Apr 12, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

General Requirements for Degrees and Certificates

The general requirements that apply to all programs regardless of the college, school, or department in which they are offered are described here. 

Students should direct questions regarding specific course requirements to the graduate program director, academic advisor, or department chairperson in the academic unit offering the degree or certificate. The Graduate School will assist in answering other questions.

Only 5000-level courses and other graduate-level courses apply toward graduate degrees or certificate programs. Graduate students cannot take 4000-level courses or lower as part of the credit-hour requirement. At least half of the credit for the master’s degree must be earned in courses for graduates only, numbering 6000 or above.

Additional requirements applicable to all graduate students are explained in the Academic Regulations  section of this catalog. The university does not award degrees solely because a student successfully completed the required courses. Students cannot earn a degree or credential unless they have applied to and been accepted into the program prior to completing the final course in the program of study. Retroactive conferral (graduation without admission) is not allowed.

Violations of the Student Code of Conduct, including both academic and nonacademic violations, may result in a degree not being awarded. For example, when the student has disciplinary charges pending, the degree may be withheld or the awarding of the degree may be delayed.

Doctoral Degrees

Research Doctoral Degrees

Research doctoral degree (e.g., PhD, EdD, DrPH) students must demonstrate their ability to undertake scholarly research by passing a series of written and oral candidacy examinations in the field of specialization and related areas of knowledge, writing a dissertation reporting the results of an original investigation, and by successfully defending the dissertation. All research doctoral degree program curricula must include HUMS 7004  or a discipline specific equivalent of at least two credits of research ethics, human subjects protections, and the responsible conduct of research.

All PhD students must attain candidacy for the degree within six (6) calendar years. All degree requirements must be completed within ten (10) calendar years.

Candidates seeking the EdD with a focus on public school administration must hold Level I licensure in administration or supervision. Upon completion of the program, individuals are eligible to upgrade previously held licenses to the appropriately earned level and area. Candidates seeking the EdD with a concentration in higher education administration are not required to hold a previous license and are not eligible for North Carolina license in administration or supervision upon completion of the program.

Professional Doctoral Degrees

Professional doctoral students are expected to emphasize didactic and clinical studies and complete a basic structure of coursework and qualifying experiences. Qualifying experiences include written and oral candidacy examinations and the completion of a discipline content area research project, dissertation, or other capstone experience. Programs may also include clinical or research internships and clinical defenses.

All professional doctoral students must attain candidacy for the degree within six (6) calendar years. All degree requirements must be completed within ten (10) calendar years.

Master’s Degrees

Master’s degrees provide a student with a well-rounded and in-depth understanding of the subject matter. Master’s degrees are typically 30-60 credits with wide variation in program requirements. These include graduate core course requirements and electives. In some cases, internship, clinical work, or other practical experience is a required part of a master’s degree. Many master’s programs offer a thesis option which requires additional thesis course credits, production of a thesis document, and a thesis defense. All master’s programs require a comprehensive assessment at the end of the program which can be a formative or summative assessment, portfolio, clinical defense, or other culminating project at the discretion of the graduate faculty in the program. A number of master’s degree programs lead to licensure in the field; additional information about licensure is available in individual degree program listings or through the program coordinator.

Intermediate Programs/Recognition

Intermediate programs require at least 30 credits of coursework beyond the master’s degree, and applicants must hold an appropriate master’s degree from an accredited institution. ECU offers an educational specialist (EdS) program in educational administration and supervision and a specialist in school psychology (SSP).

Teacher Licensure

Licensure requirements may exceed degree requirements, and because licensure requirements are subject to change at any time by the NC General Assembly or State Board of Education, candidates must meet the licensure requirements in effect at the time of licensure application. This may include, but not be limited to, licensure exams, performance assessments, field experiences or internships. ECU’s programs are approved by the state and accredited by CAEP; therefore, ECU can recommend candidates for the license they earn, but ultimately the state makes the decision to issue the license. For programs that require the candidate to hold, or be eligible to hold, a valid NC teaching license, it is the candidate’s responsibility to contact the program area coordinator to be sure they meet the licensure requirement prior to applying to the program.

Graduate Certificates

Post-baccalaureate, post-master’s, and post-doctoral certificates are a collection of courses that represent a focused area of specific knowledge within a discipline. All certificates contain at least three distinct courses and are a minimum of 9 credit hours. Some certificates can be completed concurrently with a degree program and dual counting of the credits is allowed in certain circumstances. There are certificates that must be completed concurrently with a degree program and cannot be earned otherwise. Graduate certificates must only contain courses in the Graduate Catalog. Certificates are considered post-baccalaureate when 50% or more of the certificate courses are at the 5000 and 6000 level. Certificates are considered post-masters when 50% or more of the certificate courses are at the 7000, 8000, or 9000 level. With appropriate justification, graduate certificates that fall outside of these recommended percentages can be reviewed and recommended for approval by the Dean of the Graduate School. Currently enrolled degree or certificate students do not need to use the online application to add a certificate to their record. These students may use the Add a Certificate process to request enrollment in a certificate. Additional information is in the Admission to Certificate Programs section of this catalog.