Education Ph.D.

Education Ph.D.

Education student and professors talking

The program of Education offers a Ph.D. in education with specialization in fields related to the areas of:

  1. children and youth in communities;
  2. curriculum and instruction/teacher education;
  3. experiential/outdoor education;
  4. leadership and policy studies

The doctoral program is designed to engender a broad understanding of the field of education by encouraging focused scholarly inquiry grounded in the reality of educational practice across varied formal and informal settings. Professors and students work to place educational issues in philosophical, socio-­cultural, and policy­-related contexts. The program enrolls full­- and part-­time students.

An individual program of study is planned by the student and her or his guidance committee. Each student's program includes a set of common core courses, specialized study, a number of selected electives from across areas of inquiry, and required research preparation. Students must meet specific University, department, and program requirements. Within this framework, individual programs can vary widely from student to student depending upon the student's own interests and goals.

The Ph.D. in education provides students with preparation for research, teaching, and leadership in a variety of settings. Graduates hold positions at all levels of schooling, from colleges and universities to K­-12 schools. Former students are also involved in work as policy makers, community agency directors, consultants, and research analysts.

Program information: Please contact education department.


Students admitted to the program must have completed a master's degree in education or a related field and will normally have worked full time as an educator at the elementary, secondary, or college level. Entering students are expected to have completed some graduate­-level coursework in educational psychology, curriculum and instruction, educational structure and change, and the philosophical and social foundations of education. Exceptional candidates who do not meet all of these course prerequisites will be considered. To apply, candidates must submit a Graduate School application, transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework, and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test scores.

In addition to the personal statement required on the Graduate School application, candidates must submit an essay on an educational issue. This essay should discuss one issue in the field of education that is of interest to the candidate. It should explore the opportunities and challenges this issue poses and explain why the applicant finds it personally compelling (1,000 to 1,500 words in length).

Prior to completing and submitting the application, it is highly recommended that the candidate arrange for an on-­campus interview with the director of doctoral studies or with an appropriate department faculty member. Applicants from distant locations may interview by phone. Contact the Department of Education by phone: (603) 862-­2310 or e­mail:

Department of Education
Morrill Hall
University of New Hampshire
62 College Road
Durham, NH 03824

Phone: (603) 862-2310
Fax: (603) 862-2174


Curriculum & Requirements

Degree Requirements

Candidates for the degree must meet admission requirements, develop and complete an approved program of study in consultation with their guidance committee, complete required coursework, undergo an annual assessment review by the Doctoral Advisory Committee (for first-­ and second­-year students), pass a qualifying examination to advance to candidacy, establish a dissertation committee, develop an approved dissertation proposal, write and present the dissertation, and pass the final oral examination.

Program of Studies

Upon acceptance to the program, students are assigned an adviser. During the first year of study, students identify, either in consultation with their adviser or with the director of doctoral studies, faculty members to serve as their guidance committee. Programs for the doctoral degree in education are planned individually by students and their guidance committees. The program of study consists of four major elements: common core courses, specialization specific to the student's scholarly interests, a number of selected electives from across areas of inquiry, and research preparation, including specific advanced research modules.

Students typically complete 52 to 64 hours in graduate coursework following their matriculation. These hours do not include (EDUC 999 Doctoral Research).

At least five of the below common core courses are required of all students:

Required Common Core Courses
EDUC 902Doctoral Pro-seminar4
EDUC 904Qualitative Inquiry in Education4
EDUC 905Critical Inquiry in Education4
EDUC 906The Literature Review in Educational Research: Interdisciplinary Perspectives4
EDUC 981Quantitative Inquiry: Methods and Techniques of Educational Research4
Pre-requisites for EDUC 981:
EDUC 881Introduction to Statistics: Inquiry, Analysis, and Decision Making4
EDUC 978Applied Regression Analysis in Educational Research4
Specialization Areas and Requirements:
Children and Youth in Communities
Childhood Focus required courses:
Diversity and Child Development
Child Development in Context
Leadership and Advocacy in Early Childhood Education
Research in Culture, Behavior, and Development
Teaching Practicum
Adolescent Focus required courses:
Research in Culture, Behavior, and Development
Advanced Psychology of Human Learning
Contemporary Issues and Theories in Human Learning and Development
Contemporary Issues in Adolescent Development
Foundations for Leadership in Higher Education
Curriculum and Instruction/Teacher Education
Select five courses from the following:
Research in Culture, Behavior, and Development
Analysis of Teaching and Learning
Issues in Education
Curriculum Development
Advanced Psychology of Human Learning
Contemporary Issues and Theories in Human Learning and Development
Philosophy of Education
Developmental Perspectives on Adulthood
Curriculum Theory I
Curriculum Theory II
Experiential/Outdoor Education
Select five courses from the following:
Philosophy of Education
Therapeutic Applications of Adventure Programming
Pysch Factors of Adventure Ed
Historical Foundations of Outdoor Experiential Education
Program Models and Evaluation in Outdoor Education
Organization and Administration of Outdoor Education Programs
Advanced Studies
Advanced Topics in Outdoor Education
Special Topics
Leadership and Policy Studies
Human Resources in Education
P-12 Focus required courses:
Policy, Politics, and Planning in Education
Leadership: The District Level Administrator
Higher Education Focus required courses:
Foundations for Leadership in Higher Education
Policy and Governance in Higher Education
Select a minimum of eight credits of elective coursework from the following:
Laws and Regulations Affecting the Education of Students with Disabilities
Issues in Education
Educational Finance and Business Management
Collective Bargaining in Public Education
School Law
School Facilities Management
Special Topics in Education (Topics: Students, the Law & Higher Education, and Faculty & Higher Education Law)

Integrative Coursework

Select two advanced inquiry education courses, courses in a different specialization, or courses taken in another department.

