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English Competence - Professional Doctoral Degrees

Professional Doctoral Degree Requirements Policy GCAC-700-E

Purpose: to establish the content, form, timeline, and reporting requirements for assessment of English competence.

Academic Goal: to ensure that all candidates for the professional doctorate degree demonstrate high-level competence in the use of the English language, including reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Scope: all students enrolled in programs of study leading to a professional doctoral degree.

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 Definitions

Professional Doctoral Degree Program: an integrated program of study combined with understanding of research literature to support application of knowledge to practice at the highest level, culminating in a project, portfolio, or performance that demonstrates expertise in professional practice. Students successfully completing a professional doctoral degree program are awarded the appropriate doctoral degree; professional doctoral degrees at Penn State include D.Ed., D.M.A., D.N.P., and Dr.P.H.

Research Doctoral Degree Program: an integrated program of study combined with investigation of a significant problem, question, or issue in the discipline, culminating in the completion of an original scholarly contribution (in the form of a dissertation) that expands the frontiers of knowledge. Students successfully completing a research doctoral degree program are awarded Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree.

Policy Statement

  1. Candidates for all doctoral degrees are required to demonstrate high-level competence in the use of the English language, including reading, writing, and speaking, as part of the language and communication requirements for the doctorate.
  2. Graduate programs are expected to establish mechanisms for assessing and improving competence of both domestic and international students. Assessments should include pieces of original writing.
  3. Programs and advisers should identify any deficiencies before or at the qualifying examination and direct students into appropriate remedial activities.
  4. Competence must be formally attested by the program before the doctoral candidate’s comprehensive examination is scheduled.
  5. Passage of the minimal TOEFL or IELTS requirement does not demonstrate the level of competence expected of a doctoral degree candidate and for conferral of a doctorate from Penn State.

Revision History

Adapted from the Graduate Bulletin: June 2018

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