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  The Graduate School of Education 2019-2021 Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Programs Ph.D. Program in Education  

Ph.D. Program in Education

Degree Program Offered: Doctor of Philosophy

Director: Drew Gitomer (848-932-0642; email:

Please visit the website.

Students in the Ph.D. in education program will choose one of two concentrations.

The Ph.D. in Education Concentration in Learning, Cognition, Instruction, and Development (LCID) prepares students to carry out research on learning and teaching in classrooms and other settings. Interdisciplinary study is encouraged within this concentration, which 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. Students can specialize in areas of faculty expertise, with opportunities for research in interdisciplinary studies and these specializations: early childhood education, educational psychology, human development, language education, learning sciences, literacy education, mathematics education, science education, social studies education, special education, and statistics and measurement.

We help our students to develop the broad base of knowledge and research skills needed to design and investigate methods of improving learning and teaching in real-world learning environments. Students specialize in one area of study but learn about one or more other areas, allowing them to develop stronger educational interventions and research designs.

The Ph.D. in Education Concentration in Theory, Organization, and Policy (TOP) prepares students for research in higher education, policy organizations, and governmental/nongovernmental organizations concerned with education, broadly defined. Over the past three decades, political leaders have increasingly recognized the critical importance of education to economic, political, social, and cultural improvement. Their decisions have implications for the well-being of families, communities, and the United States' place in the world. Unfortunately, decision-makers often pursue educational goals without a clear understanding of their own philosophical assumptions, the needs for change, the possible results of change, or the social forces that affect actions that legislatures and governments take. This program prepares scholars who can help find answers to these questions and, in the process, inform policymakers, educators, and the public about the progress and challenges of education. Our faculty conduct research in organizational leadership, policy, and international and comparative education, as well as in the social science and humanities disciplines of education. Our students specialize in one area of study but learn about others, allowing them to develop stronger educational analyses and research designs. Following an apprenticeship model and working closely with their academic adviser, students design their own course of study, taking courses offered at the Graduate School of Education (GSE) and across Rutgers University.

Admissions Requirements

All prospective students must apply to the Ph.D. in education program by December 1 through the Graduate Admissions website. Only applicants who have demonstrated the potential for outstanding research are selected for the program.The following items are required for a complete application package (additional criteria may be set by each concentration):
  • Completed admission application including a personal statement that describes why the applicant is interested in studying education at Rutgers, his or her research interests, and the faculty member(s) with whom the applicant would like to work
  • GRE Scores: Scores cannot be used if they are more than five years old. Students will have to retake the exam. If you have another Ph.D., then you may waive the GRE exam.
  • Transcripts from undergraduate program and for any other degree received
  • TOEFL (for international students)
All applicants are automatically considered by the director of the Ph.D. in education program for fellowships, graduate assistantships, and teaching assistantships. No separate application is needed for this funding.Admissions decisions are typically made by mid-March. The GSE Ph.D. in education program notifies applicants of their admittance to the program (in an informal capacity) via email. Graduate Admissions then sends applicants by regular mail the official acceptance letter. Admitted applicants should contact the assigned faculty adviser or the director of the Ph.D. in education program if there are any questions or concerns while making the final decision about whether accepting the offered admittance to the Ph.D. in education program at Rutgers.

Program Requirements

The Ph.D. in education program requires a combination of coursework, examinations, and research, eventually leading to a dissertation that is an original piece of research. A student must devote a minimum of three years of full-time study beyond the bachelor's degree for the Ph.D. If any of the work is conducted on a part-time basis, the minimum time required will be longer. For this purpose, one year of study is represented by 24 credits of coursework or research. Therefore, the minimum requirement for the Ph.D. degree is 72 credits: at least 48 credits of coursework and at least 24 credits of dissertation-related research. Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.25. Students may petition the faculty of the Ph.D. in education program to transfer up to 24 graduate credits from coursework taken elsewhere toward these requirements. Two areas of study (Learning Sciences and Statistics and Measurement) within the LCID concentration have additional course requirements. For Learning Sciences, the 18 credits for area of study must include the following two courses (see course descriptions in this catalog)
16:300:582 Cognition and Instruction
15:262:610 Design-based Research
The Ph.D. in education program is arranged in two phases. The preliminary phase, which generally involves formal courses of study, is completed when the student passes the qualifying examination. In the second phase, the student usually writes his or her dissertation. This phase concludes when the dissertation is accepted and the defense of it is approved. Between admission to the Rutgers School of Graduate Studies (SGS; formerly the Graduate School-New Brunswick) and the conferral of the Ph.D. degree, the student must:
1. satisfy the course and other preliminary requirements of the particular concentration/area of study in which the student is enrolled;
2. pass the qualifying examination;
3. present the results of the unique, original research in an acceptable dissertation; and
4. pass a final, oral dissertation defense.
The student becomes a formal candidate for the doctorate only after completing the qualifying examination.

As the Ph.D. in education policy on the requirements/guidelines for university-level teaching experience (in the Appendix of the Ph.D. Handbook) states, Ph.D. students must demonstrate competency in teaching. All students must submit a teaching portfolio in order to complete the program.

Minimum requirements of the teaching portfolio include:

  • a teaching statement
  • student evaluations (if you were responsible for a course)
  • a faculty observation of at least one lesson with a written summary by the observer
  • a sample of instructional artifacts or documentation to illustrate key aspects of your teaching (e.g., lesson plans, assessments, assignments)

Students are encouraged to participate in the intellectual life of the educational research community by presenting their research and attending colloquia at the Graduate School of Education and in their professional research community (e.g., Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association).

Students who are admitted to the Ph.D. in education program will be eligible to earn a master of arts (M.A.) degree while working toward the Ph.D. degree. These credits are eligible to be counted toward Ph.D. requirements in the student's concentration, will be accumulated while pursuing the requirements of the Ph.D. in education program, and will adhere to the guidelines related to transfer of credits, undergraduate courses, and other policies for M.A. degrees as described in the Ph.D. program handbook. Students should periodically refer to the Ph.D. Handbook, Policies, and Resources tab in the GSE Ph.D. in education portal on Sakai to view the most recent handbook and policy updates.
For additional information, contact RU-info at 848-445-info (4636) or
Comments and corrections to: Campus Information Services.

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