Overview

The School of Education offers a single major in Education. The major has seven program areas of emphasis, from which a student chooses:

  • Educational Foundations, Policy and Practice
  • Equity, Bilingualism and Biliteracy
  • Learning Sciences and Human Development
  • Literacy Studies
  • Research and Evaluation Methodology
  • STEM Education
  • Teacher Learning, Research and Practice

Requirements

Required Courses and Credits

Students must successfully complete 56 credit hours of approved coursework, with 23 credit hours of core courses (see below) taken as a doctoral cohort during the first two years of study. Students must maintain at least a B (3.0) average with no grade lower than a B- while enrolled.

Students must complete 30 hours of dissertation credit. Students must be registered for a minimum of 5 dissertation hours per semester after successful completion of their comprehensive exam.

All PhD students are required to take the following seven courses in their first and second years:

EDUC 8210Perspectives on Classroom Teaching and Learning3
EDUC 8220Introduction to Educational Research and Policy3
Research Methods Sequence 1
EDUC 8230
EDUC 8240
Quantitative Methods I
and Quantitative Methods II
6
EDUC 8250
EDUC 8260
Qualitative Methods I
and Qualitative Methods II
6
Advanced Seminar in Democracy, Diversity & Social Justice3
Choose from the following courses in consultation with faculty advisor:
International / Comparative Education
Queer(ing) Topics in Education
Education Policy and the Law
Gender Issues in Education
African American Education in the United States
EDUC 6245
Latinx Education Across the Americas
Advanced Seminar in Democracy, Diversity and Social Justice
Seminar: Radical Education Theories
Language Issues in Education Research
Language and Power
Advanced Topics in Mathematics Education 2
Advanced Topics in Science Education 2
Critical Introduction to Learning Theory and Practice, Part 1 2
Total Credit Hours21

