Comparing PhD Programs
Choosing the right PhD program in education should involve comparing characteristics of PhD programs. Some characteristics to think about are:
Doctoral programs in education can focus from leadership, technology, psychology and various levels of education such as higher, secondary and elementary. Choose the appropriate curriculum depending upon your career goals and intentions with the degree.
Nowadays, doctoral programs have a variety of delivery methods for coursework. Many doctoral programs allow students to attend classes on main or satellite campuses in the day, night or weekends. Most doctoral programs take into account that students often work full-time and may need to complete classes online or through limited campus visitation. Look for programs that have a mixture of online and offline methods of coursework. It is important to have the option to complete coursework online but at the same time have the option to receive advice from a professor or mentor when necessary.
When looking at schools contact the department chairperson and ask to discuss the program requirements. Doctoral program requirements include coursework (core and specialization), comprehensive exam, dissertation proposal and defense. Ask about coursework choices and required timeframe for students to finish. Also, discuss the expectations for the types of dissertations that students complete at the school.
Reputation and Career Placement
Choose schools that have a long-standing and solid reputation in offering the doctoral program. Schools with established programs often have more financial assistance in the form of scholarships, research grant and stipends for doctoral students. Financial support becomes important in the later stages such as studying for comp exams, preparing for a dissertation defense and writing the dissertation. In addition, graduating from an established program gives a student instant credibility and career opportunities in the field. Post doctoral and junior research positions are often rewarded to students from known programs.
Finally, consider the cost of doctoral study. Costs during the coursework stages include tuition, fees, textbooks, supplies and computers each semester attending. There are other associated fees for taking courses online that should also be considered. Upon finishing coursework, keep in mind that matriculation and related fees must be paid to remain as an active student during the researching and writing stages.