Overview of Doctoral Programs

Doctoral students in the College of Education are a diverse group and come from many different backgrounds.  Students have wide-ranging interests, and aspire to a variety of post-doctoral careers.  Our programs are designed to help you meet your individual needs and career goals.  All doctoral programs in the College of Education share high expectations for student learning and performance, are intellectually rigorous, and embody the highest standards of academic scholarship.

The College of Education offers four separate PhD degree programs and several concentrations of study within them.  The four PhD programs are (a) the PhD. in Education:  Curriculum and Instruction, (b) the PhD in Education: Special Education, (c) the PhD in Educational Psychology, and (d) the PhD in Policy Studies in Urban Education.  The College of Education also offers an EdD program for the preparation and development of school and system level leaders.

Each doctoral program in the College of Education requires that you complete a minimum of 96 semester hours of graduate work beyond the bachelor’s degree or minimum of 64 semester hours beyond the master’s degree.  Different programs require different numbers of hours beyond these minimums.  You can typically expect to take additional hours of coursework beyond the minimum specified by your degree program in order to meet your scholarly and professional goals.  According to Graduate College regulations, students entering with a master’s degree must complete all degree requirements within seven years of matriculation into their doctoral programs.  Those entering with a bachelor’s degree may take nine years to complete their requirements.  Program requirements may change at any time, at the discretion of the College, but you may always opt to adhere to the requirements in place when you entered the program.

You are considered to be in good standing in the Graduate College if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • Have removed any conditions of limited status placed on your admission.
  • Maintain a minimum Graduate Degree GPA of 3.00.
  • Make satisfactory progress toward completing degree requirements, including the dissertation or thesis.

A student who violates any of the continuation and probation rules specified in the UIC Graduate Catalog may be dropped at any time from the Graduate College, and thus the student’s degree program.  Violations include but are not limited to failure to fulfill conditions of limited status admission, a GPA of less than 3.0, failure to make satisfactory progress toward the completion of degree requirements, and failure to register for credit hours during the academic year (see the Graduate College website for the policy on leaves of absence).  For more information about any of these policies, you should contact the College of Education Office of Student Services.

As noted above, it is important that you plan your program of study and select your courses in close consultation with your faculty program advisor.  Your program advisor will help you refine and develop your sense of direction through the program, and will recommend courses you should take to achieve scholarly and professional goals.  The program advisor will also help you identify a chair for your preliminary examination and dissertation or thesis committees.  You should consult with your advisor at least once each term.  You may change your faculty program advisor at any time during your program, provided both the current and prospective advisors agree to the change.  To change program advisors, you must complete a Change of Advisor Form.  This form may be obtained from the College of Education Office of Student Services.

As a rule, you are governed by the requirements of the program and concentration as they are at the time you are admitted. If you are admitted to a program and concentration that is subsequently revised, you are obliged to fulfill the requirements of the program before its revision; you are not obliged to fulfill the new requirements.  Likewise, if you are admitted into a program that is replaced by a new program, you are obliged to fulfill the requirements of the program into which you were admitted, and not the program’s replacement.  Please note all program requirements listed in this handbook apply for students entering as of Fall 2013.  If you entered earlier than the Fall 2013 term, please consult the advising guides available on your program’s webpage, and speak with your advisor to confirm which requirements apply for your start date.

You may find that you would rather be part of a new or revised program and concentration than the program and concentration into which you were first admitted.  If this is the case, you may apply to transfer from the program and concentration into which you were admitted to the revised or new program and concentration.  When considering a transfer, you should discuss the various benefits and costs with your faculty program advisor, including how much of the work already completed will count toward completion of the new or revised program.  The program advisor will also be able to help you navigate the administrative process of transferring from one program and concentration to another.  The College of Education Office of Student Services has an application form for transfer that must be completed.  You need to obtain the signatures of the coordinator of the program and concentration from which you wish to transfer and the coordinator of the program and concentration into which you wish to transfer.  Depending on the program, you might also need to have a written recommendation from the coordinator of the program from which you wish to transfer.  You will need to satisfy the admissions requirements of the program and concentration into which you wish to transfer and, if the transfer is approved, you will need to meet all of the requirements of the new or revised program and concentration.  Transferring between programs and concentrations is not simply a formality.  For many programs and concentrations, program faculty review and approve transfer requests.  It is possible that a request might not be accepted by the faculty of the program and concentration into which you wish to transfer.

A Note About Independent Study

With the approval of the faculty program advisor and a faculty member who will supervise the work, you may take independent courses of study and count them as electives or area of specialization options in your doctoral program.  These studies can be important experiences in your doctoral work, allowing exploration of problems and topics of personal interest not addressed in depth in regular coursework.  Moreover, these studies can provide valuable opportunities to work with an individual faculty member more closely than is possible in a regular course.  In each program, there are limits to the number of independent study credit hours that you may count toward degree requirements.  You should be sure to consult with your faculty program advisor and the coordinator of the doctoral program for details.