Doctoral Program Details

The Johns Hopkins University School of Education doctoral programs are designed to prepare future scholars and leaders with the knowledge and skills to address 21st century educational challenges. Our Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Education (EdD) programs offer a unique learning experience that integrate and build upon the research of SOE faculty, as well as faculty from the broader Johns Hopkins community. Doctoral students have an opportunity to work and collaborate with leading academicians in their fields and have greater impact on education policy and practice locally, nationally, and internationally.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education

The overarching goal of the School of Education’s PhD in Education program is to develop scholars who will have advanced research skills for improving education practice, with specific emphases on policy analysis and education improvement. The program strives to prepare candidates that are equipped to: (1) meet the myriad challenges associated with systemic education change; (2) apply exceptional content area expertise contextualized within a comprehensive multidisciplinary frame of reference; (3) successfully bridge the theory and research to evidence-based practice gap; (4) be actively involved in public policy development and evaluation; (5) conduct research on complex databases linking educational practices to student outcomes, or lead laboratory- or school-based research programs that inform efforts to improve educational practices and student outcomes; and (6) develop national models of educational practice that guide curriculum development and educator preparation.

Program Goals
Graduates will be prepared to fill faculty and research scientist positions at research-intensive universities or secure positions at research institutes and centers that conduct and manage large-scale education-based evaluations. Upon program completion we expect that graduates will:

  • Be prepared for employment in research/faculty positions at top-tier research institutions.
  • Contribute to the interdisciplinary public discourse on education improvement.
  • Engage in and promote evidence-based practices through the application of rigorous methodology.
  • Link education research to policy and practice.
  • Provide leadership in the field by developing an independent line of ethical and culturally responsive research.
  • Contribute to development of the next generation of scholars.
  • Be able to influence school policy and reform.

Admission
At minimum, applicants to the Ph.D. program should hold a master’s degree from an accredited college or university. Previous degrees must document outstanding academic achievement in an area of study closely associated with the objectives of the program. Applicants must submit the online admission application form, application fee, and official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended. If the earned degree or credit is from an educational institution abroad, the candidate’s academic record must be evaluated by a credential evaluation agency before consideration for admission. Applicants are required to earn superior scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (taken within the past five years), present acceptable TOEFL or IELTS scores (if an international student), and demonstrate potential to become top scholars. Additionally, applicants are required to submit a curriculum vitae, a personal statement (outlining professional plans, goals, and expectations related to the Ph.D. program), and three letters of reference affirming the applicant’s qualifications for advanced graduate study and potential for professional development in the field. Selected applicants who meet the entrance requirements will be invited to interview with the doctoral admissions committee. The deadline for submission of your application for full consideration for academic year 2018-2019 is December 15, 2017.

Program Structure and Requirements
The program requirements include earning a minimum of 90 graduate credits, of which a minimum of 78 credits must be taken at the doctoral level at Johns Hopkins University. While the program will be tailored to the specific learning needs of each student, it includes the following coursework components:

  • Research methods and statistics courses (minimum of 18 credit hours)
  • Core seminars (15 credit hours)
  • Major and/or minor area electives & readings (minimum of 21 credit hours)
  • Research and/or teaching credits (18 credit hours)
  • Dissertation research (18 credit hours)

In addition to successfully completing all the coursework requirements, candidates must also satisfy the following program benchmarks: research progress, written and oral comprehensive examinations, dissertation prospectus development and defense, dissertation proposal development and Graduate Board Oral Examination, Ph.D. candidacy, and the dissertation. Each student will receive an annual written evaluation from the School of Education’s Doctoral Studies Committee detailing his/her progress in meeting the required benchmarks at the end of each spring semester.

All School of Education Ph.D. students will devote at least four years to full-time study and research as a resident student. This period of time will provide opportunity for full engagement and participation in the academic community and allow students to develop and demonstrate the scholarly capabilities required of the degree. The typical program of study is eight semesters, with six semesters devoted to coursework and research/teaching intensive experiences and two semesters devoted primarily to independent dissertation research. Students will typically enroll in 12 hours per semester for the first three years of their program and 9 hours per semester during the fourth year of their program, for a total of 90 credit hours.  All students are expected to maintain enrollment as full-time graduate students over the course of the program. With the approval of their major adviser and director of the Ph.D. program, students may transfer up to 12 credit hours of previously completed graduate-level coursework to substitute for selected required courses in the program.

Typically, each year six-to-twelve Ph.D. students will be admitted each year to begin classes in the fall semester. The majority of required courses will be delivered on the Baltimore Homewood campus in a face-to-face format, although students may (with approval) enroll in selected elective courses in divisions throughout the university.

Students must complete comprehensive exams and a dissertation prospectus after completing two years of study. The successful completion of the written documents and oral defense of those documents allows the student to proceed to the dissertation proposal.

Dissertation
The program is designed as an apprenticeship model leading to a traditional research dissertation. The expectation is that students will be developing the skills and background knowledge throughout the program required to pursue a traditional research dissertation. Although the dissertation is not part of the formal coursework, the program is designed to put a student on track to develop an area of expertise as the foundation for an independent research project directed by the adviser. Students are expected to complete and defend a dissertation proposal by the end of the third year of study and use the final year of the program to complete and defend the dissertation. The dissertation is expected to demonstrate mastery of the relevant literature and scholarship in the collection and interpretation of data. The work should be of appropriate for publication in high impact journals in the student’s area of expertise. The dissertation will be presented at a final oral defense before the student’s Dissertation Advisory Committee.

