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 10 hours.


In your first year as a REM student, you will take foundational courses in quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as “big picture” courses that focus on perspectives of classroom teaching and learning, issues in educational policy, and democracy, diversity and social justice. Beyond this sequence of core doctoral courses, you will take advanced courses taught by REM faculty on topics in psychometrics, applied statistics, causal inference, program evaluation and qualitative inquiry. You are also expected and encouraged to take courses from other faculty in and outside the School of Education that focus on topics such as econometrics, classroom assessment, cognitive psychology, philosophy, and policy analysis. REM coursework

All students must complete a minimum of 56 hours of course work credit plus a minimum of an additional 30 hours of dissertation credit. A typical graduate level course is worth 3-4 credits (3 credits with no lab, 4 credits with a lab). Taking three courses per semester would accumulate 56 hours of course credit by the end of the third year.

Although the first year of the doctoral program can be tightly scripted in terms of required courses, some students may choose to take on an additional course each semester in consultation with their advisor. The schedule for the remaining semesters can be tailored to fit the needs and interests of each student. Many of the courses described below are meant to give an indication for possible course-taking trajectories. You are encouraged to take the initiative in finding graduate-level courses that best match their interests.

Required School of Education Core Courses

EDUC 8210: Perspectives on Classroom Teaching and Learning
EDUC 8250: Qualitative Research Methods I
EDUC 8230: Quantitative Research Methods I
EDUC 8220: Introduction to Educational Research and Social Policy
EDUC 8260: Qualitative Research Methods II
EDUC 8240: Quantitative Research Methods II
Course that focuses on issues relevant to democracy, diversity and social justice in education
Specialty Seminar (Weekly REM Seminars)

REM Courses

EDUC 7396: Categorical Data Analysis
EDUC 7456: Multilevel Modeling
EDUC 8710: Measurement in Survey Research
EDUC 8720: Advanced Topics in Measurement
EDUC 7386: Program Evaluation
EDUC 7326: Causal Inference

Quantitative Methods Courses Outside the School of Education

The REM Program oversees for the CU campus a Certificate Program in Quantitative Methods for Behavioral Sciences, which is designed to strengthen interdepartmental links and communication among social and human science departments at CU Boulder addressing quantitative research methodology and statistical analysis. It also serves to increase the visibility of and promote courses in quantitative research methods across departments. Doctoral students may apply for the certificate by completing pre-approved courses both within and outside the School of Education (one may also petition for other courses not listed). Examples of pre-approved courses recently offered outside the School of Education.

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.

Degree Plan

PhD Research and Evaluation Methodology Degree Plan