Doctoral Programs Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

You have profound questions about teaching and human learning, questions that require research skills to answer. When you start your doctoral program in Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, you enter into a collaboration with education experts who share your passion for understanding the nature of learners, learning, teachers, and instruction across educational settings and diverse learner populations. You will work with TLTE faculty specialists to personalize a research-intensive program that meets your goals and interests.

TLTE offers two on-campus doctoral degrees:

  • Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy), which is appropriate if your goal is to add to the research base or reform educational theory
  • Ed.D. (Doctor of Education), which is appropriate if your primary interest is in application of theory to improve educational practice

Hear from our students:

Specialties in three areas are available:

  • Teaching, Curriculum, & Learning
  • Instructional Technology
  • Internet-Based Education

There are six Areas of Emphasis to choose from in TLTE:

  • Curriculum Studies, Teacher Preparation and Professional Development
  • Language, Literacy and Culture
  • Social Analysis, Educational Policy and Reform
  • STEM Education
  • Teaching and Learning with Technology
  • Inquiry & Research in Education

Welcome to our newest class of doctoral students! You can find out more by downloading our booklet.


  • University or college professor
  • Community educator
  • Curriculum Specialist
  • Curriculum developer and coordinator
  • Author of textbook series
  • Teacher Educator
  • Educational policy maker
  • Research team leader
  • Master teacher
  • Professional Developer

Application to this program

Applications for Ph.D. are due by January 15 for a Fall term start.

Applications for the Ed.D. are due by October 1 for the Spring term start every two years - next cohort begins in January 2020. 

We have three specializations in our Doctoral programs: Teaching, Curriculum, and Learning; Instructional Technology; and Internet-Based Education. We seek to create a community of scholars who will effect educational progress in local, regional and national settings. If you desire to become part of this community, you must be intellectually able and commit to a multi-faceted examination of educational issues. 

To apply, you will need to complete an application file for the TLTE Graduate Studies Office. Students need to meet the following criteria:

1.  Undergraduate GPA: minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

2.  Graduate GPA: minimum of 3.75 on a 4.0 scale.
3.  Test scores: a minimum of 50th percentile on each of the Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical sections of the GRE taken in the past five years

  • For international students: a TOEFL score of 79; all subscores must be at least in the Intermediate/Fair range. If the IELTS is taken in place of the TOEFL, all subscores must be a minimum of 6.5. 

4.  Professional experience: a minimum of two years experience as an educator in formal or informal settings.

5.  Fit between the applicant's goals/interests and the department's ability to address those goals/interests.

6.  Evidence of writing abilities.

No one criterion is more important than another. The application file is reviewed as a total package. 

Application Process

1. Complete the UNL Graduate Studies online application. Indicate in Part 3 (Admission Objective) the major department code for your desired doctoral program EDUS (TCL), EDUS (IT), or EDUS (IBE).

2. Request the registrar of each college or university you have attended to send an official transcript directly to the UNL Office of Graduate Studies, 1100 Seaton Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588-0619.

3. Request Educational Testing Services (ETS) to send GRE and TOEFL (international students) directly to UNL Graduate Studies.

4.  Complete the online department application in GAMES. Be sure to attach the following materials to your online application:

  • Curriculum Vitae/Resumé

  • Personal Statement: An autobiographical statement (suggested length: 3-5 pages). Discuss your professional career to date, highlighting experience, philosophies, goals, service (leadership, productivity and contributions to your profession), and the role of research in your area of specialization. In addition, address your reasons for wanting a doctorate and what you are looking for in a doctoral mentor.

  • Evidence of academic writing ability, (e.g., articles, grants, or papers from a graduate course).

  • Three letters of recommendation from indiviuals who can attest to your academic abilities. Once you login to GAMES, you will be able to provide contact information for each of your letter of reference writers. Once you have provided a valid email, you will be able to click a button for each reference to have an email request sent to them. This email will contain a secure link with which they can upload a letter. There is no need for hard-copies, in fact, it is preferred that they do not send hard-copies. 

Only completed and submitted applications will be reviewed. Following the review process, you will be informed by email of the admission decision.