Doctor of Philosophy
in Education (PhD),
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For education professionals with a desire to be an active scholar in the field of education and make significant contributions to the existing body of knowledge, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education program can take both your research skills and career options to a higher level. The program begins with a review of theoretical frameworks to support your understanding of the role of theory in a PhD degree. Coursework combines this strong base of theoretical knowledge with an individualized focus to conduct research in pre-K-12, post-secondary, and adult learning environments as you contribute new and innovative findings to advance your field of educational specialization.
In the General Education specialization, you’ll select courses from a broad range of electives to fit your personal interests and professional goals. This customized, comprehensive program allows you to complete your specialization requirements by taking a minimum of 18 credit hours at the 7000 or 8000 course level, and up to two of these courses may be taken from other fields, i.e., psychology, technology, and business. With dean approval, you may even consider additional courses (more than two) from other disciplines to fulfill this requirement.
A conferred post-baccalaureate master’s degree or doctoral degree from a regionally or nationally accredited academic institution or an international institution determined to be equivalent through an approved evaluation service.
In addition to the foundational and specialization courses, each PhD student is required to complete a high-quality dissertation through a systematic process and sequential courses assisted by faculty. A PhD dissertation is a scholarly documentation of research that makes an original contribution to the field of educational study. The step-by-step process requires care in choosing a topic, documenting its importance, planning the methodology, and conducting the research. These activities lead smoothly into the writing and oral presentation of your dissertation.
Courses and Sequence
The PhD in Education program requires 60 credits for degree completion. Additional credit hours may be allowed as needed to complete your dissertation research. If granted, additional courses will be added to your degree program in alignment with the SAP and Academic Maximum Time to Completion policies. The estimated time needed to complete this program is 45 months.
A PhD prepares you to make significant contributions to the body of literature within the education field. This course prepares you for understanding what theory is, recognizing theoretical frameworks within existing literature, connecting your research interests to existing theoretical frameworks, and justifying how your research will add to the wealth of current theories in the field.
Specialization Course 1
Your success as a scholarly professional will largely depend upon your communication skills, particularly in your written work. This course supports your development as a scholar who can publish in different types of research-based publications for a variety of audiences. You’ll practice synthesizing multiple sources, formulating arguments, and integrating feedback through iterative drafts of your work. These are key capabilities you’ll need as you submit your research in published manuscripts and presentations.
In this course, you’ll develop effective search and writing strategies to create a scholarly review of literature. The course emphasizes how to: (a) use effective literature search strategies; (b) develop a scholarly synthesis of research literature; (c) organize research literature around identified themes, including a study problem, purpose, and theoretical perspectives; and (d) focus on developing a scholarly exposition that reflects divergent viewpoints and contrasting perspectives. The overarching goal is for you to understand strategies for surveying scholarly literature that avoid bias, focus on educational, practice-based research problems, and address the requirements of a scholarly literature review.
Specialization Course 2
This course introduces you to the research process by exploring its underpinnings, examining its paradigms, and investigating the foundations of qualitative and quantitative methodologies used in educational studies. You’ll identify criteria for the development of quality research studies that are ethical, accurate, comprehensive, cohesive, and aligned. Specific course topics involve the ethics of conducting research; data collection and analysis techniques; and issues of feasibility, trustworthiness, validity, reliability, transferability, and rigor. The goal is to familiarize yourself with the concepts and skills associated with conducting theoretical and applied research.
Specialization Course 3
This course provides the foundational knowledge to become a critical consumer of statistical-based research and a skilled analyst of non-inferential quantitative data. Coursework focuses on understanding multivariate data, non-inferential and inferential statistical concepts, the conventions of quantitative data analysis, and interpretations and critical inferences in statistical results. You’ll use software applications to complete statistical computations and perform quantitative data analysis. The course culminates in a synthesis project to demonstrate your statistical skills and present your results using APA guidelines.
Specialization Course 4
Specialization Course 5
A focus on qualitative research methodology and the designs and methods used to collect and analyze data in educational research. You’ll examine the principles of qualitative research and explore commonly used designs (also referred to as qualitative traditions or genres) with a focus on application and feasibility. Qualitative data collection and analysis methods will be examined for their suitability with regard to the research design selected. Alignment between qualitative designs and research methods, issues of trustworthiness, and the responsibilities of the qualitative researcher will also be explored.
Specialization Course 6
An exploration of quantitative research methodologies and associated designs and methods. You’ll examine paradigmatic perspectives along with the tenets and conventions of quantitative research. Topics for examination include feasibility, validity, reliability, variable operationalization, inferential designs, and analytic software applications used within the quantitative research paradigm. You’ll also look at the components of quantitative research designs that support meaningful studies within the field of education.
Select One of the Following Two Data Analysis Courses:
An exploration of advanced statistical principles and how to apply them to quantitative research. This course provides an overview of advanced statistical concepts used in empirical research, including inferential analyses. You’ll use SPSS software to perform advanced computations as you build independent, scholarly statistical skills. Coursework will emphasize multivariate data; the use, comprehension, and evaluation of sophisticated statistical concepts; and the proper presentation of statistical results.
