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The PhD in Education and Human Development links an intensive research-based course of study with a content area specialization in order to prepare candidates to assume faculty positions in institutions of higher education or research-based organizations. Successful applicants will be paired with a faculty mentor who will engage the student in research, development, service, and other forms of professional activity.
You will complete a plan of study that includes at least 48 semester credits of coursework (including all required core courses) and 27 semester credits of dissertation. The PhD program is designed to provide each student with an induction into the university research and teaching culture. PhD coursework is intensive and substantive, requiring significant writing, analysis, and critiquing of theory and professional literature.
Overview of Course Work:
The PhD program consists of a minimum of 75 semester credits. Total credits may vary in order to fully prepare for career opportunities. Students complete 48 credits in three core areas outlined below. The final 27 credits are completed through the dissertation.
12 credits - Foundation courses/experiences: Equity and Diversity; Learning; Epistemology; and Teaching in Higher Education
18 credits - Research Methods
18 credits - Concentration Area (see the list options below)
27 credits - Dissertation
Doctoral students complete a series of courses/experiences in a specified concentration area. Concentration areas focus on a defined discipline or content area in preparation for professional roles as researchers and faculty members. Students also complete a research apprenticeship and higher education teaching practicum or equivalent experience.
The following concentration areas are available.
Leadership for Educational Organizations. Students and faculty in this concentration area focus on leadership in schools and the crucial assumption that school leadership makes a difference in how schools succeed in improving learning outcomes for all students. However, the scholarship and research on school leadership is such that we are only beginning to understand why leadership is successful, what the interactions are between effective leadership and effective teaching, and how best to impact the collective impact of leadership on organizational and student-learning outcomes at all levels.
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.
Family Science and Human Development. The goal of this concentration is to prepare students to critically examine and understand family science within an ecological life span development lens. This program prepares students to work in academic careers as professors, researchers and scholars in Family Science and Human Development. Students are provided a rich curriculum that centers on theoretical and scholarly knowledge in family science, human development and research inquiry. Another objective of this program is to integrate the importance of family diversity (which includes race, ethnicity, culture, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, ability and language) into the curriculum as it relates to social justice in family science and child, adolescent and adult development. Central to the Family Science and Human Development concentration is the conceptual framework of family and human ecological systems and how that impacts research, practice and policy with diverse families in the United States and at the global level.
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.
Research and Evaluation Methods. The goal of this concentration area is to prepare students to design and carry out significant applied research on individual and organizational change in the field of education and human development. Through problem-based pedagogy and hands-on learning, students will be prepared to be collaborative applied researchers who work with community, university and school partners. Students will learn advanced quantitative, advanced qualitative and mixed methods research techniques. Course content includes mixed methods, advanced statistics, advanced qualitative data analysis, systems analysis, collaborative team research and practicum experiences. Graduates of the program are prepared to work as faculty members, school district and organizational researchers, data analysts and assessment coordinators.
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.
Critical Studies in Education. This concentration area houses faculty who approach their research and teaching in education with a transdisciplinary and critical lens, especially with respects to race, gender, class, disability, sexuality, language, and culture. Faculty members ground their approach in social justice in education and promote the ideas of educational equity, transformative education, and educational activism in nontraditional ways. Particularly, how schooling, society, and policies are dialectical sites of oppression and liberation and the role of educators is that of intellectual activists to facilitate that liberation. Because an activist approach is necessary, this concentration areas offers a monthly faculty and student research meeting where students and faculty collaboratively work on research, publications, conference presentations, and theory building. The faculty of Critical Studies in Education approach education in critical ways to ensure the futurity of a more transformational, liberatory, and humanizing educational system and society.