Program Courses

 

COURSES & COURSEWORK

The Doctoral Achievement Program is structured and comprises seven courses of twelve weeks each. We have structured the program so that you will accumulate the full 60 credits which is the standard for a doctoral degree by regional accrediting agencies.

 

It might be helpful to reiterate here that the courses are curated; They have succinct information and exercises to take you through the subject matter to master the competency you need for the subject. By being competency-based means that you may proceed in the program as fast as your schedule and learning will support your mastering of the course competencies. It is conceivable that you may complete some courses in less than 12 weeks. If so, you will begin the next course after a one-week break. Note that we have allowed two courses for data collection and results. Data collection and writing up the results is sometimes the greatest challenge when writing a dissertation. How do you get the data, and what do you do with it once you have it?

 

As has been mentioned previously, we consider the doctoral achievement program a formulaic approach. All courses are structured in the same way. It is a matter of getting into the rhythm of the structure in order to proceed in the courses. We have searched for the best materials for the various chapter foci.

A quick note on courses - You are expected to have completed your pre-dissertation coursework for your doctoral degree, including your research courses. If you feel a need for a refresher course, we have a research course available to you from a notable institution. It is a short five-week online refresher research course. It is an independent study course. This course is something that you can opt to take, but we do not recommend that you take it while you are taking any of the other seven courses. Please contact us for information about the institution and cost if you would like to exercise this option.

 

Course Descriptions

Course 1:  The Architecture of the Dissertation.  

 

This course is the fulcrum of your dissertation.  Getting the blueprint right is paramount.  It sets the context for designing and aligning the components of your study before you embark on the detailed chapters. This course uses the Latham (2016) nine-cell framework to help you design and align a coherent dissertation.  

This course takes you through each of the units of the first chapter:

 

  • Develop a topic for your dissertation.

  • Develop an introduction and background of the study.

  • State the problem or research opportunity.

  • Describe the significance of your study succinctly, supported by a gap in the literature or a gap in practice.

  • Craft a purpose statement; compose research question(s) and hypotheses/qualitative inquiries.

  • Create a theoretical foundation or a conceptual framework of the study.

  • Distinguish research methods and the respective corresponding research designs.

  • Stipulate operational definitions and the assumptions and limitations of the study.

  • Provide a summary and the organization of the study.

  • Draft the first chapter of the dissertation.

 

In this course, you will also assess your existing research capacity. You will secure a way to organize and manage the volumes of literature you’ll be gathering for the study.

 

Course 2:  The Literature Review.

 

A literature (lit) review examines published information on a particular topic or field. It identifies, evaluates, and synthesizes the relevant literature within a particular field of research. The literature review is an orderly, cohesive, well-sequenced narrative that unfolds the development of your topic for your readers. You present a logical sequence of existing seminal, core, and practitioner research. You review the literature and explore the application and influence of each selected article on the proposed study. This includes articles that cover what has already been done or found to help create a foundation and justification for your research.

 

A well-conducted literature review should be a continuum of how knowledge has evolved within the field. It highlights what has already been done, what is generally accepted, what is emerging, and what the current state of thinking is on your topic.  Your lit review will present how others have researched and measured the variables or themes related to the study phenomenon, including what is the research gap and how your study addresses this gap. It documents the need for your research. A well-written Chapter 2 sets you up for a strong Chapter 5

Course 3.  Research Methodology and Design.  

 

Research methodology and design are vital to your study.  Research methodology and design describe the plan you will use to answer your research question. This course introduces the language of research, ethical principles, and the boots-on-the-ground challenges inherent in conducting research. It covers research methodology and design. This includes the different qualitative and quantitative methodological categories you can use to answer your research questions, along with specific hands-on approaches and methods. For example, you might select a case study or a structured interview for qualitative methodologies. You might choose a correlational or a repeated measures design for quantitative designs. 

 

Course 4: Data Collection and Analysis.

 

This course provides guidance on what to do with the collected data. Specifically, it covers how to clean, organize and summarize the collected data, how to analyze the data, and how to present results and findings based on the data. Data typically includes information about the characteristics and demographics of the sample, summary data about the results tests or questionnaires, and hypothesis testing or research question theme development. This course covers how to present your data in logical and sequential ways. When and how to use text, tables, and figures. To ensure readability and clarity of findings for your readers, a logical organization, structure, and presentation are of the utmost importance. 

Course 5: Results, Conclusions, Implications & Recommendations
for Further Study.

 

This course integrates the study’s findings and shows the larger implications of your research. This is where you return to your literature review in Chapter 2 to bring relevant studies forward to interact with your own findings. You compare and contrast your results to what was previously found for each research question. You explore the significance of your findings for your population. You explain in detail what conclusions you’ve drawn from the study and how those conclusions might influence current practices in your field. You discuss any limitations of your study, exploring limitations to the generalizability of your findings for other researchers. You suggest what further research needs to be done and why.

 

Course Timeline

Our program, a clear path, consists of seven courses.
Once you've completed them you will have accumulated a full sixty credits.
Sixty credits is the standard for a doctoral degree by regional accrediting agencies. 
Maximum course completion time is 12 weeks.
Recommended program completion is 84 weeks.
We recommend a 1 week break between courses. 
 

Expectations for Completion

As with all doctoral programs, our expectations include that you:

  • Bring sufficient knowledge and experience to begin the program.

  • Commit and dedicate the time necessary to research and write a doctoral dissertation. 

  • Diligently apply yourself. 

  • Share our program values and reflect them in your work. These include:

 

   Scholarship 

   Character with compassion

   Authentic leadership

√   Service and advocacy

 

Timeline to Completion

 

Good things take time. The dissertation timeline is described in the structure above. It is expected to take between one and a half and two years depending upon your schedule, initiative, and management of external circumstances, particularly data collection and other contingencies that may occur. 

 

Delays & Extensions

 

We acknowledge you'll often be challenged by two push-pull counterbalancing dynamics of any doctoral dissertation experience: 

 

The first dynamic demands you be wholly committed to studying. That you are willing to devote the time and resources required to complete the dissertation in a timely manner.

 

The second dynamic balances this daily goal with reality.  To put it simply: “Life Happens.

 

Both are true and may or may not be part of your experience in the Doctoral Achievement Program.

 

If you can master the first (your dedication to the expeditious completion of your doctoral degree) then success is on the horizon.

 

If for reasons beyond your control, you experience the second (a “life happens” event), we will work with you to overcome whatever contingency may present itself. We remain dedicated to your successful experience in earning your doctoral degree.

 

Policy on the Use of Editors

The writing of a dissertation is the presentation of an original piece of research.  In the Doctoral Achievement Program, all work follows the style guide of the American Psychological Association (APA).  However, even the most professional of writers use editors. Dissertations are not exempt from this modality.  At the Doctoral Achievement Program, the use of editors is circumscribed to the following:

  • Editors may be consulted to ensure APA has been used correctly, to examine the flow of the document, to question the veracity of claims made in the dissertation, and to ensure that the text follows the standards of the American use of the English Language. 

 

  • You voice as an author is a unique as your thumbprint. You must not use an editor or an editor's voice to rewrite sections of the dissertation. 

 

  • The dissertation must be your work and your writing. However, you may confer with an editor to learn and to improve the the quality of your writing.

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You're only seven courses away from your doctorate.