PhD in Learning, Teaching and Curriculum with Emphasis in Social Studies Education

The Ph.D. in Social Studies Education at the University of Missouri provides increased opportunities for its graduates to assume leadership roles in a variety of academic, knowledge-driven, and/or governmental and politically-based institutions and organizations. The core of the Ph.D. experience lies in scholarship and in the process by which graduate students transition from being knowledge-consumers to knowledge-producers. Hence, the doctoral experience involves a journey of personal growth and development, which leads the graduate student towards a deeper sense of the self and towards crafting a personal agenda for scholarship in the social studies field.

The Culture of the Social Studies Education Doctoral Program

Unique among graduate programs, the social studies doctoral students and faculty form a community of learners and employ democratic practices to shape the direction of the community, its scholarship, and future coursework. As a result, in dialogue with faculty members, doctoral students help co-direct the structure of their Ph.D. experience. This occurs in two ways. First, doctoral students have flexibility in much of the design of their own coursework, research endeavors, and scholarship. Second, in community with the other doctoral students and faculty members, doctoral students vote on coursework requirements, expectations for the program, and program goals.

An important aspect of forming this community of learners involves identifying and clarifying the academic and research interests of its members. As a result, the current doctoral students have established four research clusters, or areas that describe their often overlapping research interests in the social studies education field. At this time, these clusters include the following:

  • Social Studies Teacher Education for Social Justice: addressing issues of citizenship, diversity, and social justice in teacher education.
  • Multicultural and Global Education: Preparing teachers and students to address local, national, and global concerns of culture, environment, and the socio- and geopolitical landscape in education.
  • Social Studies Curriculum and Instruction: Confronting persistent issues in social studies curriculum and teaching, including official and master narratives, teaching methodologies, assessment, technology, and student engagement in the classroom.
  • Educational Policy and Politics Affecting Social Studies Teaching: Investigating the power structures, political dynamic, curriculum control, and educational policy and system structure influence social studies education and teaching.

These research clusters not only clarify and support doctoral students in team-oriented scholarship, but also inform social studies faculty on which courses to offer and what kinds of research opportunities to promote. Research clusters are reviewed and revised on a yearly basis. Because admission into the doctoral program also includes membership into our community of learners, we recommend that individuals interested in applying for the Social Studies Education doctoral program at the University of Missouri demonstrate research interests that align with one or more of these research clusters.

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Degree Requirements

In order to receive a PhD, you must complete a minimum of 72 hours of coursework beyond a bachelor’s degree. This coursework includes a minimum of 12 hours of social studies core courses, a minimum of 9 hours of research method courses and your dissertation.


Applicants are required to meet two sets of minimum qualifications for admission: the requirements of the PhD in Learning, Teaching and Curriculum and the minimum requirements of the Graduate School. Because requirements vary, you must refer to a degree program's graduate admission page to learn about specific admission criteria, application deadlines, eligibility and application process. Your application materials will be reviewed by both the Graduate School and the degree program to which you’ve applied before official admission to the University of Missouri.

The LTC graduate program cannot assure admission to all applicants who meet minimum standards specified for the degree program. Resource constraints do not permit the admission of all qualified applicants.
A committee of faculty reviews the credentials of each applicant. It is the responsibility of this committee to exercise professional judgment related to the criteria that applicants must meet in order to be considered for admission to the program.

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