UConn’s Doctoral Degree Programs in Education

Five people in doctorate robes pose for a picture

Earn Your Ph.D. or Ed.D. at the Neag School of Education

Transform the educational landscape by earning your Ph.D. or Ed.D. at one of the top 25 public graduate schools of education in the country, according to the U.S. News & World Report.

The Neag School of Education stands out as a significant contributor to instructional and research excellence at the University of Connecticut, one of the nation’s leading public education institutions, with academic departments dedicated to educational leadership, educational psychology, and curriculum and instruction. Our mission is to improve educational and social systems to be more effective, equitable, and just for all.

Our Doctoral Degree Programs 

All three of the Neag School’s departments offer opportunities to earn your doctorate in a variety of concentrations.  

Research Areas of Expertise

Our faculty bring a wealth of knowledge and research expertise in such areas as education policy, educational psychology, educational technology, sport management, and teacher education. Their collective research endeavors address issues as diverse as addressing the opportunity gap, shaping school policy, serving gifted and talented students, and improving educational, social, and behavioral outcomes for youth nationwide.

How to Apply to UConn’s Doctoral Programs in Education

Prospective doctoral students must meet the admission criteria of both the UConn Graduate School and the specific Neag School doctoral program to which they are applying. 

Ph.D. applications are due by December 1 for admission the following Fall. Applicants who submit by December 1 will be considered for funding opportunities (graduate assistantships, teaching assistantships). Applications are welcome after December 1 but may not be eligible for funding.

The next matriculation year for the Ed.D. Program will be Fall 2025. Admissions will occur in Spring 2025.

GRE scores are optional for several of the Neag School’s Ph.D. concentrations and the Ed.D. degree, but are required for some Ph.D. concentrations. Please review the application requirements for each department and concentration before submitting your application through the Graduate School: 

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most doctoral students in the Neag School support their graduate studies through graduate assistantships (details below). Doctoral students may receive financial support from a variety of sources, and we recommend doctoral students research all available opportunities, including the ones shared below, that will best suit their needs. In addition, the Neag School offers competitive scholarships for doctoral students at different stages in their programs.

Before Enrolling

Financial Aid

The University of Connecticut offers a variety of financial aid options to support students along their doctoral journey, in addition to state and federal assistance.

Graduate Teaching and Research Assistantships

Most doctoral students support their graduate study through graduate assistantships, which can involve teaching (teaching assistantships) and/or research (research assistantships). In fact, in 2022-2023 all Ph.D. students at the Neag School who were eligible for assistantships received one. Assistantships of 10 hours per week (the equivalent of teaching one class a semester) or more provide coverage for tuition, a small stipend, and benefits. The graduate student union is a helpful source of information regarding work rules and compensation for such positions and their associated benefits. 

Teaching Assistantships 

Teaching Assistantships can involve having sole responsibility for a class or supporting a faculty member who is teaching a large class. Teaching an undergraduate course requires having a master’s degree; teaching an MA/MS course requires having a Ph.D. or equivalent, relevant experience. These assistantships are assigned and overseen by the department in which the course is offered. For more information about teaching assistantship possibilities, speak to your advisor or department chair.

Research Assistantships 

Many doctoral students are hired to work on faculty research projects that are funded by outside agencies or internal UConn grants. While many times faculty have their advisees work with them on projects, there are opportunities for students to seek projects with other faculty and in accordance with graduate student union work parameters. Because grants are received on a rolling basis, depending on the funding source, it pays to be proactive in seeking out such opportunities. Speaking to faculty who do research that is relevant to your experience and interests is important, as is consulting with your advisor about any grants of which they are aware and would be a good fit for your interests. Open positions are sometimes posted in the Neag Student News, so it is also a good idea to read that regularly. 

UConn Jorgenson and Harriott Fellowships

(Students must indicate interest in being considered for these fellowships when applying to a graduate program). 

The Jorgensen Fellowship (JF) and the Harriott Fellowship (HF) are university-wide fellowships available to outstanding young scholars admitted to doctoral programs at the University of Connecticut. Nominees for HF and JF awards are expected to demonstrate a commitment to enhancing diversity either within their field of study or more generally in all areas of higher education. These fellowships are open to international students. 

National Organizations

There are also funding opportunities available through national organizations. Students would pursue these funding opportunities on their own. Here is one example: 

The National Science Foundation often has programs that support doctoral study in STEM-related fields. Currently, The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is designed to help ensure the quality, vitality, and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing full-time research-based master's and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) or in STEM education. The GRFP provides three years of support over a five-year fellowship period for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant research achievements in STEM or STEM education. NSF actively encourages women, persons who are members of groups historically underrepresented in STEM, persons with disabilities, veterans, and undergraduate seniors to apply. Click on the link above for additional information. 

