Ph.D. in Educational Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy - the Ph.D. program encompasses an integrated degree that calls for knowledge of teaching, learning, development, motivation; and measurement, statistics, evaluation, and research design. Students are expected to acquire a balanced knowledge of both scholarly and applied aspects of the field of educational psychology. This integrated degree prepares students for both teaching and research careers, primarily in colleges and universities, but also in school settings, testing firms, industry, and research organization.

For any doctoral program, students are required to complete courses agreed upon by the student's committee. Additionally, involvement in research projects and in college-level teaching is critical. Doctoral students also complete Qualifying and Comprehensive Examinations and a final dissertation and defense. The Graduate College imposes a residency requirement. To meet the minimum Graduate College residence requirement, the student must complete a minimum of 30 units of graduate credit in residence at The University of Arizona, (18 units of dissertation plus 12 units of regular graded coursework taken at The University of Arizona). "In residence" is defined as units offered by The University of Arizona, whether or not they are offered on campus. Some programs require fulltime attendance for two or more semesters. Some coursework can be selected to accommodate the needs of part-time students. However, because coursework is only a part of preparation for a scholarly career, and consistent involvement in academic endeavors is often limited for part-time students, we encourage students to pursue graduate study on a full-time basis.

Major and Minor Areas of Concentration

Students majoring in educational psychology choose either one or two supporting minor areas. Minors within the department are permitted. At least 36 units of work, exclusive of the dissertation, must be in the major area. A minimum of nine units are required in the minor area, with 12 or 15 units being more common. Minor requirements are set by the department offering the minor.


Policy for Doctoral Minor in Educational Psychology for Students with Majors Outside the Department

Given the changes in the Graduate College requirements for graduate committees, the Department now expects that a student obtaining a minor in Educational Psychology will take a set of four courses (with a maximum of 3 units in either ED P599 or ED P699 allowed) as determined by the minor advisor, a tenured or tenure-track faculty member in the Department. The Graduate College requires a written examination in the ‘subject’ that is represented by the set of four courses prior to the student sitting for the Oral Comprehensive Examination, but there is no expectation that the minor advisor or any other from the faculty of the Educational Psychology Department be a member of that oral examining committee. There are several options for the written minor in EDP, and the advisor has the freedom to suggest an additional option that better fits a particular situation. The advisor will involve at least one additional department faculty member for assistance in asking questions and grading answers. Options include but are not limited to: 1) Answering questions in a 4-hour session. 2) A take-home assignment to substitute for the above. 3) A paper discussing how the minor subject contributes to the student’s major field. (Note that the ‘subject of the minor does not need to be totally contained within EDP and thus testing over all the ‘courses’ taken in the subject is not required.)

Qualifying Examination

The required Qualifying Examination is recommended to be taken during the second semester of enrollment. The Qualifying Committee consists of three members of the Educational Psychology faculty.

Comprehensive Examination

Before admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree, the student must pass a general Oral Comprehensive Examination as required by the Graduate College. To prepare for this comprehensive examination, the student must meet two department requirements: 1) Prepare and present a literature review, and 2) Conduct and report an empirical research study. Passing the Comprehensive Examination indicates that the student is knowledgeable about the field and prepared to conduct and defend dissertation research.

Dissertation and Final Defense

When the required standards of scholarship have been met and research ability has been demonstrated in the dissertation, the candidate submits to an oral examination in defense of the dissertation.

Ph.D. Handbook

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