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Foundations of Education

(Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction)

Campus: Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

Instructions: Residential/On Campus 

Students learn to become critically and creatively reflective regarding the foundations of schooling and education.

Funding through Assistantships


Hours of Post Master's Credits for the Ph.D.


Faculty Commitment

Intensive Research Opportunities

Our Foundations of Education program

Educational foundations is an interdisciplinary program that allows students to build their own program of studies that draws on the expertise found in the program. Students in the Foundations of Education acquire not only theory and research skills, but also tools that enable critique and creative responses to the social, cultural, political, and economic issues that surround the cultural reproduction of schooling.

Why Study Foundations of Education Here?

We emphasize the research and theories related to learning and motivation, as well as how to apply the research and theories to practice. The program is fairly small, which allows for greater interaction between doctoral students and faculty.

What You’ll Study

Students in the Foundations of Education acquire not only theory and research skills, but also tools that enable critique and creative responses to the social, cultural, political, and economic issues that surround the cultural reproduction of schooling. Students may be prepared to work in a wide array of educational settings.Ph.D students must take at least 69 hours of post master's credits, of which 30 hours may be dissertation hours. The courses in this program includes Schooling in American Society, Academic Writing for the Social Sciences, Deweyan Pragmatism & Education, Discourse in Classrooms & Schools, Foundations of Hip-Hop Based Education, Gender & Education,  Informal Learning, Schooling and the Post-Civil Rights Generation, The Analysis of Educational Concepts, Education & Anthropology, Ethnographic Methods in Educational Research

Career and Professional Development

Ph.D. program is primarily designed to prepare researchers and higher education faculty. The Possible career paths could be but not limited to Leadership roles at educational foundations, faculty jobs, editorial jobs, or policy making for state and national government work.  

Assistantships, Awards, and Fellowships

Some students in the doctoral program receive financial support including a stipend and tuition. Assignments may be for full or half-time and be with the Program or with other programs in the School or University.

Learn more about other available funding opportunities

Blacksburg Campus

This degree program is offered at the Blacksburg campus. The Blacksburg campus offers students the full services of the university, including an extensive library, technology support, and the Graduate Life Center. 

Our Faculty 

Research Interests

  • Philosophy of Education
  • American Pragmatism

Jim Garrison, Professor

Jim Garrison, Professor

Research Interests

  • Critical Autoethnography
  • Critical Pedagogy
  • Poetry and Narrative
  • English as a Second Language Education and Spanish-Speaking Immigrants
  • Multicultural Education

Gresilda (Kris) A. Tilley-Lubbs, Associate Professor

Gresilda (Kris) Tilley-Lubbs, Associate Professor

Research Interests

  • Rural Education
  • Adolescent Literacy
  • Place-based Pedagogy
  • Special Populations in Rural Communities

Amy Price Azano

Amy Price Azano, Associate Professor

Foundations of Education Research Highlights

Joacim Andersson & Jim Garrison (2016). Embodying Meaning: Qualities, Feelings, Selective Attention, and Habits. Quest.

Fleury, Stephen and Garrison, Jim (2014) Toward a New Philosophical Anthropology of Education: Fuller Considerations of Social Constructivism. Interchange. Volume 45, Issue 1, pp. 19-41

Garrison, Jim, Östman, Leif and Hâkansson, Michael (2015). The creative use of companion values in environmental education and education for sustainable development: exploring the educative moment. Enviornmental Education Research, 183-204.

Garrison, Jim (2013) Dewey Lecture: Making Meaning Together Beyond Theory and Practice. Education and Culture, Vol. 29, no. 2, 5-23.

Tilley-Lubbs, G. A. (2014). La autoetnografía crítica y el Self vulnerable como investigadora. Astrolabio, Nueva Época, 14.

McCloud, J., Tilley-Lubbs, G. A., Chang, R., Popova, D., & Smart-Smith, P., Farmer, S., Meyer, F. (2015). Curricular change: At the vortex. Creative Approaches to Research, 8(1). 

Students interested in applying to the Foundations of Education (Ph.D.) should contact Dr. Jim Garrison, by email at

Visit our office at Public Safety Building, Suite 201 (0313), 330 Sterrett Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24061
Domestic Application
Spring: January 1
Summer: May 1
*Fall:  August 1
International Application
Spring: September 1
Summer: January 1
*Fall: April 1
*Deadline for early decision admission with full funding consideration for Fall: January 15.


Jim Garrison
Program Leader
Public Safety Building
Suite 201 (0313)
330 Sterrett Drive
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-8331

School of Education (SOE) Programs

School of Education
Public Safety Building
Suite 201 (0313)
330 Sterrett Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061