A Supportive & Innovative Ed.D. Dissertation

At Marymount University, we aim to elevate your Online Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) experience and empower you to make a meaningful impact. You will grow professionally and personally as you delve into meaningful research and leadership topics that will propel your career trajectory.

Gain an advanced understanding of the theory and skills required to become a more confident and strategic leader. Our renowned team of professors and faculty mentors will give you the tools and guidance you need to design solutions for a real-world problem you are passionate about solving. Upon graduation, you will be a published author contributing to the academic and research community for years to come.

Learn more about our innovative Online Ed.D. program that gives you scaffolded support, an embedded dissertation experience and a high-impact community to guide you every step of the way.


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Dissertation in Practice

Unlike a traditional dissertation, Marymount Online Ed.D. students complete a dissertation in practice (DiP) that emphasizes the application of research and theory to provide a solution to a problem of practice that your organization or industry is facing. A DiP provides a practical and applied focus to actively solve problems in your community or organization. This is in comparison to a traditional dissertation grounded in academic theory, usually associated with prolonged programs and Ph.D. degrees.

The chart below outlines general and key distinctions between each type of dissertation.


Compare Dissertation Types

Dissertation in Practice 

Traditional Dissertation 


Addresses real challenges in a practical context

Contributes to theoretical knowledge or advances existing research 


Emphasizes practical application and solutions

Focuses on original research and theoretical contribution 


Applied research, often involving collaboration with practitioners

Independent research with an emphasis on data collection and analysis 

Evaluation & Defense 

Practical outcomes and contributions

Research quality and literature contributions 


Your own research journey may take unexpected and inspiring turns. To give you a glimpse of the exciting possibilities that await, here are some of the dissertation topics Marymount students have completed:  

  • Empowering Leaders for Effective Organizational Change: Unveiling the SPY2 Methodology 
  • Leadership Matters: Affecting Social Transformation in Africa
  • The Lack of Hispanic Leadership in Higher Education: A Qualitative Study of Current Leaders at U.S. Universities
  • The Relationship Between English Language Proficiency Level and Growth in Reading: A Quantitative Analysis of English Learners in First, Second, and Third Grade

Next application deadline:

  • July 26, 2024
    Fall 2024

Next start date:

  • September 3, 2024
    Fall 2024

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Exceptional Faculty Support

One of the biggest advantages of studying online with Marymount is the exceptional faculty support. The dissertation process is embedded into course assignments and scaffolded throughout the Online Ed.D. program, allowing you to receive feedback from distinguished faculty and your committee. This also allows for an expedited timeline for completion as you are working on your dissertation while you are completing relevant courses.

Play the video to hear more details about the Dissertation in Practice, Lead Doctoral Faculty Mentor program and high-impact online community at Marymount.

What’s a Lead Doctoral Faculty Mentor? 

You are strategically paired with a Lead Doctoral Faculty Mentor (LDFM) in Semester 4, prior to your Applied Methods course. Your LDFM will not only be your dissertation chair but also a mentor and guide throughout the dissertation process. LDFMs are highly trained through Marymount and introduced earlier than dissertation chairs in other programs to ensure that sufficient progress can be made on your dissertation alongside your coursework.

All LDFM’s are practicing scholars with diverse backgrounds specifically assigned to students through an in-depth matching process based on personal working styles, research design, topic and methodology. Throughout the program, you will connect with your LDFM, discuss your intended topic and continuously map out the next stages of your dissertation journey. You may even attend the same virtual events together, like sync sessions, office hours, professional writing labs, retreats, seminars —and more.

Dr. Robert Schaller

Dr. Sarah Fischer



A Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate 

Marymount is a proud member of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED). Our LDFM program is proactively designed to encompass CPED’s mentorship best practices that include: 

  • Mutual respect 
  • Equity and inclusion 
  • Dynamic learning 
  • Empathy and flexibility 
  • Individualized attention 
  • Continuous improvement


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