Degree Requirements

LAI Degree Requirements

Master's Degree Programs

The Ed.M. degree program requires a minimum of 33 credit hours of study and a Capstone event (project, thesis or comprehensive examination). Placement studies conducted in the last five years show that alumni are teaching in nursery schools, day care centers, community colleges, and private and public elementary and high schools.

Ph.D. Degree - 62 Doctoral Level Credit Hours Minimum

Academic Programs

Concentration: 25 Hour minimum (Includes 1 Hour Research Analysis Exam) Research: 21 Hour minimum Research Practicum (LAI 645): 6 Hours Dissertation (LAI 702): 10 Hours Relevant Master's Course Work: 10 hours


Research Analysis Exam

Ed.D. Degree - 61 Doctoral Level Credit Hours Minimum

  • Minimum of 4 yrs. professional experience
  • One of two letters of recommendation may be from school official

Academic Programs

Major: 15 Hours
  • Research Seminars
  • Independent Studies
  • Specific research courses
  • LAI 697: Research Analysis Exam (1 Hour)
Research/Measurement/Assessment/Evaluation: 18 Hours (Tests/Measurement expected in Ed.M, otherwise CEP 512/509 as additional requirement.)
  • Critical Analysis of Research
  • Quantitative & Qualitative Methods
  • Methods of Evaluation
Minor: 9 Hours Elective (Core rec.): 3 Hours
  • School Research Practicum: 6 Hours
  • Dissertation: 10 Hours
  • Relevent Master's Course Work: 11 hours


Research Analysis Exam


There is no residency requirement for the Ed.D. program.


When a student is admitted to the doctoral program in LAI, the University at Buffalo and the Graduate School of Education (GSE) consider that person to be a fully matriculated doctoral student; therefore, in completing all GSE or university forms or questionnaires, the new student should list himself or herself as a doctoral student. LAI, however, divides doctoral study into three separate stages: Advanced Graduate Standing (AGS), Doctoral Program Standing (DPS), and Doctoral Candidacy. Admission to LAI as a doctoral student is into the AGS stage, during which the student develops a plan of study and identifies a major advisor. After 15 to 24 hours of study in AGS the student then applies to the Doctoral Studies Committee (DSC) for admission to the DPS stage. After admission to DPS, the student remains in that stage until completing all or most course work, completing the Research Experience Component, and filing for Application to Candidacy, at which time the student becomes, upon approval, a Doctoral Candidate. As a doctoral candidate, the student defends the dissertation proposal and completes and defends the dissertation.


Academic advisors are the means by which the Department and the University supervise a student's education at this advanced level and ensure that the student fulfills academic regulations. An advisor is appointed to guide the student in the stage of Advanced Graduate Standing (AGS), and also an advisor, who may or may not be the same person as the AGS advisor, is appointed to oversee the student's work at the later stages of Doctoral Program Standing (DPS) and Doctoral Candidacy. The AGS advisor is appointed by the Department Chair, ordinarily on the suggestion of the Doctoral Studies Committee (DSC), and the student is informed of this appointment in the letter announcing the student's admission into the doctoral program. The advisor in DPS and Doctoral Candidacy is first nominated by the student and then reviewed by the DSC and finally appointed by the Department Chair only after receiving from that faculty member a letter stating his/her willingness to accept the appointment. Students may not, on their own authority, select advisors but rather must observe the regulations stated here. Students wishing to change from one advisor to another are permitted to do so, but students must initiate the procedure used to designate an advisor. This is done by completing Change of Advisor Form, which may be obtained in the office of the Assistant to the Department Chair. Faculty who have served as a student's advisor but believe that they should withdraw from the advisory relationship are expected to communicate their reasons to the Department Chair in a letter with copies going to the student and the student's folder. Finally, by Graduate School regulation, dissertation committee chairs for students seeking the Ph.D. degree must be members of the Graduate School faculty.

Dismissal from Program

Doctoral students who demonstrate limited academic progress (e.g., GPA < 3.0, excessive number of incomplete grades) will be informed by the Department Chair that their academic progress is considered unsatisfactory. The student will be placed on academic probation, and necessary requirements for removal of the academic probation status will be stipulated in writing. An exception to this policy of informing students of their limited academic progress is when a student obtains a grade of "1" on the Research Analysis Examination, in which case, the student is immediately dismissed from doctoral study. Students are subject to dismissal from the Department if they fail to meet acceptable standards of performance in examinations or course work or if they do not comply with regulations stated in The Requirements of the Program.The Doctoral Studies Committee is charged with investigation of the case of any student whose academic behavior appears to be unsatisfactory. If the Committee decides dismissal is warranted, it will so recommend dismissal, in writing, to the Department. The recommendation will contain supporting evidence, and the student, who will receive an exact copy of the recommendation for dismissal , may submit a written response. The Committee's recommendation, together with the student's response, go to the Department Faculty for review. The name of the student is placed on the agenda of the first regular Department meeting following submission of the recommendation, and the Faculty vote to retain or to dismiss the student.

