The College of Education and Human Development offers a PhD in Education with focus areas in Educational Leadership, Higher Education, Literacy Education, Prevention and Intervention Studies, Special Education, and STEM Education. PLEASE NOTE: some concentrations are not currently accepting applications.

Educational Leadership

The PhD program in Educational Leadership is for experienced educational leaders looking to stretch themselves professionally and academically and is designed to equip students with the skills and insights necessary to understand organizational dynamics and leadership in an increasingly complex world. Coursework is collaborative and takes place within our unique dual-cohort PhD in PreK-12 Education program, helping develop and strengthen students’ knowledge and skills as educators, critical thinkers, and researchers. Applications are not currently being accepted. 

Higher Education

The doctoral program in higher education prepares ethical, visionary, informed and competent programmatic and institutional leaders in increasingly diverse and technologically advanced colleges and universities. The degree provides mid-career professionals with the theoretical and practical frameworks to understand colleges and universities as complex organizations within the American social context, including foundations in leadership, law and policy, socio-cultural identity differences/diversity, ethical professional practice, historical context, research, and technological competence. Students develop advanced research skills to explore critical questions related to these areas through coursework, evaluating existing scholarship, and by conducting original research. This program can be completed via distance education.

Literacy Education

The doctoral program in literacy education focuses on theoretical research traditions, historical perspectives, and diverse epistemologies and methodologies that frame the study of literacy in varied settings, with emphasis on the distinct needs of rural areas. Through coursework, collaborative research and the opportunity to publish and present research findings, students develop the skills and strategies to answer their own questions related to literacy education. The program’s hallmarks include its selectivity, small size and close mentoring by nationally recognized faculty. Enrollment is limited to no more than 12 students, to ensure quality and close relationships with faculty. We prepare doctoral students to be literacy leaders and advocates in their communities. Applications are not currently being accepted. 

Prevention and Intervention Studies

Prevention and intervention studies is a concentration within the PhD in PreK-12 Education program. The goal of prevention and intervention studies is to increase positive academic and social-behavioral outcomes for PreK-12 children and their families by focusing on issues related to risk, resilience, prevention, and intervention. Doctoral students study and conduct research on risk and protective influences on development, as well as evidence-based interventions to promote academic achievement and positive social behaviors in school. The program is designed for mid-career professionals, including special educators, classroom teachers, curriculum coordinators, administrators and counselors who are committed to the goal of improving outcomes for students who are at-risk for academic or social-behavioral difficulties. This program may be of particular interest to individuals involved with design, implementation or evaluation of response to intervention in school, or early childhood settings. Applications are not currently being accepted.

Special Education

The Special Education Ph.D. will prepare special education personnel to effectively work in leadership positions and to teach in higher education and contribute to special education teacher preparation. The program will provide education doctoral students with theoretical knowledge and research skills to contribute to the special education knowledge base and cross-train the next generation of professionals in multi-disciplinary educational research to support special education teacher education programs.

STEM Education

The STEM Education Ph.D. is an interdisciplinary degree program for those who have an interest in improving the quality of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM)  education through research. The concentration pulls from STEM education faculty associated with COEHD and the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center) and prepares people for faculty positions in STEM education research. Application deadline: Completed applications that are received by January 6 will receive full consideration for admissions and assistantship funding.

Degrees offered: PhD

Program Format: On Campus, Online

Application deadline: December 1 (Higher Education) / January 6 for priority funding (STEM Education) / April 1, fall only (Special Education)

Test Required: None

Contact: Jo-Ellen Carr / Sarah Howorth (Special Education)

Contact Email: /

Program Website: Education