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PhD in Science Education

The PhD in Science Education emphasizes broad and deep familiarity with the research literature in science education and closely related theoretical and practical fields, and the development of skills necessary to make original and important contributions to research. Because doctoral students vary greatly in academic and experiential backgrounds and have a variety of career goals, the guidelines for required coursework are flexible and each program is personalized.

As a doctoral student, you are likely to work with nearly all of the faculty either in courses or on research projects. One of the most important aspects of the doctoral program is the close relationship you develop with a major professor, who typically serves as research mentor not just for your final dissertation study but also in navigating the world of science teaching, science education research, and science teacher education.


  1. Individualized course of study
  2. Program requires rigorous research experiences as well as hands-on service and policy experiences


Along with doctoral-level core and elective science education courses, you will study two different areas of educational research methodology, and the psychological and social foundations of education. Courses are typically offered in the evening, although full-time students may take advantage of a wider variety of courses offered throughout the day.

Your coursework typically includes:

  • Graduate-level study in a science field
  • Science teacher induction
  • Multicultural science education
  • History of science education
  • Science curriculum
  • Teaching and learning
  • Science teacher education
  • Philosophy of science
  • Qualitative/quantitative research methods
  • Research and teaching internships

Coursework is flexible and personalized, designed by you and your faculty committee by taking into account your graduate-level course background, career goals, and interests. Most of our doctoral students hold a previous graduate degree in science education or in a science field, although this is not required for admission. These students normally take fewer courses before concentrating on the dissertation research project.

The University of Georgia has one of the largest and most respected groups of science education faculty in the world. All of these prominent researchers teach doctoral courses and direct doctoral dissertation studies.

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 Science Education

Note: In advance of applying to our program, we strongly recommend you reach out to faculty members with shared research interests to your own , as gaining admission into the doctoral program is unlikely without faculty support.

We base admissions decisions on a variety of factors including past performance in coursework, especially science course work, GPAs in past degree programs, entrance exam scores, letters of recommendation, and other evidence of scholarly potential.

The Graduate School requires a minimum 3.0 GPA in your undergraduate degree and a minimum 3.5 GPA in your graduate degree.

Applicants must submit their official GRE scores during application.

K-16 science teaching experience is strongly preferred prior to admission.

While completing the Graduate School application, you will need to provide:

  1. Three letters of recommendation
    You will identify your letter writers and their email addresses when you apply, and they will receive an email from the Graduate School asking them to complete the form online. Choose recommenders who know your academic work well and can speak to your capacity to engage in a graduate-level study of science, to perform well in courses requiring high levels of reading and writing, to work as a classroom teacher, and to be successful in a graduate program. Do not solicit “character references” from friends, family, or people you know socially.

    Importantly, the Graduate School’s form for recommendations is generic as it covers all levels of graduate degrees, and the automated email soliciting recommendations unfortunately often results in a rather minimal completion of the form, often including little or no insightful and relevant detail, in the recommender’s own words, about the suitability of applicants for doctoral work in particular. To address this issue, we require more extensive commentary, preferably in the form of a standard business letter on the writer’s institutional letterhead for all doctoral-level applications. Your recommenders will be able to upload their letter when filling out the recommendation form. Please communicate this expectation to them!

  2. Transcripts
    Applicants should submit unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended as part of the online application. Official transcripts are not required during the review process and will only be required for applicants who are offered admission. Do not mail official transcripts until offered admission.

  3. Test Scores
    Have your GRE scores sent directly to UGA using the institution code 5813.

  4. Sample of scholarly writing
    Submit a piece of scholarly writing that demonstrates both your technical writing skills and your ability to make claims and support them with references and chains of logic. Your writing sample should be science or science education related. A paper that you have written for a previous course or for publication may suffice, or you may wish to construct a new paper. The writing sample will be used to give the faculty a sense of your writing abilities.

  5. Current curriculum vita/resume (we recommend fitting this on two pages)

  6. Statement of purpose (we recommend fitting this on two pages)
    Submit a statement explaining why you are interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in science education at the University of Georgia. Identify the educational problem or concern that drives you to pursue a PhD. Because the PhD is a research degree, identify a potential topic (or topics) of investigation and provisionally identify members of the faculty with whom you might work.

Finally, after the faculty has reviewed your materials the graduate coordinator may contact you to schedule an interview if you’ve not already meet individually with the faculty.

Deadline To Apply

If you are interested in being considered for funding opportunities, we recommend you apply by November 1 for admission the following Fall.

Otherwise, the deadlines are as follows: April 1 to begin in either the Summer or Fall semesters and November 1 to begin in the Spring semester.

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.

Our nationally recognized faculty will work with you to customize your degree program.

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

Most PhD students are full-time and hold a graduate assistantship appointment that includes both a tuition waiver and a cash stipend. Assistantship duties may include teaching, research, or a combination, and are between 13 and 20 hours a week.

We expect our PhD students to participate in national and international conferences, such as the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, the Association for Science Teacher Education, and the American Educational Research Association. Conference presentations usually result in refereed journal publications before graduation, with most students progressing to first authorship.

Students who maintain employment as full-time teachers may earn the PhD (vs. EdD) degree if they study unusually intensively for at least one year in order to satisfy the UGA Graduate School’s PhD residency requirement.

Nearly all full-time students graduate in three or four years, while part-time students typically require a significantly longer time period.

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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