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Degree by Coursework and Dissertation

Admissions Requirements
Degree Requirements
Duration of Degree Program
Comprehensive Examination Requirements
Dissertation Proposal
Dissertation Project
Review of Dissertation
Transfer Credits and Course Waivers
Course Descriptions

For students pursuing studies beyond the Master's, Akamai University offers two avenues for completion of the doctoral degree. The most common path through the doctoral program is by completion of academic coursework and dissertation which represents a meaningful and original contribution to the field.

If eligible, mature students with research experience and thorough preparation in the discipline may pursue the degree by dissertation only.

As prerequisites for acceptance to the Doctoral degree by "coursework and dissertation", participants should have completed the equivalent of a recognized Master's degree in an appropriate field of study, with several years of meaningful professional experience. Many fields of study require specific preparatory coursework (and licensing) for entry at the Doctoral level.

Under special circumstances, well-qualified applicants are accepted to the Doctoral program lacking elements of preparation when the balance of their credentials are exceptional. Under these conditions, participants would be required to add the missing competencies to their program and pay additional tuition, accordingly.

Participants are expected to be proficient in collegiate English language skills. Applicants that are second language English should submit a record of prior English-language graduate study or a record of TOEFL examination with a minimum score of 500. Participants are expected to have access to a computer, email and the Internet and other outside library resources for the full extent of their program.

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Doctoral participants by coursework and dissertation complete a minimum of 52 credits above the Master's degree including the dissertation. The coursework requirements include the academic major, the academic minor, and research preparation competencies.

In addition to Akamai coursework, participants may petition the primary mentor for credit to be applied from transfer courses completed at outside colleges and training organizations.

Doctoral students complete a written and oral comprehensive examination at the conclusion of their academic coursework and prepare a formal dissertation proposal. Participants complete the dissertation project, prepare the manuscript for faculty review, and complete an oral review of dissertation at the conclusion of the research review.

As a minimum degree requirement, Doctoral students must maintain Akamai University enrollment for at least one and one-half calendar years. Most doctoral students complete their program within three years from the date of initial registration. A maximum period of six years is allowed to finish all requirements for the degree.

Doctoral students complete the following program elements:

Academic Major (Required: 18 credits minimum)
Academic Minor (Required: 12 credits minimum)
Research Preparation (Required: 6 credits minimum)
EXM 980: Doctoral Comprehensive Examination (Required: 2 credits)
RES 985: Dissertation Proposal (Required: 4 credits)
RES 990: Dissertation (Required: 8 credits)
EXM 995: Oral Review of Dissertation (Required: 2 credits)

The Academic Major
Doctoral students completing the degree by coursework, complete core coursework comprising an academic major. These are the foundational competencies in theories, principles, and practices, and the historical, philosophical, and social-cultural implications of the discipline. These courses represent the core competencies and essential elements, which define your field of study and establish the underlying foundations upon which you may base your advanced professional development.

As a Doctoral student you are guided by your primary mentor in the selection of at least eighteen credits in core course modules from within the field of your academic major. In most degree fields the core program includes a reading course through which you cover the essential theoretical literature appropriate to the discipline.

The Academic Minor
Doctoral students completing the degree by coursework, also complete coursework comprising an academic minor comprising at least 12 credits. Your primary mentor will guide you in the selection of this coursework. The academic minor may include additional studies in your major field or another appropriate field of study. The minor may also be interdisciplinary in nature. You are encouraged to select minor studies that serve your individualized academic needs and professional interests. These minor studies may serve to add competencies essential to your development, especially as related to your efforts to make meaningful contributions through advanced professional or research endeavors.

Research Preparation
Doctoral students must pursue studies providing advanced research knowledge necessary for success in their final projects (dissertation). At least six semester credits of research preparation coursework is required and this might focus upon quantitative and qualitative methods or participatory action research techniques including subject selection, research design, and statistical analysis, as appropriate to each student's proposed project. Through this requirement, students learn to effectively define applied problems or theoretical issues and articulate the rationale for the study. They should learn to present an effective scholarly review of the academic literature and implement quantitative, qualitative or participatory action methods for evaluating academic issues.

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As a minimum degree requirement, Doctoral students must maintain Akamai University enrollment for at least one and one-half calendar years. Most doctoral students complete their program within three years from the date of initial registration. After three years, a small continuation fee is assessed each calendar quarter. A maximum period of six years is allowed to finish all requirements for the degree.