This course builds on a foundational understanding of qualitative designs and measurements to focus on analyses of the data. Coursework takes you deeper into the skills and techniques necessary to ensure the appropriate analyses of qualitative data, including integrating relevant frameworks, verifying trustworthiness of the findings, and selecting suitable methods for presenting analyses and findings.
The doctoral comprehensive assessment is your opportunity to demonstrate your preparation for entering the dissertation phase as a PhD candidate. You’ll synthesize discipline-specific content with research designs and analysis methods to create a prospectus for a theoretically-based research study that focuses on furthering knowledge in the field of education. Whereas EdD research focuses on addressing a researchable problem with practical applications, PhD research has a focus on contribution to theory and the broader discipline of education. This course is begun only after all your foundation, specialization, and research courses have been completed, and your prospectus will likely become the foundation of your PhD dissertation.
Students in this course will be required to complete chapter one of their dissertation proposal, including the following: a review of literature with substantiating evidence of the problem, the research purpose and questions, the intended methodological design and approach, and the significance of the study. A completed, committee-approved chapter one is required to pass the course. If you don’t receive approval to minimum standards, you’ll be able to take up to three supplementary eight-week courses to finalize and gain approval of chapter one.
In this course, you’ll work on completing chapters one to three of your dissertation proposal and receiving committee approval for the dissertation proposal (DP). Chapter two consists of the literature review, while chapter three covers the research methodology and design, including population, sample, measurement instruments, data collection and analysis, limitations, and ethical considerations. Completed, committee-approved chapters two and three are required to pass the course, as is a final approved dissertation proposal. If you don’t receive approval to minimum standards, you’ll be able to take up to three supplementary eight-week courses to finalize and gain approval of these requirements.
In this course, you’ll prepare, submit, and obtain approval of your Institutional Review Board (IRB) application. You’ll also collect data and submit a final study closure form to the IRB. If you’re still collecting data at the end of the 12-week course, you’ll be able to take up to three supplementary eight-week courses to complete data collection and file your IRB study closure form.
In this dissertation course, you’ll work on completing chapters four, five, and your final dissertation manuscript. Specifically, you’ll complete your data analysis, prepare your study results, and present your findings with an oral defense and a completed manuscript. A completed, committee-approved dissertation manuscript and successful oral defense are required to complete the course and graduate. If you don’t receive approval for either or both, you can take up to three supplementary eight-week courses to finalize and gain approval.
* The elective can be satisfied with any doctoral-level School of Education course. The course listed in the degree plan can be changed upon request. Contact your academic and finance advisor for assistance.
ED-7003 School Law
Although most local education authorities have legal counsel, all stakeholders benefit from a working knowledge of school law, especially those laws pertaining to the rights and responsibilities of school personnel and students. In this course, you’ll analyze state and federal legislation that impacts a variety of local school policies. Legal foundations for health, safety, attendance, and discipline policies will all be addressed, along with policies for the rights of students, teachers, parents, guardians, and other stakeholders.
ED-7009 Educating a Diversity of Learners
Because today’s learners differ in gender, sexual orientation, age, cultural background, experiences, and abilities, modern educators must be able to appraise, assess, and argue the best means to reach such a variety. In this course, you’ll explore different means to address the nature of cultural diversity, its sources, and its importance to educators. You’ll also consider how districts can plan and prepare to meet the needs of diverse students, taking into consideration epistemological and axiological perspectives unique to many cultures.
ED-7012 Educational Leadership
This course examines the theories, philosophies, and professional standards related to educational leadership. You’ll also study diversity, equity, and inclusion in the context of school leadership. By the end of the course, you’ll develop a personal leadership approach and promote ethical behavior and decision-making to become an effective leader within your particular educational setting.
ED-7014 Practices in School Organization
In this course, you’ll explore the organizational structure of schools and school systems, and their relationships to and effect on school programs, teaching strategies, testing and measurement, and program evaluation. You’ll consider the way schools are organized around time, space, and other resources. Organizational dynamics are explored, and there’ll be an opportunity to engage operational factors that influence the school climate, including human resources, organizational outreach, and capacity. Finally, you’ll investigate ways and benefits of engaging stakeholders in organizational practice.
ED-7016 Supervision and Leadership in Schools
This course surveys the real-world experiences and common challenges encountered by school leaders. You’ll study organizational behavior with an emphasis on the practical relevance of educational leadership in this new era of accountability and high-stakes testing. Topics include development theories and collaborative planning models to enhance distributed leadership, professional learning communities, parental involvement, and sustainable leadership for student growth.
ED-7013 Financial Issues in Schools
This course prepares you to apply general principles of education finance in any pre-K-12 setting. Beyond revenue and expenditures, you’ll be prepared to address ethics, equity, and student achievement as core components of the budgeting process. You’ll also learn to demonstrate the principles of financial accountability through your communications with various stakeholders in schools, administrations, and across the community.
The PhD in Education program prepares you for making significant contributions to the body of knowledge in the broad field of education as well as a more narrowed area of instructional specialization. Learning outcomes include the ability to:
- Develop deep knowledge of educational systems, theories, and research in an area of expertise
- Interpret theories, research, and ideas for different audiences through multiple methods of communication
- Integrate ethical principles and professional standards for a specific discipline within the field
- Conduct autonomous or collaborative research using high-level analytical skills
- Contribute to the body of knowledge specific to a discipline within the field
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