Ph.D. Course Requirements

Overview of Required Courses

EDTHP’s doctoral program requires a total of 57 credits.

Twenty-four credits must be taken in EDTHP (including the Proseminar, 3 theory courses, and 3 policy courses, including EDTHP 587).  The following categories of courses must also be taken: one in qualitative methods, one in research design and two in quantitative methods. Other than EDTHP 500 and EDTHP 587, students can petition to replace the required courses below with a similar course at Penn State, with permission from the faculty.  However, the faculty recommends taking courses within the department when possible.

Introduction to the EDTHP Program (3 credits)

EDTHP 500 Proseminar

Research Methods (12 credits)

  • EDTHP/EDLDR/HI ED 585: Research Design
  • EDTHP/EDLDR/HI ED 586: Qualitative Methods
  • In addition, two quantitative methods courses are required.
    • For the first quantitative course, it is recommended that students take EDPSY 406.
  • It is recommended that students planning on doing a qualitative dissertation should also take Advanced Qualitative Methods.

Theory Foundations (9 credits)*

Three theory-based 500-level EDTHP courses are required (e.g., EDTHP 533, 536, 540, 541, 516, 557, 534, 536 or 538). After a student has consulted with his or her adviser, one 400-level course may be substituted for EITHER one 500-level Theory course OR one 500-level Policy course, depending on the nature of the 400-level course. Students who take advantage of this option will need to do additional work beyond the 400-level requirements and should make arrangements with the instructor ahead of time.

Policy Foundations (9 credits)*

  • EDTHP/EDLDR/HI ED 587: Policy and Politics
  • In addition, two 500-level EDTHP courses in educational policy (e.g., EDTHP 555, 518, 520, 533 or 527) are required. 
  • After a student has consulted with his or her adviser, one 400-level course may be substituted for EITHER one 500-level Theory course OR one 500-level Policy course, depending on the nature of the 400-level course. Students who take advantage of this option will need to do additional work beyond the 400-level requirements and should make arrangements with the instructor ahead of time.

Focused Program of Study (9 credits)

As students advance to candidacy, they will be required to consult with their adviser in forming a focused program of study. Students will need to explain how the three chosen courses will have prepared them for their dissertation research. This justification will become a part of the candidacy materials routed to all EDTHP faculty for approval. The course work must have a unifying theme. It does not have to be taken in the EDTHP program.

Thesis Preparations, Minor or Dual-title Requirements,* Elective Credit, Transferred Credit, or Professional Experience (15 credits)

Students can fill the rest of their requirements with elective credits from the university. These credits can also be fulfilled with a dual title degree, transferred credit from other institutions (credits that did not lead to a degree), professional work experiences, and thesis preparations. Post-comprehensive Ph.D. students can maintain registration by registering for credits in the usual way, or by registering for noncredit 601 or 611, depending upon whether they are devoting full time or part time to thesis preparation.

*NOTE:  Some EDTHP courses may be counted as either a Theory course or a Policy course, but they may not be double-counted.