Program Length. IDEPEL contains three years of course work and one year of dissertation study. An additional six years of dissertation study is available beyond the first four years. The maximum possible length of the program is ten years. Students can apply for leaves of absence in relation to professional, personal, or financial situations. IDEPEL requires 48 credits of course work and a minimum of 12 credits of dissertation study. If dissertation research extends beyond the fourth year, then an additional three credits are required for each semester, excluding the semester in which the dissertation is successfully defended.

For course descriptions, visit the Academic Catalog.

The Cohort. The research-based Saint Joseph's University cohort model is a significant factor in the success of cohort members. This model provides opportunities for a cohort to develop support groups, engage in collaborative learning, and mutually build the capacity to complete the course work and dissertation. The cohort of approximately twenty-five doctoral students reflects an interdisciplinary focus and remains together during the program’s three years of courses, field experiences, advisement sessions, and dissertation writing. The cohort model guarantees completion of all course work within three years. Often, the collaborative support groups developed within the cohort continue through the dissertation process. The cohort model is one reason why our graduation rate is a little higher than 75 percent, which is much higher than the 40 to 50 percent nationally.

Building Capacity to Complete the Dissertation. Since completion of the dissertation is the ultimate outcome, the IDEPEL program contains a dissertation capacity building strand in which direct instruction in technical writing, a series of dissertation workshops, a research strand focused on dissertation methodology, a dissertation proposal writing course, and individual advisement are provided. Opportunities for professional conference presentation and publication are available and can relate to developing a dissertation topic.

Social Justice Focus. Within the foundation of the Jesuit belief in Magis (i.e., a commitment to service, and academic rigor and engagement), Cura Personalis (i.e., care of the individual), and social justice, IDEPEL provides an ongoing focus on the ethical and moral consequences of professional practice in the courses and practicums.

The Scholar-Practitioner. IDEPEL is a scholar-practitioner program in its belief that individuals can better detect and solve problems through a foundation in both theory and practice. This program believes that theory informs practice, and practice informs theory. IDEPEL alumni have the research skill, theoretical and experiential knowledge, and ethical dispositions that well position them to engage and resolve complex problems.

Practicum Fieldwork. During the three years of course work, students are required to select a practicum mentor who will facilitate the design and implementation of the fieldwork projects. IDEPEL reimburses each mentor an honorarium per year for this service. Students with diverse needs or interests can have a different mentor for each of the three years. In conjunction with the Jesuit mission, IDEPEL practicums contain a service learning component.

Career Advancement. Through the IDEPEL program, individuals have the opportunity to advance their careers or move into new careers. The Community of Scholars provides a network of professionals from all fields. The research strand provides the skill and knowledge that contributes to career advancement or transition to a new career. The practicum fieldwork is an opportunity to develop a portfolio of achievement that concretely relates to individual student’ career plans.