The Educational Research program focuses on research methodology and prepares scholars to critically engage in educational research and evaluation, develop appropriate and innovative research designs, and contribute conceptually sound analyses to the overlapping fields of education, the social sciences, and the health sciences.  The strength of our program centers around a core of collaborative faculty and prominent scholars who remain dedicated to the development and application of dynamic research methodologies situated within contemporary conceptual frameworks.  Areas of specialization within our degree program include qualitative methods, quantitative methods, mixed-methodology, psychometrics, and evaluation.

Admission Requirements

The doctoral program in Educational Research requires successful admission to graduate study within the Graduate School, a statement of purpose and letters of recommendation consistent with goals of the program, GRE score of 300 or above, and a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.  Prospective students are encouraged to complete their applications by the priority application deadline of December 15th. Applicants who submit their materials prior to December 15th will receive priority consideration for graduate assistantships and other forms of funding. Applications received after the 12/15 date will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

Application Process

  1. Complete the Application Form.
  2. Pay the application fee. The application fee is $65 for U.S. citizens and permanent residents and $80 for international students. Please note that application fees are non-refundable. The application fee is waived for the following groups:
    • Veterans and current members of the US military (please email your DD 214 or current assignment orders to gradschool@ua.edu).
    • Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program students (please email gradschool@ua.edu for more details).
    • University of Alabama undergraduates applying to a graduate program in the same subject area. To qualify for this application fee waiver a student must have no time break between the undergraduate and graduate program and have an overall GPA of 3.0 or greater.
    • Applicants who have previously enrolled in Graduate School at The University of Alabama.
  3. Within 48 hours of completing steps 1 and 2 you will receive an email with your Campus Wide Identification (CWID) number. It is VERY important that you keep this number somewhere safe.
  4. Submit supporting documents and check application status by selecting Manage Documents.

Program Requirements

The Educational Research program consists of 18 hours of core courses and a minimum of 12 hours in a specialization.   A specialization could be qualitative methods, program evaluation, assessment/measurement or quantitative methods. The doctoral program also requires a minimum of 12 hours of foundations. A minimum of 48 is required by the Graduate School of which only six may be transferred in from another university.  Incoming students with an earned master’s degree may transfer in up to 24 hours of course credit with approval.  An additional 24 hours of dissertation research is required.

Required Core Courses (18 hours)

  • BER 500 Introduction to Educational Research (unless an equivalent to BER 500 was taken on a M.A. degree)
  • BER 540 Quantitative Research I
  • BER 558 Introduction to Psychometrics
  • BER 600 Quantitative Research Methods
  • BER 631 Inquiry as Interpretation: Qualitative I
  • BER 660 Introduction to Program Evaluation
  • BER 687 Field Work in Educational Research OR BER 689 Practicum in Educational Research

Specialization Courses (12 hours minimum)

  • Any additional BER 600 level courses

Foundations(12 hours)

  • BEF History and/or Philosophy of Education
  • 3 additional BEF courses

Other Requirements

  1. Obtain a grade of A or B in each of the core courses in Educational Research
  2. Produce a product of a research or evaluation effort (e.g., presentation of a paper to a professional society; article accepted for publication; assuming major responsibility for writing the final research or evaluation
    report for a grant, etc.)
  3. Plan Ph.D. program with Program Chair and Program Committee
  4. Pass First Year Review after 15 hours of Educational Research courses
  5. Pass written comprehensive examinations
  6. Pass oral examinations
  7. Pass oral defense of dissertation proposal to be admitted into Ph.D. candidacy
  8. Be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy
  9. Complete dissertation
  10. Successfully defend the dissertation

First Year Review

Screening will be done after a student has taken 15 hours of course work in Educational Research. Students are required to submit: a listing of courses taken and grades obtained in these courses, a writing sample, a statement of goals and expectations regarding their Ph.D. Program, statement of professional aspirations, and a draft of his/her Program Plan of Study. Materials should be submitted to the Educational Research faculty care of the Program Chairperson. Once the faculty have reviewed these materials, they will make recommendations regarding the student’s continuing their Program of Study.

Prerequisites for Taking the Comprehensive Examination in Educational Research

Educational Research Comps Process

Examinations are offered in the fall and spring semesters. To be eligible to take the comprehensive major examination for the Doctor of Philosophy degree, a student must have completed: all required Educational Research Core Courses, all area of specialization courses and practicums or field work.

The Educational Research Program’s comprehensive examination is designed to assess the development of the student’s competencies and skills according to the following criteria:

  1. Receive a passing mark on the written comprehensive examination. The written examination may be either take-home or sit-down. The exam will be configured for each student by the student’s program committee chairperson with contributions from the rest of the program committee. The result is forwarded to the Educational Research coordinator.
  2. Pass an oral examination, when deemed necessary by the student’s program committee chairperson, in which the candidate will be provided by the program committee with an opportunity to elaborate on the above written examination, and the program committee may ask questions covering any aspect of the student’s program.

Graduate Courses in Educational Research

Course NumberSpecialty AreaCourse TitleSpecial Notation
BER 500ALLIntroduction to Educational ResearchMaster’s and Ed.S. Students Only
BER 540QTQuantitative Research I
BER 550PSEvaluation of Classroom Learning
BER 558PSIntroduction to PsychometricsPrerequisite BER 540
BER 600ALLResearch Methods in EducationDoctoral Students Only
BER 603QTSurvey Research in Education
BER 630QLCase Study Research Methods
BER 631QLInquiry as Interpretation: Qualitative I
BER 632QLReflexiveness and Resistance in Research Representation: Qualitative IIBER 631
BER 633QLEthics and Aesthetics Of Meaning Making: Qualitative IIIBER 631, 632
BER 640QTQuantitative Research IIPrerequisites BER 540
BER 641QTMultivariate Quantitative MethodsPrerequisites BER 640
BER 642QTAdvanced Regression MethodsPrerequisites BER 640
BER 645QTAdvanced Experimental DesignPrerequisites BER 640
BER 646QTStructural Equation ModelingPrerequisites BER 641 or BER 642
BER 658PSPsychometric Theory and PracticePrerequisites BER 540, 558
BER 660EVEvaluation I: Theory and Practice
BER 661EVEvaluation II: Adv. Theories & ApplicationPrerequisite BER 660
BER 665MMMixed MethodsPrerequisite BER 540, BER 631
BER 673AllSeminar in Educational ResearchMay be taken multiple times depending upon the speciality area.
BER 672AllMentored Teaching in Educational Research Methodology
BER 673AllSeminar in Educational Research
BER 687AllField Work in Educational Research
BER 688AllInternship in Educational Research
BER 689AllPracticum in Educational Research
BER 690AllReadings in Educational Research
BER 695AllSpecial Topics in Educational ResearchMay be taken multiple times depending upon the speciality area.
BER 698AllResearch Not Related to Dissertation
BER 699AllDissertation Research
BER 634QLNarrative InquiryPrerequisite BER 631
BER 635QLThe Material Turn in Qualitative ResearchPrerequisite BER 631
BER 636QLQualitative InterviewingPrerequisite BER 631
BER 637QLArts-Based Research  Prerequisite BER 631

Special Area Code

  • PS = Psychometrics
  • EV = Evaluation
  • QL = Qualitative Research
  • MM = Mixed Methods
  • QT = Quantitative Research