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The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences:
PhD in Education

The PhD in Education is a research-focused program that produces outstanding professionals who can address the nation’s most pressing challenges in the field of education. Specializations in a variety of established and newly emerging fields and a general program are available. For those educators whose particular learning interests are not met by one of the specializations or whose interests are interdisciplinary, The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Services also offers a self-designed specialization to meet their unique needs.

The PhD in Education learning outcomes will be demonstrated through numerous direct and indirect measures in each of the PhD specializations.

Note on Teacher Licensure or Certification

This program does not lead to teacher licensure or certification. Teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this program, the education professional will be able to:

  1. Synthesize content knowledge grounded in a specific educational discipline.
  2. Critically analyze education-related issues.
  3. Align research methodologies to questions and hypotheses addressing problems in the discipline of education.
  4. Communicate ideas to a variety of audiences related to the profession using oral and written scholarly formats.
  5. Practice ethically as a scholar in the field of education.
  6. Integrate a focus on global diversity and multiculturalism into solving problems in education.
  7. Evaluate the role of education in advancing social justice and positive social change.

Degree Requirements

  • Professional Development Plan and Program of Study
  • Foundation course (5 credits)
  • Core course (5 credits)
  • Specialization courses (30 credits)
  • Doctoral support courses (6 credits)
  • Research courses (20 credits)
  • Completion of the Doctoral Capstone
    • Doctoral Dissertation course
  • Four PhD residencies


These courses are dependent upon the particular specialization. Please see the course list on each specialization page.

Foundation Course (5 credits)

  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.


  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.

Core Research Sequence (15 credits)

Courses composing the core research sequence are conducted online and require weekly readings, participation in discussions, and assignment completion. Course instructors guide discussions and evaluate discussion and application assignments. RSCH 8100 OR RSCH 8110 must be completed prior to Residency 2 of the academic residencies. RSCH 8200 - Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis OR RSCH 8210 and  RSCH 8300 OR RSCH 8310 must be completed prior to beginning the dissertation or attending Residency 3.


  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.


  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.


  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.

Advanced Research Course (5 credits)

Those enrolled in this specialization are required to complete an advanced research course. The university offers three advanced research courses: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods. When the prospectus is approved, students will take the advanced research course selected as the methodology approved for the dissertation.
Students are required to complete one of the following courses:

Specialization Courses

Changing specializations may increase a student’s expected time-to-degree completion and cost.

Residency Requirements

Doctoral Support Courses (6 credits)

Completion of the Doctoral Capstone (5 credits per term for a minimum of four terms = 20 credits)

Master of Philosophy (Embedded Degree)

Walden awards the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree to recognize PhD students for academic achievement leading up to their dissertation. With an MPhil, students will be able to demonstrate to employers and others that they have an advanced knowledge base in their field of study as well as proficiency in research design and evaluation.

  • Students are eligible to apply for this credential while continuing their PhD program once they have completed:
    • All required PhD core courses (or KAMs)
    • All required PhD specialization courses (or KAMs)
    • All required doctoral research and advanced research courses
    • Program prospectus development course
    • Residencies 1, 2, and 3
  • A minimum 3.0 GPA is mandatory.
  • The MPhil requires a minimum of 45 quarter credits. Maximum transfer of credit varies by program but is not to exceed 50% of the overall, or embedded, program requirements.

Doctoral Writing Assessment

Students who start or readmit to doctoral programs at Walden University in the university catalog for academic year 2017 or later will complete the university’s required doctoral writing assessment. Designed to evaluate incoming doctoral students’ writing skills, this assessment aims to help prepare incoming doctoral students to meet the university’s expectations for writing at the doctoral level.

8-Year Maximum Time Frame

In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation/doctoral study course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation/doctoral study course shell.

Students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral degree requirements (see Enrollment Requirements in the student handbook). Students may petition to extend the 8-year maximum time frame, but an extension is not guaranteed.