Once you have completed the coursework or tutorial elements of your degree, you will be asked to schedule the Comprehensive Examination. Your primary mentor and a faculty member representing the secondary academic area conduct both the written and oral components of the examination. The written portion is open book style with selected essay questions requiring creative responses that reach for the higher levels of cognition. Your answers are expected to draw from the academic competencies of your program with proper referencing of the scholarly literature. The oral component of the examination is normally completed by telephone conference and is intended to allow detailed investigation of your written responses.

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You are expected to prepare a formal proposal related to your concept for research under the direction of your primary mentor and according to University expectations.

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Following approval of your dissertation proposal, you will begin your research project. Your dissertation may take the form of a traditional research project or it may be a major scholarly project of the type appropriate to the discipline. Whichever approach to the dissertation is chosen, the resulting project must demonstrate mastery of a body of knowledge in the major field of study, be your original work and represent a meaningful contribution to the betterment of the human condition or an improvement to the professional field.

Your dissertation research may be conducted via quantitative, qualitative, or participatory action research. The body of your dissertation manuscript, structured according to a set of approved manuscript guidelines, should exceed 150 double spaced, typewritten pages. If your dissertation takes the form of a scholarly project, it must follow the guidelines provided by the University for such projects.

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Once you have prepared the dissertation manuscript, you will be asked to schedule the formal review process. Your primary mentor and a faculty member representing the secondary academic area will conduct both the formal physical review of the dissertation manuscript and the oral review of dissertation.

The physical review of the manuscript usually takes the review committee four to six weeks. Each reviewer will prepare questions and commentary relative to your underlying review of the literature, the dissertation methodology, the mechanics of your project, and your presentation of the findings, conclusions and recommendations.

The Oral Review of Dissertation is conducted under the direction of your primary mentor with the assistance of one qualified member of the faculty. The examination is carried out by telephone conference call and is designed to allow detailed investigation of your dissertation. The faculty reviewers explore with you issues related to your dissertation including methodology, review of literature and interpretation of the findings.

One outcome of the dissertation review process is a set of final expectations directing you through the remaining tasks for completing the dissertation manuscript. Once your final manuscript is approved, you will submit the formal document to an approved bindery and later arrange for the bound dissertation to shipped to the University for permanent archival storage.

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As an important part of your program, you may petition your primary mentor to transfer coursework previously completed at accredited education and training institutions (including Akamai University affiliates), provided the coursework satisfies meaningful elements of your program of studies. As a Doctoral student, you may have a maximum of twelve semester credits of transfer coursework applied toward your degree.

Courses applied to your prior degrees will not be granted credit in transfer but may be eligible for course waivers. There are no limits to the number of course waivers that may be applied, so long as they address required elements of your program. You should carefully review the University's guidelines regarding transfer credits and course waivers and explore the details with your primary mentor.

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EXM 980: Doctoral Comprehensive Examination
RES 985: Dissertation Proposal
RES 990: Dissertation
EXM 995: Oral Review of Dissertation

EXM 980: Comprehensive Examination-Doctoral Students (2 credits)
This is the traditional comprehensive examination of doctoral students conducted by the graduate committee immediately following completion of the academic coursework and prior to undertaking the dissertation. The examination usually includes both written and oral components and is confined to the programs of studies completed by the student.

RES 985: Dissertation Proposal (4 credits)
Participants prepare a formal dissertation research proposal according to publish University policies and guidelines.

RES 990: Dissertation (8 credits)
This course governs the conduct of the dissertation project for the Doctoral level student. The dissertation is a major undertaking that is a demonstration of mastery of a field of study and an original contribution to the field usually 150 or more pages in length. The dissertation project may take any of several forms, depending upon the field of study and the expectations of faculty. This may be quantitative or qualitative research, participatory action research. Doctoral students may re-enroll for this course for noncredit, as needed.

EXM 995: Oral Defense of Dissertation-Doctoral Students (2 credits)
This examination is an oral defense of the doctoral dissertation conducted by the graduate committee immediately following their reading of the dissertation manuscript. The process follows guidelines published by the University.

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Akamai University is internationally accredited by the Accreditation Service for International Colleges (ASIC). The University has earned Premier status with ASIC for its commendable areas of operation. ASIC is an approved accrediting body for the purposes of compliance by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) is a member of the British Quality Foundation (BQF), sits on the Quality Standards Group of UK NARIC, and is one of a number of international accrediting bodies listed in the international directory by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) in the USA and is a member of the CHEA International Quality Group (CIQG).


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