Student Manual: Doctor of Philosophy in Education (Ph.D.) Program Policies


Requirements for the Doctorate in Education involve coursework, comprehensive exams (written and oral), academic research and training (research apprenticeship and teaching fellowships), and thesis (proposal and defense). The manner in which an individual candidate fulfills these requirements must be approved by the student advisor, the Office of Diploma and Doctorate Programs. Steering committee. PhD applicants should read this section carefully and consult with their advisor (s) and program staff with any questions that may arise. They should also read the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) student manual and the doctorate. Student guide, available on the program website, for additional help in planning and carrying out their graduate studies.

Courses and residency

All students must complete at least 64 credits for the doctorate. degree, with at least half of their total credits at HGSE. Students who have obtained an Ed.M. or CAS within three years of enrollment in the doctorate. Students can receive doctoral credits up to 16 credits completed during their Ed.M. or CAS course. Credit transfer from other institutions is not accepted.

Annual review of academic progress

HGSE requires all doctoral students. students maintain academic standards and graduate in seven years. doctorate students’ academic progress will be reviewed by the doctorate. Steering committee on an annual basis at the end of each academic year. In addition, the doctorate. The steering committee will conduct a mid-year academic review of the students with the fall semester guidelines established by the doctorate. Steering committee. At the end of the spring semester, each student will be required to submit a written statement of their progress, academic achievements, and plans for the coming year.

Students who fail to meet the first relevant benchmarks or who demonstrate difficulty meeting the academic and program standards of conduct – including the Harvard Community Standards of Conduct described in this manual – will be notified of faculty concerns regarding their progress. The purpose of this notification is to provide early warning and intervention for students who may be having difficulty in the program. doctoral students receiving federal financial aid should refer to the Financial Aid Section of the GSAS manual for further satisfactory progress policies.

A student who is having academic difficulties will receive a letter from the program faculty director explaining the reasons for the committee’s concerns and specifying a probationary period during which the student should work with their advisor to return to a good academic level. The student will have to report to the director of the faculty on his progress within the time limit specified in his letter. If there is not sufficient evidence of adequate performance, or if there are serious concerns regarding a student’s conduct, behavior, or ability to succeed, the steering committee may vote to terminate to the student’s candidacy for the diploma.

Satisfactory performance criteria used in these exams are: Satisfactory performance and completion of required courses, number of years in the program, results of comprehensive exams, timely progress to all doctorates. program milestones and adherence to the Harvard community standards of conduct described in this manual. doctoral students must maintain at least a B + average in their courses. (See HGSE Scoring System section of this manual for an explanation of the scoring system and how averages are calculated.)

Earn an Ed.M. or AM

Applicants for the Doctorate of Education can apply 32 credits from their doctoral program towards a Masters of Education, or Ed.M., a degree from HGSE or an AM-in-passing from GSAS. doctorate Education students can only apply for a master’s degree after having obtained at least 64 credits since enrolling in the doctorate. program. Students should review the program requirements and consult the Ed.M. Program Director or Co-Chair for further study options. Some Ed.M. programs may require specific and non-negotiable requirements. Although some Ph.D. requirements overlap with Ed.M. program requirements and course substitutions may be permitted, it is ultimately at the discretion of the program director or co-chair to approve a doctorate. in the education student’s request to participate / graduate from Ed.M. program using completed courses for the doctorate.

Those who wish to receive the Ed.M. must submit a degree application to the HGSE Registrar’s Office; the diploma is not issued automatically. Those who wish to receive the AM-in-passing must file with the GSAS Registrar’s Office. Students must have an average of B + to obtain the master’s degree. Questions concerning the Ed.M. can be directed to the HGSE Registrar and / or the Diploma Programs Office.

Full exams

Written and oral exams for the doctorate. in education focus on the breadth and depth of students’ knowledge and reasoning. They are administered with three objectives in mind:

  1. Ensure the competence of each candidate in the broad theoretical, empirical and methodological fields that make up the interdisciplinary field of education, as well as their particular concentration of study
  2. Ensure the mastery by each candidate of the discipline or field of study of their choice within education, and assess their ability to design, develop and implement an original research project that contributes to knowledge in this field
  3. Engage each candidate in a critical and constructive review of their work taking into account how their specific research agenda advances educational research, policy and / or practice

The written exam, administered during the summer following the second year of the doctorate. study, is designed to meet the first objective. The oral exam, administered in the third year of the doctorate. study, is designed to achieve the second and third objectives. Students must pass the written exam in order to take the oral exam.

Thesis proposal, thesis and thesis defense

Once a doctoral student has completed all required comprehensive courses and exams, the next step in degree progression is to formulate the independent research that provides a basis for the dissertation. Most doctoral students will pass their thesis proposal (“DP”) and start writing their thesis during their fourth or fifth year of study. All doctoral students Education students must have an approved diploma by the end of their fourth year of study.

The formal process of this doctoral research, described in detail in the doctorate. Student guide (available on the program website), begins with a thesis proposal approved by the committee, before or after the official meeting of the thesis committee (DCM) with the committee appointed by the student. Once the DP and the DCM are completed, the students begin the work of generating the thesis. Once the thesis has been read by all committee members and deemed acceptable by the president, the student commits to the thesis defense. After the defense, the student performs final revisions and then submits the thesis electronically for inclusion in a public database accessible to academics and practitioners worldwide.

University research and training

In addition to courses and comprehensive exams, all doctorates. Education students have the opportunity to engage in research and academic training during their time at Harvard. In addition to conducting independent research that culminates in a thesis, the program requires students to attend seminars, participate in research apprenticeships, and serve as fellows (minimum of four “slots” at HGSE). For more information on the specific requirements of researchers and teacher-researchers, please consult the doctorate. Student guide, available on the program website.


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