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Eligible Fields of Study
Admission Requirements
Degree Requirements
Degree Process
Dissertation Committee
Download Overview for Research Doctorate

Akamai University provides an effective path to the doctorate for mid-career professionals who have completed Master's level study in their major field and considerable career experience at the higher levels of the profession. The primary objective of the program is to provide a means for qualified candidates to produce quality dissertations under the tutorial of a graduate committee of three qualified members of the Akamai faculty.

Eligible Fields of Study
The following are eligible fields of study for pursuit of the Doctor of Philosophy by Dissertation:

  • Applied Psychology
  • Integrative Psychology
  • Business Administration
  • Community and Economic Development
  • Hospitality Management
  • Environmental Studies
  • Applied Ecopsychology
  • Public Health
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Community Health Education
  • Integral Health Studies
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  • Energy Medicine
  • Sustainability Studies
  • Peace, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Transpersonal Psychology
  • Integrated Psychology

Entry Requirements
As prerequisites for acceptance to the "doctoral program by dissertation only" to be conducted by major research, participants should have completed the equivalent of a recognized graduate degree in an appropriate field of study and have several years of meaningful professional experience. Participants are expected to be proficient in English language skills or provide other assurances of effective guidance and language support throughout the program. Participants must have access to a computer, appropriate software, email and Internet, and academic library resources.

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Degree Requirements
Participants pursuing the doctorate degree by research shall complete a seven-phase process (equivalent to 52 credits above the Master's degree in traditional doctoral program) including three doctoral research tutorials, a comprehensive review, and a dissertation project. The doctoral research tutorials are intended to assure the participants have the skills and knowledge to examine the existing scholarly literature, design an effective advanced research study, carry out the project, analyze the data and present the findings in a publishable quality manuscript. The comprehensive review includes written and oral components that permit faculty to determine if the participant has sufficient preparation to proceed to the research phase of the program. The dissertation process includes preparation of a formal dissertation proposal, completion of the dissertation project, and preparation of the manuscript for review by the doctoral committee review. Participants then complete an oral review of dissertation as a conclusion of the degree process.

As a minimum degree requirement, doctoral participants must maintain enrollment at Akamai University for at least one and one-half calendar years. Although a maximum period of six years is allowed to complete the program, most doctoral participants are fully capable of finishing their programs within three years. No transfer credit shall be applied to this degree, as it is based upon a seven-step quality review process.

At each phase of the doctoral process, in order to progress to the next phase, written approval by the University doctoral committee is required. To remain in good standing, participants must demonstrate effective progress toward achieving quality standards at each phase. Upon successful completion of the process, participants are awarded the doctor of philosophy degree.

Degree Requirements

Phase 1: Dissertation Tutorial I - Basic Research Methods
Phase 2: Dissertation Tutorial II - Literature Review
Phase 3: Dissertation Tutorial III - Research Presentation
Phase 4: Doctoral Comprehensive Review
Phase 5: Dissertation Proposal Process
Phase 6: Conduct of Dissertation Project
Phase 7: Oral Review of Dissertation

Phase 1: Basic Research Methods
The first tutorial instructs the participant in foundational theories, principles, and practices specific to the proposed dissertation research, thus clarifying the underlying principles and justifications that support the proposed concept for research.

As a minimum element of this tutorial, participants must complete a suitable course selected from the appropriate Center research offerings. Participants must pass a quality review examination conducted by the graduate committee, and if deemed essential, complete additional research methodology coursework to satisfy preparation requirements.

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Phase 2: Literature Review
This second research tutorial is designed to guide the participant in conducting a thorough and effective search of the scholarly literature in relation to a project of research. Participants examine the quality of existing scholarly literature in their field of research and participate in a quality review under the guidance of the doctoral committee.

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Phase 3: Research Presentation
The third tutorial is intended to guide the participant in understanding the requirements for effective written argument, referencing and citations of the scholarly literature, and presentation of the findings from research and participate in a quality review under the guidance of the doctoral committee.

Phase 4: Doctoral Comprehensive Review
Upon satisfactory completion of the doctoral research tutorials, the participant will be authorized to schedule the comprehensive review. The senior member of the doctoral committee will direct the written and oral components of the review. The written portion is open book style with selected essay questions requesting creative responses that reach for the higher levels of understanding. Answers should be drawn from the scholarly literature as well as applications within the professional business environment. Proper referencing of the scholarly literature is expected. The oral component of the review shall be completed by conference between the participant and committee members and is intended to encourage an open discussion of the written essay responses.

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Phase 5: Dissertation Proposal Process
During this phase of the process, participants prepare a formal proposal related to their concept for research. The proposal is completed under the direction of the doctoral committee and prepared according to published University guidelines, which shall be provided to the participant.

Phase 6: Conduct of Dissertation Project
Following approval of the dissertation proposal, participants will begin their research project. The dissertation may take the form of a traditional research project or it may be a major scholarly project of the type appropriate to the discipline. Whichever approach to the dissertation is chosen, the resulting project must demonstrate mastery of a body of knowledge in the field and represent a meaningful and original contribution to the betterment of the profession.

The dissertation project may be conducted by quantitative, qualitative, or participatory action research. The body of the dissertation manuscript should exceed 75 double spaced, typewritten pages and be structured according to a set of approved research and manuscript guidelines provide by the University. Dissertations that take the form of a scholarly project must follow the guidelines provided by the University for such projects.

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Phase 7: Oral Review of Dissertation
Once the participant has prepared the dissertation manuscript, the senior member of the doctoral committee will schedule the formal review process and act to conduct both the formal physical review of the manuscript and oral review of the dissertation project.

