Students in class. The word "investigate" is spelled out on the wall

Science Education: Ph.D. - Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Graduates of the Ph.D. in education with a concentration in science education program are prepared for careers in university settings or research organizations.

At a Glance

Program Results

Ph.D. - Doctor of Philosophy in Education

–Science Education

Career Objective

Graduates will be well prepared for employment in fields and programs where the emphasis is on the production of scholarship, rather than application to practice.

Best Suited To

Applicants possessing a relevant master’s degree (e.g., mathematics, a science, mathematics education, or science education), including a minimum of 12 graduate credits in mathematics or science, with at least two years of mathematics or science teaching experience.

Program Type

  • Full Time


  • In-Person

Estimated Length

4 years

Application Deadline

December 1



About This Program

This program of study is designed to prepare graduates for college or university positions in science education or for positions within research organizations with specific areas of curricular expertise. The program includes coursework, a research apprenticeship, and practical experiences to prepare graduates to:

  1. produce original research that contributes to the knowledge base in science education or to teacher education in general
  2. educate teachers in the area of science and evidence-based practice
  3. provide effective leadership in the field of science education.

The primary purpose of the Ph.D. program is to prepare highly qualified scholar-researchers who will be able to take a variety of positions in higher education settings (both public and private). Graduates will be well prepared for employment as research scholars, policy analysts, and faculty members in higher education programs where the emphasis is on the production of scholarship, rather than application to practice.

Program Overview

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements that apply specifically to this program are listed below:

  • Applicants must possess a relevant master’s degree (e.g., mathematics, a science, mathematics education, or science education), including a minimum of 12 graduate credits in mathematics or science.
  • Applicants must have at least two years of mathematics or science teaching experience.
  • Submit a goal statement (2 pages). A writing sample is not required.

Visit our Graduate Admission page for the full admission process.

Graduate Admission

Application for admission is made to the School of Education and Human Development Office of Admission & Enrollment. For more information about the graduate admission process, please visit our Graduate Admission page.


To learn more about specific courses taken as part of the completion of this degree, visit the graduate record website. These webpages represent the official repository for academic program requirements. A link to these publications can be found in the Curriculum Information section at the bottom of this page.

The Ph.D. program requires a minimum of 72 credits, at least 54 of which must be coursework. This coursework requirement includes concentration area courses and research methodology courses, and up to 3 credits of research apprenticeship per semester, but does not include internship and dissertation credits. At least 36 course and apprenticeship credits must be completed after admission to the program. Students can apply up to 12 credits of dissertation work towards the total of 72.

Research Methodology Coursework: Ph.D. students will take Research Foundations, an introductory course in educational research common to all EHD doctoral students. Additionally, students are required to take a minimum of three courses in quantitative methods (generally Stats I, II, and III) and two courses in qualitative research methodology (e.g., Qualitative Analysis I and II). Advisors may suggest additional methodology courses, depending on the focus of a student’s individual program and research.

Research Apprenticeship: All Mathematics/Science/STEM Ph.D. students will participate in a research apprenticeship with their research mentors. This apprenticeship will occupy approximately 10 hours of each student’s week during the first and second years of study and may increase during the third and fourth years, depending on the student’s specific duties. During this apprenticeship, the student will assist with the mentor’s research and scholarship, which may include data collection, data analysis, library research, presentations, writing for publication, and other related activities.

Education of Teachers Internships/Apprenticeships: Mathematics/Science/STEM Ed Ph.D. students are expected to participate in internships that enable them to understand the workings of university-level teacher preparation. These internships consist of, but are not limited to, the following: supervision of student teachers, serving as a graduate teaching assistant, serving as the instructor for a pre-service or master’s level course, assisting the Director of Teacher Education, working with the novice teachers network, designing and evaluating curriculum for P-12 programs, working with clinical instructors and cooperating teachers, supervising early field experiences, serving as a connection between the schools and university in developing early field experiences, etc.

Assessment: Assessment of student progress through the Ph.D. program will be multifaceted and includes components conducted by faculty and by students themselves.

Student Annual Report: Annually, each Ph.D. student will complete an annual report describing their growth and accomplishments.

Preliminary Exam: In the second semester of the first year of study, all Ph.D. students will complete a preliminary exam, which is designed to determine the likelihood of the student’s continued success in Ph.D. studies. This exam consists of two parts. The first is a paper on a topic of significance in the field. The second is an oral exam in which students present the paper and a critique of a research article they have been given one week previously.

Pre-dissertation research manuscript: All Ph.D. students, prior to their third year of study, will complete a pre-dissertation research project that results in a manuscript submitted for review in a peer-reviewed journal. There is no requirement that the paper be accepted for publication, but students are strongly encouraged to revise manuscripts if resubmission is likely to result in publication. Research mentors will work with students to shape these papers toward eventual publication; co-authored papers are acceptable.

Qualifying Examination: All students will complete a written comprehensive examination to demonstrate understanding of the knowledge base and methodology in a concentration area of teacher education and demonstrate readiness to undertake doctoral dissertation research. The examination will be graded independently by at least two faculty members. With approval of the Teacher Education graduate program, a research manuscript accepted for publication may be used to satisfy part of the qualifying examination

Dissertation: All Ph.D. students will complete a dissertation proposal and a dissertation following either the traditional model or the three-paper option described in the EHD Dissertation Manual.

Course Descriptions

Information on courses that are part of the Ph.D. in Education-Science Education curriculum can be found on the UVA graduate record website.


Departmental fellowships and assistantships are provided to a select number of applicants each year. A typical funding package includes funding for nine months in a combination of wages and stipends, tuition and all mandatory fees, and funds to cover student health insurance costs. The University also offers a limited number of competitive fellowships for which students enrolled in Ph.D. programs may apply.

Visit the Fellowships, Scholarships, and Awards page for additional funding opportunities.

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