EDUC 979 Applied Multilevel Modeling
Methods courses in other UNH departments with permission of PhD director, e.g., psychology, sociology, economics, family studies.

Qualifying Examination

To be advanced to Ph.D. candidacy, students must satisfactorily complete qualifying examinations as well as other program requirements. After completing at least two­thirds of their coursework, students may take the qualifying examination. The examination is a written exam to be developed, supervised, and evaluated by the student's guidance committee. The qualifying examination is used to evaluate the student's general knowledge in relevant areas of inquiry, and his or her fitness for engaging in research, particularly in the subject proposed for the dissertation.


To complete the degree, the student must present and defend a dissertation of original research and publishable quality.


Deadlines: Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Review of applications begins on December 15th. Applications received after this date will be considered if space allows.
  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: RI VT

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Test Scores: GRE Required

GRE required. Request official test scores to be sent directly to the Graduate School by the testing service. Test scores more than five years old are not acceptable. Student copies and photo copies of scores are not considered official. Our CEEB code is 3918.

For general information about test scores required for admission into our programs please visit our Test Scores webpage.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

1) reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives, and 2) your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field. A second essay is required. It must discuss one issue in the field of education that is of interest to you. Explore the opportunities and challenges this issue poses and explain why you find it personally compelling. It should be 1000 to 1500 words in length.

Statements must be included with your submitted application.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are strongly encouraged to complete our international pre-application process and are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. Please note that English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

Explore Program Details

Application Requirements

Students admitted to the program must have completed a master’s degree, in education or a related field. Exceptional candidates from other fields of study may be considered. Most entering students will also have worked full-time as an educator.

Application Procedures

To apply, candidates must submit:

  • A UNH Graduate School Application
  • Three references (submitted with application)
  • Transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test scores.

(GRE scores are a UNH Graduate School requirement which cannot be waived.)

  • An essay (in addition to the one included in the Graduate School Application) …that discusses one issue in the field of education that is of interest to you. Explore the opportunities and challenges this issue poses and explain why you find it personally compelling. (1000 to 1500 words in length)

Review of applications begins on December 15th. Applications received after this date will be considered if space allows. Students are only admitted once a year, in the spring. Students begin their study in September of the year of admission.

For further information or to make appointments with the Director of Doctoral Studies, applicants should contact:

Cindy Glidden in the Education Department office
Tel: (603) 862-2311 or e-mail:

Application Forms and Graduate School Catalogues

Application forms and Graduate School catalogues may be obtained from the Graduate School in person, by mail, or through the Graduate School website:

The Graduate School
University of New Hampshire
Thompson Hall
Durham, NH 03824

Phone: (603) 862-3000


Information about the GRE is posted on the Graduate School website, or may be obtained directly from the Education Testing Service:

Graduate Record Examination
Educational Testing Service
P. O. Box 6000
Princeton, NJ 08541-6000

Phone: (609) 771-7670

The Children and Youth in Communities option is concerned with the support of positive child and youth development in community-based settings, and focuses on the ways in which societal and cultural institutions – including schools – shape developmental pathways, as well as the ways identities are formed as children and youth interpret their own academic, social, community, sexual, and political experiences. The program emphasizes an ecological and strengths-based view of children and youth, and sees individual learning and development as reciprocal with community growth and cultural transformation.

The Children and Youth in Communities option is a joint effort between the College of Liberal Arts and College of Health and Human Services faculty.  This approach provides students with a comprehensive scholarly and professional understanding of the social, cultural, psychological, physical, emotional and academic experiences of children and youth in local, national, and global contexts.

In the Curriculum and Instruction/Teacher Education program students study curriculum understanding and teacher development at all levels of schooling, ranging from early childhood to adulthood.  Students integrate theory and classroom practice in preparation for a future in teaching.

Curriculum and Instruction/Teacher Education are combined here because these two areas have considerable overlap, both in subject matter and in the career patterns of graduates, and as such have considerable overlap in course selection.

Experiential/Outdoor Education area of inquiry is selected by those interested in the fields of adventure programming and experiential education in schools and other educational settings.  It is a collaborative area of inquiry, in which doctoral students work with faculty from the Education Department in the College of Liberal Arts and from the College of Health and Human Services.   Foci of doctoral studies in this area of inquiry have included the following topics:

  • Moral development changes in outdoor education majors at universities
  • Integrating experiential learning in K-12 classrooms
  • Experiential teacher training models
  • The use of rites of passage and rituals in educational settings
  • The effects of adventure orientation programs on incoming and continuing students at university settings
  • Adventure therapy as an evidenced-based practice
  • Social skill development of middle school children in adventure programs

This specialization draws from such fields as educational administration, school law, collective bargaining, policy analysis, leadership, and higher education. Individuals who seek faculty positions in educational administration, higher education, and policy analysis often select this strand for specialization. Similarly, individuals who seek leadership positions in elementary and secondary schools as well as in higher education select this strand for their concentration. Graduates of this doctoral strand have assumed positions in higher education both as faculty members and as administrators. Our graduates have also used their preparation in leadership and policy to assume such positions as superintendent, director, and principal.

Our doctoral students have written quality dissertations on such subjects as school finance, supervision of employees in K-12 settings, as well as higher education cooperative extension, the role of chief information officers in higher education, and sexual harassment.

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