Ph.D. in Education


Information for Doctoral Students in Education

The College of Education offers a Ph.D. in Education (Doctor of Philosophy) degree with eight areas of emphasis and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership (Doctor of Education). Areas of emphasis available in the education Ph.D. program include the following:

  • Counselor Education and Supervision. This area of emphasis is an excellent fit for individuals who wish to pursue counselor education and counseling leadership positions, excelling in research, writing, teaching, service, securing external funding, assuming professional leadership roles in the counseling field, and providing clinical supervision.
  • Educational Leadership. This area of emphasis focuses on advanced leadership preparation as it applies to K-12 or to higher education settings.  The Ph.D. prepares students for leadership or teaching at the college level or for roles in policy analysis and research.  The Ed.D. option is available in this area of concentration for practicing professionals in K-12.
  • English Language LearnersThis area of emphasis provides a strong knowledge base grounded in current research to support students who are learning English as a new language, assess skills of language diverse students, and design ELL and/or bilingual instruction.
  • Equity and Diversity in EducationThis program allows educators and those in related fields to enhance their knowledge, skills, and dispositions to work more effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds.
  • Information Technology in EducationThis emphasis area provides advanced training for educators or prospective educators a strong theoretical and practical foundation in dynamic instructional design, and concurrent knowledge and skills to integrate contemporary digital technology in a variety of educational and training settings.
  • Literacy StudiesLiteracy instruction and its intersection with English language learning and issues of culture and diversity are the foci of this emphasis area.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) EducationThis emphasis area explores the effective teaching of math and science, as well as applications of various technologies in these fields and their impact on society.  Students may focus on math or science education specifically, but will have a broad exposure to the MSTS area.
  • Special Education and Disabilities Studies. Study in this area of emphasis on issues of disability as they apply to education and human service agencies. Students may focus broadly across disability areas and age ranges, or they may focus more narrowly. Courses are available in the categorical areas of learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorders, autism, intellectual disabilities and severe multiple disabilities, and early childhood special education. Cross-categorical courses are also offered, as well as special topics courses related to key contemporary issues in special education.

Program Objectives

The Ph.D. in Education prepares you at an advanced level to work in the professorial ranks of higher education or assume positions of leadership in schools and agencies. The degree provides rich preparation by exposing you to a wide variety of courses and experiences related to fundamental theories and concepts associated with education, as well as current issues and trends in teaching and learning. Strengths of the program lie in the opportunity for you to be exposed to a variety of courses and to faculty members in the College of Education and the University, while having a defined area of emphasis for your study. The graduate program in education leads to both a broad and a deep scholarly knowledge of education, with an emphasis on the production of new knowledge within the profession.

How to Apply

There are two parts to the application process. You must apply to the Graduate School and the College of Education.

Graduate School Application

This application is submitted on-line. Transcripts from ALL previous college and university work must be sent directly from each institution that you have attended to the Graduate School. Hand-carried transcripts, even with official seals, will not be accepted. If you wish to take some course work while awaiting approval for admission to the graduate program, you will want to apply to the Graduate School for admission as a "Graduate Special" student. Graduate Special standing allows you to take up to nine graduate credit hours that may apply to your doctoral program.

Graduate School Application Components:

  • GRE scores (verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing)
  • Transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work
  • TOEFL scores (if you did not graduate from a US university, are not a US citizen, or are from a country in which English is not the native language)

College of Education Application

In addition to the application for the Graduate School, you must also apply for admission to the College of Education. Please be aware that each doctoral strand has its own application deadline. You will need to fill out the inquiry form under the "Overview" tab to get connected with your strand's program coordinator.

College Doctoral Application Components:

  • Application and signed dispositions form (found in the back of the doctoral application manual)
  • Resume or Curriculum Vita
  • Statement of Intent/Philosophy of Education
  • The letters of recommendation [these may be completed through the confidential electronic process as part of the Graduate School application]
  • Sample of professional writing

Graduate Assistantships - A limited number of Graduate Assistantships (GAs) are available in the college. Strong priority is given to doctoral students with strong professional experience who can contribute to our teaching mission. You must be fully admitted before beginning any GA work.

International Students - Please visit the Office of International Students and Scholars to review requirements for international students.

Admission Requirements

Please be aware that these are only general requirements for the Ph.D. in Education; each area of emphasis has its own additional requirements for admission. You will need to visit the program-specific page by clicking on its link from under the "Overview" tab.

  1. Preference for applicants who hold a master's degree from a regionally accredited institution in an area appropriately related to the chosen emphasis area. High achieving applicants who possess only a Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution will be considered. Emphasis of prior degree area(s) should be appropriately related to the chosen emphasis area.
  2. Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  3. A resumé or curriculum vitae emphasizing credentials and experiences relevant to a doctoral program in education
  4. A Statement of Intent that includes a Philosophy of Education - your statement may include explanations for why you want a doctoral degree, why you want to pursue this particular area of emphasis, and why you want to study at the University of Nevada Reno, as well as your personal views about the purpose of education, and the roles of students and teachers;
  5. Three letters of recommendation. The letters should be from people who have personal knowledge of your academic, and professional qualifications, as well as your dispositions to the extent that they are relevant to doctoral studies and post-doctoral careers;
  6. One sample of scholarly writing. This writing sample should offer evidence that you understand the expectations of scholarly writing in terms of content as well as format;
  7. Graduate faculty in the area of emphasis and the doctoral admissions committee must both recommend admission;
  8. The COE recommends, but does not require, that you have at least three years of relevant professional field experience by the time you finish your degree;
  9. International Students: TOEFL score of 550 (unless you have a college degree from a US institution).

The specific curriculum requirements are adapted to the professional needs of the student. Students should not enroll in any graduate-level course without first securing the approval of the program that such a course is acceptable toward a selected major or minor.

Program Requirements

Completion Requirements for the Ph.D. in Education include:

  1. Filing a program of study, approved by the Graduate School to include (24 credits may be applied from a master's degree program):
    • 24 credits of research and core courses
    • 24 credits in an area of emphasis
    • 24 credits in cognate or related electives
    • 24 credits of dissertation
  2. Maintain a 3.0 GPA in all graduate work
  3. Residency requirement of 9 credits for two consecutive semesters
  4. Mid-program review
  5. Comprehensive exam
  6. Dissertation and oral defense

Please see Doctoral Student Advisement Manual for more details.


A minimum of 96 credits are required, 24 of which may be applied from relevant master's degree work. All degree candidates are required to complete 24 credits in required research and core courses. In addition, all students are required to take 24 credits of dissertation.

Related Degrees and Programs

Contact College of Education

Phone (775) 784-4298 (Undergraduate Advisement)
(775) 784-4345 (Main)
Fax (775) 784-6298
Location William J. Raggio