URI/RIC Joint Ph.D. in Education

The Joint Ph.D. program with Rhode Island College is no longer accepting applications and will officially close when current students graduate. Prospective students interested in a doctoral degree in education can learn about the new URI Ph.D. program in Education which will begin in fall 2024.


The Ph.D. in Education program offers reform-minded professionals a unique way to advance their research knowledge and skills, and to address educational problems in a variety of settings. Drawing on the resources of two strong institutions, this collaborative program has been designed with a specific focus and a crucial mission: to prepare individuals who seek to advance their research knowledge and skills in order to create and support positive change in diverse educational settings.

Our Ph.D. students benefit from working with faculty from the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College, who offer their scholarly expertise to one or more of these three program strands:

  • The Teaching, Learning and Development in PreK-12 Contexts strand examines innovative, critical, and culturally responsive practices and policies that support the development of educators and learners while promoting equity, access, and excellence in a range of formal and informal educational settings. Students will develop the knowledge and skills to employ both qualitative and quantitative research methods to build theories, design practices, and/or inform policies that strengthen learning and teaching across the disciplines. Graduates will assume roles as university faculty, researchers, and educational leaders.
  • The Adult Learning, Professional Development and Higher Education strand examines theories and best practices that support adult learning and development at the individual, community, organizational and policy levels. Students will develop the knowledge and skills to employ both qualitative and quantitative research methods in order to study social processes, equitable practices, and educational policies that strengthen the teaching and learning of adults. Graduates will assume roles as educational leaders who develop, facilitate, and manage programs for those in the military, health care, literacy, workforce, and higher education contexts.
  • The Education Policy, Analysis, and Evaluation strand examines the social, historical, and economic foundations of education policy as well as the critical problems affecting education in formal and informal settings. Students will develop the knowledge and skills to employ quantitative and qualitative research methods with the goal of promoting equity and excellence across different contexts. Graduates will apply their acquired knowledge and abilities in a variety of academic, legislative, or non-profit professional settings at the state, national, and international levels.

As a Ph.D. in Education graduate, you will be part of an exceptional professional network, addressing educational issues in public and private educational settings from pre-kindergarten through high school, undergraduate to graduate higher education, and in various adult education settings.

Student Cohorts

To capitalize on the strengths of active professionals, the Ph.D. program’s innovative cohort structure is based on groups of students who travel through the program together. These cohorts provide a community of fellow-scholars, who support each other’s efforts and contribute substantially to each other’s growth.

Part-Time or Full-Time Schedule

To accommodate the schedules of working professionals, all required courses begin at 4:00 p.m. or later. This class schedule enables doctoral students to maintain their current positions and to relate their ongoing experience to their coursework. The typical part-time Ph.D. student course load is 6-7 credit hours in most fall, spring, and summer terms.