Education (Ph.D.)

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

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

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. Entering students are generally expected to have some experience working in areas related to education, broadly conceptualized. To apply, candidates must submit a Graduate School application and transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework.

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 contact the Director of the Division of Educational Studies, who directs the Ph.D. in Education program, to arrange a phone, skype, or on-campus appointment to discuss their interests and fit with current research of faculty in the Department of Education.  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.

Students typically complete 52 to 64 hours in graduate coursework following their matriculation. These hours do not include (EDUC 999 Doctoral Research).

At least five of the below common core courses are required of all students:

Required Common Core Courses
EDUC 902Doctoral Pro-seminar4
EDUC 904Qualitative Inquiry in Research4
EDUC 905Critical Inquiry in Education4
EDUC 906The Literature Review in Educational Research: Interdisciplinary Perspectives4
EDUC 981Quantitative Inquiry: Methods and Techniques of Educational Research4
Pre-requisites for EDUC 981:
EDUC 881Introduction to Statistics: Inquiry, Analysis, and Decision Making4
EDUC 978Applied Regression Analysis in Educational Research4
Specialization Areas and Requirements:
Children and Youth in Communities
Childhood Focus required courses:
Diversity and Child Development
Child Development in Context
Leadership and Advocacy in Early Childhood Education
Understanding Culture in Research on Learning and Development
Teaching Practicum
Adolescent Focus required courses:
Understanding Culture in Research on Learning and Development
Contemporary Issues and Theories in Human Learning and Development
Contemporary Issues in Adolescent Development
Teaching Practicum
Curriculum and Instruction/Teacher Education
Select five courses from the following:
Understanding Culture in Research on Learning and Development
Analysis of Teaching and Learning
Issues in Education
Curriculum Development
Contemporary Issues and Theories in Human Learning and Development
Philosophy of Education
Curriculum Theory I
Curriculum Theory II
Experiential/Outdoor Education
Select five courses from the following:
Philosophy of Education
Therapeutic Applications of Adventure Programming
Psych Factors of Adventure Ed
Historical Foundations of Outdoor Experiential Education
Program Models and Evaluation in Outdoor Education
Organization and Administration of Outdoor Education Programs
Advanced Studies
Advanced Topics in Outdoor Education
Leadership and Policy Studies
Human Resources in Education
P-12 Focus required courses:
Policy, Politics, and Planning in Education
Leadership: The District Level Administrator
Higher Education Focus required courses:
Foundations for Leadership in Higher Education
Policy and Governance in Higher Education
Select a minimum of eight credits of elective coursework from the following:
Special Topics in Education (Topics: Students, the Law & Higher Education, and Faculty & Higher Education Law)
Issues in Education
Educational Finance and Business Management
School Law
Collective Bargaining in Public Education
Independent Study (School Facilities)

Integrative Coursework

Select two advanced inquiry education courses (e.g., EDUC 979 Applied Multilevel Modeling), courses in a different specialization, or courses taken in another department (e.g., psychology, sociology, economics, family studies).

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 two­-thirds 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.

  • Students will demonstrate general knowledge of the field of educational research, including types of research questions and methods of inquiry used in the field.
  • Students will learn to critique and design qualitative and quantitative educational research, and they will be able to identify and craft good argumentation in educational scholarship.
  • Students will demonstrate expertise in at least one form of data analysis or a non-empirical form of inquiry (e.g., historical, philosophical, literary).
  • Students will gain expertise in one or more substantive areas of inquiry in educational research.