Doctoral Program | Kent State University

Doctoral Program

The Educational Psychology/Instructional Technology program at Kent State offers a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (Ph.D.) in Educational Psychology, with a Concentration in Instructional Technology. This program combines rigorous training in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, a strong background in a variety of different learning theories, and the instructional application of the latest forms of information and communication technologies.

It encourages its students to explore the wide variety of ways in which technology can facilitate learning and to articulate their findings so that practitioners can apply the latest developments in the field. If you are interested in reading about the entire process associated with obtaining a doctoral degree, you can download the college's PhD. Handbook.


Criteria for admissions can be found on the admissions page of this Website. Note that it is important to indicate that you want the Concentration for Instructional Technology when you apply for the Educational Psychology degree program, so it is clear that you intend to focus on this area (rather than mainly on Educational Psychology). Unfortunately, because of anti-terrorism laws established by the U.S. Homeland Security office, the Instructional Technology concentration is NOT offered to international students. These rules insist on international students taking 5 credits per semester of traditional face-to-face instruction as a way of supervising their activities. Almost all ITEC courses are now delivered online, so it is impossible for students to obtain sufficient face-to-face instruction to satisfy these requirements. However, note that the Educational Psychology Ph.D. program has few online courses and international students can apply to that program.


A minimum of 45 credit hours of coursework beyond the masters is required for the doctoral degree in Educational Psychology/Instructional Technology. This does not include the dissertation (an additional 30 hours). Note that some students' committee members may require more course credit hours than 45 for the degree, especially if the student entered the program without a strong background in the field of Instructional Technology. The specific coursework to be taken is established by completion of the student's official Program of Study (see section below, for more details).

For the Instructional Technology Concentration, the course requirements include:

Required Basic Research Courses (9 hrs.)

  • EVAL 75510 Statistics I for Educational Services
  • EVAL 85515 Quantitative Research
  • EVAL 85516 Qualitative Research

Required Advanced Research Courses (6 hrs.)

Choice of:

  • EVAL 85517 Advanced Quantitative Research or
  • EVAL 85518 Advanced Qualitative Research

Choice of:

  • EVAL 78716 Educational Statistics II or
  • EVAL 68807 Evaluation in Education

Required Educational Foundations Courses (3 hrs.)

  • EPSY 80090 Doctoral Residency Seminar
  • EPSY 89091 Seminar: College Teaching (Required for Teaching Assistants)

Required EPsy/ITEC Core (6 to 12 hrs.)

If not taken during Masters work:

  • EPSY 75524 Learning Theories
  • ITEC 77403 Instructional Design or ITEC 7742 Designing Online Courses 

Taken concurrently:

  • EPSY 77450 Psychological Principles of Education
  • ITEC 77450 Learning with Instructional Technologies

ITEC Concentration Electives (hours added to total 45 for all coursework)

  • ITEC 57413 Digital Video in Education
  • ITEC 77410 Simulation Games in Education
  • ITEC 77411 Designing Visuals for Instruction
  • ITEC 77417 Advanced Instructional Design
  • ITEC 77420 Researching Current Issues in Instructional Technology
  • ITEC 77425 Managing Technological Change
  • ITEC 77432 Designing Multimedia for Instruction
  • ITEC 77435 Virtual Reality
  • ITEC 77436 Distance Education
  • ITEC 77437 Web Development for Educators
  • ITEC 77438 Instructional Applications of the Internet
  • ITEC 77442 Designing Online Courses
  • ITEC 77444 Teaching Online Courses
  • ITEC 77449 Research in Online Learning
  • ITEC 77492 Advanced Practicum & Internship in Instructional Technology
  • ITEC 77496 Individual Investigation in Instructional Technology
  • ITEC 77498 Independent Research in Instructional Technology
  • Other Electives as approved by the Advisory Phase Committee

If specific courses were taken at the Masters level, then the committee should substitute others to bring the total course hours up to a minimum of 45. The Advisory Phase Committee can require more coursework beyond the 45 hours.

Program of Study

After a semester or two in the program, students need to form an committee and complete a Program of Study, which will indicate which courses the student intends to take. Accompanying the Program of Study should be a Doctoral Advisory Phase form, signed by all members of the committee and submitted to the graduate school. The advisory phase committee is comprised of two faculty from within the EPSY/ITEC program area. In planning the program of study, students should first review the Course Descriptions section of this Website. Clicking on course titles will download the syllabus, so students can see what each course covers. When a list of courses has been developed, students should then check the Schedule of Courses section of the Website and develop an overall plan for taking their courses, semester by semester. Students should also check the schedules for Educational Psychology and Evaluation & Measurement courses, so they can include them in their overall plan. Note that most EVAL courses are offered both online and face-to-face on different semesters, so plan accordingly.

Comprehensive Examination

At the completion of the student's coursework, he or she writes a comprehensive examination covering topics that the student has specialized in within educational psychology and instructional technology. The topics and format of the examination are worked out in consultation with the student's advisor and committee.

The options for the comprehensive exam include:

  • A two-day, four-hour-per-day exam in which you respond to four questions.
  • An eight-week exam in which you have two weeks each for four questions. Please note that the criteria for passing are much higher than for the more traditional test.
  • A portfolio, along with two take-home exam questions. The portfolio must be extensive and include deep reflections about the work that you include in it. Note: This option must be declared during the first semester of coursework.


After students pass the comprehensive examination,they must complete a dissertation. Students select three faculty members for a dissertation committee, which may or may not include members of the previous advisory committee. In addition to having two faculty from the EPSY/ITEC program, this committee must include a faculty member from outside the program area. The Dissertation Committee form must be signed by its members and submitted to the graduate school. This committee will guide the student through the dissertation process and ultimately decide when the study is an acceptable piece of completed research. The student must successfully defend the dissertation manuscript at an official defense meeting, after which the degree is awarded. Kent State dissertations (and proposals) must follow the American Psychological Association (APA) style of formatting. For assistance in formatting the dissertation, here is a link to the Guidelines for Preparation of Dissertations. To see dissertations completed by others, link to OhioLink's Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate students receiving appointments work closely with program area faculty in the design and delivery of instruction, the planning and implementation of research, and the preparation of reports and technical assistance to cooperating educational institutions and human services agencies. Download a GA application and email to Laurie Kiehl,