Graduate Bulletin

Educational Psychology, Ph.D.

Concentration: Instructional Psychology (General Educational Psychology)


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: May 1

Spring: November 1

Complete applications received by the published deadlines are guaranteed a decision for the upcoming semester.   Those received after the stated deadlines are reviewed on a space-available basis. Applications are reviewed as they are completed, and applicants are notified of a decision in as timely a manner as possible.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from anyone familiar with the applicant's academic competence. In general, the most common source of these letters is college/university faculty members.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:


Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:


Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the appropriate baccalaureate degree at Temple University.

Statement of Goals:

Applicants should indicate their goals and objectives for obtaining a Ph.D. degree. This statement is evaluated against the program's mission. A typical goal statement contains the following items: the applicant's reason for seeking a Ph.D. degree, with a specific focus on the career to which s/he aspires; her/his research interests; and academic and job-related experiences, relevant to the program. A typical goal statement is 2 to 3 pages in length.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required. While no minimum score is specified, it is expected that the score will be no less than at the 50th percentile. The GRE must have been taken no longer than five years prior to application.

Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted: 600 paper-based, 250 computer-based, or 100 internet-based.


Applicants who are available for an interview (typically, those who live within the region), and who are considered qualified by an evaluation of their application materials, are asked to meet with the Admissions Committee. The Admissions Chair schedules the interview at a time convenient for the candidate and the Admissions Committee.


A resume is required.

Advanced Standing:

The advisor makes any decision concerning advanced standing during the student's first semester in the program. The advisor evaluates the credits the student has taken according to the relevancy to the Educational Psychology program. Courses that are counted as advanced standing must be earned as part of a completed degree program. The maximum number of advanced standing credits awarded is 30.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 48

Required Courses*:

Ed 5325 (525)

EdPsy 5531 (531), 5541 (541), 8625 (625), 8627 (627), 8638 (638), 8735 (735), 8741 (741), 8826 (826), 8827 (827), 9991 (981)

* Some of these courses may be waived if the student has taken similar courses prior to admission.

Students must take a minimum of three advanced seminars, either from the program or from related programs at the University. The academic advisor will determine the appropriateness of the seminars outside the program.

Internship: An internship in the form of a Research Apprenticeship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Culminating Events:

Major Area Examination:

The purpose of the major area exam is for the student to demonstrate mastery of a specific curricular area within the general field of Educational Psychology. In general, this field will encompass the area in which the student intends to complete her/his dissertation. The exam is taken when most coursework has been completed. Typically, this is prior to writing the proposal for the dissertation. It is expected that a minimum of one year will pass between the major area exam and the dissertation oral defense.

The major area exam consists of a written portion followed, after a period of one to two weeks, by an oral defense. A three-member committee monitors the exam.  While any three faculty members may constitute the committee to write and evaluate the major area exam, these three faculty members are typically the same as the Doctoral Advisory Committee. The Chair of the committee is usually the student's academic advisor. This committee approves the content of the exam, writes the questions, and evaluates the student's performance. The three members of the committee vote on the outcome of the exam at the end of the oral defense.

Within the content area chosen, the content of the exam is divided into three sections: theory, methodology, and application. Students are given two questions in each of these three areas. The student, for the written portion of the exam, chooses one of these questions from each of the three areas. The oral defense focuses on the written part of the exam, but may include the alternative questions not chosen for the written section.

Students must demonstrate a thorough grasp of the area they have chosen and must be able to articulate the core issues in the area. It is expected that the student's level of understanding of the issues in the area be on a par with a faculty member who is an active researcher in the field.

Each major area exam is scheduled on an individual basis. Students work out a time period in conjunction with the three-member committee that evaluates the exam. Students should not expect to schedule the exam during the summer or during other times when most faculty members are away from campus.


