PhD Program in Educational Psychology

PhD Program Overview

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in educational psychology focuses on preparing researchers who have strong theoretical, conceptual, and practical ties to educational psychology, and who also possess exceptional skills in the areas of measurement, statistics, assessment, and research methodology. We prepare students for professional positions not only in academic institutions but also in a variety of public and private agencies as policy makers, education advisers, and research consultants. Our doctoral program in Educational Psychology reflects a collaborative apprenticeship model that encourages students to go beyond the accumulation of course credits. Our aim is to help students develop the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to be effective creators of educational research and to raise thoughtful questions that guide their inquiry. We believe that students learn best how to do research, analyze data, communicate results, and teach others through direct involvement with faculty mentors and advanced students early in the doctoral program.To accomplish this goal, students work closely with faculty members by joining at least one research team or lab within the program.

Doctoral students entering the program will select a program of study focusing on one of four areas of specialization: multicultural education, quantitative methods, motivation, and development. The doctoral program of study includes coursework, a research portfolio, an internship to develop practical experience in educational psychology, a qualifying examination, and the dissertation. Prior to completing the qualifying examination, most doctoral students are required to take approximately 60 credit hours of coursework beyond the Master’s degree. A full description of program requirements are available in our educational psychology handbook.

Suggested Timeline for Completion of the Doctoral Degree

Faculty are committed to the thorough preparation of doctoral students and understand that the time required to accomplish this preparation may differ depending on numerous factors. Except under extraordinary circumstances, a full-time doctoral student should complete the program within five years. The following is a suggested timeline that students can use to gauge their progress toward degree completion.

Year 1: Partial completion of required coursework—18-21 hours of formal coursework, including

  • first-year doctoral seminar (3 hours)
  • survey of educational psychology (3 hours)
  • human lifespan development class (3 hours)
  • one development and/or learning theories class (3 hours)
  • two to three research methods classes (6-9 hours)

Selection of EDP members of Advisory Committee. Meeting with Advisory Committee to dicuss program goals and objectives. Reflection and discussion with advisor regarding the independent study writing topic and research portfolio. Attendance at professional meetings and departmental colloquia.

Year 2: Continued progress on completion of required coursework—21 hours of formal coursework, including

  • multicultural psychology (3 hours)
  • one development and/or learning theories class (3 hours)
  • two classes in area of specialization (6 hours)
  • two research methods classes (6 hours)
  • independent study writing project with major professor (3 hours)

Selection of full Advisory Committee (by fall of Year 2). Fulfillment of teaching requirement (including corresponding enrollment in EDP 782). Progress toward completion of research portfolio. Reflection and discussion with Advisory Committee regarding the proposed internship. Internship proposed to Committee. Presentation at professional meetings and departmental colloquia.

Year 3: Completion of required coursework—18-21 hours of formal coursework, including

  • two to three research methods classes (6-9 hours)
  • one development or learning theories class (3 hours)
  • one class in area of specialization (3 hours)
  • internship in educational psychology (3-6 hours)

Completion of research portfolio and internship. Successful completion and oral defense of qualifying examination. Presentation at professional meetings and departmental colloquia. Progress on converting the empirical research study from research portfolio into a publishable manuscript.

Year 4: No formal coursework, with the exception of continued enrollment in EDP 767, Dissertation Residency Requirement. Submission of empirical study to refereed journal. Completion and defense of Dissertation Proposal. Permission obtained from Institutional Review Board to conduct research. Substantial progress on Dissertation data collection. Presentation at professional meetings and departmental colloquia.

Year 5: No formal coursework, with the exception of continued enrollment in EDP 767, Dissertation Residency Requirement. Completion and defense of Dissertation. Submission of dissertation for publication in refereed journal(s).