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PhD in Education (Social Studies Education)

With this doctoral emphasis in social studies education, you will study theoretical and disciplinary areas, problems, and practices related to the field as part of your doctoral degree. Our primary focus with this emphasis is the continuing development of theory and research on teaching and learning of the social studies as they exist within and beyond formal school settings including k-12, post-secondary, and community education spaces.

Just as there are a variety of disciplines within, and approaches to, social studies education, there are many possibilities available for doctoral study. Our faculty members borrow from various research methodologies (e.g., narrative inquiry, design-based research, self-study, critical theory methodologies, and discourse analysis) and a variety of theoretical perspectives (pragmatism, critical theory, critical race theory, psychoanalytic theory) to focus research in social studies education. Please refer to faculty bios for an introduction to the breadth of research and expertise in our program.

Our graduates go on to research and clinical faculty positions in colleges and universities, teacher leadership positions, social studies positions in schools, and community educational spaces.


  1. Home to nationally recognized and award-winning faculty.
  2. Work with faculty on cutting-edge education research.
  3. Integrate theory and practice to support educational change.


The program of study includes at least 42 hours of coursework, a comprehensive examination, a dissertation prospectus, and a dissertation. Required coursework includes four dedicated seminars attending to historical and contemporary issues in social studies education. You will also take at least four research methods courses, determined in consultation with your advisory committee. You are encouraged to take as many research methods courses as needed to accomplish your research.

Your remaining coursework, at least 18 credit hours, will help prepare you to think deeply about and conduct research on your specific interests within the field. These electives may be from within or outside the College, and might include courses in women’s studies, language and literacy, student learning and development, educational foundations, education policy, history, economics, political science, geography, anthropology, sociology, critical studies, and philosophy.

Additional information and disclosures regarding state licensure for professional practice in this field can be found at the UGA Licensure Disclosure Portal .

How to Apply

Part 1: Apply to the University of Georgia

The Graduate School handles admission for all graduate programs at the University of Georgia, including those in the College of Education. The Graduate School website contains important details about the application process, orientation, and many other useful links to guide you through the process of attending UGA at the graduate level.

Start A Graduate School Application

Part 2: Apply to the Degree Program

After filling out your application to the graduate school, please submit the following directly to the graduate programs office:

  1. A personal statement telling the program faculty about:
    1. why doctoral education is being pursued;
    2. the questions and/or commitments about teaching, learning, and schooling pushing you to further your education;
    3. what experiences, readings, theories, and/or research inform these questions and commitments;
    4. why the Doctoral emphasis in Social Studies Education at UGA is an appropriate place to pursue such questions (possibly including how your interests align with faculty in the program);
    5. personal and professional goals for obtaining a PhD degree in Social Studies Education.
  2. A writing sample that demonstrates the applicant’s ability for scholarly writing and engagement with intellectual ideas.
  3. A resume or curriculum vitae.
  4. Please note that at least one of the three references you provide to the graduate school should be a university faculty member who can attest to your academic potential, preferably from the master’s level.

Deadline To Apply

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

However, applications received by January 1 (for Fall admissions) and October 1 (for Spring and Summer admissions) will receive full consideration for funding opportunities.

Log Into Existing Application

Additional Resources

Please use our online form if you have any questions for the department. Please be as specific as possible so that we may quickly assist you.

Faculty and Advisors

The College’s programs are taught by dedicated faculty who are experts in a range of areas and are passionate about helping students succeed both in their programs and professionally.

Meet the Faculty

Most graduate students at UGA are not assigned to a faculty advisor until after admittance. A close working relationship with your advisor is paramount to progressing through your program of study.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Almost all in-state students begin their studies at UGA paying limited tuition or fees. Please note that these amounts are subject to change and are meant to give prospective students an idea of the costs associated with a degree at the University of Georgia College of Education.

Students may qualify for a variety of assistantships, scholarships, and other financial awards to help offset the cost of tuition, housing, and other expenses.

Tuition Rates   Browse Financial Aid

Student Life

Doctoral students have the opportunity to attend academic conferences and develop their capacity to produce research in local, national, and international contexts. Graduate students can also participate in a number of student organizations, including the Feminist Scholars-Activist and the Graduate Student Organization.

Most full-time students can apply for and receive a graduate assistantship.

See for yourself how much UGA College of Education has to offer! Schedule a tour of campus to learn more about the UGA student experience.

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