PhD Program

The Ph.D. degree requires a minimum of fifty-four (54) hours of graduate work beyond the master’s degree – excluding dissertation hours.

Twenty-four (24) semester hours in a content area with a minimum of fifteen (15) hours in an emphasis area

Twenty-four (24) semester hours in science and mathematics education including three (3) semester hours of seminar, SME 701, 703, 761,762, 700 (science) or 720 (math), 725 (math) with a maximum of nine (9) semester hours in SME 791 and a maximum of three (3) semester hours of SME 792

Research Tools: 6 hours (REF 761 & 762)

Dissertation: 9 hours (SME 898)

Doctoral students must be enrolled for 1 hour (typically SME 898) the semester in which he or she is sitting for comprehensive exams, defending the prospectus, defending the dissertation, and graduating (if different from others).

Minor Available

Students seeking a Ph.D. may take additional courses to obtain a Minor in Educational Research.

This minor may increase your career options. The Ph.D. program in Science Education requires REF 761 and 762 to satisfy the research tool category. The minor requires three (3) additional hours (REF 830) in this category. REF 770, 824, and 720 or 792 (1 hr x 3) can be included in the 24-hour emphasis area. Thus, the total number of hours increases by 3, bringing the total number of hours required (including dissertation) to 66.


Residency may be met through one of the following:

  • Two consecutive* semesters of 12 hours each (12-12);
  • Three consecutive* semesters of 9 hours each (9-9-9);
  • Four consecutive* semesters of a minimum of 6 hours each, none arranged hours (6-6-6-6);
  • Two semesters within a three-year period in which a minimum of 12 hours is taken in each of the two semesters and a minimum of 3 hours in each of the intervening semesters.

* Consecutive does not have to include summer term but may, at the student's discretion.

See below for requirements/forms for the Ph.D. Degree Program:

USM General Degree Requirements

SME 791 and 792

Minor_in_Education_Research [PDF]

Qualifying Exam

Comprehensive Exams

Dissertation Help for Doctoral Students

Dissertation Formatting Guidelines from the Graduate Reviewer

Course Descriptions [PDF] (All university courses)


Admission Deadline:

We honor a rolling admission deadline. Applicants must complete the online application through the Graduate School and supply all necessary documentation. Graduate applications must complete the review process before the semester begins. Please review the academic calendar for class start dates.