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Astronomy & Physics Education Research|CAPER

Requirements for a PhD in Science Education

The UW College of Education PhD. Program in Science Education prepares students for productive careers in scholarly inquiry at research & outreach centers and universities. In an apprenticeship model, students study with a cadre of professionally active faculty to produce scholarly work, take advanced coursework in science education, collaborate with faculty on grants and research projects, and have opportunities to teach undergraduate courses in education and science.

Plan of Study

Substitutions can be made by student's committee

  • 9 hours of coursework in science education
    • Select at least three courses in trends in science education. Examples include:
      • EDCI 5070 Trends: Research in Science Education (3)
      • EDCI 5700 Cognition in Science and Mathematics Education (3)
      • EDCI 5480 Special Topics: Science as Inquiry (3)
      • EDCI 5790 Advanced Instructional Strategies (3)
  • 9 hours of other science or elective science and education courses
    • Science as inquiry or other graduate coursework in science or science education constituting a single, in-depth area of study selected by student's mentoring committee
  • 12 hours of research methodology courses
    • Including at least one quantitative course and one qualitative course
  • 9 hours of college-wide courses
    • EDCI 5870 Introduction to Doctoral Studies (3)
      and select any two of the following
    • EDCI 5730 Theory, Research & Practice (3)
    • EDCI 5600 Diversity (3)
    • CNSL 5900 College Teaching (3)
    • EDCI 5810 Publication Writing (3)
    • EDRE 5660 Proposal Writing (3)
  • 12 hours of dissertation credits
    • a minimum of 12 hours, many students will have more
  • Minimum of 81 hours required for completion
    • 81 hours, 30 of which can be from a masters degree or other graduate coursework
  • Additional Expectations
    Although not necessarily available for graduate credit, the following activities are expected to be completed, as approved, monitored, and assessed by a student's committee, prior to defense.
    • Completed, supervised teaching internship during the graduate program
    • A total of 18 graduate hours in a single discipline of science
    • Submission of a scholarly publication, judged publishable by the mentoring committee
    • Presentation at a professional conference on scholarly work

Other PhD Degree Requirements

  • Exit Requirements
    • The total minimum post-bac credit hours required 81 semester hours (30 of which can come from a masters degree or other accredited graduate coursework) and successful public defense of an independent research dissertation. This dissertation may be a large, single study or a connected body of several works, each deemed publishable by the committee.
  • Admissions
    • Successful UW Grad Sch. Admission. Admission is recommended on a continuous rolling basis by a program area Admissions Committee composed of faculty, with priority consideration deadlines of October 1 for spring semester admission and February 1 for summer or fall semester admission. Applicants may be evaluated on alignment of research interests with those of existing faculty, prior teaching or work experience, and letters of recommendation. The GRE-General nor the GRE-Subject are not required for students who have a master’s degree.
  • First Year Formative Assessment
    • In order to progress beyond the first year of coursework, a student must present a modifiable -plan of study‖ and successfully pass a first-year formative assessment judged by the student's doctoral committee. This may be based upon a submission of written work completed during the first year. The student is either (i) passed to continue into second year work, (ii) failed and asked to repeat the first year and the first year assessment, or (iii) failed and not permitted to continue in the current program. This must be completed before the end of the term, providing materials to the committee at least two weeks prior to the assessment.
  • Preliminary Examinations
    • The Preliminary Examination is given after 30-semester hours are completed, preliminary to a dissertation proposal committee hearing. The exact format is to be determined by the student's committee. Please note this specific requirement is under revision by the College of Education and could change.
  • Residency Requirement
    • Four consecutive semesters (including summer) of full-time enrollment
  • Flexibility on Individualized Plan of Study
    • As is customary, the specific course plan of study will be modified and adjusted for each individual student by his or her advisor and committee to provide for a thorough and rigorous sequence of courses and experiences consistent with the student’s previous experiences and career aspirations. Given the diversity in doctoral students’ prior academic degrees, educational and life experiences, and career goals, the PhD in Mathematics Education and in Ph.D. Science Education programs provide flexibility for doctoral candidates, advisors, and committee members to construct and alter program requirements that accommodate students’ unique professional needs.
  • Important Caveat
    • These requirements are subject to change.


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