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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)

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:

ELHE 7101   Higher Education in American Society
ELHE 7301   Organization and Administration in Higher Education
ELHE 9501
  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.)

ELHE 7103
  Education Law and Public Policy
ELHE 7201   Philosophy of Education
ELHE 7404   College Student Development Theory
ELHE 7202   Comparative Higher Education
EDUC 9803   History of Higher Education

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:

ERME 7469   Intermediate Statistics
ERME 7460   Interpretation and Evaluation of Research
ASPY 8851   Design of Qualitative Research

In addition, students with little or no background in quantitative methods must take the following course before ERME 7469 (beyond the 54 minimum credits for graduation):

ERME 7468   Introductory Statistics


ELHE 9502 -  Doctoral Research Seminar in K-16 Administration

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 (ELHE 9988)

After completing their coursework, comprehensive exams, and qualifying paper, students must register for ELHE 9988 Doctoral Dissertation for at least two semesters. (NOTE: For financial aid purposes, students taking ELHE 9988 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 ELHE 9911 Doctoral Continuation which has reduced tuition charges. (NOTE: For financial aid purposes, students registered for ELHE 9911 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.

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:

ELHE 7602   Issues in higher education (topical course offered on rotating basis)
ELHE 7401   Student Affairs Administration
ELHE 7607   Seminar in Law and Higher Education
ELHE 7604   Community and Junior College
ELHE 7303   Financial Management in Higher Education
ELHE 7606   Diversity in Higher Education
ELHE 7504   Religion and Higher Education
ELHE 7608
  Gender and Higher Education
ELHE 7302   Organizational Decision-Making in Higher Education

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.)

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

EDUC 7435   Social Contexts of Education
ELHE 7403
  Principles and Techniques of Counseling for Higher Education and Community Settings
ELHE 7704   Ethics and Equity in Education
ERME 8667
  General Linear Models
ERME 7466   Program Evaluation I
MGMT 7709   Managing People and Organizations
MKTG 7700   Marketing
APSY 7617   Learning and Cognition
APSY 7518
  Issues in Life Span Development
APSY 7448   Career Development
APSY 9864   Advanced Qualitative Research
APSY 7528   Multicultural Issues
APSY 8462
  Psychology of Trauma
APSY 7617   Learning and Cognition
APSY 7740   Topics in the Psychology of Women
SOCY 5568   Sociology of Education
SOCY 5597   Contemporary Race Theory
SOCY 7703   Multivariate Statistics