The Dissertation

Anisha Munshi

Students and faculty in our Ed.D. Leadership Program are dedicated to studying and expanding upon the modern education system. During the third year of our program, all of our doctoral students are expected to complete and defend a dissertation. Learn more about our dissertation options and examples below:

Traditional Dissertation

Recent graduates of the EdD program have completed original research focusing on salient issues impacting schools, students, and communities across Silicon Valley, California and global contexts. Examples of recent dissertation titles include:

Explore the complete archive of published dissertations by Ed.D. graduates on the SJSU Scholarworks website.

Documentary Dissertation


The Ed.D. doctoral program at San Jose State offers students a unique opportunity to produce a documentary film as part of their dissertation, instead of conducting a more traditional qualitative or quantitative research study. This is the only Ed.D. program in the country which offers this unique opportunity.

Producing a documentary enables students to produce a film which explores a diverse range of social justice topics, capturing the voices of those who might otherwise not be heard, and telling stories which might otherwise be recognized. The films offer the opportunity to both showcase a broad range of interview subjects, but also record actions and other visuals which help explain the issue being addressed. Finished documentaries also enable doctoral student researchers to reach and engage a wider audience than might otherwise be possible.  


Documentaries offer researchers a medium to bring out different voices and reach out to a larger and wider audience thus democratizing research. Films offer a venue for unheard voices to be heard and illuminate social justice issues. It also helps researchers engage video participants as creators of knowledge rather than just subjects. Using documentary filming in the research process provides the audience also an opportunity to analyze and interpret the data and delve into meaning-making. Documentary film can be used as an alternate form of scholarly work and knowledge that has a much a wider reach beyond the boundaries of academia.

Students choosing this option are not required to have prior documentary or film production experience, as this is taught as part of the documentary production process. The Ed.D. program provides all necessary camera and other production equipment. Ed.D. students choosing to produce a documentary film complete a written review of the literature around their chosen topic as well as a methodology chapter explaining the rationale and documentary filming methods that will be employed during the course of producing their film.