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Lynch School of Education


doctoral program

The doctoral curriculum is organized into four levels of study. Please consult the following material and doctoral curriculum diagram for precise course numbers and titles. Students choose a program of study in consultation with their academic advisor. These include:

Level 1:   Core: courses in Higher Education and American Society, organizational theory, and doctoral symposium (9 credits)
Level 2:   Foundations: foundational studies in higher education consisting of 3 courses (9 credits) chosen from among 5 choices
Level 3:   Methods: 3-4 courses in quantitative and qualitative methods required by the School of Education (9-12 credits)

1 Doctoral Research Seminar (3 credits)

2 Doctoral Dissertation Direction (a minimum of 2 semesters, 6 credits) OR 1 Dissertation Direction (3 credits) and 1 Dissertation Seminar (3 credits)

Level 4:   6 specialized elective courses in higher education and related studies (18 credits)

Click here to view a diagram of the program requirements.

Level 1: Core

Since the field of higher education is multidisciplinary, it is critical that all students share a common foundation of studies. Thus, all graduate students in the Higher Education Program are required to take the following courses taught by the core program faculty:

ED 770   Higher Education in American Society (core faculty)
ED 771   Organization and Administration in Higher Education (Youn)
ED 828   Doctoral Proseminar in K-16 Administration

Level 2: Foundational Studies in Higher Education

Students may choose from among a set of courses that cover higher education from the perspective of different foundational disciplines: organizational sociology, law and policy, psychology, comparative studies, history, and philosophy. In consultation with their advisors, students must choose 3 of the following 5 courses to fulfill this requirement. (Additional courses from the list may be taken as electives.)

ED 705   Law and Public Policy (Pullin)
ED 706   Philosophy of Education (Martinez)
ED 778   Student Development Theory (Arnold)
ED 779   Comparative Higher Education (Altbach)
ED 803   History of Higher Education (Department)

Level 3: Methodology Requirements and Dissertation

To ensure that all doctoral students have the skills necessary to design and conduct research for the dissertation, all doctoral students in the School of Education are required to take the following methodological courses:

ED 469   Statistics II (Intermediate)
ED 829   Research Design
ED 851 or   Qualitative Methods
SC 710    

In addition, students with little or no background in quantitative methods must take the following course before ED 469 (beyond the 54 minimum credits for graduation):

ED 468   Statistics I

Doctoral Research Seminar in K-16 Administration (ED 973)

The Seminar in Research and K-16 Administration is an advanced doctoral course that combines readings and activities related to the conduct of social science inquiry and individual student research related to upcoming dissertation work. The goal of the seminar will be to aid students in completing the first steps in their dissertation process: a literature review in their field of specialization, the qualifying paper required for Ph.D. candidacy, research question development, and the dissertation proposal intent. Class members will read and discuss issues related to research process and methodology. (Students whose research interests lie outside the instructor’s field will work closely with her to define their project and involve as readers other faculty as appropriate.) As advanced students and adult learners, students will be responsible for developing and carrying out a seminar contract specific to their individual research goals.

Doctoral Dissertation Direction (ED 988)

After completing their coursework, comprehensive exams, and qualifying paper, students must register for ED 988 Doctoral Dissertation for at least two semesters. (NOTE: For financial aid purposes, students taking ED988 are considered full-time students even though only registered for 3 credits.) Students work directly with a faculty member (ideally the dissertation director) to develop their dissertation topic, and to complete their Intent and Proposal. Students may continue registering for Dissertation Direction until they complete their dissertation. However, after 2 semesters they may register for ED 999 Doctoral Continuation which has reduced tuition charges. (NOTE: For financial aid purposes, students registered for ED 999 are still considered full-time students.) Whichever course s/he chooses, the student must continue to register every semester until the dissertation is completed, defended, and accepted by Boston College. Students may choose to take the dissertation seminar, ED 982, in place of one 3-credit dissertation direction.

Level 4: Specialized Electives in Higher Education and Related Studies

To complement the core studies and design an individualized program, doctoral students may also take 6-8 elective courses with a substantive focus in higher education or related studies. Generally, these electives are selected from the following specialized courses taught by core and adjunct faculty in the higher education program:

ED 708   Issues in higher education (topical course offered on rotating basis)
ED 772   Student Affairs Administration (Arnold, Duffy)
ED 773   College Teaching and Learning (Martinez)
ED 774   Community and Junior College (Warner)
ED 807   The Academic Profession (Altbach)
ED 867   Diversity and Education (Martinez)
ED 868   Religion and Higher Education (Department)
ED 873   The Undergraduate Curriculum (Youn)
ED 874   Organizational Decision-Making in Higher Education (Youn)
ED 876   Financial Management in Higher Education (Campanella)
ED 878   Seminar in Higher Education Law (Pullin)
ED 879   Gender Issues in Higher Education (Martinez, Arnold)

Electives may also be taken outside of the Higher Education Program. With their faculty advisor's approval, students may also select electives from the human development, counseling, curriculum and instruction, or evaluation programs in the School of Education, the Sociology Department, the School of Management, or elsewhere at Boston College. In addition, electives may be taken at one of The Consortium institutions (Brandeis, B.U., or Tufts). It is also possible for students to conduct an Independent Study to pursue their own area of interest. (With special permission, up to 2 courses can be transferred from another university.) Doctoral students who lack sufficient administrative experience in higher education or those who would like to broaden their experience can opt to take a supervised internship for one semester. Interns will register for ED 975 and will be required to work 8-10 hours per week at a postsecondary institution or agency and to attend a biweekly seminar and complete assignments such as a journal of their experiences. Many program alumni have been able to secure jobs in specific fields and make career transitions in large part due to their internship experiences. With rare exceptions, internships are unpaid.

Among the electives offered outside of the higher education area are the following:

ED 433   Principles and Techniques of Counseling for Higher Education and Community Settings
ED 435   Social Contexts of Education
ED 466   Models in Curriculum and Program Evaluation
ED 619   Ethics and Equity in Education
ED 720   Curriculum Theory and Philosophy
MB 709   Organizational Behavior
MB 802   Management of Organizational Change
MK 705   Marketing
PY 414   Learning Theory and Cognition
PY 417   Adult Psychology
PY 448   Career Development
PY 518   Issues in Life Span Development
PY 528   Multicultural Issues
PY 529   Psychology of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
PY 617   Learning and Cognition
PY 740   Psychology of Women
SC 568   Sociology of Education
SC 735   Feminist Theory