|The Ph.D. in Educational Psychology is designed to provide advanced studies in educational psychology with three primary strands: 1) Educational psychology with specialty area emphases in educational assessment, program evaluation, research, and learning in school domains, 2) School Counselor Education, and 3) School Psychology. This program will provide opportunities for students to become independent scholars who are able to make significant contributions to knowledge in specialized areas of educational psychology where both regional and national need for trained professionals has been identified.
The three strands in the program focus on the outcomes and processes that promote more effective learning in school based and related applications. Students in all strands will take core courses in: 1) research methods and statistics, 2) learning and cognition, and 3) advanced studies in a domain of school curriculum, school counselor education, or school psychology. All students will be actively involved in research and research-related activities throughout their program of study. The program will prepare students for a variety of professional careers related to teaching, research, and professional practice in both academic and nonacademic settings. For example, students will be prepared to fill faculty, research, or assessment positions at academic institutions, such as universities, community colleges, and K-12 school districts.
Representative occupations include educational psychologist, program evaluator, director of school counseling, school counselor educator, educational assessment coordinator, school psychologist, and employee training specialist. Graduates from the school psychology specialization strand can find employment in universities, public and private schools, and as mental health service providers in agencies and private practice.
Admission will be limited to the most qualified applicants based on a combination of the following:
- An undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 or above.
- If graduate course work has been completed, a graduate grade point average of 3.00 or above.
- Preference given to scores that relate to the 50th percentile or better on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
- A score of 600 or above on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is also required for students who do not speak English as their language.
- Three letters of reference from university faculty or other individuals qualified to judge the applicant’s academic potential.
- The applicant’s statement of professional interests and goals.
- A scholarly or professional writing sample.
- Graduate College application is available online. Applications for admission will be considered once a year. The deadline for the receipt of applications is February.
The Ph.D. in Educational Psychology requires 67 credits beyond the master’s degree. Of the 67 credits, 25 are in courses shared with other doctoral programs in the department. All strands have a requirement of one credit of professional seminar, 15 credits in research methods, 9 in learning theory, 12 in a required emphasis area, and 12 directed toward dissertation completion. The school counselor education strand requires an additional 18 credits in advanced school counselor education coursework. The school psychology strand requires 18 credits in advanced school psychology coursework. The foundations strand requires 18 credits in coursework tailored for the area of focus in the strand. Individual programs of study may exceed the minimum requirements.
All students must have a master’s equivalent degree to be considered for admission. Students must maintain a grade point average of 3.00 or better in the program and a grade of B or better in core course work. Students in the school counselor education strand enter with a master’s degree in a school counseling program accredited by the council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or must have completed the substantial equivalent of such program. Students with degrees in other counseling specialties will be considered for admission with the understanding that additional course work will be required as part of their doctoral programs. For the school psychology strand, students without a master’s degree must first be admitted to the Ed.S. program. Many students admitted for this strand have completed their Ed.S. from a NASP-approved program, or its equivalent, as evidence of the knowledge base of a professional school psychologist. Students without this foundation are considered for admission with understanding that their programs of study will include content from our Ed.S. program.
Each student must satisfy a scholarly paper requirement by the time he or she has completed 36 credits (Review I). The student must be primarily responsible for carrying out and reporting a study under the supervision of a program faculty member. The requirement may be fulfilled in one of two ways. First, the study may involve the collection and analysis of some empirical data (for example, a pilot study) resulting in a scholarly paper that is submitted to either a professional journal or as a proposal to an annual conference of a national organization. Second, the paper may consist of a literature review that is submitted for publication in a quality, peer-reviewed journal or submitted for presentation at a national conference. Prior to beginning, projects must be approved by a supervising faculty member. Once completed, students must submit to the program coordinator(s): (a) a copy of the paper, (b) a submission acknowledgement, and (c) a completed Review I form from the supervising faculty member.
Each student must take the preliminary examination (Review II). This second formal assessment, typically completed during the last semester of formal classwork, is an examination that will focus on areas of knowledge that are most relevant to the student’s proposed dissertation topic. The student and his/her committee will determine the content of this examination format in that it will focus on in-depth reading and writing directly related to the student’s proposed dissertation topic as well as on the student’s mastery of previously learned core information.
Dissertation Proposals and Defenses
After successfully completing Review I (i.e., satisfying the scholarly product requirement) and Review II (i.e., passing the preliminary examination), students can then submit a formal dissertation proposal to their doctoral committee and submit the accompanying “Dissertation Prospectus” form to the Graduate College. The doctoral committee will meet and determine whether to accept or reject the prospectus. A prospectus can be accepted provisionally given that the student follows the committee’s suggestions in the dissertation. Upon completion of the full dissertation, a defense will be scheduled. This defense will be scheduled and conducted in accordance with the Graduate College’s policies for thesis and dissertation completion. It is the student’s responsibility to file the required “Notification of Oral or Written Examination” form with the Graduate College in a timely manner.