degree, and a final comprehensive examination is required. Effective for candidates admitted July 1, 2017, and thereafter, a cumulative grade point average of not less than 3.50 is required for all courses used to meet the requirements on the approved program checklist for a Class AA teaching field or area of instructional support.

A survey of special education course is required. An individual who completed a survey of special education course prior to meeting requirements for unconditional admission to a Class AA program on July 1, 2017, and thereafter, must take a course focused primarily on one of the following categories: methods of accommodating instruction to meet the needs of students with exceptionalities in inclusive settings, multicultural education, teaching English language learners, rural education, or urban education. A course used to meet this requirement for one level of certification may not be used to meet the requirement for a higher level of certification.

Applicants for initial certification in a teaching field or area of instructional support must meet the requirements of the Alabama Educator Certification Assessment Program (AECAP). Information about Praxis assessments is available at https://www.ets.org/praxis/al or in the Office of Student Services & Certification (104 Carmichael Hall).

A maximum of 15 semester hours of appropriate post-master's-degree credit earned through an institution approved to offer graduate programs beyond the master's level in the field of study in which the credits were earned may, with approval by the department head or his or her designee, be applied toward the Class AA Professional Certificate. It is important to remember that the awarding of a graduate degree does not necessarily imply that the student is eligible for Alabama certification.

An individual who completes an Alabama State-approved program must submit an application for Alabama certification within 60 calendar months of the program completion date. The Class AA certificate is valid for five years and may be renewed according to regulations of the Alabama State Board of Education. Individuals are responsible for meeting renewal requirements and submitting the application for renewal.

Alternative Approaches to Certification

In addition to "regular" certification programs, the Alabama State Board of Education offers alternative approaches to certification. These are as follows: (a) Alternative Class A approach (see information in this catalog); (b) provisional certificate in a teaching field, formerly ABC; (c) provisional certificate in Library Media or School Counseling; (d) CACREP-accredited School Counseling Program approach; (e) Nationally Certified School Psychologist approach; and (f) National Board for Professional Teaching Standards approach. Information regarding these approaches is available via the Alabama Department of Education.

Policies for Out-of-State Students at Fifth-year (Class A) and Sixth-year (Class AA) Levels for Any Area Except Educational Administration

Admission requirements for fifth-year (Class A) programs for teachers include "eligibility for Class B certification in the teaching field(s) in which Class A certification is sought," except in a few specified fields.
 
Admission requirements for sixth-year (Class AA) programs for teachers include "eligibility for Class A certification in the teaching field(s) in which Class A certification is sought," except in a few specified fields.

Out-of-state students who do not meet the above admission requirements to enroll in courses at the respective levels may be recommended to other state departments of education based only on completion of coursework, not completion of approved programs. Thus, these students will not be eligible for Alabama certification and, if and when the students wish to receive Alabama certification and teach in Alabama, they must present verification of eligibility for an appropriate prerequisite Alabama certificate before being recommended for Alabama certification.

Foreign Credentials

Coursework and/or a degree accepted from institutions outside the United States shall be substantiated by an evaluation of the foreign credentials from a state, federal, or private foreign credential evaluation service recognized by the Teacher Education and Certification Office. Contact the College's Office of Student Services and Certification for more information.

Changes in Certification Requirements

The programs listed in this catalog that lead to Alabama Class A and Class AA professional certificates for service in the public schools may be altered to meet certification standards adopted by the Alabama State Board of Education. Check with the appropriate department head for information.