Education (Ph.D.)

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The program of Education offers a Ph.D. in education with specialization in fields related to the areas of:

  1. teacher education;
  2. curriculum and instruction;
  3. educational leadership and policy studies;
  4. experiential/outdoor education; and
  5. children and youth in communities.

The doctoral program is designed to engender a broad understanding of the field of education by encouraging focused scholarly inquiry grounded in the reality of educational practice across varied formal and informal settings. Professors and students work to place educational issues in philosophical, socio-­cultural, and policy­-related contexts. The program enrolls full­- and part-­time students.

An individual program of study is planned by the student and her or his guidance committee. Each student's program includes a set of common core courses, specialized study, a number of selected electives from across areas of inquiry, and required research preparation. Students must meet specific University, department, and program requirements. Within this framework, individual programs can vary widely from student to student depending upon the student's own interests and goals.

The Ph.D. in education provides students with preparation for research, teaching, and leadership in a variety of settings. Graduates hold positions at all levels of schooling, from colleges and universities to K­-12 schools. Former students are also involved in work as policy makers, community agency directors, consultants, and research analysts.

Program information: Please contact education department.


Students admitted to the program must have completed a master's degree in education or a related field and will normally have worked full time as an educator at the elementary, secondary, or college level. Entering students are expected to have completed some graduate­-level coursework in educational psychology, curriculum and instruction, educational structure and change, and the philosophical and social foundations of education. Exceptional candidates who do not meet all of these course prerequisites will be considered. To apply, candidates must submit a Graduate School application, transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework, and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test scores.

In addition to the personal statement required on the Graduate School application, candidates must submit an essay on an educational issue. This essay should discuss one issue in the field of education that is of interest to the candidate. It should explore the opportunities and challenges this issue poses and explain why the applicant finds it personally compelling (1,000 to 1,500 words in length).

Prior to completing and submitting the application, it is highly recommended that the candidate arrange for an on-­campus interview with the director of doctoral studies or with an appropriate department faculty member. Applicants from distant locations may interview by phone. Contact the Department of Education by phone: (603) 862-­2310 or e­mail:

Degree Requirements

Candidates for the degree must meet admission requirements, develop and complete an approved program of study in consultation with their guidance committee, complete required coursework, undergo an annual assessment review by the Doctoral Advisory Committee (for first-­ and second­-year students), pass a qualifying examination to advance to candidacy, establish a dissertation committee, develop an approved dissertation proposal, write and present the dissertation, and pass the final oral examination.

Program of Studies

Upon acceptance to the program, students are assigned an adviser. During the first year of study, students identify, either in consultation with their adviser or with the director of doctoral studies, faculty members to serve as their guidance committee. Programs for the doctoral degree in education are planned individually by students and their guidance committees. The program of study consists of four major elements: common core courses, specialization specific to the student's scholarly interests, a number of selected electives from across areas of inquiry, and research preparation, including specific advanced research modules.

At least five common core courses are required of all students: Proseminar in Doctoral Studies: Critical Inquiry in Education; Normative Inquiry in Education; Qualitative Inquiry in Education; Introduction to Statistics: Inquiry, Analysis, and Decision Making; Applied Regression Analysis for Educational Research; and Quantitative Inquiry: Methods and Techniques of Educational Research. Typically students complete 52 to 64 hours in graduate coursework following their matriculation. These hours do not include doctoral research (EDUC 999 Doctoral Research).

Qualifying Examination

To be advanced to Ph.D. candidacy, students must satisfactorily complete qualifying examinations as well as other program requirements. After completing at least two­thirds of their coursework, students may take the qualifying examination. The examination is a written exam to be developed, supervised, and evaluated by the student's guidance committee. The qualifying examination is used to evaluate the student's general knowledge in relevant areas of inquiry, and his or her fitness for engaging in research, particularly in the subject proposed for the dissertation.


To complete the degree, the student must present and defend a dissertation of original research and publishable quality.