Frequently Asked Questions






What are the admissions requirements?
  • A Master's degree and an Undergraduate degree from regionally accredited colleges or universities.
  • An official graduate transcript from each college, university, and/or professional school attended. 
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation from course instructors and/or current supervisors addressing the applicant's qualifications for doctoral level work. 
  • A reflective essay of approximately 500 words addressing your professional goals and research interests and how they can be achieved in this program.
  • A copy of your resume.
Do I need to have a master’s degree to apply for admissions? Yes. You must have both a master’s and a bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited institution in order to apply for admissions. 
Is the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) required?  GRE or MAT scores are not required. 
 What is the application’s deadline? There is no application deadline since admissions to the Ph.D. program in Strategic Leadership and Administrative Studies is based on open enrollment. 
How do I apply for admissions? 

You can apply by simply contacting Admissions at: GoGrad@marywood.edu.

Is online application for admissions free? Yes.
Is there a minimum GPA requirement? There are no GPA requirements. 
Who should I contact if I am having technical difficulties with the online application? You may contact the office of Graduate Admissions at: GoGrad@marywood.edu
Who can write my letters of recommendation? Your supervisors or colleagues with whom you have worked or volunteered. If you have a professor who can speak on your academic performance, this is also fine. 
Should I send in a writing sample? No, Thank you.  We do not request a writing sample and will not take this into consideration in our review of your application.
Do you accept transfer students from another doctoral program? Yes, we accept up to 9 credits (of grades of B or higher) from another related-doctoral programs. 
Do you accept credit transfer from my master’s degree? Yes, once admitted to the program we accept the transfer of up to 12 master’s degree credits (with grades of B or higher) as electives. 
What should be in my reflective essay? Submit a reflective essay of approximately 500 words addressing your professional goals and research interests and how they can be achieved in this program. 
Do you have any special requirements for international applicants? TOEFL score is required from international students if English was not the language of studies during their master’s degree programs. 
Do I need to have my foreign documents translated? Yes. All foreign documents, such as official transcripts and letters of recommendation, must be translated by an official translator and notarized as authentic translations by a notary public.
I was accepted but I declined my offer. Can I reapply? If you were admitted but declined our offer, you may reapply, but will need to refile all documents. 
Can I defer my admissions offer? Admitted applicants may defer enrollment for up to one year.  In order to be considered for deferral, an admitted applicant must 1) accept the offer of admission, 2) submit the program deposit, and 3) request a deferred entrance for one year.  Admitted applicants can request a deferral by submitting an email request to both the Program’s Director and Graduate Admission outlining their reason for seeking deferral. The only candidates who should consider deferral are those who are certain that they can guarantee their enrollment in one year and who are willing to risk losing the deposit if their plans change.
Do you use a waitlist? No.
May I appeal my admissions decision? No. The admissions review process is quite thorough and taken very seriously.  We will not reconsider applications once a decision has been made.  Students may re-apply after being denied admission, but we will look for evidence that they have remedied the factors leading to their denial.  You will need to submit a new application with all documents.
When will admission decisions be made? The application review process begins immediately following the submission of a completed application. 
When can I register for class if my application for admissions is accepted? You can register for class scheduled for the next semester any time after you received your acceptance letter. For example, if you received your acceptance letter in October during the fall semester you can register for courses offered next spring.



Do you provide financial assistance? We provide financial aid, loans, scholarships, and endowment funds. All admission and financial aid decisions are merit based.
When do I need to send in the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Financial Aid)? It is best to send your FAFSA to the federal government as soon as you are able. Each year the Department of Education begins to take FAFSA forms on January 1. You can apply for FAFSA at: https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa
How do I apply for loans? You can apply for loans at: https://studentaid.gov/
Where do I apply for scholarship? You can apply for scholarship through the university’s Financial Aid office no later than April 15. You can learn more about scholarship at: http://www.marywood.edu/fin_aid/apply/graduate.html.
Do you offer financial aid to international students? Yes, we offer financial assistance to all admitted students. International students are considered on the same basis as domestic applicants. All financial aid decisions are merit based. 
What is Marywood University's FAFSA school code?  003296. 
How should I apply for endowment funds? Once accepted to the program you will receive an announces for applying to the Miller Endowment Funds (amount varies between 4200-$400 per student) at the start of the spring semester. The application consists of writing a short essay that addresses a short biography, your status at the program and the reason for applying.
Do you have fellowship or graduate assistantship?  No.