Area of Emphasis Course Requirements

Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice
Specialty Seminar 12
Readings in Educational Foundations Policy and Practice
Educational Foundations18
Course options (examples):
International / Comparative Education
Sociology in Education
History of American Education
Education Policy and the Law
Gender Issues in Education
Ethics in Education
African American Education in the United States
Higher Education in the United States
Transnational Migration, Education, and Citizenship
Anthropology of Education
Philosophy of Education
Seminar: Policy Issues in Education
Seminar: Curriculum Theories
Philosophical Issues in Educational Research
Theoretical Issues in Education Policy
Research Methods9
Minimum nine hours of advanced research methods courses; these courses may be in advanced qualitative or advanced quantitative methods and may be taken in the School of Education or in other departments of the University. Students concentrating in History of Education or Philosophy of Education may choose to fulfill this requirement with courses in historiography or philosophical inquiry, respectively. These must be chosen in consultation with the faculty advisor.
Discourse Analysis
Educational Evaluation
Categorical Data Analysis
Multilevel Modeling
Multilevel Modeling
Measurement in Survey Research
Advanced Topics in Measurement
Advanced Qualitative Data Analysis
Feminist Research Methods
Qualitative Analysis
Electives 36
Total Credits35
Equity, Bilingualism, and Biliteracy
Specialty Seminar 12
Readings in Equity, Bilingualism and Biliteracy
Studies in Equity, Bilingualism, and Biliteracy15
Second Language Acquisition 2
Education and Sociolinguistics 2
Language Issues in Education Research
Language and Power
Bilingual and Biliterate Development in Children and Adolescents
Rethinking Disability
Research and Statistics6
Minimum nine hours in advanced methodology, preferably aligend with the methods to be used during dissertation research.
Choose from:
Issues and Methods in Cognitive Science
Methods of Survey Research and Assessments
Ethnographic Methods in Educational Research
Educational Evaluation
Categorical Data Analysis
Multilevel Modeling
Measurement in Survey Research
Advanced Topics in Measurement
Advanced Qualitative Data Analysis
COMM 6410
Discourse Analysis
Non-Education Courses3-6
Three to six credit hours must be taken outside of the School of Education. These courses must be selected in consultation with the faculty advisor and are typically at the 6000-level or higher.
Electives 36-9
Total Credits35
Learning Sciences and Human Development
Specialty Seminar 12
EDUC 6928Readings in Learning Sciences and Human Development1-4
Advanced Topics in Learning Sciences and Human Development12
Twelve hours selected with the faculty advisor's approval from 8000-level.
Electives 321
Minimum six elective hours must be outside Learning Sciences and Human Development, and must be courses other than those used to satisfy the core requirements and the advance topics requirements. These electives may be used to satisfy requirements toward the Institute for Cognitive Sciences certificate.
Total Credits35
Literacy Studies
Specialty Seminar 12
Readings in Curriculum and Instruction
Literacy Doctoral Seminars12
Minimum twelve semester hours of the advanced doctoral courses in literacy studies are required to be taken within the first four years. Depending on the content focus of the course offerings, a course number may be taken more than once with approval of literacy studies faculty. These seminars will be offered minimum of once per academic year. Please plan for these courses in consultation with the faculty advisor.
Advanced Methods3-6
Minimum six semester hours of coursework in qualitative, quantitative, and/or mixed methodologies. Courses must be graduate level and may be taken within or outside of the School of Education. For those also pursuing the Teacher Learning, Research and Practice area of emphasis, one advanced methods requirements can be met through either EDUC 8135 or EDUC 7115. Note that one of these two courses could be fulfilled in conjunction with the Cognate Requirement.
Writing Course3
Proposal and Dissertation Writing
Scholarly Writing for Graduate Students
Cognate Requirement3-6
Minimum six semester hours taken outside of the School of Education. Choose a minimum of two courses in an area of specialization to be taken outside of the School of Education. The courses related to a student’s specialty area may be defined by discipline (e.g., linguistics, anthropology, English literature) or by focus (e.g., critical theories of race; Latinx studies; queer studies; poetry; digital humanities). Note that one of these two courses could be fulfilled in conjunction with the Advanced Methods Requirement.
Electives 39
Minimum nine semester hours within the School of Education to be chosen in consultation with advisor and in context of interests and developing expertise.
Total Credits35
Research and Evaluation Methodology
Specialty Seminar 12
Readings in Research and Evaluation Methodology
Research and Evaluation Methodology Required Courses18
Quasi-Experimental Design in Causal Inference in Social Sciences
Educational Evaluation
Categorical Data Analysis
Multilevel Modeling
Measurement in Survey Research
Advanced Topics in Measurement
Electives 315
Minimum 15 semester hours within the School of Education to be chosen in consultation with advisor and in context of interests and developing expertise.
Total Credits35
STEM Education
Specialty Seminar 12
Readings in Curriculum and Instruction
STEM Doctoral Seminars9
Advanced Seminar in Curriculum and Policy in Mathematics & Science Education
Advanced Seminar on Learning in Math & Science Education
Advanced Seminar in Mathematics and Science Teaching & Teacher Education
Advanced Methods6
Minimum six hours in either qualitative or quantitative methods. Options within and outside of the School of Education may be chosen in consultation with advisor.
Measurement in Survey Research
Advanced Topics in Measurement
Advanced Qualitative Data Analysis
Discourse Analysis
Writing Seminar3
Proposal and Dissertation Writing
Electives 315
A minimum six credits within the School of Education. Additional electives may be completed outside the School of Education in consultation with advisor.
Total Credits35
Teacher Learning, Research and Practice
Specialty Seminar 12
Readings in Curriculum and Instruction
TLRP Seminar Courses12
Critical Inquiry into Becoming a Teacher Educator
History and Policy Issues in Teaching and Teacher Education
Theories and Methodologies for Examining Teacher Learning
Designing for Teacher Learning and Teacher Education
Advanced Methods3
In addition to EDUC 7115 and EDUC 8135, three hours of advanced methods (qualitative or quantitative) are required. The three remaining credit hours are met through a course selected from within or outside the School of Education in consultation with the faculty advisor. Although there are several courses that might fulfill this requirement, examples might include but are not limited to those noted below.
Course options (examples):
Seminar: Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology
Discourse Analysis
Measurement in Survey Research
Advanced Qualitative Data Analysis
Sociolinguistic Analysis
Open Topics in Linguistics
Qualitative Methods
Feminist Research Methods
Special Topics
Feminist Methodology
Writing Seminar3
Proposal and Dissertation Writing
Scholarly Writing for Graduate Students
Cognate Requirement12
Students design a pathway that best aligns with their goals. Students might, for example, select a complementary program area of study within the CU Boulder School of Education and complete the twelve (12) hours of Graduate Seminar coursework housed in that program. Or, students might select a cognate area that allows them to explore a specialty area defined by discipline (e.g., linguistics, anthropology, English literature) or by focus (e.g., critical approaches to race, class and gender; urban studies). For either of these pathways, the remaining hours might serve as Elective credits chosen in consultation with the advisor and in the context of students’ interests and developing expertise. Regardless of how the student chooses to design this element of the program, we strongly recommend that at least one course be taken outside of the School of Education. Note, too, that these credits may potentially overlap with Advanced Methods.
Electives3
Total Credits35

Dissertation Credit

All doctoral students must take a minimum of 30 dissertation hours (EDUC 8994 Doctoral Dissertation).

