Program Components

Cohort Model

The program is designed using a cohort (group) model, in which you take all core classes with the same group of colleagues throughout the program.

Research about the cohort model has revealed that doctoral students feel a strong sense of support from cohort colleagues and completion rates tend to be higher for cohort members.  Nearly all of our doctoral students currently work as full-time professionals.  As an SHSU doctoral student, you have excellent opportunities to expand your network by developing relationships with other educational leaders from various sectors and regions.


What, Where, When?

What are the Terms of the Semester?

SHSU has 3 semesters: fall, spring, and summer. Fall and spring have 15 weeks and summer has 10 weeks.

When are Classes?

Two classes are offered face-to-face one night a week, 4:40-7:10 and 7:20-9:50, each semester.

Each cohort is assigned one evening per week and will take 2 classes on that one evening throughout the program. Current students have expressed that they find this format very convenient in balancing their doctoral studies with work and home life.

Where are Classes?

All classes are at the SHSU Woodlands Center near Lone Star College-Montgomery, off I-45 and 242/College Park.

 Map and Directions

Typically, for doctoral students who are full-time working professionals and have families and other commitments, 6 hours or 2 courses are considered a full-time load. In rare cases, some students can take 9 hours or 3 courses a semester.  In order to keep pace with the cohort and make progress in your course sequence, we also encourage you to take the minimum required 6 hours, rather than less (e.g., 3 hours).

Sample Degree Plan:

K-12 - Sample Study Plan 

Comprehensive Exam

After 6-8 semesters of coursework, students take a comprehensive written examination.  In addition to synthesizing course information, students demonstrate competencies in research tools.


Upon completing coursework, a dissertation is required to obtain a doctoral degree. A dissertation is an individual independent research study that a student conducts under the guidance of a Dissertation Advisor and a committee of two other professors who are familiar with the topic or method of study.

Under the guidance of the dissertation committee, a doctoral student designs a study to answer specified research questions. This plan is called a Dissertation Research Proposal and comprises three chapters. This proposal is presented to the committee. Once approved by the committee and the university’s Institutional Review Board, a student may proceed to collect data, analyze the data, and write up conclusions and implications for these study results.

A completed dissertation typically has five written chapters. Once the dissertation is written, the results and implications are presented to the committee for approval. If approved, the student is recommended to receive the doctoral degree and graduate.

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