Following receipt of the research manuscript, it usually takes the three member doctoral committee four to six weeks to complete the physical review and prepare questions and commentary for later discussion. The oral review is carried out by personal conference and is designed to allow detailed investigation of the underlying review of the literature, the dissertation methodology, and the mechanics of the project, presentation of the findings, and conclusions and recommendations.

One outcome of the dissertation review process is a set of final expectations directing the participant through the remaining tasks for completing the dissertation manuscript. Once the final manuscript is approved, the participant will submit the formal document to an approved bindery and later arrange for the bound dissertation to be shipped to the University headquarters in Hawaii for permanent archival storage. Upon the participant's completion of the final tasks, and receipt of the needed records and documentation, the University will issue a letter of completion to the participant. It will then make preparation for issuance of the transcript of record and diploma certificate.

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Dissertation Committee

Formation of Dissertation Committee
Responsibilities of Dissertation Committee
Committee Appointment Schedule
Building the Student's Plan for Study

Doctoral participants will progress through their programs under the advisement and mentorship of a three-member Doctoral Committee composed of qualified Akamai graduate faculty. The Committee is comprised of a primary, secondary and tertiary mentor, each with a assigned role in directing the doctoral process.

Doctoral participants are expected to work in unity with the same doctoral committee members throughout the entire program. However, participants requiring a change in committee members must submit a formal petition to the University administration to request the change and such petitions must include a special fee. It must be understood that changing the composition of a doctoral committee may result in a readjustment of expectations, as the committee works to incorporate the ideas and advisement of the new committee member. This may also result in extending the completion date of the degree.

Formation of Dissertation Committee
Doctoral students have a Dissertation Committee of three qualified graduate faculty appointed to oversee and govern the student's program structure, progress of studies, comprehensive examinations and dissertation project, a Committee Chair, a Secondary Member and a Tertiary Member.

Responsibilities of Dissertation Committee
The responsibilities of the Dissertation Committee, under the leadership of the Committee Chair, are as follows:
  • Directing the preparation and approval of the student's plan for study, clarifying the timeline for study and the assignment of faculty to provide instruction and to assist with the functions of the Dissertation Committee.
  • Providing direction regarding the student's foundational studies, core studies, specialization, and research preparation coursework.
  • Providing leadership by integrating appropriate research preparation coursework or assignments within the plan for study, distributing the coursework to appropriate faculty for instruction and advisement.
  • Providing leadership for the written and oral components of the student's comprehensive final examination, in unity with the other Committee members
  • Providing oversight, direction, and mentorship during the conduct of the student’s research project and manuscript preparation, in unity with the other Committee members
  • Providing leadership for the physical and oral reviews of the research manuscript, in unity with the other Committee members.
  • Assist the student in making formal changes in the plan study and timeline for completion, by written addendum, as needed to assure effective progress throughout the program of study.
  • Providing final approval for the student's Dissertation and overall degree program and cooperate fully in building the appropriate archival records.

Committee Appointment Schedule
The Committee Chair is appointed immediately following the Doctoral student's registration and continues in charge of the student's program until final completion is recorded at the school of record. While the secondary member of the Dissertation Committee are identified and confirmed at the onset of the program, and listed in the plan of study, they become active later, just prior to the activities for which they are asked to participate.

The Secondary Committee Member becomes active one month prior to the commencing of the written component of the Doctoral student's Final Comprehensive Examination and continues with the student's program until final completion is recorded.

Building the Student's Plan for Study
Immediately following registration, Doctoral students begin work with their assigned Committee Chair in structuring their formal plan for study. The process determines and formalizes the elements of the student's Doctoral program and the timeline for completion. The plan for study includes the following essential elements:

  • The designation of the degree major for the Study Plan
  • The identification of the school contacts and contact information for the schools participating in the delivery of the Doctoral program.
  • Identification of the required array of coursework for each element of the program.
  • Identification of the secondary and tertiary members of the Dissertation Committee.
  • Appointment and notification of the course module instructors
  • Acceptance of transfer courses for the student's program.
  • The timeline for completion of the degree program

These activities require active participation by the student in program planning and may take considerable time to complete the dialogue and exchange of information. Students are strongly advised to discuss in detail the elements in the plan for study including the coursework, the examinations, and elements of research including the manuscript guidelines.

Once all of the decisions have been made concerning the plan for study, the student and Committee Chair sign the formal document. Copies of the document are sent to the University headquarters for approval and entry to the permanent student record. The plan for study becomes the document that determines effective progress toward the degree. When the expectations laid out in the plan for study have been successfully accomplished, the student is recommended for the degree by the Committee Chair.

Students are advised that the University can make no commitment to inclusion of course modules and assignment of instructors to a student program until after the plan for study has been fully processed and approved.

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Applied Psychology
Integrative Psychology
Business Administration
Engineering and Technology
Economic Development
Environmental Studies
Applied Ecopsychology
Educational Leadership
TESOL Literacy
Public Health Administration
Complementary and Alternative Medicine -CAM
Sustainability Studies
Peace, Diplomacy, and International Relations
Transpersonal Psychology
Professional Studies
University Center
Degree Programs
Honoris Causa Program
Community and Continuing Education

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Akamai University is internationally accredited by the Accreditation Service for International Colleges (ASIC). The University has earned Premier status with ASIC for its commendable areas of operation. ASIC is an approved accrediting body for the purposes of compliance by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) is a member of the British Quality Foundation (BQF), sits on the Quality Standards Group of UK NARIC, and is one of a number of international accrediting bodies listed in the international directory by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) in the USA and is a member of the CHEA International Quality Group (CIQG).


Akamai University
110 Haili Street
Hilo, Hawaii 96720 USA