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College of Applied Human Sciences: School of Education

Educational Theory and Practice, PhD

The PhD in Educational Theory and Practice meets the interests and professional needs of future scholars in the areas of teaching and learning (across various subjects, in- and out-of-school contexts and ages/grades); teacher education and development (across various subjects and professional levels); and social, cultural and critical studies in education.

This is a primarily full-time, 60-credit, in-person program (part-time study options available).

Your Degree Plan


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The program serves as a source of preparation for students toward careers as higher education faculty, educational researchers, policy analysts, and those who conduct work in a range of educational agencies and organizations.

The program includes the following course components:

  • Core program coursework focused on theoretical, philosophical and sociological foundations of education research and practice.
  • A research core that provides the methodological competencies to produce original research as well as the ability to critically evaluate published scholarship.
  • Program electives that align with students’ interests and deepen their focus in core areas of educational research and practice.
  • Mentored research and teaching experiences that promote students’ pedagogical and empirical skills.

Upon completion of the PhD in Educational Theory and Practice, graduates will be prepared to:

  • Understand and interpret scholarship on theory, policy and practice in education as the basis for growth over a professional career.
  • Critically evaluate scholarship, policy and practice in order to promote equity, access and social justice in educational settings.
  • Plan for, conduct and report on original research that advances the field of education.
  • Demonstrate skills as educators—including designing, implementing, evaluating and revising educational experiences.

Take advantage of special options related to this major:

  • Honors

    Expand your curiosity — and enhance your curriculum — through the WVU Honors College. Two programs are offered: Honors Foundations for first- and second-year students and Honors EXCEL for third- and fourth-year students.

    Explore Honors

The WVU Difference

What sets this program apart from its competitors?

  • We offer several graduate assistantships to competitive applicants to support their doctoral work. Assurance of funding is provided to selected applicants for the first two years of study, with opportunities for continuation of funding.
  • The EDTP program utilizes a professional mentorship model, wherein faculty work closely with doctoral students to support their progress through key milestones, including dissemination of pedagogical and empirical work and completion of the dissertation.
  • The plan of study includes apprenticed research and teaching experiences that provide students with a breadth of perspectives and practices as they develop their pedagogical and empirical skills.

Learn by Doing

Learning happens outside the classroom. Get involved.

Students have opportunities to develop applied, authentic experiences teaching in college settings and conducting meaningful research. Through practicum and other structured learning experiences, students examine the theoretical, philosophical, historical, and critical foundations of educational research and practice.

Attending college will prepare you for many things. The Educational Theory and Practice major will give you the following skills:

The Educational Theory and Practice program will equip you with the analytical, empirical, and pedagogical skills to address practical and theoretical problems in teaching and learning, teacher education and development, and societal, cultural, and critical studies in education.

Outside of the Evansdale Crossing building.

What you learn outside of the classroom is just as important as what you learn during class. We’ll help you follow your curiosity.

Careers and Outcomes

How does this degree prepare students for a career?

Education Administrators, Postsecondary

Plan, direct or coordinate research, instructional, student administration and services and other educational activities at postsecondary institutions, including universities, colleges and junior and community colleges.

May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $102,610

Possible job titles include: Academic Dean, Dean, Provost, Registrar.

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Education Teachers, Postsecondary

Teach courses pertaining to education, such as counseling, curriculum, guidance, instruction, teacher education and teaching English as a second language. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $73,240

Possible job titles include: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Education Professor, Professor.

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Career pathways

Our graduates have obtained positions in a range of areas, including at colleges and universities, educational agencies, and research centers. Jobs obtained by recent graduates include teaching-based faculty positions, service-oriented faculty positions, and positions as research associates, postdoctoral scholars, and educational consultants.

Sample employers/job titles of graduates

  • Carlow University, Assistant Professor, Department of Education and Liberal Studies
  • UNC Charlotte, Associate Director, Undergraduate Research
  • West Virginia University, Teaching Assistant Professor, School of Math and Data Science

Meet Your Community

The Educational Theory and Practice family will inspire and support you.

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for admission into a graduate program at WVU an applicant must submit official, bachelor's degree transcripts from a regionally accredited institution and hold a GPA of at least 2.75. WVU operates decentralized admissions. Decentralized admissions allows each graduate program to set its own application requirements in addition to the University requirements.

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