Academic Programs Catalog

College of Education

Graduate Study

Doctor of Philosophy

Doctoral programs in education and kinesiology at Michigan State University are available to students who show promise of becoming outstanding leaders, disciplined in theory development and research, and qualified to provide exemplary leadership in educational programs. Programs in the College of Education are planned to develop mastery of a comprehensive field, to foster creative intelligence in dealing with educational problems, and to encourage a breadth of understanding of related fields. Such doctoral study is necessarily rigorous and exacting. Each candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy degree selects one of the major fields in one of the academic units listed below:

College of Education
        mathematics education
Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education
        educational psychology and educational technology
        measurement and quantitative methods
        counselor education and supervision
        school psychology 
        special education
Department of Educational Administration
        education policy
        higher, adult, and lifelong education
        K–12 educational administration
Department of Kinesiology
Department of Teacher Education
        curriculum, instruction, and teacher education

In addition to meeting the requirements of the University as described in the Graduate Education section of this catalog, students must meet the requirements specified below.


Applicants must have a record acceptable to the college and department. A master's degree in an appropriate subject matter field may be required, but completion of a master's degree is not a guarantee of admission.

Following receipt of the application, all transcripts, required test scores, letters of recommendation, and any other information required by the program, doctoral applicants may be invited to meet with a faculty committee before a final decision on doctoral admission is reached.

Requirements for the Degree

A program encompassing approximately two full years of study beyond the master's degree is planned with and for each candidate. The concentration of study in the various programs will vary with the candidate's goals, background of study, current status of understanding, and experience.

All doctoral candidates in the college are required to have basic knowledge in at least four of the following areas of general professional education:  (1) administration; (2) curriculum; (3) psychological foundations; (4) research and evaluation methods; (5) social, philosophical, and historical foundations; (6) motor development and motor learning; (7) biological foundations; (8) ethical considerations; (9) issues of diversity in education. The specific areas selected shall be determined by the student's guidance committee in consultation with the student.

All doctoral candidates in the college are required to successfully complete a minimum of 9 or more credits focused on research methods approved by their program and a research practicum course of CEP 995 or EAD 995 or KIN 995 or TE 995 for 1 to 3 credits.

The candidate is required to choose a research problem and to report the research in the form of a dissertation. The dissertation is equivalent to 24 semester credits.

The student must pass written comprehensive examinations that are administered in accordance with department and school policies. For some programs these examinations will be under the direction of the appropriate members of the candidate's guidance committee, supplemented by such other faculty members as may be appointed for the purpose by the Dean of the College. For other programs, a common examination is administered at regularly scheduled times.

The candidate will be orally examined upon presentation of the dissertation. The examination will center on the dissertation itself, but will also include examination on relevant basic concepts.