Ph.D. Frequently Asked Questions

What does this degree prepare me to do?

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is a research degree and is granted on evidence of general proficiency, distinctive attainment in Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in Teachers, Schools, and Society, and particularly on ability for independent investigation as demonstrated in a dissertation presenting original research with a high degree of literary skill.

The Ph.D. is designed to prepare educational researchers for faculty positions in higher education. These positions are often in elementary, middle, or secondary teacher education programs in major universities, and research interests of graduates frequently focus on issues that impact teachers (both preservice and inservice), schools, and education systems, as well as complex societal forces that shape those systems. The Ph.D. program focuses on knowledge of theory, research, and practice; students are engaged in ongoing research apprenticeships with the faculty and other students. This is a full-time, face-to-face program based on the University of Florida campus. Part-time students may be considered but to be marketable for a faculty position, you must be able to make time to teach and do research with faculty members.

How much will it cost?

Participants will be responsible for tuition, books (price varies), travel, housing, and application fees (including GRE testing).  Students can anticipate taking a minimum of 60 credit hours for program completion. The minimum requirements for a doctoral degree are 90 credits past the baccalaureate degree.

As with all universities and colleges, tuition rates are rising.  We cannot anticipate future UF tuition costs but our state legislature seems to value keeping our state universities affordable. To gain the most accurate estimates on tuition costs, we recommend you explore the University of Florida Financial Affairs webpage at

Are there opportunities for funding?

We make every attempt to support students through graduate assistantships, fellowships, and/or scholarships.

Graduate Assistantships are available in teaching, supervision, and/or research. The number of assistantships available varies each year and new admits must be qualified for the open position responsibilities (primarily teaching and supervising in our teacher preparation programs) to be considered for this support. Half-time graduate assistantships typically cover 9 credits of tuition per semester plus a stipend, and GAs are eligible for UF health insurance.

In addition, the most competitive applicants will be encouraged to apply for the UF Graduate School Fellowship Program which carries four years of full funding in the form of a tuition waiver and a nationally competitive stipend.  The purpose of the fellowships is to prepare the next generation of researchers in the area of Teachers, Schools, and Society. Graduate Fellows typically receive research assignments with some teaching throughout their doctoral programs. The University expects fellowship recipients to demonstrate high standards of academic achievement and participation in university life. The fellowships are very competitive and the number of fellowships awarded varies from year to year.

To be considered for the fellowship and assistantships, you should complete the assistantship application form found in the admission packet.

The College of Education offers scholarships to qualified students. Please consult the scholarships website for additional information.

We encourage all students to consult the UF Financial Aid Office to see what funding opportunities/sources are available. That information can be found at:

When should I apply?

We have moved to a cohort model and only admit once per year for a fall semester start. The deadline to apply is December 15 (to be competitive for Fellowships) and March 15 (for all other applicants) in order to give us time to review applications for a fall start.

Because we want to maintain a small teacher-student ratio and maintain strong advising relationships, we limit our admissions each fall and give first priority to those who apply by the deadlines. However, if space allows, we will consider students who apply past the deadline. We might also consider admitting students for spring term, but funding is not likely to be available since those decisions are made early.

Can I teach/work while earning this degree?

This is primarily a full-time doctoral program where most students work as graduate teaching or research assistants during their doctoral programs. These experiences are important in order to be hired as a faculty member upon graduation. However, we do consider part-time students with the understanding that they also should make time to teach and do research during the program.

How long will it take?

Although the time to degree completion varies from individual to individual, the average time it takes doctoral students to finish their Ph.D. is 4 full calendar years. This is an intense program where you are working closely with researchers throughout your doctoral program.  To be prepared for the highly competitive university job market, it requires you to have significant research experiences, publications, conference presentations, and college teaching experiences.  The TSS Ph.D. specialization will enable you to be prepared for the university job market.

Will work from my master’s degree count toward my doctoral program?

Your doctoral advisor will go over your record to determine if any of your master’s degree work can count toward your doctoral program.  All coursework must directly relate to and contribute to your degree in Curriculum & Instruction with a specialization in TSS.  Work that does not relate to this area will not be counted.  Upon completion of this review of your transcript, your doctoral advisor will make a request to the UF Graduate School requesting the official transfer of up to 30 credits into your doctoral program.  The UF Graduate School makes the final decision regarding the transfer of graduate work and this does not occur until a student is fully admitted into a formal doctoral program.