The Ph.D. in Educational Psychology instructs candidates in the theories and practices in Educational Psychology and the Learning Sciences and prepares them with the depth of knowledge and sophistication of methodology necessary for original research contributions in those fields.

The Ph.D. in Educational Psychology requires a minimum of 72 semester hours of graduate credit, and students work closely with an advisor to define a program of study that matches their goals and interests. Coursework includes areas within educational psychology and the learning sciences, including courses in cognition, development, learning theory, instructional design, learning environments, and learning technologies. Other learning opportunities include a research practicum, a minor focus area, and a dissertation in the student’s area of interest.

Application Deadlines

  • January 15 (Fall semester)

Late applications may not be considered for funding.

Admission Requirements

Applicants typically are expected to meet the following admission criteria:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a Regionally Accredited American College or University, or an equivalent degree from another country as determined by the Office of Admissions.
  • Undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 or better on a four-point scale.
  • Graduate GPA or 3.00 or better on a four-point scale.
  • Minimum Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores of 150 (verbal) and 152 (quantitative) on the General Test. Successful applicants usually score higher. NOTE: The GRE requirement has been suspended for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle only. Please note that the GRE is not required for graduate assistantships, teaching assistantships, or research assistantships within the College of Education, nor is it required for Graduate College fellowships. The GRE is a requirement for Special Graduate Assistantships (SGAs) offered through the Iowa Measurement and Research Foundation.
  • English Proficiency Requirements (international applicants)

Applicants who do not meet all admission requirements may be granted conditional admission on the basis of other evidence, such as high grade-point average, strong academic preparation, and highly supportive recommendations. Conditional admission is rare.

Application Procedure

  1. Create an application account to begin the application process.
  2. Submit the online application to the Graduate College and pay the $60 application fee by credit card ($100 for international applicants).
  3. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive email instructions on how to establish your HawkID and password which you will use to access MyUI, our online service center for students and applicants.
  4. You will use your Admissions Profile on MyUI to upload required supplemental materials.

Required Supplemental Materials

  • Copies of official transcripts of all previous college work, graduate and undergraduate.
  • NOTE: The GRE requirement has been suspended for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle only. Official GRE scores (UI Institutional code: 6681)
  • Official TOEFL scores may be required for some non-native speakers of English
  • A statement of purpose, including a statement of your personal career objectives and how a graduate degree in Educational Psychology will help you achieve those objectives.
  • Three letters of recommendation*

* You will be asked to give the contact information of your recommenders, including their email, on your Admissions Profile. The recommender will then get an email with instructions on how to upload the recommendation letter and/or form.


Application questions can be directed to: Sue Cline in the Office of Student Services   319/335-5260,

We look forward to receiving your application!

Additional Information

  • Review of applications begins February 1, when applicants who wish to be considered for fellowships and other awards are screened. Admission decisions are announced approximately six weeks after the application deadline.
  • Applicants who accept admission or financial aid and do not relinquish either one on or before April 15 may not solicit or accept another offer. Offers made by the program after April 15 include the provision that the offer is void if the applicant has accepted and continues to hold a previous offer from another program listed in the American Psychological Association publication Graduate Study in Psychology and Associated Fields. This policy is consistent with standards set by the association's Board of Educational Affairs.

The Ph.D. in educational psychology requires a minimum of 72 s.h. of graduate credit. Students develop a plan of study in consultation with their advisors. Some of the required courses listed below encompass substantive areas within educational psychology. Other required courses include a research practicum, in which students assist with and eventually design and carry out original research, and several courses in measurement and statistics.

Some requirements may be waived for students who begin the Ph.D. program with a master's degree or with course work from another program.

Course requirements are as follows.

Required Courses

All of these (or equivalents):

  • PSQF 6200 Educational Psychology, 3 s.h.
  • PSQF 6205 Design of Instruction, 3 s.h.
  • PSQF 6281 Cognitive Theories of Learning, 3 s.h
  • PSQF 6230 Research in Educational Psychology  (≥ 3)
  • PSQF 7493 Ph.D. Thesis in Educational Psychology (≥ 10)

Core Courses

  • (15 s.h. minimum; selection dependent on student's area of specialization)
  • PSQF 7204 Foundations of the Learning Sciences, 3 s.h.
  • PSQF 6206 Advanced Child Development, 3 s.h.
  • PSQF 6275 Constructivism and the Design of Instruction, 3 s.h.
  • PSQF 6214 Design of Learning Environments, 3 s.h.
  • PSQF 6203 Tools and External Representations in Learning Processes, 3 s.h.
  • PSQF 6208 Digital Media and Learning, 3 s.h.
  • PSQF 6215 Web-based Learning, 3 s.h.
  • PSQF 7331 Special Topics in Educational Psychology (topics vary, may be taken more than once if EP content)

Required Research Methods Courses

Both of these or equivalents:

  • PSQF 6220 Quantitative Educational Research Methods, 3 s.h.
  • PSFQ 7331 Qualitative Educational Research Methods, 3 s.h.

Required Statistics Courses

At least two of the following or equivalent:

  • PSQF 6243 Intermediate Statistical Methods, 4 s.h.
  • PSQF 6244 Correlation and Regression, 4 s.h.
  • PSQF 6246 Design of Experiments, 4 s.h.
  • PSQF 6247 Nonparametric Statistical Methods, 3 s.h.
  • PSQF 6252 Introduction to Multivariate Statistical Methods, 3 s.h.

Minor Area Requirement

  • Minimum 12 s.h. that constitute a coherent program of coursework outside of the EP program

Other Electives

Up to 9 s.h.; others may be included given consultation with advisor:

  • PSQF 6217 Seminar in College Teaching, 3 s.h.
  • PSQF 6245 Application of Multivariate Statistical Techniques, 4 s.h.
  • PSQF 6257 Educational Measurement & Evaluation, 3 s.h.
  • PSQF 6265 Program Evaluation, 3 s.h.
  • PSQF 7331 Research Writing in Education, 3 s.h.
  • PSQF 7331 Conducting Research Online, 3 s.h.
  • Advanced Qualitative course (consult with advisor), 3. s.h.
  • Mixed Methods course (consult with advisor), 3 s.h.

Minor Area

Students must complete a minimum of 12 s.h. that constitute a coherent program of coursework outside educational psychology and beyond the courses listed above. The minor area may be from a foundation discipline such as mathematics education, educational philosophy, or program evaluation. Courses must be numbered 5000 or above, can span across departments and colleges, and must be consistent with a plan approved by a student's advisor.

Second-Year Research Project

As part of their participation in PSQF:6230 Research in Educational Psychology, Ph.D. students are required to complete a research project of modest scope under the direction of a faculty member. They must present the work in both oral and written form to the program's faculty and students. First-year Ph.D. students may assist second-year students with data collection and other research activities, and students may design and conduct projects in collaboration with other students. The written report must be completed by the end of the student's second academic year in the program. Students may re-enroll in this course beyond their second year.

Students who enter the Ph.D. program holding an M.A. or M.S. with an acceptable empirical thesis are exempt from PSQF:6230 and the project.

Comprehensive Examination

The Ph.D. comprehensive examination emphasizes competence and depth in one or more narrowly defined areas of research and theory. Students choose from three options in consultation with their advisor and with the approval of the examining committee, which is made up of five faculty members and is not necessarily the same as the dissertation committee. The options are a review article, an extended research activity, or a traditional comprehensive examination. For details of each option's requirements, contact the Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations.

Application Deadline
  • January 15 (Fall semester)

Late applications may not be considered for funding.

Application Questions