Frequently Asked Questions - Urban Education Doctoral Program (Ph.D)
Dear prospective applicant:
We are thrilled to hear of your interest in our doctoral program in Urban Education. You can start learning about our program by reviewing the Frequently Asked Questions below. Do feel free to contact us for additional information.
We encourage you to research our program carefully, since a good fit is one of the most important considerations in selecting a doctoral program. We will also be happy to schedule telephone or in-person informational interviews with faculty and campus visits that can include visits to classes and informal meetings with our students.
Do you consider students who don’t have a background in education?
- Our current doctoral students come from varied backgrounds, and this is one of the strengths of the program. Of course, we do look for students who are generally interested in studying issues related to education in cities, which may include formal, school-based education as well as community-based education.
How many credits are required to complete the doctorate?
- The doctoral program requires 72 credits of coursework, plus a doctoral comprehensive exam and a dissertation. We routinely award 30 credits for related Master's degrees, especially if they are in Education and/or the social sciences, so most doctoral students who enter with a Master’s degree are required to complete 42 credits of coursework.
Can students who have only a Bachelor’s degree be admitted to the doctoral program?
- We look for a good fit between the student’s goals and interests and our program’s emphases. In addition, because our program allows for considerable choice, we look for evidence that the applicant is self-directed. Given that we are a research-oriented program (as Ph.D. degrees tend to be), we look for an interest and some background in research. This does not mean that we expect applicants to have conducted research or have already picked a dissertation topic; it does mean that research rather than, say, administration or program development should be the primary reason for your interest in our program. There are of course research areas that are more applied than theoretical, such as policy-oriented or program-oriented research, and in fact this is a primary interest of many of our students.
How many students do you admit?
- We are a small, selective program. We receive applications from many outstanding candidates and are only able to admit a fairly small number, looking for incoming cohorts of around 5 to 8 students each year. I encourage you to be thorough in researching our program and your field/specialization of interest and careful in completing your application so as to bring your strengths in full view.
What qualities do you look for in your applicants?
- We look for a good fit between the student’s goals and interests and our program’s emphases. In addition, because our program allows for considerable choice, we look for evidence that the applicant is self-directed and ready to undertake graduate studies.
I am interested in administration and/or a teaching or administrative certificate. Can I combine these with a doctoral degree in Urban Education?
- The teaching or administrative certificate is separate from our program. However, you may be able to use some electives toward the certificate. Combining these areas would usually require an additional 9 to 12 credits of coursework (except for Supervisory Certification, which is much more intensive). If you are primarily interested in educational leadership and related administrative certificates, these specialties are offered through the Educational Leadership Program, which is also housed in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.
- Teacher certification programs are offered in the department of Teaching & Learning. For further information on these programs, see http://www.temple.edu/education/grad/doctoral.html. You may also contact Dr. Jason Bozzone Assistant Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, Ritter Annex 150, tel. (215) 204-8011 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
What is the application process like, and what should I include in the application?
- You may apply online and send any additional materials in the mail (for information, see http://www.temple.edu/education/grad/admissions.html). Do also include your resume with your application materials. You may also collect or request an application packet from the College’s Graduate Programs Office (contact above). Application matters are addressed in questions 8 - 12.
Letters of reference
- We require two letters, on the appropriate form which is available online: http://www.temple.edu/grad/admissions/documents/WebGRADREFERENCEREPORT.pdf. and is also included in mailed application materials. At least one and preferably two of the letters should be from persons who are familiar with your academic work and can comment knowledgeably on it, as well as on your potential to undertake doctoral studies successfully. Referees may mail their letters directly to the College or you may collect them and mail them together. The letters must be in sealed envelopes with the writer’s signature across the back flap.
- The university requires official transcripts from all institutions listed in your application, regardless of whether you completed a degree there of not. You do not need official transcripts from Temple University, however. You may have transcripts sent directly to the university or you may follow the same procedure as for letters of reference.
- We require the GRE (the general test only). Any scores you may have from a previous administration are valid for up to 5 years: simply direct ETS to send us an official copy (do make sure that they it to Urban Education and not Urban Studies).
- GRE scores should be at or above the 50th percentile. At times otherwise good applicants fall short of this or have very good scores in one area and lower scores in the other. If the application otherwise meets our criteria for admission, we are able to request an exception. If you have takes the GRE more than once, we use only the best scores you received within the last five years, in any given area of the exam, and disregard the other scores.
