The overarching goal of the School of Education’s PhD in Education program is to develop scholars who will have advanced research skills for improving education practice, with specific emphases on policy analysis and education improvement. The program strives to prepare candidates that are equipped to:
- meet the myriad challenges associated with systemic education change;
- apply exceptional content area expertise contextualized within a comprehensive multidisciplinary frame of reference;
- successfully bridge the theory and research to evidence-based practice gap;
- be actively involved in public policy development and evaluation;
- conduct research on complex databases linking educational practices to student outcomes, or lead laboratory- or school-based research programs that inform efforts to improve educational practices and student outcomes; and
- develop national models of educational practice that guide curriculum development and educator preparation.
At minimum, applicants to the PhD program should hold a master’s degree from an accredited college or university. Previous degrees must document outstanding academic achievement in an area of study closely associated with the objectives of the program. Applicants must submit the online admission application form, application fee, and official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended. If the earned degree or credit is from an educational institution abroad, the candidate’s academic record must be evaluated by a credential evaluation agency before consideration for admission. Applicants are required to earn superior scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (taken within the past five years), present acceptable TOEFL or IELTS scores (if an international student), and demonstrate potential to become top scholars. Additionally, applicants are required to submit a curriculum vitae, a personal statement (outlining professional plans, goals, and expectations related to the PhD program), dispositions survey, and three letters of reference affirming the applicant’s qualifications for advanced graduate study and potential for professional development in the field. Selected applicants who meet the entrance requirements will be invited to interview with the doctoral admissions committee.
Program Structure and Requirements
The program requirements include earning a minimum of 90 graduate credits, of which a minimum of 78 credits must be taken at the doctoral level at Johns Hopkins University. While the program will be tailored to the specific learning needs of each student, it includes the following coursework components:
- Research methods and statistics courses (minimum of 18 credit hours)
- Core seminars (15 credit hours)
- Major and/or minor area electives & readings (minimum of 21 credit hours)
- Research and/or teaching credits (18 credit hours)
- Dissertation research (18 credit hours)
In addition to successfully completing all the coursework requirements, candidates must also satisfy the following program benchmarks:
- research progress,
- written and oral comprehensive examinations,
- dissertation prospectus development and defense,
- dissertation proposal development and Graduate Board Oral Examination,
- PhD candidacy, and
- the dissertation.
Each student will receive an annual written evaluation from the School of Education’s Doctoral Studies Committee detailing his/her progress in meeting the required benchmarks at the end of each spring semester.
All School of Education PhD students will devote at least four years to full-time study and research as a resident student. This period of time will provide opportunity for full engagement and participation in the academic community and allow students to develop and demonstrate the scholarly capabilities required of the degree. The typical program of study is eight semesters, with six semesters devoted to coursework and research/teaching intensive experiences and two semesters devoted primarily to independent dissertation research. Students will typically enroll in 12 hours per semester for the first three years of their program and 9 hours per semester during the fourth year of their program, for a total of 90 credit hours. All students are expected to maintain enrollment as full-time graduate students over the course of the program. With the approval of their major adviser and director of the PhD program, students may transfer up to 12 credit hours of previously completed graduate-level coursework to substitute for selected required courses in the program.
Typically, each year four-to-eight PhD students will be admitted each year to begin classes in the fall semester. The majority of required courses will be delivered on the Baltimore Homewood campus in a face-to-face format, although students may (with approval) enroll in selected elective courses in divisions throughout the university.
Students must complete qualifying exams after completing two years of study. The successful completion of the written documents and oral defense of those documents allows the student to proceed to the dissertation proposal.
The program is designed as an apprenticeship model leading to a traditional research dissertation. The expectation is that students will be developing the skills and background knowledge throughout the program required to pursue a traditional research dissertation. Although the dissertation is not part of the formal coursework, the program is designed to put a student on track to develop an area of expertise as the foundation for an independent research project directed by the adviser. Students are expected to complete and defend a dissertation proposal by the end of the third year of study and use the final year of the program to complete and defend the dissertation. The dissertation is expected to demonstrate mastery of the relevant literature and scholarship in the collection and interpretation of data. The work should be of appropriate for publication in high impact journals in the student’s area of expertise. The dissertation will be presented at a final oral defense before the student’s Dissertation Advisory Committee.
Note: Full tuition assistance and annual stipends are available to support selected outstanding candidates. For more information about the PhD program, please visit https://education.jhu.edu/academics/phd/ .
Graduates will be prepared to fill faculty and research scientist positions at research-intensive universities or secure positions at research institutes and centers that conduct and manage large-scale education-based evaluations. Upon successful program completion we expect that graduates will:
- Be prepared for employment in research/faculty positions at top-tier research institutions.
- Contribute to the interdisciplinary public discourse on education improvement.
- Engage in and promote evidence-based practices through the application of rigorous methodology.
- Link education research to policy and practice.
- Provide leadership in the field by developing an independent line of ethical and culturally responsive research.
- Contribute to development of the next generation of scholars.
- Be able to influence school policy and reform.