PhD Programs in Education with Career Information

Students in Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) programs in education can expect to develop skills in analyzing current economic, social, ethical and political issues and learn how to respond to these issues in educational and organizational situations.

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Essential Information

Ph.D. programs in education are usually best suited to education professionals currently employed in public and private schools, government agencies, community agencies and professional associations. Most programs place an emphasis on performing original research in the fields of education and counseling. A central goal of many programs is also to teach students educational theory and how to apply it in the field.

Because skills like these can require knowledge in a variety of areas, programs typically emphasize interdisciplinary study. Also, because students in these programs tend to represent a variety of backgrounds, programs are usually highly individualized. Students commonly outline their own course of study with the help of an adviser or advisement committee. One common area of focus across nearly all programs is leadership training, an essential skill for educational leaders. Like most doctoral degree programs, Ph.D. programs in education are 3-5 years long and culminate in a dissertation, which is an original research project overseen by an advisor or advisement committee.


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  • Counseling and Guidance
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Educational Administration and Supervision
  • Educational Evaluation and Research
  • ESL Teaching
  • International and Comparative Education
  • Library Science and Related Professions
  • Philosophical Foundations of Education
  • Special Education
  • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
  • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • Teaching Assistant

Ph.D. in Education

Applicants must at least hold a bachelor's degree to be considered for admission. Students should also expect to submit college transcripts, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, a resume and a personal statement. Programs may also show preference for candidates with substantial work experience who can immediately benefit from this sort of training. Coursework in Ph.D. programs in education combines theoretical learning, practical application and collaborative projects. Here are some courses that might appear in the curriculum:

  • Group psychology
  • Learning models
  • Leadership
  • Ethics in education
  • Education and globalization

Popular Career Options

Doctoral degree programs in education tend to attract education professionals who are either already in a leadership position or who are preparing for a leadership role. As such, job titles for graduates of these programs might include the following:

  • Principal
  • Program director
  • Education consultant
  • Dean
  • Education committee chair

To summarize, students may apply for a Ph.D. in Education after acquiring a bachelor's degree and submitting all the necessary prerequisites. Programs are often specific to the student in question, but one common thread is a focus on teaching leadership skills.

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