Nov 30, 2023  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Philosophy in Education (Ph.D.)

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The Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Education is an advanced graduate program in the Spadoni College of Education. This program will involve students in developing the breadth and depth of understandings, skills, and dispositions through study in one of three specialization areas (Educational Leadership, Higher Education Administration, Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment). In addition, Ph.D. candidates will become well versed in the foundations of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research. The curricula will also involve the selection of cognate and elective courses, and completion of dissertation hours. Identified courses in both the specialization and cognate areas may be co-taught to interrelate key conceptual understandings.

Program Objectives

  • Develop an advanced degree curricula that interrelates knowledge and skills from selected areas of specialization, complementary cognate courses, and proficiency in the areas of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods educational research.
  • Establish a seamless P-20 educational system that promotes continuous improvement, career satisfaction, and helps retain and recruit highly effective educators.
  • Facilitate interdisciplinary understandings through a co-teaching model that produces cross-disciplinary context-based solutions to contemporary educational issues.
  • Provide opportunities for doctoral candidates to participate in regional collaborative networks that involve school districts, universities, and community leaders in building partnerships to affect innovative change aimed at improving educational outcomes.
  • Institute advanced degree field-based experiences that allow for systematic translation of theory to practice in specific areas of specialization, cognate emphasis, and the research core curriculum.
  • Demonstrate curricular understandings and proficiency of research skills through a comprehensive exam, professional presentations, scholarly writing, and the successful completion of a dissertation.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students develop critical thinking skills that allow them to see the integrative connections between disciplinary fields in their area of specialization.
  • Students develop a regional perspective of a need for improvement and become a change-agent within the region by analyzing and providing a resolution or awareness of the concern.
  • Students develop an understanding and skills to perform mixed method research that provides data-driven analysis and results to make substantive changes within the regional community.
  • Students develop an awareness of diversity (i.e., people, cultures, ideas, and etc,) which may have an impact on P-20, and appreciate the importance of engaging in lifelong interdisciplinary learning to become informed and responsible change agents within their community.
  • Students learn to develop linkages between their interdisciplinary intellectual inquiries and their own ethical positions in terms of contemporary challenges facing students, schools, communities, and societies.

Admission Requirements

All applicants to the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Education must meet the Coastal Carolina University Office of Graduate Studies admission requirements. In addition specialization areas will have an admissions committee who will review applications and make recommendations based on the following criteria:

  1. Completion of a Coastal Carolina University application form.
  2. An earned Master’s Degree in education or related field.
  3. A minimum overall cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) documented by official transcripts for all collegiate coursework.
  4. Copies of official scores on Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) if applicable.  A score of 300 with no less than 160 on the verbal and 140 on the quantitative Graduate Record Examination, or 400 on the Miller Analogies Test. Scores must be no more than five years old.  If an applicant’s Master’s Degree with overall GPA is 3.5 or higher, request of copies of official scores on the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test is waived.
  5. Applicants who are non-native speakers of English speakers must demonstrate proficiency in English and provide official results from tests taken within the last three years or one of the following acceptable means of documenting English language proficiency consistent with success in graduate programs. Note that higher scores may be required of some graduate programs so applicants are urged to consult their desired program to identify whether a higher score is required:
    1. A minimum score of 550 on the paper-based (PBT) or 79 on the internet (iBT) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
    2. A minimum score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam
    3. Certificate of Completion of level 112 of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) from an ELS Language Center
    4. Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic with a score of 59
    5. Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) with a minimum level of C1;
    6. Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) with a minimum level of C1;
    7. Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) with a score of 77
    8. Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) with a score of 745
    9. Bachelor’s degree earned from a regionally accredited U.S. institution of higher education within the last three years.
  6. Applicants will submit a written statement explaining how the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. will be instrumental in achieving specific career and research goals.
  7. Submit three professional reference letters that specifically address the candidate’s ability to successfully meet the demands of high level graduate coursework. One letter must be from their current immediate supervisor.
  8. A face-to-face and/or virtual interview will be required that primarily focuses on the applicants written statement regarding career and research goals as well as the applicants vision for their personal and professional development and how this program may support their vision.
  9. Applicants may be asked to complete an on-site writing sample.
  10. Applicants entering the program with an Ed.S. degree in Educational Leadership from a regionally accredited institution may be awarded up to 21 credit hours for coursework completed prior to admission to this program (see required elements of the curriculum below). The program’s Admission Committee will review the application materials submitted by each applicant to determine what graduate course credit may be applicable to the program’s coursework requirements. Highly qualified applicants entering the program from a regionally accredited Ed.S. degree program may be provisionally accepted into the Ph.D. program through the general admission procedure outlined above.
  11. An updated resume is required.  

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. requires the successful completion of an approved program of study with a minimum of 63 graduate credit hours. The approved program includes the three specialization areas (Educational Leadership, Higher Education Administration, or Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment), coursework in research foundation, selection of cognate and elective courses, and dissertation hours. The degree includes a comprehensive examination and culminates with a dissertation requiring students to demonstrate and apply knowledge and skills learned in the program.

Required Credit Hours (63 Graduate Credit Hours)

Specialization Areas (21 credit hours)

Choose one of the Specialization Areas

Cognates and Electives (18 credit hours)

  • Choose 12 credit hours from one of the following cognates
  • Choose 6 credit hours of electives from any of the remaining courses

Selected from one of the specialization areas, or the identified courses in existing graduate programs (instructional technology, English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), responsive education, leadership, literacy, and special education). The cognate may emphasize the interdisciplinary focus of the doctorate through coursework in a discipline different from the student’s specialization.


Dissertation (12 credit hours)

Total Graduate Credits Required: 63


* South Carolina Initial Licensure Add-on Certification or Endorsements

Three-year program completion: 6 credit hours fall semester, 6 credit hours spring semester, and 9 credit hours summer equals 21 credit hours a year times 3 years equals 63 credit hours for the total program.

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