Once Enrolled

The University sponsors competitions for two kinds of additional support: conference participation awards and a summer doctoral fellowship. Departments within the Neag School also sponsor opportunities to award additional support to students for a variety of activities.  

As one gets ready to pursue dissertation research, there are also competitive fellowships that one might apply to, including those listed below. 

Neag School Scholarships

There are a number of small internal scholarships available that can provide funding for incidental expenses, such as fees, books, etc. Applications are invited every January. 

Holmes Scholars Program

In Fall 2020, UConn’s Neag School of Education was selected to join the more than 50 higher education institutions nationwide currently sponsoring the Holmes Scholars Program. The Neag School has pledged to cover the costs of sending each of its Holmes Scholars to the AACTE’s annual conference, as well as the two-day preconference exclusive to Holmes Scholars, for a minimum of three years. In addition, Holmes Scholars are funded to attend AACTE's Washington Week one time. 

Established in 1991 by the Holmes Group and supported by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the Holmes Scholars Program seeks to provide mentorship, peer support, professional development, and rich scholarly experiences to students from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds who are pursuing graduate degrees in education at AACTE member institutions. Since its inception, more than 700 Holmes Scholars have benefited from taking part in the program. 

UConn Human Rights Institute Dissertation Fellowships

In an effort to support graduate student dissertations with a human rights focus at UConn, the Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute funds at least one dissertation research fellowship and at least one dissertation writing fellowship of up to $5,000 each. The purpose of the research fellowship is to support primary research activities, including but not limited to: archival research, participant observation, interview, data collection, data set construction, ethnography, textual criticism, digital archiving, and historical preservation. The writing fellowship should be used to support the student during the time in which a majority of the dissertation is expected to be written. 

Gavin Dissertation Completion Award

This competitive award was established through the UConn Foundation by UConn alumna Dr. Kathy Gavin ’97 Ph.D., a retired associate professor in residence in mathematics, providing funding to doctoral students who are engaged in dissertation research and who have successfully defended their dissertation proposals, with the expectation that recipients anticipate defending their dissertation by end of the academic year. The award may be used to support anticipated dissertation research expenses. 

Spencer Foundation/National Academy of Education Dissertation Fellowship

The Spencer/NAE Dissertation Fellowship Program seeks to encourage a new generation of scholars from a wide range of disciplines and professional fields to undertake research relevant to the improvement of education. These $27,500 fellowships support individuals whose dissertations show potential for bringing fresh and constructive perspectives to the history, theory, analysis, or practice of formal or informal education anywhere in the world. This highly competitive program aims to identify the most talented researchers conducting dissertation research related to education. 

American Association of University Women American Fellowship

The purpose of the American Dissertation Fellowship is to offset a scholar’s living expenses while she completes her dissertation. The fellowship must be used for the final year of writing the dissertation. 

Applicants must have completed all coursework, passed all preliminary examinations, and received approval for their research proposals or plans by the preceding November. Students holding fellowships for writing a dissertation in the year prior to the AAUW fellowships year are not eligible. Open to applicants in all fields of study. Scholars engaged in science, technology, engineering and math fields or those researching gender issues are especially encouraged to apply. 

AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship Program in Education Research

The AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship in Education Research is open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are members of racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in higher education (e.g., African Americans, Alaskan Natives, American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders). Applicants can come from graduate programs and departments in education research, the humanities, or social or behavioral science disciplinary or interdisciplinary fields, such as economics, history, political science, psychology, public policy, or sociology. Eligible graduate students will be at the writing stage of their dissertation by the beginning of the fellowship. Fellows are required to provide proof of advancement to candidacy at the beginning of the award period. Applicants must work full-time on their dissertations and course requirements. 

AERA Dissertation Grants

Dissertation Grants are available for advanced doctoral students and are intended to support the student while analyzing data and writing the doctoral dissertation. Proposals are encouraged from the full range of education research fields and other fields and disciplines engaged in education-related research, including economics, political science, psychology, sociology, demography, statistics, public policy, and psychometrics. Applicants for this one-year, nonrenewable award should be advanced doctoral students at the dissertation writing stage, usually the last year of study. Applicants may be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents enrolled in a doctoral program. Non-U.S. citizens enrolled in a doctoral program at an U.S. institution are also eligible to apply. Underrepresented racial and ethnic minority researchers as well as women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. 

What Students Are Saying

Luz Burgos López,
Educational Leadership

Luis Ferreira,
Educational Psychology

Hannah Cooke,
Curriculum and Instruction