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The PhD in education and human development links an intensive research-based course of study with a content area in order to prepare candidates to assume positions in institutions of higher education or research-based organizations. Successful applicants will be paired with a faculty mentor with whom the student will engage in research and developing content expertise over time.
Students complete a plan of study that includes at least 45 semester hours of course work (including all required core courses) and 30 semester hours of dissertation credits. Depending on a student’s background experiences and coursework, additional courses may be required in order to adequately build a deep repertoire of content knowledge and skills. The student’s faculty advisor and program committee are responsible for making this determination.
Overview of Course Work:
This degree program consists of a minimum of 75 credit hours. Total credits may vary in order for a student’s academic preparation to be fully developed for future career opportunities. Students complete 45 credit hours in three core areas: 1) foundations of equitable teaching and learning; 2) research; and, 3) a specified concentration area. The final 30 credits are completed through dissertation credits.
Foundations: Equity and Diversity, Learning, Epistemology, and Teaching in Higher Education - 4 Courses; 12 Semester Hours
Research Methods - 6 Courses; 18 Semester Hours
Concentration Area - 5 Courses; 15 Semester Hours**
Dissertation: 30 semester hours total
**Doctoral students will complete a series of courses/experiences in a specified concentration area. Content domains that align to prospective positions in institutions of higher education will be the basis for concentration areas. We define a concentration area as a line of courses that leads to increasing subject matter expertise. Concentration areas are designed to help students focus on a defined discipline or content area in preparation for professional roles as researchers and faculty members.
Following, we list the current areas of concentration in which students can be admitted. These areas may change over time as they are tied to faculty research and externally funded grant projects.
Administrative Leadership and Policy. This concentration serves as key area for those concerned about leadership in schools and a key focus for research by scholars in higher education. A crucial assumption the underlies this concentration area is that school leadership makes the difference in how schools succeed in improving learning outcomes for all students, but we are only beginning to scratch the surface in understanding why leadership is successful when it is, what the interactions are between effective leadership and effective teaching, and their collective impact on learning outcomes at all levels in schools.
Early Childhood Special Education/Early Childhood Education. The goal of this concentration area is to introduce students to issues and practices in early childhood special education/early childhood education and to prepare students to provide leadership to improve outcomes for all children including children with disabilities across early childhood settings. Students will obtain the skills and knowledge of evidence-based practices needed to meet state and national leadership needs within institutions of higher education to address issues in ECE/ECSE. Graduates will: conduct rigorous research related to culturally responsive, evidence-based practices; translate research into practice, thus expanding the use of evidence-based practice in the field; and, create, evaluate, and improve pre-service teacher education programs in ECE and ECSE.
Math Education. Students and faculty in this concentration area focus on teacher learning and professional development experiences. Specifically, projects investigate the ways that particular interventions used in professional development for mathematics teachers impacts their content knowledge and pedagogical practices in their classrooms. Work in this area is framed by a situative perspective of learning and incorporates mixed methods to answer questions around the ways particular interventions support teacher and student learning. Video data is prominent in both the design of professional development interventions as well as a major data source for analyses. Analytic methods vary based on the research question and grain size.
Science Education. The goal of this area is to prepare students to explore, understand, and think critically about the nature of science and science education from a largely research-oriented perspective. Students may elect to focus on environmental science education as an area of specialization within this concentration area through electives and discipline- specific research agendas.
Urban Ecologies. This concentration area brings together several faculty members in interdisciplinary study of education in urban ecologies. Participating faculty members are aligned with the interdisciplinary concentration area as a whole, rather than specific threads or foci. The philosophical assumptions underlying work in this concentration area are: 1) Cultural groups are not monolithic, 2) Urban life and learning, including Pre-K-20 education, complex phenomena that benefit from the multiple lenses offered by multi-disciplinarity, and 3) Trans-nationalism characterizes the cultural experiences and political/economic realities of many communities in cities and contributes to the hybrid identities of residents. These assumptions contribute to a conceptual frame for investigating diversity within the city that is not focused on specific groups and is concerned with the influence of globalization on communities in general within the city. Experiences of and issues confronting different cultural and ethno-linguistic groups will be the key content of this concentration area.