Combined Program in Education and Psychology
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy in Education and Psychology
This is a full-time, interdisciplinary doctoral program offered under the auspices of the Horace B. Rackham Graduate School. The program is focused on psychological approaches to studying and addressing issues relevant to education and improving education. In this program, students and faculty work together as a community of scholars in research projects focused on processes in development, learning, and motivation in the context of schools, families, and communities.
Because the program is supported through a collaboration of the School of Education and the Department of Psychology in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, students have opportunities to work with faculty members in both the Department of Psychology and the School of Education. In addition, consistent with the program's interdisciplinary focus, students have opportunities to connect with faculty in other academic units and research institutes at the University of Michigan, such as the School of Public Health Institute for Social Research and the Center for Human Growth and Development.
(Note: not all relevant faculty are listed)
The major areas of research are listed below with some of the relevant affiliated faculty:
Cognitive and Learning Sciences
Our program focuses on processes related to cognition and instruction in school content areas, particularly literacy, math, and science, as well as the cognitive processes involved in teaching and learning. This area blends a focus on individuals’ cognition with a focus on social learning and sociocultural theories. Much work includes the development and use of innovative technologies (e.g., working memory training interventions, online teacher learning environments, video games), to foster cognition and learning and to study teaching and learning. In addition, there is a focus on cognition and learning in non typically-developing children, including individuals with ADHD and dyslexia.
(Faculty: Davis, Duke, Fishman, Keating, King, Miller, Morrison, Palincsar, Seifert, Shah, Songer).
Motivation and Self-Regulated Learning
Our program focuses on the nature of and development of learning-related motivation both within and outside of school contexts, drawing on theoretical frameworks in social, personality, cognitive, and developmental psychology. Our program emphasis on self-regulatory processes emphasizes understanding of links between motivation and cognitive development. Also, emphasis is placed on the individual, peer, and classroom characteristics that influence motivation, including cultural, cross-cultural and international comparative perspectives. This focus includes processes at multiple units of analysis – at the levels of students/learners and teachers, at classroom and school levels, and at peer group and family levels.
(Faculty: K. Cortina, Jagers, Karabenick, Morrison, Ryan)
Optimal Development & Resilience
Our program considers processes related to the promotion of positive academic, social, and psychological development across the life-span. We take a strengths-based approach, that is, a focus on identifying the individual-level psychological attributes, assets, and competencies, as well as the family, community, cultural, and school/institutional factors that lead to positive academic engagement, pro-social behaviors, and social and psychological well-being among children and youth. In addition, our program focuses on both the individual assets and contextual/cultural resources that serve compensatory and protective roles among children and youth experiencing risk factors for optimal development. Emphasis is placed on increasing understanding of how some individuals considered “at risk”-- socially, cognitively, economically, and/or psychologically -- overcome the odds to show positive academic, social, and psychological adaptation outcomes. Finally, this focus also includes the use of theory and research to inform development and/or evaluation of school and community based programs that support positive child/youth development.
(Faculty: Ceballo, Chavous, K. Cortina, Davis-Kean, Jagers, Keating, Morrison, O’Connor, Rivas-Drake, Rowley, Ryan, Schulenberg, Sellers, Weiland, Zimmerman)
Self & Identity Processes
Another program emphasis is on the development of the self and identity within and across contexts and over the life-span. For instance, our faculty are engaged in work examining general and domain-specific self-concept, how the self-concept develops over time, as well as contextual influences on self-concept (through family, peers, schools, communities, and culture). Our work in this emphasis area also considers the development of personal and social identities (e.g., academic, gender, race, ethnicity, social class identities) in the context of families, classrooms, schools, and communities. We focus on identity processes leading to various human achievement outcomes across time, for instance, task engagement and performance, achievement motivation attitudes and beliefs, academic persistence, and academic choices and decision-making. We consider the roles of individuals’ social identities in achievement more broadly and in specific academic domains, e.g., in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, in literacy and language arts, in social studies, among others. Our focus on links among personal and social identities and human achievement also include psychosocial achievement outcomes such as social competence, socio-emotional development, civic engagement, and psychological well-being.
(Faculty: Ceballo, Chavous, Jagers, Rivas-Drake)
Across each of the four general areas, the program takes a contextual perspective, considering the influences of different classrooms, schools, families, communities, and cultures - within the U.S. and cross-nationally. Doing so allows us to more effectively understand variation in learning, achievement, and adaptation across individuals, as well as across and within different social and cultural groups and to identify practices and strategies for improving learning outcomes for all students.
The program follows an apprenticeship model of graduate training and mentoring where students work closely their academic advisors to develop their scholarly interests and research capabilities. Students are required to be actively involved in their faculty mentor’s program of research from the very first semester of graduate school until they complete their degree. In addition, students take a sequence of courses in both psychology and education in their first two to three years of the program. There are three general groups of required courses, psychology, education, and methodology courses. Psychology course options include core courses in developmental, cognitive, social, and personality and social contexts psychology areas. Education course options include foundations/history of education, as well as educational psychology courses in cognition and instruction; learning, thinking, and problem solving; motivation; human development and schooling; and social and personality psychology perspectives in education. Methodology courses include specialized training in statistics as well as other quantitative or qualitative methods course options. Students work with their faculty advisors to select the sequence of courses that best fits their training needs and professional goals. In addition, all students are required to have experience teaching at the undergraduate level in during their doctoral program.
This doctoral program is designed to prepare students in psychologically-focused educational research and in a diversity of research methods, including both quantitative and qualitative methods. Upon completion of the dual-doctorate in education and psychology, graduates take research and teaching positions in academic settings (in education, psychology, human development, and other related departments/units) and in non-academic settings, such as state and national agencies focused on educational policy and practices.
Note: We do not offer a school psychology or counseling psychology program.
- Rosario Ceballo, program affiliate
- Tabbye M. Chavous
- Kai Schnabel Cortina
- Pamela Davis-Kean, program affiliate
- Nell K. Duke
- Jacquelynne S. Eccles
- Barry J. Fishman
- Robert Jagers
- Jerome Johnston, program affiliate
- Daniel Keating, program affiliate
- Patricia M. King
- Marty Maehr, program affiliate
- Ram Mahalingam, program affiliate
- Wilbert McKeachie, program affiliate
- Kevin F. Miller
- Elizabeth Birr Moje
- Frederick J. Morrison
- Carla O'Connor
- Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar
- Deborah Rivas-Drake
- Stephanie J. Rowley
- Allison M. Ryan
- John Schulenberg, program affiliate
- Colleen Seifert, program affiliate
- Robert Sellers
- Priti Shah, program affiliate
- Marc Zimmerman, program affiliate
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In Education and
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610 E. University Avenue, Room 1406
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259