Dissertation Proposal

The following ideas may be useful to doctoral students in the initial stages of writing their dissertation proposal. The suggested outline is only a guide and students may depart from it in any way that more effectively presents the specific problem to which their study is directed. The Department requires that specific attention be given to various aspects of the doctoral dissertation. For information about quality of typing, the size and quality of the paper, requirements regarding dissertation titles, and other information specific to the University at Buffalo, Ph.D. candidates should check two publications of the Graduate School, the Graduate Student Manual: Policies and Procedures for Graduate Students and the booklet Guidelines for Graduation and Theses and Dissertation Preparation; and Ed.D. students should check the Graduate School of Education's Ed.M. and Ed.D. Regulations and Procedures. However, the basic guide for dissertation writing in the Department of Learning and Instruction is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition (APA), the MLA Style Sheet, 6th Edition, or Turabian's A Manual for Writers, 6th Edition. Candidates should check with their advisor to determine which is the best to use. (These manuals are up-dated from time to time, and students should use the most current edition.)

Summary of Stages and Requirements for Doctoral Study in Learning and Instruction

Stage I: Advanced Graduate Standing (AGS)

Major Requirements

  • Confer with assigned major advisor.
  • In collaboration with the major advisor, complete the Initial Course Plan Statement (ICPS).
  • Complete at least 18 credit hours and no more than 24 credit hours.
  • Pass the Research Analysis Examination (must have registered for 9 hours in major and 9 hours in research to sit for this exam).
  • Apply for progression to Stage 2 (Doctoral Program Standing) by submitting ICPS (signed by major advisor and containing the residency statement) to the Doctoral Studies Committee (DSC). The DSC meets once a month during the academic year and once in the summer.
IMPORTANT NOTE: AGS students must not register for more than 24 hours! AGS students must apply to DPS before completing 24 credit hours.

Stage II: Doctoral Program Standing (DPS)

Major Requirements

  • By the end of 33-36 credit hours, complete the Research Experience Component.
  • After completing the Research Experience—and not before—establish a dissertation committee of no less than 3 persons: the major advisor, one other LAI faculty member, and one other UB faculty member not in LAI.
  • Obtain approval of the dissertation committee by submitting the Dissertation Committee Approval Form to the DSC. This form requires (a) a brief description of the intended dissertation research project, (b) the signature of the major advisor, and (c) the name of each committee member.
  • Ph.D. Students: Submit the Graduate School form Application to Candidacy to DSC. Although the Graduate School requires the signature of only the major advisor at this time, LAI stipulates that it must be signed by all dissertation committee members. Upon approval of the Application to Candidacy by the DSC, the GSE Graduate Degrees Committee, and the Graduate School, the student progresses to Stage 3, Doctoral Candidate.
  • Ed.D. Students: Submit the GSE Statement of Program form to DSC. Although the GSE requires the signature of only the major advisor at this time, LAI requires that it must be signed by all dissertation committee members. Upon approval of the Application to Candidacy by the DSC and the GSE Graduate Degrees Committee, the student progresses to Stage 3, Doctoral Candidate.

Stage III: Doctoral Candidacy

For Ph.D. Students

  1. Defend the dissertation proposal before the committee at a publicly-announced time and place.
  2. Submit LAI's Dissertation Proposal Defense form to the Assistant to the Department Chair for inclusion in the file.
  3. Complete all courses on the ICPS.
  4. Complete dissertation.
  5. Once the committee approves the dissertation for oral defense, the dissertation is defended at a publicly- announced time and place.
  6. See Assistant to the Department Chair for final details.

For Ed.D. Students

  • Defend the dissertation proposal before the committee at a publicly-announced time and place.
  • Submit LAI's Dissertation Proposal Defense form to the Assistant to the Department Chair for inclusion in the file.
  • Complete all courses on the ICPS.
  • Complete dissertation
  • After committee approves dissertation for oral defense, defend dissertation at a publicly-announced time and place.
  • See Assistant to the Department Chair for final details.