Preliminary Review

All doctoral students at USC must complete a doctoral screening process to continue in their programs; in the EdD in Educational Leadership program, we call this the Preliminary Review. Below we have listed answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the preliminary review process. Please contact your academic advisor if you have additional questions or concerns.

Why is this a requirement?

The preliminary review requirement provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their ability to synthesize the work completed in the first-year core classes. Faculty  assess students’ overall performance in the program thus far to determine whether or not students have internalized the content from the core classes and are able to sufficiently demonstrate the academic writing skills needed for the capstone/dissertation process. Faculty review the preliminary review submission to assess students’ knowledge and academic writing skills.

Why not just use my in-class assignments to measure this?

Individual course assignments have their own set of learning objectives meant to address knowledge of specific course content.  The preliminary review is designed to provide students an opportunity to synthesize knowledge gained in the first-year core classes.

When do students complete the preliminary review?

This milestone is completed once students have completed the core coursework but before they earn 21 units.  We schedule the preliminary review at the end of each semester (fall, spring, and summer) so it does not conflict with students’ coursework – this means your preliminary review may be due in a week you do not have classes or during the final exam period. Specific dates vary by semester and will be communicated by the program office to those students scheduled for review.

Full-time students will complete the preliminary review in the third semester (summer).  Part-time students or students who have been on a leave of absence may be required to complete the preliminary review at the end of the fall or spring semesters and should consult their academic advisors.

Who assesses the preliminary review? 

A panel of Rossier faculty assess the performance of students in the program and makes a decision regarding their readiness to continue in the program.  These faculty are chosen by the governance committee and course leads, and each have taught in the program’s core courses.

What is the process to complete the preliminary review?

The EdD in Educational Leadership faculty governance committee determines the preliminary review process each year, which is then coordinated by the EdD program office. The Rossier School of Education reserves the right to examine the effectiveness of the process and make changes as necessary.  Each semester, the program office will e-mail students who are scheduled to take the preliminary review and advise them on the specific dates and process.

How are students notified of the results?

Students are notified of the results by the EdD program office via e-mail to their @usc.edu address.