School of Education

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Department web site

Program Overview

‌Coursework emphasizes the study of learning and learning analytics, theory and philosophy of education, evaluation and assessment, policy and diversity, and research methods. The PhD program provides opportunities for development as a research scholar. In the final year of the program, PhD students work closely with their faculty mentors in an apprenticeship. While focused on enhancing and expanding the PhD student’s research skills and knowledge, faculty mentors work with their mentees to identify and design apprenticeship activities based on the PhD student’s professional goals and discipline. Some examples of apprenticeship activities include teaching, curriculum development, grant writing, conference proposals and presentations, writing for publication, learning advanced research methods not covered in the program’s four research courses, and leading workshops on topics related to the student’s expertise.

Developed for working professionals, courses are traditionally held in a weekend format with a mix of online and on-campus delivery, so you can continue to work full time. The program is a minimum of 54 credits.


Program Requirements

Course Credits
DOC 301 - Doctoral Seminar (Foundations of Doctoral Education) 3
DOC 302 - Doctoral Seminar (Ethics, Diversity, and Leadership) 3
DOC 305 - Quantitative Research Methods 3
DOC 306 - Qualitative Research Methods 3
DOC 350 - Philosophies and Epistemologies in Education 3
DOC 365 - Learning Sciences 3
DOC 370 - Evaluation and Assessment 3
DOC 375 - Concepts and Applications of Learning Analytics 3
DOC 380 - Doctoral Apprenticeship (with advisor) 9
DOC 390 - Dissertation Seminar 3
DOC 395 - Advanced Quantitative Research Methods 3
DOC 396 - Advanced Qualitative Research Methods 3
DOC 399 - Dissertation 12
*Students enroll for 1 credit of DOC 399 each semester until
dissertation is complete. 
  •  Completion of 54-credits (to include required courses and dissertation studies maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  • Continual enrollment in 6-credit hours (two courses) during the fall, spring, and summer semesters of the program.
  • Satisfactory performance on the comprehensive exam typically given at the end of coursework and prior to the start of the student’s dissertation work.
  • Upon completion of coursework and 12 credits of dissertation, maintaining an enrollment of 1-credit of dissertation until the dissertation is completed and successfully defended.
  • Completion of doctoral studies, including dissertation, within 10 years of admission.
  • Abiding by all policies and procedures as outlined in the Drake University School of Education Doctoral Program Handbook.


All courses in each of the doctoral programs are taken as a cohort. Cohorts begin each fall. 

Application Process All Doctoral Programs

In order to complete the application process, submit the following:

  • School of Education Graduate Application and Electronic Supporting Documents
    • Online Application 
    • Electronic copy of professional resume/curriculum vitae
    • Electronic copy of a statement of interest requesting admission, including reasons for pursuing the doctoral degree, an overview of professional background and goals and a discussion of professional philosophy. Suggested word limit is approximately 500 words.
    • Letters of Recommendation (additional information provided within online application) 
  • Official transcripts are required from:
    • Any institution where you earned a bachelor’s degree.
    • Any institution where you earned a post-bachelor’s (graduate) degree.
    • Any institution where you earned credit you would like considered toward an endorsement or graduate degree.
    • Upon application review, you may be required to provide additional transcripts, including those with courses taken while in high school or at a community college.
  • Evidence of 36-graduate credits to include a completed master's degree from an accredited institution and official transcripts for all post-secondary education. It is recommended that applicants have a graduate grade point average of 3.5 or better on a 4.0 scale. Transcripts and other supporting materials are not returned to the applicant and become the property of Drake University.

Online application materials will automatically be forwarded to the School of Education. Official transcripts and test scores may be sent via secure electronic transmission to or mailed to:

Coordinator of Graduate Admission
School of Education - Drake University
Collier-Scripps Hall - Rm 221
2702 Forest Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50311

Additional Application Materials for Ph.D.

In addition to the above items, those applying to the Ph.D. program will need to submit a 1-2 page essay explaining their research interests and reasons for pursuing a research intensive degree.

The information in this catalog does not constitute a contract between the university and the student. The university reserves the right to make changes in curricula, admission policies and processes, tuition and financial aid, academic standards and guidelines, student services and any other regulations or policies set forth in this catalog without giving prior notice.