Academic Catalog

Education (PhD)

Program Description

School of Education Graduate Faculty

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education program is a post-master’s, interdepartmental degree offered by the School of Education. It follows a low-residency model, with courses being offered online during the regular academic year and an on-campus component in summer. 

The aim of this program is to educate and prepare scholars to serve as college and university-level educators who can effectively prepare teachers and conduct publishable research and other scholarly work. This PhD program emphasizes teaching and learning theory, research, teacher preparation, and university teaching.

Using the educational benefits of collaborative and cooperative learning combined with continued professional association, the program uses a cohort approach for core doctoral classes. Once admitted to the program, you proceed through these cohort courses as part of a group, following a defined schedule and sequence.

Because this is an interdepartmental degree, you select courses and learning experiences with the assistance of the director of doctoral studies from a variety of areas and opportunities in the School of Education, or from other schools within Seattle Pacific University (subject to approval by the School of Education Doctoral Committee).

Leadership Colloquium and Comprehensive Exams

After approximately one year of coursework, or 24 credits, you may register for EDU 7990 Leadership Colloquium This requires you to write a scholarly paper and present that paper in a formal setting to the educational community.

Graduate faculty of the School of Education conduct an evaluation of the scholarship and Colloquium. The Leadership Colloquium must be taken before you can take the comprehensive exams.

Upon completion of all courses, you must pass two written comprehensive examinations. These examinations will cover the foundations and research components of the core courses. Successful completion of the comprehensive examination advances you to doctoral candidacy.

The Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation is the culminating experience in the PhD in Education degree. It is a scholarly inquiry into an area of professional and intellectual interest, and it is a highly individualized experience.

Working with faculty throughout the coursework and with a dissertation advisor, you will develop a research question and proposal. Using the expertise and knowledge developed in the research courses and under the direction of a faculty dissertation advisor and committee, you will conduct the research and produce a quality report of the findings. As a final demonstration of scholarly competence, you will conduct an oral presentation and defense of the research.

While it is expected that the dissertation will follow standard accepted research methodologies and format, the topic of the research may vary depending on your professional goals, area of specialization, and the expertise of the faculty.