- We require an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. As with the GRE, we can request exceptions for otherwise excellent applicants.
How do I know if my application is complete?
- After you have submitted your application, you will receive an e-mail from the Student Services office, with an initial status report. The e-mail includes contact information for their staff. Thereafter, you can check on the status of your application either online, through Apply Yourself or by contacting the Student Services staff person via email. Please be proactive in ensuring that all the elements of your application are completed and received by our office in timely fashion.
What financial support is available and how do I apply for it?
- There are fellowships and assistantships, which are awarded only to full-time students. If you plan to enroll on a part-time basis, see next question. Temple University offers a number of fellowships that are awarded on a competitive basis.
- High GREs and GPAs are especially important for University Fellowships.
- The Future Faculty Fellowship program offers fellowships to students in underrepresented groups who are interested in university teaching. Consideration for such fellowships begins with an initial recommendation by the admissions committee, which means that students do not need to do anything special to be considered for such fellowships. If you think you might qualify for such fellowships, we urge you to ensure that your application is completed well in advance of the deadline, and no later than January 5th.
- Teaching and research assistantships are awarded by colleges and departments. All these programs include tuition remission and a monthly stipend. If you are interested in an assistantship, please complete the appropriate form, which is included in application materials. Also include any information about your experience and interests that could help us locate an appropriate assistantship for you. An offer of admission does not automatically mean that you have been awarded an assistantship or other financial award. We encourage you to look for outside sources of funding, including grants. Part-time work may also be available through various university offices and faculty research grants.
What financial assistance is available for part-time students?
- The university’s financial aid office can help students process regular financial aid packages that consist mainly of loans. Part-time work is also available at times through individual faculty and college/university offices. We encourage you to be proactive in seeking such opportunities. Full-time students can also apply for these funds.
How many courses per semester should I take and what is the usual time it takes to complete a degree?
- Full-time students who are awarded assistantships usually register for 9 credits per semester and are assigned responsibilities that take approximately 20 hours (equivalent to half-time work) per week. Full-time students may take up to 12 credits per term. Part-time students may start with only 3 credits, but we encourage them to take 6 credits per term, since otherwise it takes very long to finish the program. Usually, students are able to complete their coursework in 3 to 4 years, depending on full-time or part-time status. Completing the dissertation may take another 2 years or so. This means that at a minimum it takes 5 years to complete the program, and it is more common for students to take 6 or 7 years. A very few exceptional students have managed to finish their doctorate in four years.
When are classes offered?
- Graduate classes in the College of Education are usually offered once a week in the evening (Mondays through Thursdays), starting at 5:30 pm. This is done in order to accommodate working professionals. Some classes are also offered on weekends. In the other colleges, classes tend to be offered more frequently during the daytime.
Can I take any classes before I apply or am accepted into the program?
- It is possible for anyone who has an undergraduate degree to take graduate courses as a non-matriculated student. If admitted, up to 9 credits may be counted toward the doctorate. It should be clear however that doing so is no guarantee of admission. You can register for courses as a non-matriculated student through the Shimada Resource Center, 150 Ritter Annex. To get started, contact Ms. Doreen Conway (firstname.lastname@example.org). Some of the process must be done in person. Make sure you bring proof of your undergraduate degree. You can enroll in the following Urban Education courses without prior instructor approval: UE 5401, Introduction to Urban Schools (offered every semester, including the summer); Urban Education 5501 (Issues in Urban Education, offered every fall); and Urban Education 5516 (offered every fall); Urban Education 5620 (Special Topics, offered every spring. Topics vary).
How can I find out what courses are available?
- A list of courses offered the following semester is available online. You can access it from the Temple University home page, by selecting “course schedule” from the “quick links” window on the right side of the screen. The direct link is: http://prd-challenger.erp.temple.edu/tucourses/default.asp Do take a look at what courses are offered under Urban Education but also remember that we are an interdisciplinary program and students take courses in other departments as well. The information also includes the number of open spaces left in the course and the time the course is offered.
Still Have Questions?
We hope these FAQs address most of your immediate questions and concerns. Again, thank you for your interest in our program.
For more information about applying to the Urban Education program please contact:
Graduate Programs Office, Ritter Annex 150
phone: (215) 204-5631
For more information about the Urban Education Doctoral Program program, please contact:
Dr. Will Jordan
phone: (215) 204-6677
Dr. Erin Horvat
phone: (215) 204-6178
Ritter Hall 264