Students are allowed to take up to 10 hours prior to passing their comprehensive exam. Once students pass their comprehensive exam, they must be registered for a minimum of 5 dissertation hours every semester. Students may be registered for 3 hours if they are "off-campus" status, meaning they are not on appointment and are not taking any coursework hours.

Students must be registered for a minimum of 5 dissertation hours during the semester they defend.

Language Requirement

The faculty in the School of Education (SOE) recognize and value the wide range of linguistic backgrounds and experiences with which students come to our PhD program. Given our shared commitment of partnering with diverse communities -- including those where a variety of different [spoken and/or signed] languages are used -- we view the doctoral program’s language requirement as a way to engage with and demonstrate this commitment to linguistically diverse, multilingual communities. We also view this requirement as a means to understand the role of language in research design and practice, and to enact the experience of communicating about our research in languages other than English with members of linguistically diverse, multilingual communities. All doctoral students in the SOE are required to complete the Language Requirement by May of their third year in the program.

Please see the School of Education Student Handbook for more information on this requirement.

Publishable Paper Requirement

In addition to coursework requirements, doctoral students should be immersed in ongoing research with faculty as early in their program as possible. All doctoral students in the SOE are required to complete, at a minimum, one “publishable paper” by May of their third year in the program.

Please see the School of Education Student Handbook for more information on this requirement.

Comprehensive Examination

Students must schedule comprehensive examinations or “comps” with the SOE by completing an application for candidacy form and emailing soe.gradvise@colorado.edu with the names of their committee members and the date of their exam at the beginning of the semester they plan to take their comprehensive exams. Students should also request a room booking at this time. For remote examinations, the chair must set up the Zoom room for the event. The examining committee is comprised of three faculty members. The chair of the examining committee must hold a current, regular membership on the graduate faculty and is typically the student's advisor or someone appointed in their absence in the case of sabbatical. The other two members must hold regular or special memberships on the graduate faculty. The student must be registered during the semester that the comprehensive examination is taken..

Please see the School of Education Student Handbook for more information on this requirement.

Proposal Committee

Once students have successfully passed their comprehensive exam, they should consult their faculty advisor to propose their dissertation proposal committee.

Consistent with the Graduate’s School’s requirements for the final PhD examination, the committee must include at least five faculty: at least three faculty must be Boulder campus resident faculty and at least one of these three must be from outside the student’s department. The outside, or “external” member may be from another department at CU Boulder or from another institution. The Chair must have regular membership on the graduate faculty. The other members must have regular or special memberships on the graduate faculty. Note that if a student is pursuing a joint or dual-degree, at least two of the faculty must hold graduate appointments in the student’s SOE program area. Special membership, which includes faculty from other institutions, requires the approval of the Associate Dean of Students. The entire list of prospective committee members must be submitted to the Graduate Program Coordinator at soe.gradvise@colorado.edu and approved by the Associate Dean of Students at the start of the semester during which the proposal will be defended, and then re-approved at the start of the semester during which the dissertation will be defended.

Committee members must receive approval from the School of Education prior to the final examination/defense. Please check the deadlines sheet for dates.

Please see the School of Education Student Handbook for more information.

Dissertation Committee and Final Defense

The dissertation committee must include at least five faculty: at least three faculty must be Boulder campus resident faculty and at least one of these three must be from outside the student’s department. The outside, or “external” member may be from another department at CU Boulder or from another institution. The Chair must have regular membership on the graduate faculty. The other members must have regular or special memberships on the graduate faculty. Note that if a student is pursuing a joint or dual-degree, at least two of the faculty must hold graduate appointments in the student’s SOE program area. Special membership, which includes faculty from other institutions, requires the approval of the Associate Dean of Students. The entire list of prospective committee members must be submitted to the Graduate Program Coordinator at soe.gradvise@colorado.edu and (re)approved by the Associate Dean of Students at the start of the semester during which the dissertation will be defended.

