PhD in Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology with Emphasis in Educational Psychology

The Educational Psychology program is committed to the dissemination and development of knowledge and skills in human learning and cognition, development, and motivation. We use quantitative and qualitative methods to study how people’s thinking, motivation, and behavior change across time. We study how different social settings like classroom, family, work, and peers affect people’s well-being, learning, and behavior. The study of educational psychology is relevant to teachers, coaches, athletes, nurses, counselors, software developers, trainers, social workers, program evaluators, and administrators.

Educational psychologists attempt to understand:

  • how to improve learning, academic achievement, and motivation
  • developmental influences on learning and well-being
  • how society influences learning and behavior
  • school influences on students’ development in other settings
  • improving human performance

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. program focuses on generating original research and consists of a minimum of 72 semester hours of graduate credit beyond the bachelor's degree. The plan of study provides additional details about requirements. The following is a synopsis.

I. Core Statistics and Research Courses21
ESC_PS 8020Overview of Research Methods3
ESC_PS 8082Foundations of Educational and Psychological Measurement3
ESC_PS 8850Quantitative Foundations in Educational Research 3
ED_LPA 8957Qualitative Methods in Educational Research I3
ESC_PS 9660Generalized Linear Modeling3
II. Core Learning and Development15
ESC_PS 8060Lifespan Development3
ESC_PS 8320Advanced Human Learning3
ESC_PS 8355Cognition and Emotion3
ESC_PS 9450Motivation3
Human Diversity (Relevant Course)3
III. Electives27
Students can take more than 6 research hours if they wish to enroll in more electives. Elective courses can be taken from Educational, School, & Counseling Psychology or from other departments such as Human Development and Family Science, Psychological Sciences, or Information Science and Learning Technology.
IV. Dissertation6-18

Sample Plan of Study

The plan of study will depend on the student’s career goals and research interests, and should be completed in consultation with the Doctoral Dissertation Committee.

Qualifying Process

The Graduate School requires that students pass a qualifying examination as a condition of official admittance to the PhD program. Acceptable performance on the Departmental Qualifying Examination is defined as a achieving a grade of “B” or better in each of the courses comprising the “core” courses. For educational psychology, these courses are the following:

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Comprehensive Examination Process

To complete the comprehensive exam, students must complete evidence of professional activity, evidence of teaching, two assigned papers, and an oral exam. The two papers are administered as a take-home exam with one week for completion of each paper. The procedure is described in a separate document. The papers can be written during any semester. They must be scored as passing before the oral exam can be conducted. The oral exam must be scheduled during fall or spring semesters.

Dissertation Requirements

After working with the academic advisor on developing a dissertation proposal, the student meets with the doctoral program committee to obtain approval of the written dissertation proposal. This happens before data collection begins. After the project is completed, the student submits a written dissertation and defends the dissertation to the doctoral program committee. The defense can occur only when MU is officially in session.

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Applicants are required to meet two sets of minimum qualifications for admission: the requirements of the PhD in Educational, School & Counseling Psychology program and the minimum requirements of the Graduate School. Apply online by submitting the following documents using the MU Graduate School application form by January 15th for the next Fall cohort.

  1. The three letters of recommendation
  2. Curriculum Vita
  3. Official academic transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work
    1. Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 from an accredited institution in psychology, education, or a related major.
  4. Statement of purpose addressing the following:
    1. Describe experiences teaching, designing instruction, and engaging in research and how these experiences have prepared you for graduate study. (500 word maximum)
    2. Describe (1) your research interests that you hope to pursue in graduate school (2) how these interests match those of specific faculty (3) your career objectives, and (4) how being accepted into MU’s program will benefit your career aspirations. (Please limit to 500 words)
  5. Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for tests taken within the last 5 years should have a combined Verbal and Quantitative score of 305.
  6. TOEFL for international students (preferred score of 580 for paper test, 92 iBT, IELTS 6.5 or higher)

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