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Ph.D. in Education


The Dissertation is the capstone of the Ph.D. Program in Education.  It is an original piece of research that contributes, directly or indirectly, to the analysis and potential improvement of public education.  Within this general focus, dissertations may vary widely in their specific topics and in their research methodologies.

Dissertations completed on our program have addressed:

  • “Comparing the achievement of 8th grade boys and girls on norm referenced and performance tests in language arts, reading and mathematics.”
  • “The factors that influence middle school teachers to incorporate community service learning into the curriculum.”
  • “Teacher collaboration: learning from an inclusive classroom-dyad experiences.”
  • “Issues of gender and peer collaboration in a problem solving computer activity.”
  • “Personalizing the school environment: teacher based advisory programs that support student adjustment and academic outcomes.”
  • “The embedded writing institute-A study of professional development.”
  • “The personalization of the school environment: The relationship of students’ access to support from an adult with student adjustment outcomes and experiences of school climate.”
  • “Creativity in a time of accountability: Lessons from 3 middle schools.”
  • “Peer Group Conversation: Collaboration in Context.”
  • “A study of the relation between reading achievement and less than proficient urban adolescent readers’ world view of reading.”
  • “An analysis of Rhode Island child opportunity zones through the lens of whole school change.”
  • “Providing phonemic awareness instruction to pre-1st graders: An extended year kindergarten program.”
  • “The effect of an integrated curriculum on fourth graders’ achievement in and attitude toward music instruction.”
  • “Middle school students' classroom internet use: An ethnographic study of technology use and constructivist learning.”
  • “By whom and how is service-leaning implemented in middle level schools involved in documenting school improvement: A quantitative study of opportunity-to-learn conditions and practices.”
  • “Sixth graders talk about their art: Understanding children's perspectives.”
  • “Emergent readers' joint text construction: A descriptive study of reading in social context.”
  • “The effectiveness of transitional bilingual education on reading performance of Cape Verdean students from Crioulo-speaking homes.”
  • “The influence of teacher response on African American students' code-switching.”
  • “The relationship between teachers' theoretical orientations to reading and their verbal feedback to students during oral reading.”
  • “Gender roles and science beliefs and their relationship to science interest.”  

Some general background for dissertations comes from the year-long Core Courses (EDP 610-611, EDP 620-621, and EDP 630-631).  More specific background comes from the courses in each student's area of individual Specialization.  Preparation in research methodology comes from the required courses (EDP 615/623, EDP 625/613, EDP 641) and from advanced coursework in research taken within a student's Specialization.

In planning and conducting their Dissertation research, all students have their own Doctoral Committee of four (in some unusual cases, five) members of the graduate faculty (at least two from each campus).  The chair of the Doctoral Committee (the Major Professor) serves as the student's overall academic advisor and as the primary supervisor of the dissertation.  Only the members of the Program Faculty may serve as Major Professor

Course Sequence if Admitted Before 2009

Course Sequence if Admitted 2009 of After

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