Program Structure

The emphasis of the Learning and Instruction doctoral program is on understanding the practical application of the research on theories of instruction, teaching, and learning, and preparing doctoral candidates to contribute to future research in these areas.

Students can complete the doctoral program in five years or less, depending upon how many courses are taken a semester. A typical program of study over five years is described below.

See L&I and General Education course descriptions in the
School of Education section of the USF General Catalog


Five Methods Courses

  • Applied Statistics
  • Research Methods
  • Educational Measurement
  • Advanced Statistics
  • And at least one additional methods course

Nine L&I Content Courses

  • Psychological Foundations
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Seven additional courses amongst the L&I course offerings

Three Elective Courses
Courses may be taken from any department in the School of Education (including L&I)

Three Dissertation Courses

  • Proposal Seminar
  • Proposal Development
  • Research and Writing

First Year | Portfolio

The cohort of first year students takes a set of four required courses:

  • Applied Statistics;
  • Psychological Foundations of Education;
  • Research Methods;
  • Cognitive Psychology.

There are specified requirements for each course which are included in the students' qualifying portfolio. All students are conditionally admitted until they pass the portfolio review process. Once they pass the portfolio review, students are fully admitted into the L&I doctoral program.

Year Two

We require students to take Advanced Statistics in the fall of their second year and Educational and Psychological Measurement in the spring of their second year. Additional courses taken in the second year are arranged in consultation with the students' advisor.

Year Three

Students continue to take additional coursework which fulfills their individual needs and interests. Most students are ready to take the Dissertation Proposal Seminar in the spring of their third year.

Year Four

Students may complete their coursework in year four and enroll in Dissertation Proposal Development.

Year Five

Students complete the program by successfully defending their dissertation research in Dissertation Research and Writing. Many students are able to devote year five to working solely on their dissertation, but some students may still have one or two regular courses to complete.

L&I Doctoral Program Curriculum Map