Educational Psychology - Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.)


Are you interested in adolescent development? Language and cognition? Motivation and learning? Partnerships between schools, families and communities? Our Ph.D. in Educational Psychology focuses on learning theory, human development, and research design and methodology. You'll work with your faculty advisor to design a program that meets your interest. You'll also collaborate with a professor to conduct original research and, for your dissertation, you'll design and carry out your own research under the guidance of your committee. Our program requires a minimum of 63 hours beyond the master's degree. You can include a maximum of 30 semester hours from a master's degree

You must hold a master's degree, and we expect you to have taken coursework in learning theory, theory of development, research methods, basic statistics and foundations of education. If you successfully completed the doctoral track of our M.S.Ed. in Educational Psychology, you've fulfilled that requirement. You'll also need to submit:

  • Your test scores (GRE or MAT)
  • Three letters of recommendation from knowledgeable professors, employers or supervisors
  • A three- to four-page essay that describes your career goals and interests in educational psychology, the origins of those interests and how our program would advance your goals

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During your program of study, you will:

  • Set and attain individual goals for professional growth and development
  • Demonstrate knowledge of research methodologies
  • Demonstrate knowledge of theory and expertise in a domain within educational psychology
  • Demonstrate effective communication and presentation skills, both oral and written
  • Demonstrate knowledge and application of ethical standards
  • Demonstrate evidence of successful internship experience
  • Design, conduct and analyze an original research study in educational psychology using current technologies

Our students have opportunities for assistantships, both working on research projects funded by federal and private agencies and teaching college-level courses with assistance from faculty mentors. Financial support is available on a competitive basis.

Our degrees open professional doors. Recent graduates of our program hold faculty and research positions at colleges and universities throughout the country; serve as educational consultants and grant writers; and work in school districts as evaluators, teachers and administrators.

Our mission is to prepare you to become a leader in your chosen profession through programs of study grounded in engaged learning experiences. As you develop original and creative thinking and research in the areas of human development, learning and motivation, you can connect this knowledge with sociocultural, historical and philosophical foundations of education, instructional technology, special education, teacher education and more. Our award-winning teachers and scholars bring core expertise in areas including adolescence, parenting, language development and cross-cultural research. You can enroll parttime or full-time; all courses are offered evenings or weekends

Coursework in an area of interest related to the major chosen in consultation with advisor. At least one course must be in the major (18).

  • ETR 522 Educational Statistics II (3)
  • EPS 524 Ethnographies in Human Development and Learning within Educational Settings (3)
  • EPS 701 Professional Practices in Educational Psychology (3)
  • EPS 713 Advanced Educational Psychology (3)
  • EPS 723 Design of Research on Human Development and Learning in Educational Settings (3)
  • EPS 786 Internship (1-12)
    • Your research is chosen in consultation with your advisor. You must take six semester hours in this course in two consecutive semesters.
  • EPS 799 Doctoral Research and Dissertation (1-15)
    • You must take 12 semester hours in this course

One from these courses (3)

  • EPS 705 Advanced Seminar in Child Development (3)
  • EPS 708 Advanced Research Seminar in Adolescent Development (3)
  • EPS 710 Seminar in Lifespan Human Development (3)

Two from these courses (6)

  • EPS 706 Research on Human Development in Educational Settings (3)
  • ETR 526 Advanced Technologies in Qualitative Research (3)
  • ETR 562 Applied Categorical Data Analysis (3)
  • ETR 720 Advanced Research Methods in Education (3)
  • ETR 722 Methods of Multivariate Analysis (3)
  • ETR 735 Theory of Measurement (3)
  • EPS 739 Fieldwork Methods in Educational Research (3)
  • EPS 745X Interpretive Methods in Educational Research (3)

One from these courses (3)

  • EPFE 712 Ethics and Education (3)
  • EPFE 715 Foundations of Educational Policy (3)
  • EPFE 721 Seminar in American Educational Thought (3)
Mary Margaret Sharp-Pucci

"A degree in education opens the door to a meaningful career, and my degrees from NIU gave me a foundation of skills from which to build. It was up to me to decide how I wanted to apply those skills, but NIU gave me the fundamentals. I applied my degrees in a number of ways, including research, administration and operations, and now, near the close of my career, I have come back full-circle to university teaching. I could not have envisioned a better path."by Mary Margaret Sharp-Pucci, B.S.Ed. Physical Education 1977;Ed.D. Educational Psychology 1991; Director and Assistant Professor, Health Systems Management, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University Chicago