Doctor of Philosophy in Education
Description of Program
The PhD Program is suitable for innovative self-starters who want to combine a strong base of theoretical knowledge with a desire to conduct research in and about colleges, PK-12 schools, proprietary organizations, private, non-profit, and public organizations, or the military. This program prepares leaders to be critical consumers of information and use evidence-based research to inform and improve practice. Students will gain the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to make informed ethical decisions, develop solutions, and communicate ideas to diverse stakeholders, addressing, current educational, organizational, and societal issues.
- Develop knowledge of educational theories, research, and diverse instructional practices.
- Communicate with diverse audiences about educational theories, research, and practices.
- Develop evidence-based solutions addressing current educational, organizational, and societal issues.
- Analyze professional skills, dispositions, and technology options for leading and educating diverse groups.
- Conduct educational research that contributes to the body of knowledge specific to a discipline.
All PhD students are required to demonstrate competency in these areas:
- Graduate Level Statistics Competency - PhD students are required to complete a Statistics I Course, EDR 8101, and Statistics II, EDR 8102.
- Competency in Research Writing Skills - PhD students are required to show competency in writing skills for research purposes through their Northcentral University graduate coursework before being assigned to any dissertation courses. Students will be required to take EDU8001-8 - Advanced Scholarly Writing, to improve APA formatting skills and to address advanced writing and research skills.
- Computer Competency - PhD students are required to use appropriate computer skills that are necessary in writing a dissertation. Students must be able to prepare documents using advanced word processing skills (e.g., creation of tables and figures, headers and footers, page breaks, tables of contents, hanging indents, etc.). In addition, students need to use computer programs for the statistical analysis and presentation of data (e.g., Excel, SPSS). The oral defense normally requires a computer-based presentation by the candidate (e.g., a Power Point presentation).
Basis for Admissions
Admission to the Doctor of Philosophy in Education requires a conferred post-baccalaureate master’s degree and/or doctoral degree from a regionally or nationally accredited academic institution. Examples of acceptable doctoral degrees include doctor of philosophy (PhD), and doctor of education (EdD).
The PhD Program may be completed in 60 semester credit hours. Additional credit hours may be allowed as needed to complete dissertation research in alignment with the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and Academic Maximum Time Frame policies. Students who do not complete their program within these requirements may be dismissed.
Time to Completion
Northcentral University allows 7 years to complete all doctoral programs of 60 credits or less.
Northcentral University may accept a maximum of 12 semester credit hours in transfer toward the doctoral degree for graduate coursework completed toward a non-conferred doctoral degree at an accredited college or university with a grade of “B” or better. Transfer credit is only awarded for course work that is evaluated to be substantially equivalent in content with the required course work for the PhD program.
Students who are unable to complete a degree program within the stated time limits are dismissed. If a student believes they have extenuating circumstances they may document the circumstances and send a request for consideration to their respective School Dean or designee. Exceptions to the policy are determined on a case-by-case basis and are granted only once.
Normal time to completion for this program is 82 months.
Time to completion varies depending upon the pace in which a student completes courses and the number of transfer credits accepted. As most Northcentral students are working adults balancing educational, professional, and personal commitments, our academic advisors will work with you to develop a program schedule that works best for your needs.
The normal time disclosed above reflects the experience of students who may have entered under different program requirements. In the quest for continuous improvement, academic leadership has revised the program to optimize curriculum and pace, facilitate student learning, and improve chances for success. Therefore, the program is now designed for students enrolling today to take advantage of these revised course structures, lengths, and schedules. New students following the preferred schedule designed by the Dean for this program, and applying no transfer credits, can expect to finish in as little as 45 months.
Certification and Licensing
The School of Education serves educational leaders by providing online graduate studies in education to reach worldwide populations. The PhD program is designed to reach national and international markets and does not purport to provide licensure or certification in any particular state or country.
Research and Dissertation
The University has developed a logical step-by-step process that assists in completing the dissertation. Northcentral University provides a detailed Dissertation Handbook that explains the process and Northcentral University’s dissertation support structure.
The PhD doctoral research courses, the PhD comprehensive course and the PhD dissertation courses are specifically designed as a guide through the process in an orderly and meaningful fashion and lead to the oral defense.
The dissertation is the capstone academic achievement of the PhD. The PhD dissertation is a scholarly documentation of the research. To earn the PhD the student must demonstrate the ability, motivation, and commitment and Northcentral University will provide the faculty, the academic support and process to assist with the attainment of high academic goals.
The PhD research is aimed at contributing to the body of research knowledge - either new research or adding to research already studied in the field. PhD students take EDR 8101 – Applied Statistics and EDR 8102 , Advanced Statistical Methods as part of their program of study. There is also an oral defense.
Faculty guide each Northcentral University Doctoral student to reach this high goal through a systematic process leading to a high-quality completed dissertation. A PhD dissertation is a scholarly documentation of research that makes an original contribution to the field of study. This process requires care in choosing a topic, documenting its importance, planning the methodology, and conducting the research. These activities lead smoothly into the writing and oral presentation of the dissertation.
A doctoral candidate must be continuously enrolled throughout the series of dissertation courses. If additional time is required to complete any of the dissertation courses, students must re-enroll and pay the tuition for that course. Continuous enrollment will only be permitted when students demonstrate progress toward completing dissertation requirements. The Dissertation Committee determines progress.
The PhD degree in Education focuses on enhancing the body of knowledge of education. The PhD is intended for the student who wishes to primarily teach in higher education, conduct educational research or work in the area of educational research (full time faculty dedicated to teaching AND research, institutional researchers, etc.) The PhD research is aimed at contributing to the body of research knowledge - either new research or adding to research already completed in the field.
*The elective course scheduled as part of the initial degree may be changed upon request. Students should contact their academic advisor for assistance.
English Second Language (ESL) Specialization
The pedagogy of language acquisition is of extreme importance in today’s classrooms and businesses. This specialization provides the knowledge base to build successful programs to enhance the learning of the English language, to assess skills of diverse students and to design instruction with bilingual materials. Research and current analysis of ESL and ESL theory provides the basis for the assessment and design process. (Note: students seeking ESL certification should verify with appropriate state officials that this specialization meets applicable certification requirements.)
Specialization Courses – 18 credit hours
Select 6 courses from the following: