Doctoral Studies Core

As of Fall 2013, all College of Education PhD programs have adopted a core of doctoral studies program requirements that are common across all departments and concentrations.

This core was instituted to incorporate learning objectives and elements of doctoral education that are common across the field of education, shared knowledge and values consistent with our College mission, and a stronger integration of theory, research design, methodology, and professional practice in research settings. COE faculty also believe that students benefit from learning with peers from all our doctoral programs because this helps them understand how and why education is a multidisciplinary field of study.  These changes were made after several years of fact-finding, discussion, and thought about how best to prepare doctoral students for the future *and* more closely align our PhD programs with the identity and overall mission of the College of Education.

Doctoral Studies Core Required Courses

Core courses, required of all COE PhD students regardless of program, include:

ED 504. Urban Contexts and Educational Research. This one-semester, 4 hour course prepares researchers with the foundational knowledge, both empirical and theoretical, for conducting inquiry into learners and learning, schools and schooling, families and communities in urban contexts.

ED 505. Introduction to Educational Research: Paradigms and Processes. This one-semester, 4 hour course introduces students to the purposes, history, basic processes, philosophies, paradigms and orientations (quantitative and qualitative), epistemological and ethical considerations, and audiences of educational research.

ED 506. Introduction to Educational Research: Designs and Analyses. This one-semester, 4 hour course includes an introduction to and analysis of different types of research designs, analyses, and related matters (e.g., validity, reliability, sampling) in the field of education.

College-Level Methodology Course Requirements

The following distributional requirements allow programs and students the necessary degree of flexibility in learning to use different research techniques to conduct original research. Students enroll in a major strand that focuses either on quantitative or qualitative analysis. If the major strand focuses on qualitative inquiry, at least one course should focus on statistical inquiry and methodology. Similarly, if the major strand focuses on statistical inquiry, at least one course should focus on qualitative inquiry.

Major Methodology Strand. At least 8 hours in a specific methodological area builds depth in students’ knowledge of specific research methods.

Minor Methodology Strand. 4 hours focusing on research methods builds some breadth in students’ methodological knowledge.

Common Program-Level Dimensions

These College-level goals and expectations are enacted in program-specific ways that but they are present in some form in all College of Education PhD programs.

Introduction to Doctoral Studies in Education. These professional development activities include at least one-semester of activities focused on common orienting and procedural knowledge and skills needed to succeed in doctoral education in the College of Education at UIC and to succeed in education as a scholarly field of study. Topics include: the meaning of scholarship and academic research; goals and expectations for doctoral education in education and in the College; the ethical dimension of academic work; reading and interpreting research; publication and peer review; and grant writing.

Academic and Professional Writing. This goal reflects programmatic means of teaching students the conventions of writing in research-focused prose that is acceptable for outlets in which they are likely to want to publish their work. Activities introduce students to writing for publication, conference presentations, and grant proposals, and to principles and practices of peer review. This may take the form of informal writing groups and/or asking students to build a portfolio of their writing products that are then evaluated in consultation with their advisor rather than formal coursework.

Professional Career Development in Education. Field and program-specific activities are planned to allow every doctoral student to work alongside a faculty member in teaching and research. Students shadow faculty to fully learn various aspects of the teaching and/or research crafts they hope to engage in once they complete their degree. This will not replace assistantships where students usually work on a funded project, but may involve research project hours where students engage in research that is aligned with their dissertation topic.

The specific courses and activities that fulfill these core requirements for the program into which you were admitted appear in Section III of this Handbook.