PhD in International Education

Degree Requirements

The PhD in International Education requires the completion of a minimum of 54 credits and a dissertation: Foundations of Education (6 credits); Foundations in International Education (12 credits); International Education Doctoral Seminars (12 credits); Specialization in International Education (8-12credits); Area Studies (8-12 credits); Research Courses (6-12 credits); Readings and Dissertation Seminars (0-12 credits). Students who have an MA in International Education, may be eligible for advanced standing upon the recommendation of the student’s faculty adviser and the program director.

  • Program code: INTE

A. International Education Doctoral Seminars (12 credits, required)

Core International Education faculty take turns teaching this course.

  • INTE-GE 3097 or INTE-GE 3098 Content Seminar in International Education I (6)
  • INTE-GE 3801 or INTE-GE 3802 Research in International Education I  (6)

Regular participation in these seminars is expected beyond 4 semesters.

B. Core Courses in International Education (same introductory courses that the MA students take)  (12 credits, required)

  • INTE-GE 2803 Foundations of International Education (4 credits) 
  • INTE-GE 2023 Sociological and Anthropological Approaches to International Education (4 credits) 
  • INTE-GE 2025 Political Issues in International Education (4 credits) 

PhD students must complete all recommended readings in addition to those that are required. For PhD students that completed these courses as MA students, these requirements may be waived upon discretion of the program director and PhD adviser, provided that the student completes the recommended readings.

C. Departmental Doctoral Seminars (3 credits, required)

First-year doctoral students are required to take this one semester seminar that explores current research on a range of core topics related to education.

  • HMSS-GE 3011 Department Seminar I  (3 credits)

D. Specialized Research Methods (12 credits, required)

Students should develop competence in the research methods that they will use in their dissertation research. Faculty play a large role in directing individual mentees toward specific research courses and have their own individual specifications within these requirements. Both qualitative and quantitative methods sequences are housed in our department, but may be taught by faculty from other departments. Students prioritizing quantitative methods should take 4 courses in related methods, including for example, basic/intermediate/advanced statistics, causal inference, survey design, etc. and 1-2 courses in qualitative methods. Those prioritizing qualitative methods should take a minimum of 2 semesters of statistics, and 2 additional qualitative methods classes. Recommended courses are available on the website. 

E. Specialization in International Education (8-12 credits)

Each student may specialize in one of the following areas of concentration as a general pathway to help organize one’s courses. Recommended courses for each specialization are available on the website. The specialization is intended to help students frame their work for others; it does not appear on the IE PhD diploma.

  • Global Education
  • International Development Education/Education, Conflict, and Humanitarian Action
  • Cross Cultural Exchange and Training

F. Area Studies (8-12 credits optional)

Because we have few entering PhD students, coursework is typically tailored to the student, and advisers decide together with their doctoral students which electives will suit the student’s areas of interest. These may include courses in, for example, Political Science, Sociology, Philosophy, Economics, etc. as well as regional studies.

Students may choose to develop a regional concentration. Most area studies courses are offered in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Recommended courses are available on the website and should be selected with the student’s adviser.

G. Readings and Dissertation Proposal Seminars (0-12 credits, optional)

Students may elect to take these seminars in preparing for their comprehensive examinations, and writing the dissertation proposal. These seminars are taken after students have completed most of their coursework, and are conducted as independent studies with the student's dissertation chair. They can be taken for credit multiple times.

  • HMSS-GE 3002 Doctoral Seminar I  (3-6 credits)
  • HMSS-GE 3003 Doctoral Seminar II (3-6 credits)

H. Candidacy Examination

While completing coursework, students are known as “PhD students.”  Upon successful completion of coursework, written comprehensive exam, oral comprehensive exam, and proposal defense, they are known as “PhD candidates.” 

After completing most of their core course work, students should begin preparation for the candidacy examination. The candidacy examination has two parts -- a three-hour written comprehensive and a two-hour oral session. The written part focuses on the basic literature covering modernization theory, cultural identity, nationalism, globalization, and socialization and is largely based on the three core theory classes. The International Education Program faculty work together to write the exam questions. We encourage students to study together as a cohort and use and build on the notes that their colleagues developed in previous years. Most students choose to take their written exam by beginning of their 4th semester so that the material from the core theory classes is still fresh in their minds. The exam is offered on one single date in the fall or spring, scheduled at the request of the students in consultation with faculty. Faculty determine the final date for the exam.   

The oral examination focuses on key theoretical frameworks from the key discipline the student draws on (e.g., see disciplines below), major field of specialization in International Education (e.g., loosely described as Global Education, International Development Education, Conflict/Peace Education, or Cross Cultural Exchange and Training), research methods, and the area studies concentration.  Students must demonstrate competence in one of the following academic disciplines: anthropology, economics, history, philosophy, politics, or sociology. Students should use electives in their specialized field of international education and in their area studies concentration to build their theoretical knowledge to satisfy this requirement. Three professors conduct the oral examination representing expertise in, for example, the area studies concentration, disciplinary concentration, and research methods. Prior to taking the examination, each student must submit a list of books and articles for each part of the examination first, to her/his adviser, and second to the committee members for approval.

I. Dissertation Committee

When a student has successfully completed the candidacy examination and has chosen a topic for research, her/his adviser will help her/him identify two faculty members to serve on the sponsoring committee who will supervise the writing of the proposal and the dissertation. Although not required to be the same, these two members may be the same as the two selected for the oral examination. The chairperson of the committee is the student’s adviser. The adviser must be a full time faculty member of the International Education program unless there is a compelling reason for another choice. At least one committee member must come from outside the International Education Program; they may come from the department, elsewhere in Steinhart, NYU, or beyond. In most cases at least one of the members of the committee is a specialist in the country or region in which the student has conducted her/his research.

J. Dissertation Proposal

The dissertation proposal should be completed and defended ideally by the beginning of the second semester of the third year. We recommend this deadline since the proposal defense typically must be completed in order to apply for dissertation research grants and fellowships. The proposal review process requires the PhD student to work closely with her/his primary adviser and the two other dissertation committee members to move the proposal to its final state. Once the chair and committee have agreed that the proposal is ready for defense, the student distributes the final version to the committee (and to the two external readers if she/he and adviser wish). At the completion of a successful defense, the PhD student advances to candidacy (“ABD”). If Human Subjects (IRB) approval is required for the dissertation research, this paperwork should be submitted immediately after the proposal defense.

While preparing the dissertation students must enroll in a 1-credit course, HMSS-GE 3004, Dissertation Seminar III, to maintain matriculation; credits accumulated in this seminar do not count towards the completion of the degree.

K. Final Oral Defense

After submitting the dissertation each student will defend the document before an examining commission of five faculty, including the adviser and two sponsoring professors and two outside readers. The defense may include general areas of knowledge in the student's field of specialization as well as specific questions on the dissertation itself.

Please see the Doctoral Student Handbook developed by the Steinhardt Media, Culture, and Communications Department for additional general information about dissertation defense procedures. Although not all sections are applicable to our program, this document contains a good deal of useful information including detailed steps on the doctoral process as well as an overview of internal and external funding for doctoral students.