Ph.D. in Education and Human Development

Western Michigan University's College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) launched a new doctoral program in Education and Human Development (Ph.D. in EHD) in fall 2016. This new Ph.D. program aligns strongly with the strategic goals of WMU as a major research university and supports the research mission of the institution. It offers candidates the opportunity to pursue doctoral work in diverse areas of emphasis served by CEHD.

Program Description

This program is innovative with a number of unique characteristics:

  1. Following a master-apprentice model of doctoral preparation, this program combines the coursework-focused model of doctoral education primarily used here in the US with the research-focused model of doctoral education embraced by European nations.
  2. The applicant must have a master’s degree in the area of emphasis in which the student wishes to pursue doctoral study.
  3. The doctoral program will place a strong emphasis on scholarly research projects conducted with doctoral advisors in the area of emphasis (21 credits in the area of emphasis).
  4. Under guidance of their advisor(s), students also can take courses from the university and other partner institutions to advance their content knowledge.

The purpose of the Ph.D. in EHD program is to prepare researchers and scholars in various areas of education and human development through a strong emphasis on research. Graduates of the program will be employable at research universities and at other higher educational institutions, in prestigious postdoctoral positions, and in research analytic capacities with public policy think-tanks and non-governmental organizations.

Emphasis Areas

Department of Human Performance and Health Education:
Athletic Training
Coaching Sport Performance
Exercise Science
Physical Education
Sport Management
Contact: Dr. YuanLong Liu

Department of Family and Consumer Sciences:
Family Science
Workforce Education and Development
Contact: Dr. Adam Manley.

Department of Special Education and Literacy Studies:
Literacy Studies
Teaching English as Second Language
Contact: Dr. Selena Protacio

Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies:
Curriculum and Instruction
Early Childhood Education
Foundations of Education
Youth and Community Development
Contact: Dr. Susan Piazza

Department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology:
Educational and Instructional Technology
Organizational Change Leadership (admissions currently on hold)
Contact: Dr. David Szabla

Program Requirements

This program requires at least 54 credit hours beyond the Master's degree. There are three components to the program:

  1. Interdisciplinary Foundation of Research and Inquiry Core (21 credits)
  2. Emphasis Area (21 credits). The course of study within this emphasis area is developed by the doctoral advisor and student including guided electives, research seminars, and independent studies
  3. Dissertation (12 credits). While in the program, students will engage in scholarly research projects with their advisors in addition to completing the courses in the area of Interdisciplinary Foundation of Research and Inquiry

The PhD-EHD requires a minimum of 54 credit hours beyond the Master’s degree distributed as follows:

  1. Interdisciplinary Foundation of Research and Inquiry Core (21 credits)
    1. EMR 6450 Data Analysis I: Design of Studies
    2. EMR 6480 Qualitative Methods
    3. EMR 6580 Qualitative Practicum
    4. EMR 6650 Data Analysis II: Correlation Studies
    5. Three other research or research design courses (as selected in conjunction with, and approved by, the student’s advisor)
      1. Note that within this interdisciplinary foundation of research and inquiry core of courses, each student shall demonstrate mastery of two research tools including qualitative and quantitative methods.
  2. Emphasis Area (21 credits)
    1. The course of study within this emphasis area is developed by the doctoral advisor and the student including guided electives, research seminars, and independent studies.
  3. Dissertation (12 credits)

The supervision of the program of study and research project will be provided by the dissertation chair/advisor along with additional consultation with dissertation committee members.
Successful completion and defense of a research proposal, and other requirements for a comprehensive exam as determined by the emphasis area, is required for advancement to candidacy. The dissertation chair and committee will ensure that the standards for their discipline/emphasis are met.

Completion of a dissertation that involves original research is required.
The student and the dissertation committee will meet at least annually to review the student’s progress.
Successful oral defense of the dissertation and approval by the dissertation committee is required. The dissertation chair or co-chairs and committee will ensure that the standards for their disciplines are met.

View the Ph.D. in EHD Handbook for full program details:
Handbook PDF

Admission and Application Requirements

The following application materials are required to be considered for admission to the Ph.D. in EHD program:

  1. A master's degree in the emphasis or related area, with a minimum of 3.25 GPA. The application must include transcripts of this and other previous degrees (as required by WMU).
  2. Graduate Record Examination scores, with such scores above the 50th percentile on Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytic Writing preferred.
  3. Current curriculum vita.
  4. Statement of purpose outlining the applicant's professional experience and goals for pursuing the given emphasis area.
  5. Three letters of recommendation that address the candidate's qualifications for the degree program.
  6. Appropriate evidence of English language proficiency for international students (as required by WMU).

Application information may be obtained from the WMU Office of Admissions, or directly from the College of Education and Human Development Graduate page.

A graduate committee of faculty with full graduate faculty status representing each department offering an emphasis area will be established to create policies and procedures to implement and oversee the program. Admissions decisions will be made by faculty in the specific program area where the student pursues his or her doctoral study.

Applications are now being accepted.

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