Note: Full tuition assistance and annual stipends are available to support selected outstanding candidates. For more information about the Ph.D. program, please visit http://education.jhu.edu/Academics/doctoral/PhD/. If you have any questions about the Ph.D. program, please contact Janet.Mason@jhu.edu.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) (Online)

To address the dramatically changing landscape of education in the 21st century, which includes new research on the science of learning, advances in technology, and the emergence of a for-profit education sector, the Johns Hopkins University School of Education offers an innovative online Doctor of Education degree program. This Ed.D. program is designed to prepare an exceptional corps of educational practitioner-scholars, both nationally and internationally, who can set a high standard for transformational leadership in education, apply evidence-based practices to improve educational outcomes, and meet the vast challenges associated with improving learning outcomes in both public and private educational environments.

Program Goals
Upon successful completion of the Ed.D., we expect that graduates will:

  • Participate in a diverse community of educational practice.
  • Contribute to the public discourse on improvement of education.
  • Engage in and promote evidence-based practices through the application of rigorous methodology.
  • Link high quality education research to policy and practice.
  • Provide leadership in their education context by applying advanced theoretical perspectives to problems of practice.
  • Develop mutually beneficial partnerships between public and private interests.
  • Lead innovative education policy.
  • Implement inclusive and socially just policies, practices, and organizational change processes.

Admission
At minimum, applicants to the Ed.D. program should hold a master’s degree from an accredited college or university. Previous degrees must document high academic achievement (a minimum GPA of 3.0) in an area of study closely associated with the objectives of the program. If the earned degree or credit is from an educational institution abroad, the candidate’s academic record must be evaluated by a credential evaluation agency before consideration for admission. Applicants must submit the online admission application form, application fee, official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, a curriculum vitae, and three letters of recommendations signed by the recommender. Letters of recommendation should speak to the applicant’s competency to conduct rigorous scholarly work as well as the applicant’s impact on his or her professional practice. A letter from a professor at the master’s granting institution is preferable. Additionally, applicants will submit a personal statement including responses to the following:

  • Describe a significant Problem of Practice relevant to your current context of professional practice.
  • Indicate the importance of this problem within the educational landscape as well as the candidate’s context of professional practice.
  • Discuss the potential underlying causes for or contributing factors related to this Problem of Practice.
  • Discuss the ways in which this problem aligns with your chosen area of specialization.

Some selected applicants who meet the entrance requirements may be invited to interview with the doctoral admissions committee.

International students must fulfill the general requirements for admission and complete additional requirements — see http://www.students.education.jhu.edu/studentaffairs/international/apply.html. (Note: This program is not eligible for student visa sponsorship.)

Students who enter the program are expected to possess an understanding of basic statistics as evidenced by documented successful completion of a graduate-level statistics course. Students who lack this statistics course experience will be required to successfully complete statistics modules prior to enrollment in the program.

Please note that for the online Ed.D. program, an offer of admission is for the specific cohort to which an application is submitted. Students may accept or decline the admission offer, but deferring to the next cohort is not an option.

Program Structure and Requirements
Program requirements include a minimum of 90 graduate credits. Students must enter the program with a master’s degree with a minimum of 36 graduate-level credits, which will be transferred into the Ed.D. program. If a student does not have the required 36 master’s credits, the student will be admitted on a conditional basis and must complete the additional graduate-level credits at an accredited college or university. Students with post-master’s graduate credit in related education content completed prior to admission to the Ed.D. program may petition to transfer in an additional six credits of equivalent coursework with appropriate documentation and with the approval of the Ed.D. program directors. Thus, students must complete between 48 and 54 credits at the doctoral level at JHU. The program includes the following required coursework components:

  • Foundations of Education (12 credits + electives)
  • Applied Research and Evaluation (12 credit hours)
  • Specialization Area (12 credit hours)
  • Applied Dissertation (9 credit hours)

In addition to successfully completing all the coursework requirements, candidates must also satisfy written assessments and an oral comprehensive examination that document attainment of competencies and an Applied Dissertation.

Problems of Practice and Applied Dissertation
Students examine a Problem of Practice (POP), which is an area of concern that they have observed within their professional context. This POP becomes the focus of the student’s Applied Dissertation research. The Applied Dissertation is embedded within the Ed.D. program coursework, which provides students with a unique opportunity to examine an issue important to the organization in which they are employed. During the first year in the program, students examine their articulated POP to identify underlying causes and associated factors. During the second year of the program, students develop a potential solution, such as an intervention or policy change, and a plan to study the implementation of this intervention as well as proximal outcomes. Students will demonstrate mastery of first- and second-year competencies through written and oral comprehensive assessments, which will serve as indicators of readiness for conducting their applied research. Students will then evaluate the effectiveness of this solution as their Applied Dissertation (Year 3). Characteristics of the Applied Dissertation that make it unique to this program include:

  • Written assignments within courses that focus on the student’s POP.
  • Coursework that leads students to consider solutions that hold the potential for significant change or impact within their organization and/or have implications for policy.
  • Dissertation components that are embedded within coursework and distributed across the three years of the program.

Although somewhat different from a traditional dissertation in its completion and focus, students are nevertheless expected to demonstrate mastery of the relevant literature, to obtain extant and/or collect additional data, and to interpret the results in light of previous studies. The dissertation will be presented at a final oral defense before the student’s Dissertation Advisory Committee.

Typically, we expect that students would complete three years of coursework and independent research concurrently. It is possible that some students may need more than three years to complete their research, in which case they will be required to enroll in at least one credit hour per semester after completion of the required 90 credit hours.

For more information about the Ed.D. program, please visit http://education.jhu.edu/academics/online-programs/doctor-of-education-edd/. If you have any questions about the Ed.D. program, please contact soe.edd@jhu.edu.