PhD in Educational Psychology

Educational Psychology |

Howard University’s commitment to preparing educational leaders dates back to 1890. Howard University’s School of Education (HUSOE) is not a newcomer to urban education; rather, for nearly a century and a half, it has been quietly actualizing its mission to improve and expand educational opportunity and access, particularly for African Americans and other underserved communities.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Educational Psychology

The PhD in educational psychology emphasizes the practical application of learning and development theories to the study of human behavior. Students majoring in educational psychology pursue an empirically based interdisciplinary program of study. The primary objective of the program is to produce psychologists who are capable of performing scholarly research and evaluation studies and practitioners who are skillful in applying principles of psychology to the resolution of developmental and educational problems. In particular, graduates are expected to think critically; analyze and solve problems; make ethical decisions; apply knowledge by linking theory with practice; understand and use technology; know and understand self, history, and community; assume leadership roles in the global community; and demonstrate knowledge, sensitivity, and skill in working with special needs and diverse populations.


Kamilah Woodson

Department Chair

Kimberly Freeman, Ph.D.

Program Contact
Program Coordinator

Program Details

  • Related Degrees: Ph.D.
  • Program Frequency: Full-Time
  • Format: In Person

Admission Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy

The School of Education accepts applications for all doctoral programs for the Fall semester only. The application deadline for the doctoral program in Educational Psychology is December 1st and all application materials must be submitted at that time, including official GRE general results.

Degree Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy

Students seeking the Ph.D. degree must complete a total of 91 semester hours of graduate credit beyond the master's degree, including up to 12 credits in dissertation research.

Students without adequate background in specific areas of the program may be required to complete additional credits beyond the minimum. Up to 24 graduate credits from a completed master's degree program may be applied toward the minimum requirements of 91 credit hours. This is normally done by accepting the master's degree required for admission.


Qualifying Examinations

At various points in their studies, doctoral students must pass both written and oral qualifying examinations. These examinations fall into two categories: the written comprehensive examination, and the oral defense of dissertation.

The comprehensive examination is administered at the completion of the first two years of course work for the degree. It will cover in-depth the major field. Candidates must pass this examination within five calendar years after the beginning of the first term during which credit that is counted toward the degree was earned.

The oral examination is based primarily on the candidate's field of research and related areas of study.

Students whose performance on the comprehensive examination is unsatisfactory may request reexamination after a minimum of one term. Failure to pass the second examination constitutes cause for removal from the program at the option of the Examining Committee and/or the Dean. Should the student fail the comprehensive exam twice, the accumulated course work may be applied to either the M.Ed. or the Advanced Certificate program in the School of Education if recommended by the Department.


Admission to Candidacy

Admission to graduate work is not tantamount to admission to candidacy. A student will be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree after: passing the written comprehensive examination; certification by the department of competency in English; passing the protfolio requirement; developing an approved dissertation proposal; securing Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for the dissertation research project; receiving the recommendation of the major department; securing approval of the Executive Committee of the School of Education and of the Graduate School.

Upon the student's admission to candidacy, the major department will appoint a committee of at least three members to supervise the studies upon which the student's dissertation will be based and will inform the Dean of the Graduate School of the personnel of the committee.

Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree is valid for not more than five calendar years. Any student whose candidacy has expired may make application to the department for readmission. The department in which the student is seeking the degree determines the conditions under which the applicant may be reinstated, subject to approval of the Executive Committees of the School of Education and the Graduate School.

Residence Requirements

A minimum of six (6) credit hours per semester constitutes full-time residency. A student must be in residence in the Graduate School for at least four (4) semesters in order to be recommended for a degree. Credits transferred from other accredited graduate institutions may not be used to meet the residency requirement.

Caution to Prospective Students

The Board of Trustees of Howard University on September 24, 1983, adopted the following policy statement regarding applications for admission: "Applicants seeking admission to Howard University are required to submit accurate and complete credentials and accurate and complete information requested by the University. Applicants who fail to do so shall be denied admission. Enrolled students who as applicants failed to submit accurate and complete credentials or accurate and complete information on their application for admission shall be subject to dismissal when the same is made known, regardless of classification."