Degree overview
The Ph.D. in PreK-12 education at the University of Maine is an innovative doctoral program designed to provide students with a cross-disciplinary understanding of educational issues. The unique dual-cohort model prepares future scholars, educational leaders, teacher-educators and policymakers to confront the complicated challenges in modern education, especially in rural settings. Our students are part of two cohorts: a discipline-based cohort in their area of specialization — educational leadership, literacy education, or prevention and intervention studies; and a cross-disciplinary cohort that works collaboratively to seek innovative solutions to everyday educational problems. This model emphasizes the benefits of team learning to show how professionals from different theoretical and practical backgrounds can address everyday problems faced by schools.

Careers in PreK-12 education
Our graduates are working as administrators, principals and teacher leaders at school districts in Maine and beyond. Individuals with a Ph.D. in PreK-12 education are also prepared for professorships at major research colleges and universities. In addition, our graduates have gone on to work for education policy organizations.

Program delivery
The Ph.D. in PreK-12 education requires 57 graduate credits beyond a master’s degree. Students will develop an initial program of study with their faculty advisor. Before enrolling in their fifth course, students must form a program committee consisting of three or more faculty members to finalize the program of study. The degree culminates with a qualifying paper/comprehensive exam. Program foundation include:

  • Educational foundation (minimum 12 credit hours): All students are required to enroll in a professional seminar course at the beginning of doctoral studies. After that, students may choose three additional courses from a menu of options focusing on the philosophical, psychological and social aspects of education.
  • Research foundation (minimum 15 credit hours): Includes a minimum of six credits in quantitative methods and six credits in qualitative methods. In addition, students must take at least one additional research course related to his or her professional or academic interests.
  • Professional core (minimum 15 credit hours): A series of courses in the student’s discipline area — educational leadership, literacy education, or prevention and intervention studies.
  • Research practicum (minimum 6 credit hours): In the fourth year of the program, each student in consultation with their advisor and program committee, will do a two semester research practicum specific to his or her area of specialization. This allows students to develop a literature review and implement field study in that area.
  • Dissertation (minimum of nine credits)

To apply
Admission to the Ph.D. in PreK-12 education program is based on several factors, including candidates’ past academic performance, future academic or research goals, as well as program resources. Candidates must posses a master’s degree and gain recommendation by faculty in the educational leadership, literacy education, and prevention and intervention studies programs. An interview may or may not be required. Prospective students are encouraged to submit applications to the University of Maine Graduate School by January 15 in order to receive priority consideration for fellowships and graduate assistant positions. The regular College of Education and Human Development application deadline is March 1. Application requirements:

  • UMaine Graduate School application
  • An essay (300-500 words) on academic and personal goals, including an special interest the candidate would like to pursue now or in the future
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • At least one letter of recommendation from a faculty member
  • Official transcripts
  • Graduate Record Examination scores
  • Interview, if required

Please contact the program coordinator in your specialization area for more information.

Educational Leadership: Richard Ackerman, Ed.D.
Literacy Education: Susan Bennett-Armistead, Ph.D.
Prevention and Intervention Studies: Jim Artesani, Ph.D.

Program faculty

Educational Leadership
Richard Ackerman, Professor
Cat Biddle, Assistant Professor
Ian Mette, Assistant Professor

Literacy Education
Susan Bennett-Armistead, Program Coordinator
Richard Kent, Associate Professor
Ken Martin, Lecturer
William “Dee” Nichols, Professor
Timothy Reagan, Dean and Professor of Education
Jane Wellman-Little, Lecturer

Prevention and Intervention Studies
Jim Artesani, Program Coordinator
Sid Mitchell, Associate Professor
Janet Spector, Associate Professor