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PhD in Educational Theory and Practice (Middle Grades Education)

With this emphasis within the educational theory and practice degree, prepare to offer intellectual leadership and advocacy in middle grades education, including research, teacher education and other teaching in higher education, and leadership positions in local, state, regional, national, or international institutions or agencies. Your studies and research will address the needs of middle grades education locally, nationally, and globally with a focus on:

  • The study of young adolescents and middle grades education within continually shifting institutional, socio-cultural, discursive, and political contexts
  • Adult stakeholders who impact middle grades education
  • Teaching and learning of the content areas in the context of middle grades education
  • The structure and organization of educational environments serving young adolescents
  • Middle grades school improvement efforts
  • Curriculum, pedagogy, policy, and social justice issues in middle grades education

Our graduate students go on to become educational researchers at colleges and universities, teacher educators, policymakers, instructional coaches, directors of professional development, and practicing teachers or administrators.


  1. Regularly ranked as a top 5 program by U.S. News & World Report
  2. Home to nationally recognized and award-winning faculty
  3. Work with faculty on cutting-edge education research
  4. Integrates theory and practice to support educational change


Overview of Academic Demands

The program of study includes 43 hours of coursework, preliminary and comprehensive examinations, a dissertation prospectus, and a dissertation. Required coursework includes theory and research on teaching or research on teacher education, and seminars. 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.

In addition to completing a one-credit hour teaching assistantship, you must complete three three-credit courses from the following topics of study:

  • Young adolescents and schools
  • Theory and practice in middle grades curriculum
  • Socio-cultural issues in early adolescence
  • Comparative and international perspectives in middle grades education
  • School reform and young adolescence

Of your coursework, 22 hours focus on your specific interests, coursework related to your area of emphasis, and 12 credits of electives. Electives may be from within or outside the College, and might include courses in anthropology, art education, counseling, education law, educational policy, history, learning communities and professional development, philosophy, psychology, sociology, special education, subject area courses (e.g., language and literacy, mathematics education, science education, and social studies education), and supervision related to middle grades education.

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


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 PhD in Educational Theory and Practice (Middle Grades Education)

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 doctoral admissions committee why doctoral education is being pursued; the questions and/or commitments about teaching, learning and schooling pushing the applicant to further her or his education; what readings, theories, and/or research inform these questions; why the Doctoral Program of Educational Theory and Practice is an appropriate place to pursue such questions; the emphasis area (or areas) in which the applicant sees his or her interests fitting; and the personal and professional goals for obtaining a PhD degree in Educational Theory and Practice;
  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

January 1 (Summer/Fall Admission), October 1 (Spring Admission)

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

Your experience begins with a doctoral orientation seminar that introduces foundational ideas, readings, and scholars in the field. Graduate students also have the opportunity to 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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