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Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership

Agricultural Education Ph.D.

The Doctoral Program in Agricultural Education began at Oklahoma State University in 1955. The program's graduates hold a variety of positions, including faculty and administrative positions in colleges and universities, Cooperative Extension, and 4-H; supervisory and administrative positions in state departments of education and vocational education; as well as numerous positions in agribusiness, government, and related industry.

In 1997, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved a program leading to the Ph.D. in Agricultural Education to replace the Ed.D. With the additional emphasis placed on research, it is believed that the Ph.D. program will better prepare graduates to compete and contribute in the global community. The program is designed to be tailored to the individual needs and goals of the student. There is a wide array of quality agriculture, education, administration, extension, occupational, and other course offerings from which to choose.

Admission Criteria for the Doctor of Philosophy Program

  1. A master's degree in an appropriate field from an accredited university;
  2. An acceptable grade point average in undergraduate and graduate studies (an undergraduate GPA of 2.80 and a graduate GPA of 3.0 in 24 or more hours);
  3. An acceptable score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (school code 6546; department code 3908);
  4. Three years of appropriate professional experience;
  5. Recommendations from three people knowledgeable of the applicant's professional qualifications;
  6. A curriculum vitae and statement of goals.

Doctor of Philosophy Admission Procedures

Applications for admission are made online at the Graduate College website. You will be asked to set up an account with a user identification and password.  When you are asked to select a degree program, select “Doctor of Philosophy degree program in Agricultural Education.”  You will be asked to submit a non-refundable application fee of $50.00 for domestic students or $75.00 for international students and to provide copies of all college or university transcripts.  Transcripts may be mailed to the Graduate College, 202 Whitehurst Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078-1019, or they may be sent from a secure electronic server to

Submit a statement of purpose, three letters of professional recommendation, a curriculum vitae, and GRE scores to the Graduate Coordinator, Department of Agricultural Education, Communications & Leadership, 448 Agricultural Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078-6031.

Your application will be referred to the Department by the Graduate College.  After it is reviewed by the graduate faculty, you will receive notification of their decision from the Graduate College.  Applications are reviewed continuously.

Program Requirements
The program requires a minimum of 60 semester hours above the master's degree. Required coursework includes 15 hours of agricultural education and education courses, 15 hours of specialty-area courses, 15 hours of statistics and research courses, and 15 dissertation hours. A minimum of 30 semester hours must be taken in residence at Oklahoma State University. One year (two concurrent semesters) of the last two years must be spent in continuous residence at the institution.

An advisory committee should be established early in the program. The committee can assist in planning the program of study, conducting research, and meeting the requirements of the degree. The committee consists of four faculty members, including three members of the Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership graduate faculty and one other graduate faculty member, usually from the specialty area. One of the graduate faculty members from the Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership will serve as committee chair.

Summary of Procedures for Completing a Doctor of Philosophy Degree


Consult a requested or assigned temporary advisor regarding enrollment during the first semester of classes.


Select a graduate committee of four faculty members (consisting of three members from the Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership, one of whom will serve as committee chair, and a fourth member from outside the department generally in your area of specialty) and develop a plan of study with your committee chair


Submit an on-line plan of study to the Graduate College prior to completing the 28th credit hour of enrollment (which should include the five core courses in agricultural education or those not previously included on the master’s plan of study).  You will have the opportunity to revise it at the beginning of your final semester.


All students must indicate on their plans of study that they have completed the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirements (social sciences module for graduate students, faculty, and staff).  These requirements are completed through an on-line tutorial ( or through a course requirement.  If you complete this requirement through the on-line tutorial, a copy of your completion report must be placed in your departmental academic file located in 464 Agricultural Hall.  If you complete this requirement through AGCM 5101 or AGED 5101, this course must appear on your plan of study.


All students must indicate on their plans of study whether or not their research will involve human subjects. If human subjects are to be used, approval must be received from the Office of University Research Compliance prior to the beginning of research. Check out the URC website and mail documents to the Office of University Research Compliance, 219 Cordell North, Stillwater, OK 74078-1038.


