Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Educational Studies

grad studentsThe Ph.D. program is designed to extend knowledge and develop skills for independent scholarly work and research in education. Progress toward attainment of those goals is demonstrated through coursework, by the caliber of the work completed in the qualifying examinations and, ultimately, by the production of a dissertation. In conjunction with the Department of French and Italian, the Division also offers a joint Ph.D. program in French and Educational Studies. Requirements are the same as those of the Ph.D. in Educational Studies, with second language acquisition as the area of concentration.

Course Requirements

Ph.D. students complete professional seminars, colloquia, and coursework in foundation courses drawn from four context areas (Historical, Philosophical/Psychological, Social/ Political, and Cultural), research methodology, and their area of specialization. In addition, they complete internships in teaching, research, and curriculum, as well as dissertation research. Each semester, full-time students are assigned activities designed to extend their experiences to include a wide variety of the activities and responsibilities common to the profession. These may include teaching and assisting in faculty research projects. Although not required, doctoral students may also pursue an internship in the supervision of student teachers.

General Doctoral Examination

The General Doctoral Examination is comprised of an Empirical Study, an opportunity to integrate knowledge and skills acquired in coursework and to bring these to bear in analyzing specific educational problems and completing a doctoral dissertation. The faculty expects that Empirical Study will be of publishable quality. Students are urged to make presentations at national conferences and to submit the work to scholarly journals for publication.


The Laney Graduate School provides all doctoral students a systematic introduction to college teaching through its Teaching Assistant and Teacher Training Opportunity (TATTO) program. TATTO offers a three and one-half day summer course in pedagogical techniques, a semester as teaching assistant to a regular faculty member in a course within the student's area of study, and full responsibility for teaching an undergraduate course in the student's area of study under the supervision of a faculty member. Ph.D. students in the joint French and Educational Studies program teach French for four semesters in the French Department at the same time that they are enrolled in courses in both departments.

Doctoral Dissertation

Having successfully completed all required coursework and the General Doctoral Examination, students are expected to develop a dissertation proposal with the advice and consent of the research advisor and dissertation committee, and then to pursue the research and writing required. The dissertation serves as a demonstration of a student's potential for productive scholarship and promise as an authority in a special subject.

Extracurricular Aspects

The Division provides financial support and encouragement for maintaining an ongoing informal organization of Ph.D. students. The purpose is twofold: (1) to help students become acquainted with one another and with the faculty and (2) for advanced students to provide guidance and support to those who are in the initial stages of the program. Advanced students organize informal gatherings to welcome incoming students and orient them to the nature and expectations of the Division and of the program.

Professional Development Support Funds

DES doctoral students regularly attend conferences to present their work, join special workshops, or profit from other training opportunities. The Laney Graduate School offers funds to support professional development in three categories: conference travel, supplementary training, and research. For conference travel, students can apply for $650 per year until a ceiling of $2,500 is reached; for supplementary training and research, they can apply for and receive up to $2,500 in each of the corresponding categories, as long as their advisor and Director of Graduate Study support the proposed activities. They can also apply for larger sums to support supplementary training and research, at which time their application goes into a pool that is reviewed by a faculty committee that awards the funds according to merit.

The size of the doctoral program enables close faculty mentorship and socialization from faculty and graduate student colleagues. 

Correspondence and Information

Dr. Glen Avant, the nicest person in the DES Dr. Glen Avant
Program Development
Division of Educational Studies
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322
Telephone: 404-727-0612
Fax: 404-727-2799

Follow this link to the Graduate School Admissions page for information about applying to Emory University's graduate program.