How do I Earn a Teaching PhD?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2018
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A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest degree a person can earn in education. A person who earns a teaching PhD is well prepared to teach in a college or work as an administrator of education. An individual who holds this degree may also choose to work in research or help to create educational policy. A person who pursues this degree typically spends several years on his education; he usually has to complete secondary school or earn an equivalent diploma and then go on to earn a bachelor's degree and a master's degree. Once he's earned these degrees, a person may apply for admission to a PhD in education program; if admitted, he may spend about five years earning this degree.

The requirements a person may have to fulfill to gain admission to a teaching PhD program may depend on where he chooses to apply. In most cases, an individual must first earn a bachelor's degree and a master's degree before he is admitted to a PhD program. Some programs may have experience requirements as well. For example, some require PhD candidates to have teaching experience or experience working in a field related to education, such as human services or community services. The amount of experience that is required depends on the particular school.


An individual usually has to provide official college transcripts as part of the admissions process as well. Typically, PhD programs expect to see transcripts from each college a person has attended. An individual may also have to take and submit scores from a graduate entrance exam. In the United States, this is called the Graduate Record Examination (GRE); other countries may use different examinations or other methods of evaluating potential students. Most teaching PhD programs also require applicants to submit letters of recommendation and an essay, which usually covers the reasons the applicant wants to pursue a teaching PhD.

Once a person is admitted to a teaching PhD program, he may need an average of about five years to earn this degree, though the length of time does vary. The PhD program may include a combination of core and specialty courses, and an individual may also engage in independent study and research as he works toward earning his degree. Often seminars and internships are part of a teaching PhD program as well. Finally, a person may have to complete a research project or dissertation before graduating with this degree.



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