The doctoral program at UNC Charlotte prepares professionals who seek advanced research, statistical, and evaluation skills for positions in a wide variety of educational institutions including higher education, K-12 school districts, for-profit companies, nonprofit agencies, community colleges, think tanks, government organizations, and other institutions concerned with solving problems in education.
The program builds on the Master of Education (M.Ed.) or comparable program. The 60-credit Ph.D. program includes 9 credit hours in foundations, 21 credit hours in research methodology and data analyses, 15 credit hours in a major area of focus, 6 credit hours in internship, and 9 credit hours in dissertation design and study. Additional coursework may be required for students who do not have a foundation in research.
Applications for admission are accepted twice a year to begin doctoral studies in the Fall or Spring semester.
The following documents/activities must be submitted in support of the application:
- Official transcript(s) of all academic work attempted since high school indicating a GPA of 3.5 (on a scale of 4.0) in a graduate degree program*
- Official report of score on the GRE or MAT that is no more than 5 years old*
- At least three references* of someone who knows the applicant’s current work and/or academic achievements in previous degree work
- A two page essay describing prior educational and research experiences and objectives for pursuing doctoral studies*
- A current resume or vita
- A professional writing sample (e.g., published article, manuscript submitted for publication, term paper submitted in prior coursework, abstract of thesis, teaching manual)
- International students must submit official and acceptable English language proficiency test scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). All tests must have been taken within the past two years**
*These items are required of applicants to any of UNC Charlotte’ s doctoral programs.
**See the Graduate School’s website for minimum acceptable scores.
Students are admitted for either full-time study or intensive part-time study and begin in the Fall or Spring semester. Students must complete their degree, including the dissertation, within nine years. The minimum time for completion for a full-time student is 3 years.
Core Courses (9 credit hours)
Research Methods and Advanced Content Courses (21 credit hours)
Major Area of Focus Courses (15 credit hours)
Students select an area of specialization in the research degree program. This offers students the opportunity to develop advanced expertise in an area relevant to their future professional research practice. The 15-credit hour area of focus is approved by the student’s advisor and Graduate Program Director and must be aligned to the themes found in Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation. The most common areas of expertise include Educational Measurement, Educational Evaluation, Educational Research Methodology, and Applied Research in specific educational content areas. Graduate level courses selected from ADMN, EDCI, RSCH, EIST, PSYC, PPOL, or SOCY may be applied.
Internship (6 credit hours)
Proposal Design (3 credit hours)
Dissertation (minimum 6 credit hours)
The purpose of the dissertation is for doctoral students to demonstrate their ability to synthesize the professional literature and generate new knowledge for the profession through using well-established research tools. For the Ph.D. in Education Research, Measurement, and Evaluation Education, the dissertation may be quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods. Whatever type of design, it must adhere to current standards for quality as reflected in professional writing on the chosen method of research design and reflected in the current literature. Students must be continuously enrolled for dissertation research credits through and including the semester of graduation. Defense of the dissertation is conducted in a final oral examination that is open to the University community.
In addition to coursework and the dissertation, students must complete a portfolio of achievements related to the three focus areas of research, collaboration, and teaching. This portfolio must receive satisfactory ratings from the Portfolio Review Committee at two critical junctures known as Benchmark One and Benchmark Two. The first benchmark serves as a Qualifying Examination and includes demonstration of writing, collaboration, and research skills. The second benchmark is comparable to the comprehensive exams required by some Ph.D. programs. Students receive opportunities to build this portfolio through the Research and Practice coursework. Examples of possible products in the portfolio include: research based paper, journal article review, conference presentation, evaluation project, team study, and research report.
Degree Total = 60 Credit Hours
Application for Degree
Students must submit an Application for Degree during the semester in which they successfully defend their dissertation proposal. Adherence to Graduate School deadlines is expected. Degree requirements are completed when students successfully defend their dissertation and file the final copy of the dissertation in the Graduate School.
The program accepts up to two courses as transfer from a regionally accredited doctoral granting institution, providing the Education Research Doctoral Committee determines that the course or courses to be transferred are equivalent to similar courses required in the UNC Charlotte Ph.D. program or fit the specialty area. The grade in these transfer courses must be an A or B. All of the dissertation work must be completed at UNC Charlotte.