Frequently Asked Questions

1. What coursework does the program in School Improvement include?

The curriculum in the School Improvement program is built around three strands: Teaching and Learning (9 semester hours), Leadership for School Improvement (9 hours), and Research and the Effective Use of Data (15 hours). In addition, 12 hours of elective courses make up the Area of Concentration (AoC). Dissertation Mentoring I, II, and III (2 hours each) help to prepare students for completing a dissertation. A minimum of 9 hours of dissertation work is required. Overall, this is a 60 credit-hour program.

2. Can any of my previous coursework count toward the doctoral degree?

In the doctoral program, a maximum of 12 semester hours of graduate credit may be transferred from another accredited institution or applied from previous coursework at the University of West Georgia, subject to the following conditions:

  • work must have been completed within seven years of the date of admission to the Ed.D. degree program;
  • work must have been applicable toward a graduate degree at the institution where the credit was earned;
  • the coursework must be approved by the student's advisor, the Ed.D. Director, and the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • courses must have been taken post Master's degree; (normally 7000 level courses or above)
  • the courses must meet the thematic requirements for the AoC; and
  • a grade of B or higher must have been earned in the coursework.

3. How long is the program?

The program requires 60 credit hours. The complete program is designed to take 3 years. All coursework is spread throughout over 3 years. The dissertation is integrated into the coursework and, depending on its focus and research design, is intended to be finished simultaneously with the completion of coursework.

4. How much does the program cost?

For the 2014 academic year, online graduate education at UWG costs $283 per credit hour. You should budget for between 6 and 9 hours of coursework for most semesters. Check the Bursar's website for updates on Graduate School tuition and fees.

5. When are courses offered?

Core coursework for the School Improvement program is offered during summer, fall, and spring semesters. Click here to view the sequence and schedule of courses within the program.

6. This is a cohort program. What does that mean?

Each spring, up to approximately 25 individuals are selected to form a cohort group, which begins coursework that summer. The cohort group progresses through the same coursework together throughout the program.

7. How is the cohort selected?

Each spring, and following a review of all application materials, applicants are invited to participate in an online interview and writing exercise. The interview and selection process is holistic--all scores and items in the application packet are considered together when evaluating candidates. Because many fine professional educators apply each year, it is challenging to select the cohort. We try to select individuals who not only have strong applications, but who also represent a cross-section of the education community and who demonstrate a passion for school improvement.

8. What if my GRE scores are below the required minimum? Should I apply anyway?

There is no required minimum GRE score, however, we do have recommended minimum GRE scores.  Students must complete the Verbal & Quantitative reasoning tests A combined score of 1000 is the recommended minimum, with a score of at least 450 on each test.  (New Scale Scores combined recommended 300; at least 151 Verbal reasoning and 145 Quantitative reasoning.) GRE scores must not be more than 5 years old.  Due to the extremely competitive selection process, GRE scores are one important criterion to differentiate amongst applicants.

9. What if I don't get accepted into the program?

Because a large number of well-qualified education professionals apply each year to the School Improvement program, acceptance cannot be guaranteed. We recommend that you consider reapplying  during a subsequent year if you are not accepted the first time you apply. Please note that this will require you to update and resubmit all application materials.

10 . How can I get more information?

Questions can be addressed to the School Improvement office at 678-839-6062 or  Application status questions should be directed to the COE Graduate Studies Office at 678-839-5946.

11. Will I receive a certificate upgrade when I complete the Doctorate in School Improvement? (this information applies to GEORGIA STUDENTS ONLY)

The Doctor of School Improvement Degree is approved by the Georgia PSC for a certificate upgrade for students who enter the program with Georgia certification in Educational Leadership, Media Specialist, Instructional Technology, Reading, K-12 Online Learning,  English to Speakers of Other Languages (UWG no longer offers ESOL courses, but you can take the courses elsewhere and transfer), School Counseling, and/or Special Education General Curriculum.  (It's the responsibility of the applicant/student to check the upgrade possibilities at the GAPSC Certificate Upgrade Advisor, click here)

The following conditions/restrictions apply:

(A) The student must enter the program with the qualifying certification area already on their Georgia certificate as a clear renewable field,

(B) The student must select the applicable, qualifying certification area as their minimum 12-hour Area of Concentration. In order to receive a certification upgrade as a part of the Ed. D. in School Improvement, the hours must be taken at UWG as a part of this degree program,

(C) Educational Leadership students must meet the specific position requirements, and

(D) The program does not lead to initial certification.

12. What is the Area of Concentration? (AoC)

Twelve of the 60 hour program consists of a concentrated theme decided by the student. The concept is to allow the student to pursue an area of interest or to develop expertise in a specific content area. Students are expected to complete their dissertation in the concentration theme area.