What are the program’s requirements? The Ph.D. Program in Strategic Leadership and Administrative Studies requires the competition of seven (21 credits) Foundation courses, six (18 credits) research courses, four (12 credits) elective courses, and a minimum of 9 dissertation credits. Students are eligible to wave the four elective courses by transferring 12 credits (of grades of B or higher) from their master’s degree. 
How many credits does it take to complete the program? 60 credits. However, students who are eligible to transfer 12 credits from their master’s degree the total credits required to complete the program is 48
Where are classes held? Online. 
Do you offer courses during the summer? No. Courses are offered only during the fall and spring semester. However, students who need to satisfy their elective requirements (if they did not transfer all 12 credits from their master’s degree program due to grades lower than B), can take an elective course offered by other departments at the university. To see a list of elective courses allowed to be taken at other departments click on: http://www.marywood.edu/phd/curriculum.html
Can I take any electives from other departments?

Yes, as stated above, students who need to satisfy their elective requirements (if they did not transfer all 12 credits from their master’s degree program due to grades lower than B), can take an elective course offered by other departments at the university. To see a list of elective courses allowed to be taken at other departments click on: http://www.marywood.edu/phd/curriculum.html

Is there a master courses schedule? Yes. We follow a sequence specified by a master course schedule. You can read the master course schedule at: http://www.marywood.edu/phd/course-schedule.
Are there prerequisites? Yes. You will need to complete SLAS 6009: Quotative Research Design before allowed to register for SLAS 6010: Advanced Quantitative Research, and to complete SLAS 6010 before registering for SLAS 6011: statistical Analysis. You will also need to complete all courses before registering for SLAS 6013: Qualifying Seminar, and to pass SLAS 6013 before registering for dissertation credits. 
Where can I get more detailed information on the program?

You can read the Program’s Manual at: http://www.marywood.edu/phd/SLAS%20Program%20Manual%202021.pdf

Is there a comprehensive exam?  No.
Is there a Qualifying Process? Yes. After the competition of all courses students are required to take and successfully pass SLAS 6013: Qualifying Seminar before allowed to enter the candidacy phase and starting their dissertation process. 
Can I register for dissertation credits while I am registered for the Qualifying Seminar? No. Students are not permitted to simultaneously register for SLAS 6013: Qualifying Seminar and dissertation. Only after successfully completing the Qualifying Seminar students are permitted to register for dissertation credits. 
Am I required to register for dissertation credits during the summer sessions? No. Registering for dissertation credits during the summer sessions is optional.
Can I register for dissertation credits without having a dissertation committee? No.
When can I form my dissertation committee? You can form your dissertation committee after completing SLAS 6012: Pre-Dissertation Seminar. You must complete the Dissertation Appointment Form, have all members of your dissertation committee sign it, and then email it to the Program Director. You cannot start your dissertation process without first passing the Qualifying Process (SLAS 6013: Qualifying Seminar), forming a committee and had submitted the Dissertation Appointment Form to the Program Director. The form is available at: http://www.marywood.edu/phd/the-dissertation-process/
How do I form my dissertation committee? A Dissertation Committee is composed of the Dissertation Committee Chair and two other full-time Marywood University faculty members, or one university faculty member and an outside expert. Committee members are to be invited based on consultation with the dissertation chair. A committee member must hold a terminal degree (Ph.D. or equivalent) and can hold an academic or professional appointment. When an outside expert is invited to be a committee member, then the curriculum vitae of the outside expert must first be submitted to the Dissertation Committee Chair for approval. Outside members who are appointed to the committee are not compensated for their service and serve on the committee voluntarily. Retired or former Marywood faculty may continue to serve on the committee either as a member or as chair, if approved by the Dissertation Committee Chair. 
Do I have to get IRB approval prior to starting my dissertation? Yes. 
How do I apply for IRB? Visit http://www.marywood.edu/irb/index.html
Is dissertation defense conducted online? Yes (through Zoom).
Do I need Readers in addition to my dissertation committee for my defense? Yes. The Candidate and Dissertation Committee to select two Readers at least three weeks prior to the scheduled dissertation defense date. Readers are to ask questions and present their feedback to the Dissertation Committee. A Reader must hold a terminal degree from an accredited university and to be selected either from the faculty pool at Marywood University or from outside of the university. 
Where can I publish my dissertation? You can Submit your dissertation for publication in the program's flagship peer-review journal, the Journal of Applied Professional Studies. All dissertations that were successfully defended are eligible for publication at the journal. 
What are the stages in the dissertation process, from start to end?

