May 21, 2019  
Graduate Record 2009-2010 
Graduate Record 2009-2010 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Doctor of Philosophy

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs

The primary purpose of the Ph.D. degree is to develop educational scholars who wish to conduct original research and interpret and communicate the results of such research as authors, university faculty, and governmental or research agency officials.  Specific requirements for Ph.D. programs are posted on the Curry web site.

Admission Requirements are described under Academic Rules and Regulations.

Applicants must meet any additional program- specific requirements noted on the Curry website

Enrollment Requirements Students must be continuously enrolled at the University during the fall and spring semesters while working toward the Ph.D. degree. If students are not taking courses or working with a committee, they may maintain enrollment by paying a University non-resident fee through the Office of Admission in the Curry School. Failure to maintain continuous enrollment will require students to reapply for admission. Students must be enrolled for dissertation hours during any semester in which they are working with their committee.

Time Limit All requirements must be completed within four years after passing comprehensive examinations and within seven years of admission to the Ph.D. program. In special cases, upon approval of the mentor, department chair, and associate dean, out-of-date work may be revalidated by examination.


Program Features

Goals of the PhD program:

All Ph.D. programs in the Curry School are designed to prepare professors and scholars with demonstrated ability to conduct research in their field of study. Programs may establish additional requirements and goals consistent with their field.

Faculty Mentors:

All entering Ph.D. students will be assigned a faculty advisor who serves as a mentor. 

Coursework and Residency

The PhD program requires a minimum of 72 credits, although programs may require more. Students must complete at least 54 credits of coursework. This includes content courses and research methodology courses, and up to 3 credits of research apprenticeship per semester, but does not include internship and dissertation credits. At least 36 course and apprenticeship credits must be completed after admission to the program. Students can apply up to 12 credits of dissertation work towards the total of 72.

Students entering the doctoral program with a master’s degree can apply up to 24 hours of credit to their doctoral program, provided that the program area and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs agree that the courses are comparable to substitute for specific courses required in the doctoral program.

Students will ordinarily complete the program in 4 years of full-time study, or 3 years of full-time study beyond an applicable masters degree.

Research Apprenticeship

Ph.D. students will participate in a research apprenticeship with their faculty advisors. This apprenticeship will occupy approximately 10 hours of each student’s week during the first and second years of study and may increase during the third and fourth years. During this apprenticeship, the student will assist with the advisor’s research and scholarship, which may include data collection, data analysis, library research, presentations, writing for publication, and other related activities.

Research Methodology Coursework

All Ph.D. students will take the Research Foundations course. Students will take Stats I and Qual I, except under two circumstances: (1) the student has completed comparable coursework elsewhere; or (2) program areas makes the case that their discipline does not require one of these courses.

Individual program areas will require, in additional to the introductory courses above, several additional courses in research design, methods, measurement, and/or statistics that prepare the student to carry out research comparable to first-rate publications in the student’s field of study. It is expected that some of these courses will be at advanced levels and that students will be encouraged to take research-methods courses from other departments in the University (e.g., Sociology, Economics, History, Psychology, Public Health, etc.).

Pre-dissertation research manuscript

Under the guidance of their program area, students will complete a pre-dissertation research project that results in a manuscript submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or an alternative scholarly publication consistent with the program area’s discipline. The manuscript must be submitted before the student undertakes dissertation work. There is no requirement that the paper be accepted for publication, but students are encouraged to revise manuscripts if resubmission is likely to result in publication. Advisors are encouraged to work with students to shape these papers toward eventual publication; co-authored papers are acceptable.


Program areas will determine key student competencies across each year of the doctoral program. Programs may use accreditation or licensing requirements as the foundation for these competencies. Students will document their evolving competencies annually and receive written and oral feedback on their annual progress.

Qualifying Examination

Students will complete a written comprehensive examination that covers the knowledge base and methodology of their discipline and demonstrates their readiness to undertake doctoral dissertation research. The examination will be graded independently by at least two faculty members.


All Ph.D. students will complete a dissertation proposal and a dissertation following either the traditional model or the three-paper option described in the Curry Dissertation Manual which can be found on the Curry website.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs