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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Educational Theory and Policy (EDTHP)

Program Home Page (Opens New Window)

DANA MITRA, Director of Graduate Studies
302A Rackley Building
814-863-7020
EDTHP@psu.edu

 

Degrees Conferred:

Ph.D., M.A.

 

The Graduate Faculty

 

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements listed here are in addition to requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin. Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission.

Scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) are required for admission. The best-qualified applicants will be accepted up to the number of spaces that are available for new students. Students with a 2.75 grade-point average will be considered for admission to the master's program, and with a 3.00 grade-point average at the master's level for the Ph.D. program. Exceptions to the minimum grade-point average may be made for students with special backgrounds, abilities, and interests, at the discretion of the program.

Master's Degree Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements stated in the DEGREE REQUIREMENTS section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Candidates who seek an M.A. in Educational Theory and Policy shall complete programs that will include studies in social theory, policy, and planning or in the social sciences or humanities.

A minimum of 36 credits is required, with at least 18 credits in the 500 and 600 series combined, and a minimum of 6 credits of thesis research (600 or 610).There are 12 credits required in the following core courses: EDTHP 500 (3 cr.), and 9 credits of Research Methods, consisting of EDTHP 585 (3 cr.), EDPSY 406 or another approved statistics course, and EDTHP 586. The remaining elective credits may be chosen from a list of approved electives maintained by the program office. Only 3 credits of EDTHP 596 (Independent Study) may be counted toward the M.A.

A thesis is required. The thesis must be accepted by the advisers and/or committee members, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements stated in the DEGREE REQUIREMENTS section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Candidates who seek a Ph.D. in Educational Theory and Policy shall complete programs that will include studies in social theory, policy, and planning, or in the social sciences or humanities.

A minimum of 57 credits is required:

  • EDTHP 500 (3 cr.)
  • Research Methods (12 cr.): EDTHP 585 (3 cr.), EDTHP 586 (3 cr.), and 6 additional credits approved by the program to fulfill this requirement.
  • Theory Foundations (9 cr.): a minimum of 9 credits in 500-level EDTHP courses approved by the program to fulfill this requirement.
  • Policy Foundations (9 cr.): EDTHP 587 (3 cr.), and 6 additional credits approved by the program to fulfill this requirement.
  • Focused Program of Study (9 cr.): a minimum of 9 credits chosen in consultation with the adviser to prepare students for dissertation research. Students will need to explain how the three chosen courses will have prepared them for their dissertation research. This justification will become a part of the candidacy materials routed to all EDTHP faculty for approval. The course work must have a unifying theme. It does not have to be taken in the EDTHP program.

Electives (15 cr.): the remaining elective credits may be chosen from a list of approved electives maintained by the program office.

Doctoral students must pass a candidacy examination, a comprehensive written and oral examination, and a final oral examination (the dissertation defense). To earn the Ph.D. degree, doctoral students must also write a dissertation that is accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Dual-Title Ph.D. and M.A. in Comparative and International Education

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Educational Theory and Policy and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Comparative and International Education dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Comparative and International Education Bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Comparative and International Education prior to obtaining candidacy in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the degree they are enrolled in Educational Theory and Policy, listed above. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Comparative and International Education, listed on the Comparative and International Education Bulletin page. Some courses may satisfy both Educational Theory and Policy and Comparative and International Education degree requirements. Final course selection must be approved by the student's doctoral committee.

The candidacy examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Educational Theory and Policy and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Comparative and International Education program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single candidacy examination, containing elements of both Educational Theory and Policy and Comparative and International Education. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the candidacy examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for doctoral committees, the doctoral committee of an Educational Theory and Policy and Comparative and International Education dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the Comparative and International Education Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the doctoral committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Comparative and International Education, the member of the committee representing Comparative and International Education must be appointed as co-chair. The Comparative and International Education representative on the student’s doctoral committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their doctoral committee and reflects their original research and education in Educational Theory and Policy and Comparative and International Education. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Joint Degree Program between Penn State Law (J.D.) and the Educational Theory and Policy Program (M.A., & Ph.D.)

Penn State Law (PSL) and the Educational Theory and Policy (EDTHP) Program offer a joint degree program leading to a Juris Doctor (J.D.); and either a Master of Arts (M.A.) or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Theory and Policy.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the joint degree program must apply and be admitted first to Penn State Law, and subsequently to the Educational Theory and Policy graduate program. Admissions requirements and applications for admission for Penn State Law are listed in the J.D. Admissions section of the Penn State Law website. The admission requirements for the Educational Theory and Policy graduate program are listed above. When applying to the Educational Theory and Policy graduate program, applicants must include two letters of recommendation from Penn State Law faculty members and a career statement. Applicants to the joint degree program may submit LSAT scores instead of GRE scores. Students must be admitted to the program prior to taking the first course they intend to count towards the graduate degree.

Residency

Students will normally spend four semesters in residence at PSL and as many additional semesters in residence as needed to complete the additional requirements for the pertinent EDTHP degree. Ph.D. candidates must arrange the sequence of semesters to ensure that they are in residence as full-time students in the EDTHP program for at least two consecutive semesters (Fall-Spring or Spring-Fall) excluding summer in a single twelve-month period.

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the J.D. program are listed on the Penn State Law website. Degree requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees are listed in the Master’s Degree and Doctoral Degree Requirements section above.

PSL: A maximum of twelve credits for EDTHP course work may be double-counted for credit toward the J.D. degree at PSL. Students must obtain a grade satisfactory to PSL for the course work to be credited toward the J.D. degree. The following EDTHP courses may qualify for credit in PSL: (1) EDTHP 518 (Analysis of U.S. Educational Policy); EDTHP 520 (Theoretical Perspectives on School Reform); (3) EDTHP 533 (Social History and Educational Policy); (4) EDTHP 541 (Contemporary Philosophies of Education); and (5) EDTHP 587 (Education Policy and Politics).

EDTHP: The courses that may be double-counted will be determined by the student's degree program. Normally a maximum of twelve credits of PSL course work will be double-counted for credit for the minimum requirements for a master's or doctoral degree, subject to approval by the student's advisory committee.

Sequence: The sequence of courses will be determined by the students and their advisers.

Recommended Program of Study and Advising: All students in the program will have two advisers, one from PSL and one from EDTHP. Periodic interaction between the two advisors is encouraged.

Tuition: Students will be charged the applicable PSL tuition to cover the J.D. program and the applicable graduate tuition to cover the EDTHP degree program. PSL tuition will be paid for the semesters in which the student is registered for PSL courses, and graduate tuition will be paid for the semesters in which the student is registered for graduate courses. A student may take up to one course (3 credit hours) per semester in the program where the student is not primarily registered without any change in tuition, but must pay additional tuition to the program that the student is not primarily registered if he or she wishes to take additional course work pursuant to that program during the semester.

Financial Aid and Assistantships: Decisions on financial aid and assistantships will be made by each school according to that school's procedures.

Fulfillment of Degree Requirements and Graduation: All courses in one program that will count toward meeting the requirements of the other program must be completed before the awarding of either degree. If students accepted into the joint degree program are unable to complete the J.D. degree, they are still eligible to receive the EDTHP degree if all EDTHP degree requirements have been satisfied.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to doctoral students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the STUDENT AID section of the Graduate Bulletin. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set forth in the Graduate Bulletin.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM (EDLDR) course list

EDUCATIONAL THEORY AND POLICY (EDTHP) course list

HIGHER EDUCATION (HI ED) course list

 

DATE LAST REVIEWED BY GRADUATE SCHOOL: 04/12/04

Last Revised by the Department: Spring Semester 2017

Blue Sheet Item #: 45-06-000

Review Date: 4/4/17

Faculty linked: 6/9/14

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