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RIGOROUS, RESEARCH-BASED PROGRAM

The Science Education Doctoral Program is designed to prepare science educators for teaching science through inquiry processes where students apply their knowledge in real-world contexts. Our program specializes in the preparation of science teacher educators.

The School of Education provides students with a plethora of research opportunities, including experimental and observational research, field research, and secondary data analysis. Graduate students are also encouraged to lead research projects and publish in scholarly journals. The school provides support for professional development to participate in conferences through travel grants.

Additional professional development and research support resources are provided by the Graduate School at Virginia Tech. 

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WHAT YOU'LL STUDY

The curriculum for the Science Education Doctoral Program consists of four components. Students are expected to complete 15 hours in Research (e.g., quantitative and qualitative research methods), 30 Dissertation hours, 9 hours in Foundations (e.g., cognitive processes and educational practice), 12 hours minimum in Concentration (e.g., models of teaching), and another 8 hours minimum of Cognate (e.g., cultural studies of science).

Students are required to complete at least 96 hours in the pursuit of their degree. Students enrolled in the doctoral program must pass four exams as part of the degree requirements: Scheduling Exams, Qualifying Exam, Preliminary Exam, Prospectus Exam, and Final Examination.

The following is a sample Plan of Study:

Research (minimum of 15 hours)

  • EDRE 5404: Foundations of Educational Research and Evaluation
  • EDCI 6034: Education and Anthropology
  • EDCI 6534: Ethnographic Methods in Education
  • EDRE 6504: Qualitative Methods in Educational Research I
  • EDRE 6605: Quantitative Research Methods in Education I
  • EDCI 7994: Research and Dissertation

Foundations (minimum of 9 hours)

  • EDEP 6114: Cognitive Processes and Educational Practice
  • EDCI 6024: The Analysis of Educational Concepts
  • EDEP 6224: Constructivism and Education
  • EDCT 6664: Policy Analysis for Education and the Workforce

Concentration (minimum of 12 hours)

  • EDCI 5134: Gender and Education
  • EDCI 6014: Advanced Topics in Teacher Education Curriculum
  • EDCI 6054: Academic Writing for Qualitative Educational Research
  • EDCI 5824: STEM Education Trends and Issues
  • EDCI 7964: Field Studies and Internships

Cognate (minimum of 9 hours in field of inquiry)

  • STS 5205: Main Themes of History of Science and Technology
  • STS 6534: Advanced Topics in Cultural Studies of STEM-H
  • STS 5444: Issues in Bioethics

DISSERTATION

The Ph.D. degree in Science Education is awarded solely on the basis of coursework completion. To graduate, each student must also conduct an original research study culminating in the presentation and defense of a dissertation. The dissertation demonstrates the student’s ability to investigate a practical issue in elementary educational agreed upon by one’s dissertation chair and advisory committee. 

The majority of students write their dissertations in the traditional five-chapter format (i.e., as a research paper with an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, and conclusion).  Other options such as a journal article dissertation are available.  Students work with the dissertation chairs and committees to determine the best format for their dissertation.

Course Descriptions

Introduction to gender in the context of education. This course is intended to raise awareness of how gender is implicated in teaching and learning in K-12 schooling and higher education. School policy as it relates to gender equality and sex education. Theoretical frameworks for gender analysis in education. Pre-requisite: Graduate standing required

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

An exploration of contemporary K-16 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education trends and issues, including both integrative and within-discipline STEM education trends/issues. Topics addressed include STEM literacy, integrative approaches to STEM education, the changing role of design and inquiry in STEM education, STEM education-related legislation, change theory, state and federal funding, and extracurricular STEM education initiatives. Graduate standing required.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Intensive study of research findings and methods in preservice teacher education. Focus on internal and external issues that affect the curriculum, guidelines, accreditation, governance, alternative models, and approaches, instructional strategies, and history of teacher education reform. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 semester hours. Pre-requisite: Graduate Standing required.

Credit Hour(s): 1 TO 6

Lecture Hour(s): 1 TO 6

Level: Graduate

Systematic introduction to the study of contemporary philosophy of education, indicating ways in which philosophy is used to analyze educational aims, content, methods, and values.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Exploration of anthropological ideas and findings relevant to educational institutions and the teaching/learning process. Emphasis on how sociocultural patterns affect what is taught and learned.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Writing workshop in which students work toward a personal goals (manuscript, book review, conference proposal, or fellowship application). Emphasis on how writing operates in the production, circulation, and elevation of knowledge in high education. Writing for qualitative research in education is the focus of this course.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Exploration of ethnographic methods for data collection and analysis: theoretical bases, procedures, issues, and applications of this approach in educational research.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Advanced applied study in one or more educational institutions. Research, evaluation, curricular, and instructional projects are examples of appropriate projects of study. The student is graded on the basis of the design of the study, ability to conduct the study, and interpret and report the results.

Credit Hour(s): 1 TO 12

Lecture Hour(s): 1 TO 12

Level: Graduate

EDCI 7994 - Research and Dissertation

NONE

Credit Hour(s): 1 TO 19

Lecture Hour(s):

Level: Graduate

Research and evaluation in education with emphasis on development of skill requisite for utilizing research and evaluation studies in practical situations. Applies these skills in exercises related to various research and evaluation models.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

This course provides an introduction to qualitative research methods. It considers mainstream qualitative research traditions, including case study, phenomenology, ethnography, grounded theory, and participatory research. Students will conduct observations, interviews and basic data analysis.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

This two-course sequence is designed to provide an overview of basic research design, measurement and statistical concepts in social and behavioral research. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the process of social and educational research in field settings, hands on experience of designing and conducting research and analysis of data.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Philosophical, theoretical, and empirical foundations of the broad field of constructivism, including the limits of epistemology and ontology, the determination of truth and reality, and applications to education and everyday life. Emphasis on radical constructivism, social constructivism, symbolic interactionism, social constructionism, and cognitive constructivism, and their applications to education.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Methods and concepts in the history of science and technology. 5205: research methods, interpretive approaches, and contemporary issues in the history of science; 5206: research methods, interpretive approaches, and contemporary issues in the history of technology.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Identification and analysis of ethical issues arising in basic and applied biological, medical, environmental, ecological, and energy studies.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Variable topics in cultural studies of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and health. May include theories of language and science, popular and public knowledges, cultural performances around science and technology, conceptions of health and the body, cultures of quantification, technology and identity, hierarchies and diversity in science and technology, and cross-cultural comparisons. May be repeated with different content up to a maximum of 12 credits.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

THE COHORT MODEL

The doctoral programs operate on a modified cohort model. Full-time students who begin the program at the same time attend many of the same classes in the same sequence and pursue common plans of study. Part-time students enroll in courses at a pace and in a sequence determined by their enrollment status and in consultation with their advisor.

The benefits of a cohort model are many.  The cohort model is designed to facilitate social interaction, collaboration, and the formation of a supportive learning community. 

Students in cohorts learn from and help each other with the successful completion of coursework and professional networking. Students who participate in cohort models generally report a strong sense of belonging and are more likely to complete their programs of study in a timely manner.

NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FACULTY

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Brenda Brand, Professor and Program Leader
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George Glasson, Professor

Lezly Taylor, Assistant Professor

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Lezly Taylor, Assistant Professor