Educational Studies


Why study Educational Studies?

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Studies is geared toward the rigorous preparation of educational researchers who have the knowledge and skills needed to design, conduct, and disseminate high-quality scholarship, and who have a strong foundation in one or more high-demand areas of specialization. The Ph.D. degree emphasizes the scholarly pursuit of the theoretical underpinning and methodological advancement of educational research. Courses provide critical training in the intellectual pursuit of advanced knowledge in educational, social, and behavioral sciences. A distinguishing feature of the program includes research apprenticeships with graduate faculty in the School of Education. Through faculty mentoring, students author and/or co-author publications and presentations at national and international conferences. Working for a Ph.D. degree prepares the graduate for academic and administrative positions in educational institutions and social service agencies. 

Drawing upon multiple theoretical perspectives and research paradigms, the program represents the breadth of knowledge that leads to deeper understanding in the following areas of concentration:

See the kinds of research our doctoral students are engaged in: Doctoral Student Research.

Admission Requirements

Minimum admission criteria for all areas of concentration are consistent; however, additional concentration level criteria may be applied. The program is selective. There will be limits on the number of students a faculty member can mentor at one time.

Degrees. Earned Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree in areas of concentration or closely related area from an accredited college or university. Students with bachelor’s or master’s degrees in unrelated areas, but with clear evidence of experiences and/or credentials appropriate to the degree and a specific area of concentration may be accepted. 

Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA). Successful applicants must have at least a cumulative GPAs of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) from their undergraduate coursework and 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) from previous graduate work.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE).  Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is optional. It can be submitted as part of the holistic review of your application, but is not required.

Applicants: The program will be using the university's holistic review process for all areas of the PhD. The holistic review involves written responses to selected questions. The questions do not require specific content background or knowledge, but assess preparedness for the writing, analysis, and critical thinking required of a doctoral degree. An admissions committee reviews each application using pre-determined criteria. Applicants should expect a follow up interview with an admissions committee member to complete their application.

Speakers of English as Second Language. If an applicant’s first language is not English, he or she must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or another comparable test unless he/she has previous degrees from higher education institutions in the United States. The recommended test scores are: 92-93 for Internet-based TOEFL; 237 for Computer-based TOEFL; 580 Paper-based TOEFL; 6.5 for IELTS; and 62-63 for PTE. The test must be taken within two years prior to application to the program.

Letters of Recommendation. Applicants must have a minimum of three current letters of recommendation that address their academic background and accomplishments submitted by college or university faculty, graduate advisors or other individuals who can address applicants’ accomplishments or potential as educational researchers.

Goal and Research Interests Statement. A typewritten statement about research interests and academic and professional goals should be submitted that includes brief narratives about: a) previous research and academic and professional experiences; b) immediate and long-range aspirations; and c) how the Educational Studies Program will help you to meet your goals. When applying to the doctoral program, the applicant should explain specifically which area of concentration he or she would like to study. Those who are undecided about their area of concentration are strongly encouraged to indicate potential interest in one of the areas of concentration. More specific goal statement requirements will be established.

Curriculum Vitae/Resume. A copy of a curriculum vitae or resume that indicates the applicant’s name, address, phone number, e-mail address, colleges attended with degrees and dates, employment history, professional experiences, any publications, or conference presentations, and names of references who will be sending letters.

Application Deadlines

Prospective students should complete the online application for the EDST Ph.D. degree by December 1st , at which time they will select a concentration from among the options available. Please note that incomplete applications will not be processed or reviewed. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all required materials and support documents are successfully submitted. Applicants will be notified of acceptance or rejection by February 15th.

Graduates typically become university faculty members, higher education administrators, school leaders, or educational researchers.

Upon admittance to the program, each student is assigned a mentor with Graduate Faculty Status based on fit of research interests. Candidates should initiate contact with their assigned mentor as soon as possible once the admission letter is received. During the first semester of study, the student and mentor will meet to begin working on the process of planning the program of study. It is the student’s responsibility to confer regularly with his or her mentor and make sure the mentor has approved the course choices throughout the graduate program. During the first year of their study, students should actively get to know faculty members’ research and teaching so as to select a committee to advise their studies.

Doctoral students may elect to add graduate certificates to their area of concentration.  Options include:

  • Adult/International TESL
  • Assessment and Evaluation
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Developmental and Learning Sciences
  • Jewish Education
  • Post Secondary Literacy Instruction
  • Teacher Leader
  • TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)

Other graduate certificates may be available.  Please contact your Faculty Advisor.

Full and part-time graduate students in Educational Studies may apply for financial aid.

Minimum Required GPA: To be eligible for graduation, the student must maintain a minimum of 3.25 grade point average.

Maintaining Active Status: In order to maintain active status in the graduate program, the student must register for at least 1 graduate credit in any semester during every academic year. If a student fails to maintain active status, he or she must complete a Graduate College Petition for Reinstatement. This request must be received in the Office of Research and Advanced Studies no later than three weeks prior to graduation in order for the candidate to be certified for graduation in that semester. Students who have not been enrolled in classes for more than three years are not eligible for reinstatement and must reapply for readmission to the University. Reapplication does not change the candidate’s original entry date. Time to degree will be calculated from his or her first entry date. To reapply, the candidate must submit a completed Application for Readmission to Graduate College Form.

Graduation: Students must formally apply for graduation in accordance with established Graduate College Graduation Deadlines. Complete information can be found at Graduate College Graduation. Students must maintain active status (i.e., enrolled for at least one credit hour) during the year they plan to graduate and all NG, N, I, UP, SP and F grades must be removed for degree courses.

Application Deadlines

Prospective students will complete the on-line application for the EDST Ph.D. degree by December 1st, at which time they will select a concentration from among the options available. Please note that incomplete applications will not be processed or reviewed. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all required materials and support documents are successfully submitted. The Ph.D. Council will conduct an initial review of the applications in all concentrations; however, the interviews and final admission decisions will reside with the faculty for each area of concentration. A minimum of two faculty affiliated with a concentration must review each application. One round of admissions will be conducted in the Spring semester of each year for Fall semester entry into the program the following academic year.  

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Contact Information

Office of Recruitment
PO BOX 210014
Cincinnati, OH 45221
(513) 556-6308

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Program Code: 18DOC-EDST-PHD