The goal of this area of study is to produce graduates with a Ph.D. degree in education who have the knowledge, expertise, experience, and professional traits to work productively as researchers, evaluators, policy analysts, assessment specialists, and/or professors in a variety of settings including (a) universities, (b) government agencies (federal, state, local levels), and (c) contract R & D firms. Furthermore, students are expected to develop a combination of three specific traits: (a) an understanding of historical and philosophical foundations of educational research, (b) methodological expertise in multiple modes of disciplined inquiry, and (c) practical experience in designing and conducting research (mentored experiences).
RSE studies provide a balance between breadth and depth and between theory and practice. The curriculum consists of four interrelated components that provide a common core as well as flexibility to accommodate individual learner interests and needs. The four components are: (1) A set of required foundational courses (21 credits) designed to develop students’ understanding of the nature, limits, and sources of human inquiry and knowledge so they become proficient in planning, conducting, and interpreting findings of educational research and evaluation; (2) additional elective courses (21 credits) designed to assist students in acquiring a deeper understanding and expertise in specific inquiry methods and analytical tools; (3) Mentored Experiences (10 hours/semester) where students acquire practical experience in designing and conducting research, and (4) a dissertation experience (minimum 12 credits) that involves practice experience in designing and carrying out research (including analyzing and reporting of results both in writing and orally) in the student’s area of interest.
Graduates at the master’s level are employed by school systems, state education departments, schools of education, nursing, medicine, etc., and other public and private organizations engaged in educational research or evaluation. Doctoral-level graduates are qualified for a wide variety of leadership positions. Many have become professors in universities, while others have found leadership positions in state and national educational agencies and organizations, in profit and non-profit private educational firms, and in industry.