Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program

Prerequisites for Admission

Prerequisites for admission to the doctoral degree program are a Baccalaureate or Masters degree and prior course work in math or science. The amount of prior course work expected depends upon the student's grade-band of interest. Teaching experience is highly desired.

Admission into the doctoral program is not automatic for STEM Masters graduates. A STEM Masters student applies to the doctoral program by completing the full application process. This requires submission of three letters of recommendation (as many as possible from professors on our faculty attesting to your ability to fulfill the requirements for a PhD), transcripts, and a personal statement. The personal statement should address why you want a PhD, what you want to research, and what you anticipate doing with a PhD.

Graduate students wanting to pursue a degree in mathematics or science education will matriculate once a year, during the fall semester. Graduate students may transfer from other programs within the Graduate School to a degree plan in mathematics or science education. In order to transfer, students must apply to and be recommended for admission into the GPSME. Transfer student applications from other programs in the Graduate School will be handled in a manner consistent with the policies established above for regular applicants. In addition, students should follow current Graduate School policies regarding transferring to UT.

Masters students applying to the doctoral program may apply upon the completion of a Masters degree. Admission into the doctoral program is not automatic for Masters graduates. The student must complete the full application process in order to apply to the doctoral program. This requires submission of three letters of recommendation from STEM GSC faculty, transcripts, and a personal statement discussing his/her decision to pursue Doctoral studies in the GPSME. All files will be reviewed for admission consistent with the review policies above.

Core Courses (15 hours)

All doctoral students are required to take five core courses (Knowing & Learning in Science and Math Education; Curriculum History and Development in Science & Mathematics Education; Equity in Science & Mathematics Education; Research on Teaching and Teacher Development in Science & Mathematics Education; and Systemic Reform in Science & Mathematics Education). It is recommended that students enroll each semester in the Science & Mathematics Education Forum course. Also, students should select during their program at least two or more of the Advanced Topics courses.

Science or Mathematics Content Courses (15 hours)

Students must take a minimum of 15 hours of mathematics or science courses. This requirement is waived for students who have a masters degree in Mathematics or Science. Other kinds of degrees or course work are considered on a case-by-case basis. If students are preparing to teach at the post-secondary level, they will be advised to study one particular discipline in depth. If they are preparing to work at the elementary or secondary level, a broader program of study is recommended.

Domain courses in mathematics and science are specially designed to focus in depth on the content of the school curriculum. These technology-rich courses are taught using inquiry-based methods and include explicit examination of learning within the domain. We currently offer three domain courses:

  1. Functions and Modeling: Focuses on the use of technology to model and explore functions.
  2. Advanced Perspectives on School Algebra: Focuses on important concepts in the school algebra curriculum, such as real and complex numbers, functions, polynomials, and equations. Includes problem solving, applications of algebra, and the history of algebra.
  3. Physical Science: Uses self-paced, small group, hands-on exploration to learn physical science topics from the secondary curriculum. Also includes reflection on the development of mental models and the structure of the knowledge base in these areas.

Research Methodology Courses (12 hours)

A minimum of 12 hours of courses in research methodology is required. All students must enroll in a qualitative and a quantitative course or courses sufficient for competent technical review of manuscript articles and proposals. In addition, students must have a methodology specialty that will be used in dissertation research. A course in program evaluation can also be used to satisfy this requirement.

Research Methodology Requirements

Advanced Topics Course (6 hours)

Faculty will provide regular advanced topic courses on special areas of interest or on emerging areas of research.

Forum Courses (4 hours recommended)

Science and Mathematics Education Forum will be held each fall and spring semesters. This forum provides an opportunity to discuss current events, ground-breaking papers, and presentations of student research in a discussion-oriented setting. Also announcement of conference plans, program news and other issues of relevance to the community will be shared. Often, outside speakers will present during the forum.

Other Courses (6 hours)

Students are expected to broaden and deepen their program of work through taking a variety of related course work consonant with their scholarly interests, in consultation with a graduate adviser. Students will be expected to present course plans, which include: foundation courses, psychology courses, educational administration courses, methodology, curriculum courses, and multicultural courses.

Minimum Requirements

  • Core courses  (15 hours)
  • Science or Math content courses  (15 hours)
  • Research Methodology courses  (12 hours)
  • Advanced Topics course  (6 hours)
  • Related course work  (6 hours)
  • Dissertation  (18 hours)
  • Total 72 hours

Degree Plans

Download the STEM Doctoral Plan of Study form, 2015 and beyond. PDF icon 

Related Information

View the STEM Education Doctoral Guidelines for Detailed steps to the Doctoral degree.

More doctoral forms and related information.