The dissertation proposal demonstrates the student's knowledge of and ability to conduct the proposed research. Minimally, the proposal should include the context and background surrounding a particular research problem; a survey and review of literature which, though it may not be exhaustive, is at least sufficient to provide the reader with enough information to understand why the research is being conducted; a detailed methodological plan for investigating the problem; and a proposed timeline to complete the dissertation. The Doctoral Advisory Committee must initially approve the student's proposal.


The doctoral dissertation is an original piece of scholarship that makes a significant contribution to the field of Educational Psychology.  A majority of the dissertations in the program are empirical, typically using statistical analysis as the means of completing the data collection process. Other types of scholarship, e.g., utilizing more qualitative approaches or employing theoretical or philosophical analyses of educational issues, are also acceptable. It is expected that a successful dissertation should be publishable in a refereed journal.

The Doctoral Advisory Committee consists of a minimum of three Graduate Faculty members. Two of the members, including the Chair, must be from the Educational Psychology program. The third must be from one of the other programs in the College or University. Doctoral Advisory Committees differing from this rule must be approved by the Director of Graduate Programs of the College of Education and by the Dean of the Graduate School. The Doctoral Advisory Committee oversees all aspects of the student's dissertation, from the proposal to the oral defense. Complete details about the entire dissertation process are available in the College of Education Dissertation Handbook, available from the Department of Psychological Studies in Education.

The Dissertation Examining Committee consists of the three members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee plus two additional faculty members. One of these additional faculty members must be from a program outside of Educational Psychology.  The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the student's dissertation and oral defense.

A student may change an advisor or member of a committee by petitioning, in writing, for the change. This petition must be approved by the Chair of the Department of Psychological Studies in Education and by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies.

The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the dissertation and the student's ability to defend it. The Committee votes to pass or fail the dissertation at the conclusion of the oral defense. The outcome of the defense is determined by a majority vote.

Program Contact Information:

Department Information:

Educational Psychology Program
1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6091


Department Contacts:


Dr. William Fullard


Program Coordinator:

Dr. Frank Farley

215 204-6024


Dr. Joseph DuCette


About the Program

The Ph.D. in Educational Psychology offers students advanced study in the area of learning, cognition, human development, instructional technology, special education, applied statistical analysis, and research design. The program is focused on the application of theories and methodologies from the social and behavioral sciences to education.

Time Limit for Degree Completion:  7 years

Campus Location:


A few courses are offered at Fort Washington and Ambler. In addition, some courses that act as electives are offered at the Harrisburg campus.

Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are able to complete the degree program through classes offered after 4:30 p.m.

Department Information:

Educational Psychology Program
1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6091


Interdisciplinary Study:

The program has a strong interdisciplinary focus. Students are encouraged to take courses in the social-behavioral sciences throughout the University. In addition, the program concentrates on applications in a wide variety of educational settings: formal and informal; public and private; schools and industries, etc.


Although certification in Educational Psychology is not offered, the program does meet the general requirements for a Ph.D. program as specified by the American Psychological Association.

Study Abroad:



Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

Two major specializations are offered in the program: Instructional Psychology (General Educational Psychology) and Special Education. Coursework is offered in the areas of human learning and cognition, human development, instructional technology, applied statistics, research design, and educational measurement.

Job Placement:

Graduates typically pursue careers in higher education (departments of education or psychology); in K-12 educational settings; as instructional technology specialists; as trainers in corporate, government, or medical settings; or as educational specialists in positions requiring skills in research design, applied statistics, or testing/measurement.


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

Students may take up to 9 credits prior to admission. In general, all of the program's courses are open to non-matriculated students.

Financing Opportunities

All Assistantships in the program involve teaching one of the two undergraduate courses housed in the program: Education 1322 (122): Lifespan Human Development; and Education 2306 (206): The Evaluation and Assessment of Learning. Students who wish to apply for an Assistantship should submit an application to Dr. Jan Price Greenough, Graduate Programs Office, 150 Ritter Hall Annex, 1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19122. Applications are found on the College of Education website at

Updated 7.6.07