Please check the deadlines sheet for dates, and the School of Education Student Handbook for more information.

After successful completion of dissertation defense, the completed dissertation must be uploaded to the Graduate School according to Graduate School procedures and deadlines. Please see the Graduate School website for deadlines details.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit is defined as any credit earned at another accredited institution, credits earned on another campus of the CU system, or credits earned as a nondegree student within the CU system.

The maximum amount of work that may be transferred from another accredited institution to CU Boulder is 21 credit hours, and is accepted only after approval of the faculty advisor and the Graduate Programs Coordinator, in consultation with the Associate Dean of Students. All courses accepted for transfer must be graduate-level courses. A course in which a grade of B- or lower was received will not be accepted for transfer.

Transfer coursework must have been completed in the five years prior to acceptance to the program. Credit may not be transferred until the student has completed 6 credits of graduate-level coursework as a degree-seeking student on the CU Boulder campus with a 3.0 GPA. Students who have applicable credits to transfer to their PhD degree program must complete the transfer of credit paperwork.

Time Limit

The doctoral degree must be completed within six years, including defending the dissertation and submitting it to the Graduate School. A one-year extension may be granted if formally requested in writing, recommended by the student's faculty advisor, and approved by the Associate Dean of Students and the Dean of the Graduate School. The extension request must show valid reasons as to why an extension is needed. If an extension is granted, all degree requirements must be completed within the extended time period.

Establishing State Residency

PhD students who move to Colorado from another state need to petition for Colorado in-state tuition classification within one year so they are eligible for in-state tuition during second year of graduate study. Proof of residency includes a Colorado driver’s license and vehicle registration, voter registration, filing Colorado income taxes and proof of employment. Students should save a signed copy of their Graduate Student Assistantship offer letter to serve as proof of employment.

Detailed instructions on how to apply for Colorado residency (also called domicile) can be found on the registrar’s website: http://www.colorado.edu/registrar/students/state-residency

Areas of Emphasis

Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice

The Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice (EFPP) program area of emphasis focuses on policy analysis and the application of academic disciplines—anthropology, history, law, philosophy and sociology—to the analysis of education. Programs are devoted to the critical examination of the relations among education, society, culture and government, with special emphasis on issues of equity along lines of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, sexual diversity, (dis)ability, and intersections of these.

The EFPP program area of emphasis prepares students for university faculty positions and other careers requiring deep knowledge of research.

Equity, Bilingualism, and Biliteracy

The Equity, Bilingualism, and Biliteracy (EBB) program area of emphasis stresses analysis, evaluation and implementation of educational programs for students who represent diverse learning needs within the public school system. School culture, language policies and the social and political context of schooling are examined across emphases. Policies that affect the assessment, placement and services provided for exceptional children also are examined.

EBB is specifically geared to preparing researchers and leadership personnel in the field of bilingual multicultural education. Program graduates are typically employed in schools of education as faculty and/or researchers. Other graduates also serve in professional positions with state and federal education agencies, as well as local school districts.

Learning Sciences and Human Development

Faculty and students in the Learning Sciences & Human Development (LSHD) program area of emphasis study how people learn in the context of organizing for more equitable, sustainable social futures. Researchers consider how the practice of research can inform social change that can improve learning and teaching for K–12 students and their teachers, for undergraduates and the organization of higher education pathways, and in community contexts. Working in partnership with school and community partners is a key component of the approach taken to understanding educational problems and their possible solutions.

The LSHD program prepares graduate students to research and inform collective efforts to improve conditions of learning, particularly for young people from non-dominant communities and the adults (including teachers, community organizers and community members) who work with them. The program emphasizes:

  • How a strong foundation in psychological perspectives on education and human development can inform efforts to improve conditions for learning in school and out of school contexts.
  • The need to go beyond psychological perspectives to interpret learning and development in social, cultural and historical contexts.
  • Social justice as a central concern in studying and informing efforts to improve conditions of learning.
  • Humanistic approaches to research that draw on interpretive, phenomenological and social practice theories of human action.

Students work with faculty members who conduct research in a range of settings, including schools, preservice teacher education programs, after-school programs, museums, community organizations, workplaces and grassroots social movements.

