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  The Graduate School of Education 2009-2011 Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Programs Ph.D. Program in Education  

Ph.D. Program in Education

Degree Program Offered: Doctor of Philosophy

Director: Dr. William A. Firestone (732-932-7496, ext. 8231; email:

Please visit the website.

The doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in education prepares individuals for faculty and research positions in academia, government, and the private sector. Students are expected to choose one of two concentrations:

The Ph.D. in Education Concentration in Learning, Cognition, Instruction, and Development (L-CID) prepares students to carry out research with implications for learning and teaching in classrooms and other settings. Areas of study include assessment and measurement, early childhood and elementary education, educational psychology, human development, language education, learning sciences, literacy, mathematics education, science education, statistics and measurement, and social studies with opportunities for research in other specialties and interdisciplinary studies. The concentration focuses on how people think, how knowledge is conveyed, how understanding is acquired, how human beings develop in learning environments, and the ingredients of effective teaching.

The Ph.D. in Education Concentration in Theory, Organization, and Policy (TOP) is designed to prepare researchers who will study organizational leadership, policy, international and comparative education, and the social science and humanities disciplines of education. The concentration focuses on the interplay between larger social, political, economic, historical contexts and educational policies, practices, and outcomes.

Only applicants who have demonstrated the potential for outstanding research are selected for the program. Among the factors considered for admission are a bachelor's degree in a relevant area; an undergraduate cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.0; a graduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 (if applicable); and a strong performance on the Graduate Record Examination. In the personal statement, the applicant should discuss the issues he or she is interested in studying, describe reasons for those interests, and--if possible--identify Rutgers faculty with whom he or she would be interested in working. Applicants should also provide three letters of recommendation from former professors or employers. In addition, foreign applicants must provide a TOEFL score indicative of proficiency in English. Additional criteria may be set by each concentration.

Students must complete at least 48 credits of coursework, which are distributed as follows:

  • 6 credits in the education core (Proseminars I and II);
  • at least 12 credits in research methods, including courses in quantitative and qualitative methodologies;
  • 6 credits in prethesis research in the education concentration (L-CID or TOP);
  • at least 18 credits in a concentration; and
  • at least 6 credits in the appropriate cognate disciplines--that is, outside the education department.

An additional 24 credits of dissertation research are required. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 in their doctoral coursework. Students may petition the faculty of the Ph.D. in education to transfer up to 24 graduate credits from coursework taken elsewhere toward these requirements.

Each Ph.D. student is assigned a research adviser. Students must complete at least two research projects before they are admitted to dissertation candidacy, and they must pass a qualifying examination that is evaluated by a faculty committee in the area of concentration. Students are admitted to dissertation candidacy by the faculty after they have completed successfully the above requirements. In addition, students must provide evidence of successful teaching experience, which is documented by a portfolio for evaluation by the faculty.

Students who are admitted to the Ph.D. program in education will be eligible to earn a master of arts (M.A.) degree while working toward the Ph.D. degree. Only students admitted to the Ph.D. program will be eligible for the M.A. degree. Applications by prospective students seeking only an M.A. degree will be rejected without review.

Students will be eligible to receive an M.A. from the graduate school upon completion of 30 credits taken at Rutgers and eligible to be counted toward Ph.D. requirements in the student's concentration. These credits will be accumulated while pursuing the requirements of the Ph.D. program in education and will adhere to the guidelines related to transfer of credits, undergraduate courses, and other policies for M.A. degrees as described in this catalog. The 30 credits will include 6 credits in the two proseminars (300:501 and 300:503).

To earn an M.A., students must complete an M.A. comprehensive examination prepared by the faculty of each concentration. This examination will cover the content of the two proseminars and other relevant content, as specified by the concentration faculty. The examination will be administered and evaluated by concentration faculty members. The M.A. comprehensive examination may be administered as one component of a concentration's Ph.D. qualifying examination; a student who fails other parts of the qualifying examination but passes this part will have passed the comprehensive examination for the M.A. At least three members of the Ph.D. in education faculty will be on the comprehensive examination committee.

Students who have passed the Ph.D. qualifying examination in their concentration but who have not taken the M.A. comprehensive examination can use the Ph.D. qualifying examination as a substitute for the M.A. comprehensive examination with the permission of their advisers and the graduate program director.

All Ph.D. students are encouraged to take the examination and earn an M.A. as they work toward their Ph.D. degrees.
For additional information, contact RU-info at 732-445-info (4636) or
Comments and corrections to: Campus Information Services.

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