Doctor of Philosophy


Teacher Education


The new Teaching, Learning and Development (TLD) track in the Education PhD program is designed to prepare the next generation of highly competent educational scholars and leaders who wish to pursue careers in teacher education or related areas. This highly interdisciplinary program focuses on developing the qualifications of professionals who want to pursue careers in the professoriate and serve in leadership positions in national, state, local educational agencies or other settings requiring strong research preparation. Programs of study can be designed for students who seek faculty positions in a research university or research-oriented education positions in business or industry.  Students will be immersed in experiences that promote transformational teaching, research, scholarship and community engagement throughout the program.

  • Doctoral students engage with interdisciplinary, societal and educational contexts, hone their disciplinary skills in various situations, become experts in their discipline of choice, competent in research, and acquire knowledge and skills to conduct research and add to their profession.
  • The TLD faculty actively mentor the doctoral students in their research, teaching, supervision, community engagement, and professional development.
  • The TLD faculty and doctoral students are very active in service to the education profession and local and global communities.
  • Through attendance and presenting at professional conferences, doctoral students become recognized leaders for their service and research.
  • The TLD program hosts several programs (topics determined in collaboration with students).  Doctoral students help to coordinate these events and often present their research to attendees.


  • The Teaching, Learning, and Development track in the Education Ph.D. program requires a minimum of 63 credit hours beyond the master's degree. Students must complete 24 credit hours of Ph.D. in Education core courses, 12 credit hours of TLD track core courses, 12 credit hours of specialization courses (Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Reading Education, Science Education/STEM, and Social Sciences Education), and 15 credit hours of dissertation. All students must also complete the candidacy examination.
  • The doctoral program is a full-time "day program," uses a cohort model, and is structured to be completed in three years (eight to nine semesters). Doctoral students learn together, present at conferences, support each other and form bonds that last throughout their careers.
  • Each academic year, five to six highly qualified students (i.e., those who have completed a master's degree in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Reading Education, Science Education/STEM, Social Sciences Education or related area and have obtained relevant experience) are selected to join the doctoral program. Our goal is to secure funding to support students' journey throughout the doctoral program.

Unique Characteristics

In addition to students becoming experts in a discipline, through the interdisciplinary core program requirements, students will:

  • Explore complex issues and develop knowledge about the interconnectedness of disciplines that impact the 0-20 educational ecosystem (i.e., Teaching, Learning, and Development).
  • Identify issues impacting the 0 -20 educational ecosystem and understand the role of various disciplines when processing complex problems and offering solutions.
  • Explore how intersections of single disciplines are impacted by societal influences and determine how the interconnectedness of single disciplines influences change.
  • Engage in interdisciplinary and collaborative exercises that accentuate the intersectionality of single disciplines.
  • Engage in disciplinary research that informs new knowledge and scholarship.
  • Engage in discipline-specific teaching, research, scholarship, and internship.

Faculty Research

Faculty members in the College of Community Innovation and Education engage in impactful research and have successfully obtained funding for research projects.

Specialization Areas

Early Childhood Development and Education

The Early Childhood Development and Education specialization embraces an interdisciplinary approach to policy, teacher education and child advocacy in a diverse global community. Doctoral students will become scholars in innovative early childhood practices. They will be prepared to assume roles as leaders, advocates and research scholars focusing on curriculum, teacher preparation, student learning and child development.

Faculty Contact: Judith N. Levin, Ed.D.

Elementary Education

The Elementary Education specialization is inherently interdisciplinary. For example, doctoral students focus on several content areas, such as math and science (STEM), mathematics and art education, social justice, and children's literature. Likewise, many faculty members will contribute to Ph.D. students' success in this specialization.

Faculty Contact: Sherron Killingsworth Roberts, Ed.D.

Interdisciplinary Track

Students with an educational background in education may elect the IDS option. Under the supervision of faculty members, students will construct a program of study that aligns with their career and research interests. The 12-hour core courses allow students to form an interdisciplinary understanding of social and educational issues that impact education.

Faculty Contact: Elizabeth Dooley, Ed.D.

Reading Education

The Reading Education specialization is an interdisciplinary program that allows doctoral students to focus on reading and literacy across grade levels, content areas, contexts and focus areas.

Faculty Contact: Vassilki (Vicky) Zygouris-Coe, Ph.D.

Science/STEM Education

Doctoral students in the Science/STEM Education specialization may engage in research activities with interdisciplinary faculty, experience internships and interact with K-12 STEM Education faculty.

Faculty Contact: Su Gao, Ph.D.

Social Science Education

The Social Science Education specialization prepares social science educators for successful careers in research and teaching. This program will assist students in providing careers options in preparing social science teachers, teaching postsecondary social science (history, political science, economics, etc.), and conducting research activities in social science education. Doctoral students in the track engage in research activities with an interdisciplinary faculty, experience internships and interact with various social science educators and social science experts. Students are mentored by experienced and successful university social science education faculty throughout this program.

Faculty Contact: William Russell, Ph.D.

Student Success

In general, UCF doctoral students complete their degree having had opportunities such as:

  • Publishing (or "in press") one to two manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Co-teaching at least two to three core education graduate courses.
  • Supervising undergraduate or master's level students in their practicum or internships.
  • Presenting their research at local, state, regional, national and international conferences.
  • Serving in leadership positions in the School of Teacher Education and the College of Community Innovation and Education and local, state, regional and national associations.
  • Being nominated for highly prestigious awards and receiving national awards in areas of research and leadership.
  • Being nominated for and selected for the Order of Pegasus, McNair Fellows, and National Holmes Scholars.
  • Providing expertise and community services in the metropolitan Orlando community and beyond.
  • Securing faculty positions at nationally recognized colleges and universities.