EdD Handbook



All students in an Aspen University Doctoral program are required to successfully complete the dissertation, which entails producing a research project that is approved by the Advisory Dissertation Committee appointed by Aspen University. The dissertation courses provide a comprehensive template for producing the dissertation project. A dissertation is a record of original research conducted by the student in contribution to earning a Doctoral degree. While this course is broken up into 8 modules just like other Aspen University courses, finalizing a research topic, finding a Faculty Mentor, and forming the committee can be time consuming and it may take additional time to complete the course requirements. Students are encouraged to do as much preparatory work as possible prior to the start of the class so time can be spent developing the details of the dissertation research. Students will work closely with his/her Faculty Mentor throughout the process.

The dissertation is scholarly work based on a combination of existing and original research that contributes to the body of human knowledge and field of practice. It demonstrates the Doctoral Student can collect, analyze, and report data based on critical, analytical, and synthesis skills. Each Doctoral Student must write a dissertation that presents the results of a research project carried out by the student. An appropriate research project involves a substantive piece of original and independent research grounded in an appropriate body of literature. It is relevant to the education field as practiced in the past, the present, or in the potential future. It presents a significant contribution or advancement in that field.

It is the student’s responsibility to work with the Advisory Dissertation Committee as determined appropriate in collaboration with the Faculty Mentor. The student bears full responsibility for a successful outcome. As additional expert resources and guidance are believed necessary, the student explores and acquires any such assistance. For instance, an academic advisor may become a lifeline. Such advisors may be found through recommendations from peers or other experienced individuals. Typically, advisors charge students a fee for their services, but the assistance can be valuable.

As a student enters the last stages of the doctoral program, the expectation is that they need little help in conducting research, writing the dissertation, or obtaining the advice needed to complete the dissertation journey. Doctoral students are scholars in the making, with clear goals, adequate investigative tools, solid research agendas, and the determination to achieve the goals they set forth in the beginning stages of the doctoral journey. If the student attends instructional dissertation training outside Aspen University, the matter should be addressed with the Faculty Mentor. The Advisory Dissertation Committee will accept the resulting dissertation for completion of Doctoral Program requirements after a final review and approval. Training, editing, and other forms of assistance are acceptable and recommended, but under no circumstances may someone other than the student produce a dissertation.

The most recent edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) guides the Dissertation writing style. The APA writing style is followed consistently throughout the program in matters of form and style. Of critical importance, sources must be cited and properly referenced. Generally, the dissertation includes a title page, acknowledgements, abstract, table of contents, and list of tables and figures, followed by five distinct chapters: 1) Introduction, 2) Literature Review, 3) Methodology, 4) Results, and 5) Conclusions and Recommendations, followed by references and appendices. Additional dissertation guidelines can be found in the Doctoral Lounge.