After completing a majority of coursework, submit a dissertation proposal to your major advisor.  With your advisor’s approval, submit your dissertation proposal to your remaining committee members and schedule a committee meeting. After receiving approval for the dissertation proposal from your doctoral advisory committee, request to take the comprehensive examinations and schedule them with your committee.

The purpose of the comprehensive examinations is to encourage an in-depth review and assimilation of students’ educational experiences and to provide an opportunity for them to demonstrate the extent to which they can integrate and synthesize their total educational experiences and apply these to the solution of problems in their fields.


The written examination will consist of four sessions of three hours each, conducted as agreed upon by the student’s committee chairperson, the Graduate Coordinator, and the Department Head.  Each session will consist of essay questions (usually three).  The oral session will consist of two hours of questions from the student’s advisory committee at a date scheduled by the student along with his/her committee members two to five weeks after the written examination.

First Session—This portion of the comprehensive examination will be designed to assess the student’s knowledge in two core areas:  history and philosophy of agricultural education and teaching and learning.

Second Session—This portion of the comprehensive examination will assess the extent to which the student has mastered the content in his/her area of specialization and can apply it to problems and situations.  The questions will normally be prepared by the outside member of the student’s advisory committee, but may involve other members of the advisory committee or faculty in the area of specialization.

Third Session—This portion of the comprehensive examination will assess how well the student has mastered research methodology and can explain how to use it to solve problems and design research.

Fourth Session—This portion of the comprehensive examination will assess the student’s knowledge in other core areas:  technological change, evaluation, and leadership.  The student will be asked to explain how to use them in approaching problems and in planning, implementing, and evaluating agricultural education and leadership programs.

The Graduate Coordinator’s assistant will have a computer set up in room 450 or 465 and will request that the students copy their responses on to a jump drive at the end of each session.  The Graduate Coordinator’s assistant is responsible for getting copies of responses to each committee member along with evaluation sheets.  Committee members will bring responses and evaluation sheets to the oral examination for final determination of a pass/fail decision. The student’s committee members may use to verify the origins of any ideas.

The committee will recommend pass or fail for each of the four written sessions and the oral session.  Upon completion, file the Admission to Doctoral Candidacy form with the Graduate College.  If one or more written sessions or the oral session is failed, a retake of the oral session will be necessary to defend the session(s) that are retaken.  Also, in the event of a failure on any session, it will be the committee’s responsibility to identify the condition under which another examination may be taken.  The committee will identify the areas of weakness, suggest topics for further study, and specify details for the retake.


In evaluating students’ responses to the comprehensive examination questions, committee members will determine the extent to which students can recall, synthesize, organize, and apply, in their unique personal styles, knowledge directly pertaining to various aspects of and issues in agricultural education.  What is sought is prima facie evidence that respondents do (1) understand the question or problem presented, (2) cite appropriate sources and research, (3) logically develop the most important aspects of the problem or issue, and (4) succinctly conclude with their own positions regardless of how this may vary from or adhere to traditionally accepted positions.  Above all, students should “personalize” their responses and then defend their positions.


At the beginning of your final semester, submit on line a revised plan of study (if needed) and a graduation clearance form (on paper) to the Graduate College.  Once the Graduate College receives this form(s), you will be cleared for on-line submission of your diploma application through the Registrar’s Office.


Attend a formatting workshop offered by the Graduate College each semester or participate in an on-line formatting workshop by the Graduate College formatting deadline.  This requirement ensures that your dissertation meets the formatting requirements found in the on-line Thesis/Dissertation Handbook.


Schedule and complete your dissertation defense (oral examination) and submit results of the dissertation defense to the Graduate College by the dissertation defense deadline.


Upon successful completion of your dissertation defense, you will receive directions for submitting your dissertation on line from the Graduate College within two working days.


When you submit your dissertation on line by the electronic submission deadline, also submit one copy of your signed approval page and one copy of your signed abstract to the Graduate College.  The only signature missing will be that of the Graduate College Dean.  Thesis bond paper is no longer required.

You are not done when you submit your dissertation on line and hard copies of your approval page and abstract to the Graduate College.  You will receive an e-mail from the Graduate College either requesting changes or confirming that you have completed your dissertation requirements.  Ensure that the Graduate College has an e-mail address that you check often.  You may also be required to complete a survey before your degree will be conferred.

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