Teaching and Learning - Ph.D.

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What We Do

We are a department of educators and researchers who prepare the next generation of educational leaders, researchers, instructional designers, and teacher educators. Our Ph.D. program has a strong focus on diversity, equity, and interdisciplinarity, offering students the opportunity to pursue research in areas such as instructional interventions, including specialized instruction for students with disabilities; innovative use of technology; bi/multilingualism; multiliteracy; teacher preparation; family engagement, learning in community settings; and science, technology and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning. Our faculty express their commitment to improving educational achievement and equity through research, professional development, and collaborations with community partners.

Foundational Coursework

All TAL doctoral students take a set of foundational courses including Introduction to the Science of Learning, Introduction to Research, Teaching and Teacher Education, and Issues and Trends in Multicultural Education. In addition, students take at least 15 credits of coursework in research methods, selected from a range of options covering quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approach to design and data analysis.

Areas of Specialization

In addition to developing a shared foundation for understanding and investigating educational phenomena, our doctoral students select one of three areas of specialization: Language, Literacy, and Learning in Multilingual Settings (LLLMS); Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education; and Special Education (SPED). Students take four courses in their area of specialization and may also take courses in other areas.


Program Details

Applicants who have a Master’s degree in education or a related field may apply up to 30 credits from their graduate degree towards the  60 required credits of coursework. Students must also enroll in 12 dissertation credits. Our program is designed as a full-time, face-to-face program. Students typically complete their Ph.D. in 4 years, though some students may be able to complete all requirements in 3.

Qualified students are awarded a tuition scholarship for the full duration of their program. In addition, we seek to offer Graduate Student Assistantships to as many admitted students as possible. These Assistantships offer students a 9-month stipend which involves 20 hours per week of research experience, community engagement work, pre-service teacher supervision, and/or teaching.

Further information on coursework, program milestones, and supports is available in the TAL Ph.D. Doctoral Student Handbook, available on request from the TAL Ph.D. Program Director. Information on specific courses and a sample Program of Study is available in the University of Miami Course Bulletin.

Requirements for Admission

The following are required for consideration for admission to the Ph.D. Program in Teaching and Learning:

  • Undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Graduate grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Three letters of recommendation. At least two letters should include a specific evaluation of the candidate’s potential to engage in scholarly research. The individuals best suited to evaluate a candidate’s scholarly potential are usually former professors, academic advisors, or research supervisors.
  • The written statement of intent in the UM online application. The statement should describe how obtaining a Ph.D. in the candidate’s selected area of specialization fits with the candidate’s specific interests and career goals.
  • Recent (within 5 years) Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. This requirement cannot be waived. The Department does not have a minimum score for admission. Instead, an applicant’s GRE scores are considered as one indicator of academic competence. Faculty also consider the applicant’s background, stated goals, and letters of recommendation.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Graduate Record Examination. TOEFL scores are valid for two years after the test date.
  • A phone or online interview may be required. Applicants will be notified as appropriate. 

Additional factors affecting admission decisions include available space in the program and faculty advising commitments. Applicants are encouraged to contact faculty in their prospective area of specialization to discuss the match between the applicant’s interests and the faculty members’ areas of research. Previous experience in teaching and learning is highly desirable.


Frequently Asked Questions

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Program Contacts

Program Director

Ji Shen
Director, TAL Ph.D. Program
Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning
Merrick Building, 324-B

Application Process Questions

Graduate Studies Office

Admission Inquiries

Specialization in Special Education
Batya Elbaum

Specialization in Language and Literacy Learning in Multilingual Settings (LLLMS)
Matthew Deroo

Specialization in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Ji Shen