Degree Requirements

General Requirements

The PhD degree requires a minimum of 56 hours of course work plus a minimum of 30 hours of dissertation credit. Students with prior course work relevant to the PhD emphasis may be eligible for a reduction in the credit hour requirement. Students may apply coursework from other qualifying institutions toward their degree, typically not to exceed 12 hours.

Required Courses for all PhD Programs

  • EDUC 8210 Perspectives on Classrooms Teaching and Learning (fall)
  • EDUC 8220 Introduction to Educational Research and Social Policy (spring)
  • EDUC 8230 Quantitative Research Methods (fall)
  • EDUC 8240 Quantitative Research Methods II Education (spring)
  • EDUC 8250 Qualitative Research Methods (fall)
  • EDUC 8260 Qualitative Research Methods II (spring)
  • EDUC 8014 Doctoral Seminar in Multicultural Education (Fall of 2nd year)
  • EDUC 6XXX Specialty Seminars 

Language/Culture Requirement

All students must complete a two-part language/culture requirement. Part one consists of a seminar in multicultural education (EDUC 8014) taken fall semester of the second year. Part two consists of three distinct options to enhance linguistic/cultural understanding, from which students choose only one option. For additional information please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook.

Comprehensive Examination

A written comprehensive exam must be completed toward the end of the completion coursework. The examination will cover content of all work in the program. Candidates transferring coursework from other institutions for this program will be responsible for the same knowledge as those whose work has been taken entirely at the University of Colorado Boulder. Candidates must be registered for coursework (which includes enrollment in reading or independent study courses) or dissertation hours during the semester(s) in which they take the comprehensive exam.

Transfer of Credit Request Form

Scholarly Product Requirement

All doctoral students in the School are required to complete, at a minimum, one scholarly product, typically before taking comprehensive examinations; other research endeavors prior to the dissertation are desirable. Presentations at professional meetings, technical research reports, and published articles and book reviews are typical ways in which the requirement is satisfied.


All students are required to write and publicly defend a dissertation under the supervision of a faculty committee composed of a chair and four other members.

LSHD Requirements

Strand 1: Advanced Topics in Learning Sciences and Human Development
Twelve (12) semester hours selected with advisor's approval from the following:

  • EDUC 8135-3 Seminar on Research on Teaching
  • EDUC 8348-3 Seminar: Human Development (may be repeated for credit)
  • EDUC 8358-3 Seminar: Human Learning (may be repeated for credit)
  • EDUC 8368-3 Seminar: Instructional Psychology (may be repeated for credit)

Strand 2: Electives
Thirteen (13) semester hours of graduate-level courses, with advisor's approval. At least six (6) of these hours must be outside learning sciences and human development, and must be courses other than those used to satisfy requirements in Strands 1- 3. Note: These electives may be used to satisfy requirements toward the Institute for Cognitive Sciences certificate.

Each candidate is expected to participate, beyond course and program requirements, in the academic life of the university. Emphasis is on the candidate's growing independence in scholarship; annual evaluation of progress includes a review of general scholarly involvement as well as success in course work.

Degree Plan

PhD in Learning Sciences and Human Development Degree Plan