Literacy Studies

Faculty and graduate students in the Literacy Studies program study and design literacies in print and multimodal modes and in varied contexts. Literacies are framed as central to envisioning and enacting expansive and justice-centered theories and practices for teaching, learning, imagination, and self-expression in K-12 schools, informal learning spaces, and communities. Grounded in critical, social and interpretive conceptions of literacy, our program highlights the interrelations among theory, research, practice, policy and the potential for equitable social change.

Through multiple methodologies, research in the program occurs in partnership with children, youth, families and teachers in ways that honor and attend to experiences and identities at the intersections of race, language, gender, sexuality, ability and economic opportunity. Doctoral students collaborate with faculty on a range of research projects, engage in community outreach, and work in teacher education programs emphasizing social justice and humanizing approaches to curriculum and instruction that center and address the interests and needs of all learners. The program prepares graduate students for careers in research and teaching in university settings, educational leadership in schools and community organizations, and research and development in the private or nonprofit sector.

 Students will have the opportunity to:

  • Develop an expansive understanding of literacy and its implications for children, youth, and their families and communities.  
  • Understand the theoretical perspectives informing literacy research currently and historically.
  • Critically examine and apply research methodologies to questions of significance to them and to the field of literacy studies.
  • Collaborate with faculty, peers, youth, communities and other educators to pursue research and pedagogical goals.  
  • Deepen their understanding of theories and practices that situate literacy as essential for dismantling systems of oppression and building toward anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and affirming futures for children and youth, teachers, teacher educators, schools and communities.

Research and Evaluation Methodology

The Research and Evaluation Methodology (REM) program is a place for intellectually curious and motivated students who want to learn about deep research methodology with an eye toward influencing education policy and practice. The most common methodological specializations are:

  • Psychometrics and educational assessment
  • Applied statistics

The program is a full-time commitment, and all admitted students are supported with five years of funding, including tuition remission and a stipend for living expenses. Students participate in graduate research assistant-ships each semester and can expect to work with faculty on research projects as part of CADRE, the Center for Assessment, Design, Research and Evaluation.

STEM Education

The STEM Education program offers students an opportunity to build their understanding and expertise in STEM (predominantly science and mathematics) topics, with a special focus on diversity and justice in STEM education. The program helps teachers develop their content knowledge, as well as greater understanding of how learning environments can be designed to foster students’ understanding of and participation in mathematics and science. Our faculty work in deep partnership with STEM faculty in other departments at CU Boulder, as well as with teachers, schools, districts, and community members. The PhD prepares students for careers in research and teaching in university settings, educational and public leadership and services to schools, or research and development in the private or nonprofit sectors.

The STEM Education program is centered on and takes an interdisciplinary stance to: 

  • Learning beyond cognitive change towards participation in sociopolitical learning environments that involve issues of identity and power.
  • Collaboration with teachers and public schools as partners in broadening and re-envisioning STEM education to include more humanizing experiences and outcomes.
  • Recognition that current values and traditions of STEM disciplines need to be de-settled to expand what counts as knowing and to be a knower.
  • Exploration of the generation of knowledge among learning communities of all types and the negotiation of shared visions and integrity among their members.
  • Building and studying programs that engage and sustain learners and their communities through engagement in meaningful and relevant STEM questions.
  • Youth empowerment and agency by drawing on scientific knowledge and practices to explore meaningful questions in their communities.

Teacher Learning, Research and Practice

The Teacher Learning, Research & Practice (TLRP) program offers a rigorous pathway for those interested in becoming teacher educators who conduct research and support the practice of teaching and teacher education. The TLRP program takes seriously this hybrid role of teacher educator as both researcher and practitioner, as well as the historical legacy of inequalities perpetuated by teacher education. This program prepares graduate students for careers as researchers and teachers in university settings with a particular emphasis on equity and justice, as educational leaders in schools and community organizations, and as researchers and developers in private and nonprofit sectors.

The TLRP program is grounded in a commitment to the practice, study, and transformation of teacher education in ways that forward and honor humanizing thinking and action. Doctoral students enjoy opportunities to work in and with the school's multiple teacher education programs and to collaborate with faculty, doctoral students, and other stakeholders (e.g., school partners; community organizations) in the critical design and study of these programs. Conducting research with members of this community provides additional opportunities to deepen understandings from coursework and to pose and pursue questions using innovative research methodologies and methods.