Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Psychology Foundations Strand

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Admissions Deadline
 March 15
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The Ph.D. in Educational Psychology prepares students to become independent scholars who are able to make significant contributions to knowledge in specialized areas of educational psychology. The Foundations strand within the Ph.D. provides opportunity for specialization in assessment, learning and cognition, program evaluation, research, and learning in school domains, is designed to enable students to become independent scholars, who are able to make significant contributions to knowledge in the discipline of educational psychology. The focus of the program is on the assessment and understanding of learning outcomes and processes in a variety of learning environments and in modifying those environments in ways that promote more effective learning.

The doctoral foundations strands prepare students for a variety of professional careers related to teaching and research in both academic and non-academic settings. For example, students will be prepared to fill faculty, research, or assessment positions at academic institutions, such as universities, community colleges, and K-12 school districts. Representative occupations also include educational psychologist, program evaluator, educational assessment coordinator, and employee training specialist.


Admissions Information

All students must have a master's degree to be considered for admission to Foundations Specialization Strands in the Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Admission will be limited to the most qualified applicants based on a combination of the following:

  • An undergraduate grade-point average of 3.00 or above.
  • If graduate coursework has been completed, a graduate grade-point average of 3.00 or above.
  • Preference may be given to student with scores above the 50th percentile on verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  • A score of 600 or above on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is also required for students who do not speak English as their first language.
  • Three letters of reference from university faculty or other individuals qualified to judge the applicant's academic potential.
  • The applicant's statement of professional interests and goals.

Your first step in the admission process is the completion of the Graduate College application and the Deparmtent reference letter.

Deadline for receipt of materials is March 15.


Program Completion Requirements

The Foundations Specialization Strands in the Ph.D. in Educational Psychology enable tailoring of doctoral studies to meet student career plans in a variety of applications consistent with advanced training in educational psychology.

Selection of specific coursework in the specialization is guided by the doctoral committee. Strands include assessment, learning and cognition, program evaluation, and research. The common theme is preparation to become an independent scholar who will make significant contributions to knowledge in the discipline.

In addition to the course requirements, a student will be responsible for fulfilling the following program requirements.

Residence Credit Requirement

A minimum of 50 percent of the total credits required to complete the doctoral degree not including transferred and dissertation credits must be earned at UNLV after admission to the doctoral degree program.

Publication Requirement

Each student must satisfy a scholarly paper requirement by the time he or she has completed 36 credits (Review I). The student must be primarily responsible for carrying out and reporting a study under the supervision of a program faculty member. The requirement may be fulfilled in one of two ways. First, the study may involve the collection and analysis of some empirical data (for example, a pilot study) resulting in a scholarly paper that is submitted to either a professional journal or as a proposal to an annual conference of a national organization. Second, the paper may consist of a literature review that is submitted for publication in a quality, peer-reviewed journal or submitted for presentation at a national conference. Prior to beginning, projects must be approved by a supervising faculty member. Once completed, students must submit to the program coordinator: (a) a copy of the paper, (b) a submission acknowledgement, and (c) a completed Review I form from the supervising faculty member.

Preliminary Examination

Each student must take the preliminary examination (Review II) in the last semester of coursework outlined in his/her program of study. This second formal assessment is an examination that will focus on areas of knowledge that are most relevant to the student's dissertation topic. The student and his/her committee will determine the content of this examination. In general, the format will focus on in-depth reading and writing directly related to the student's dissertation topic rather than on the student's mastery of previously learned core information.

Dissertation Proposals and Defenses

After successfully completing Review I and Review II, students can then submit a dissertation proposal to their doctoral committee and submit the accompanying "Dissertation Prospectus" form to the Graduate College. The doctoral committee will meet and determine whether to accept or reject the prospectus. A prospectus can be accepted provisionally given that the student follows the committee's suggestions in the dissertation. Upon completion of the full dissertation, a defense will be scheduled. This defense will be scheduled and conducted in accordance with the Graduate College's policies for thesis and dissertation completion. It is the student's responsibility to file the required "Notification of Oral or Written Examination" form with the Graduate College in a timely manner.

A complete listing of the program requirements is available in the UNLV Graduate Catalog.


Course Requirements

The required coursework for the Ph.D. Foundations Specialization Strands is minimum of 67 credits beyond the master's degree. Specific programs of study are determined by a number of factors, including the area of emphasis chosen by the student and doctoral committee. Individual programs of study frequently exceed these minimum requirements.

A complete listing of the course requirements is available in the UNLV Graduate Catalog.


Dissertation

The first review point in your program is a scholarly product requirement that must be completed by the end of your fourth semester. This requirement can be met in one of two ways: you can submit a research study to a refereed journal or submit a proposal for a presentation at an annual conference of a national organization. This is Review I and your doctoral committee will determine whether the scholarly product is acceptable.

The second review point is the completion of a preliminary examination during your fourth semester. You and your committee will determine the content of this examination. It differs from the traditional comprehensive examination format in that it will focus on in-depth reading and writing directly related to your planned dissertation topic rather than on mastery of previously learned core information. This is Review II.

After successfully completing Review I (satisfying the scholarly product requirement) and Review II (passing the preliminary examination), you may then submit a dissertation proposal to your doctoral committee and submit the accompanying "Dissertation Prospectus" form to the Graduate College. The doctoral committee will meet and determine whether to accept or reject the prospectus. A prospectus can be accepted provisionally given that the student follows the committee's suggestions in the dissertation.

A dissertation is an original contribution to current knowledge in the field and a demonstration that you have achieved sufficient mastery in the field of pursue independent research and scholarship.

When the dissertation is complete, a defense will be scheduled and conducted in accordance with the Graduate College's policies for thesis and dissertation completion. It will be your responsibility to file the required "Notification of Oral or Written Examination" form with the Graduate College in a timely manner.


Forms

Department forms can be downloaded using the links below. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader Program to download, prepare, and then print the pdf forms. Completed forms are turned in at the main office of the Carlson Education Building, Room 320. Additional forms can also be found on the Graduate College website.

Admission Forms

Forms related to the admissions process can be found in the admissions section of this page.

Independent Study/Research

The form below must be submitted to the Department Office and approved prior to enrollment in individual study/research courses (EPY 780, 782, 783, 787).

  • Approval Request Form (Word | PDF)

Doctoral Committees & Programs of Study

Department Doctoral Examination Templates & Reports


Dr. Steve G. McCafferty
Department Graduate Coordinator
Email: steve.mccafferty@unlv.edu
Phone: 702-895-3245
Room: CEB 335