Before Starting the Dissertation Process

  • Secure a Dissertation Committee Chair and two members. The Chair and one committee member have to be full-time faculty members of Marywood University. The third member can be from outside the university. Each member must hold a terminal degree from an accredited university.
  • Electronically (as an Email attachment) submit a completed "Appointment of Dissertation Committee" Form to the Program Director.
  • Complete IRB's online Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) as well as IRB application
  1. During the Dissertation Writing Process
  • Complete at least 9 credits of dissertation research.
  • If the dissertation has not yet been defended after satisfactory completion of 9 dissertation credits, then a continuous registration of 1 dissertation credit per academic semester is required until successful defense. 
  1. Prior to Defending the Dissertation
  • Notify the Program Director via email of your intent to defend at least one month prior to the scheduled date of your dissertation defense (no form is required).
  • Provide an electronic copy of the dissertation three weeks prior to the scheduled defense to the Program Director and Committee members.
  • Register for Graduation.
  • The Candidate and the Dissertation Committee to select two Readers at least three weeks prior to the scheduled defense date. A Reader must also hold a terminal degree from an accredited university.
  1. Defending the Dissertation
  • All dissertation defenses to be conducted through Zoom or Google Meeting.
  • Dissertation defense should not be longer than 45 minutes, followed by questions and answers.
  • Have a minimum of two copies of the "Dissertation Cover Page" and all committee members must sign the form once the dissertation defense is successful.
  • Readers to ask questions during the defense and present their feedback to the committee.
  • A majority vote of the Dissertation Committee members and at least one Reader is required to pass the defense.
  • The Candidate can pass with provision that the research mentor supervise the corrections or additions to the final draft of the dissertation.
  • Once passed, submit a copy of the signed Cover Page to the Program Director and keep another copy for own record.
  1. Dissertation Format
  • APA Style as described in the most current Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is to be followed.
  • The Copyright Act of 1976 provides for statutory copyright protection for any work fixed in a tangible medium. Following the Dissertation title page, the following copyright notice should be affixed on a separate page: "© year - Author’s Name All rights reserved."
  • The left margin must be 1 1/2", the right, bottom and top margins must be 1". These margins must be respected for graphs, charts, illustrations, etc. Use font size 10-12 using the same style of font or typeface throughout.
  • Front matter may include: acknowledgements, list of illustrations or tables, glossary of terms.
  1. After Defending the Dissertation
  • Provide the Program Director with an electronic Word copy of the completed dissertation no later than two weeks after successfully defending your dissertation.
  • If you are interested in bound copies of your dissertation you may contact Marywood University's Library.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to present their research to regional, national, or international professional audiences. Research mentors typically are also willing to assist in the development of the student’s dissertation into a manuscript for publication. In these cases, the student is to have first authorship.
  • Students can submit their dissertation for publication in the program's flagship peer-review journal, the Journal of Applied Professional Studies.
  • If after two years the doctoral student does not publish his/her data, then the dissertation chair gains ownership of the data and may publish the results as first author. 



How old is the PhD program? The program was established in 1996.
Is there a time limit to complete the program?  Yes. You must complete the program in 7 years. With the approval of the Program Director a one-year extension can be added during extra-ordinary circumstances. 
How many students are in the programs? 100+ 
How diverse is the program? Our program is wonderfully diverse. 
Can I study part-time? Yes.
Can I pursue the program if I work full-time?  Yes. 
How many courses do student enroll each semester? Most of our students work full-time. Thus, they enroll in one or two classes each semester. However, and depends on your work schedule you can take more than two courses per semester. 
How long does it take to complete the program? Most students are able to finish the program in 3-4 years.  
Do I need to take courses continuously? Yes. However, during extra-ordinary circumstances and with the approval of the Program’s Director you can take one semester off. 
What kinds of jobs do people get after their Ph.D.? Our graduates work in all types of governmental, nonprofit, and corporate settings. Many of our graduates joined academia and are teaching at various institutions. Others work as administrators, managers, executives, or directors. 
Is there a student honorary award? Yes. The program awards an outstanding student each year during commencement with the McGowan Award. 
Can I take classes in the program before I’ve been accepted? Students interested in taking courses offered by the program before they have been formally accepted may do so, provided they have applied for admission to Marywood University.  
Which professors can I work with? Each course is taught by an instructor. You can read about the teaching faculty at: http://www.marywood.edu/phd/teaching-faculty
Who will be my advisor? The Program’s Director. 
Is there a list of dissertation faculty to choose from for my dissertation committee? Yes. You can see the list of dissertation faculty on the program's web page (then click on "Dissertation Faculty").
What types of career advice will the university offers me? Marywood University’s Career Services prepares graduates for careers at academic institutions, in think tanks, research firms, and research units of public, quasi-public and private organizations, as well as for other positions with substantial responsibilities for the supervision and administration of research.
What types of other services the university offers me? Marywood University helps with writing through the Writing Center, Moodle training, and accommodations for students with disabilities.