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The doctorate of philosophy (PhD) in elementary education is designed to meet the needs of advanced graduate students who seek professor roles in higher education. Our PhD students are dedicated to furthering the profession in academic settings through their advanced research skills, teaching, and service.

In this flexible, fully online program, candidates can specialize in a variety of areas within elementary education, such as literacy and reading, early childhood education, and more. As one of the few fully online PhD programs in the Midwest, our program is customizable to meet each candidate's specific goals. Many of our graduates teach at the postsecondary or college level. Others have leadership positions, such as administrators, policymakers, and education specialists.

Students who have completed or will complete the online master's in elementary education (MAE in elementary education) can apply up to 27 credits from their master’s degree toward the PhD requirements as a head start in their course work.

If your career goal is to take on a leadership position in the elementary education field, the 100% online EdD in Elementary Education can help you achieve that goal.

Program Contacts

Becky Druetzler
Lead Student Success Specialist

Dr. Nicole Martin
Associate Professor of Elementary Education

Program Benefits

Ball State University has a long history and excellent reputation as a Teachers College. You'll develop in-depth knowledge in your area of interest through program activities that include in-service training, research and publication, college teaching, curriculum development, clinical or laboratory work, and graduate courses in your major and related subjects.

We have an accomplished faculty who have received recognition for their work on the national and international levels. Our small class sizes mean you will consistently interact with your professors, allowing for mentoring and careful monitoring of your progress.

All of our courses are offered 100 percent online. The flexibility of our online format gives you the convenience to complete weekly course work at a time and place that best fit into your work, family, and extracurricular schedules. Many of our students are busy school professionals who continue working full-time while pursuing their degree. Students can choose from three start dates – Fall, Spring, or Summer – to help accommodate their schedules.

Course Requirements

The doctorate program consists of 91-97 graduate credits, of which at least 48 credits must be completed at Ball State University. The program includes a 40-credit (minimum) major (of which 10 credits are for the dissertation). Additionally, candidates must choose cognate fields of either two 15-credit (minimum) cognates or one 24-credit (minimum) cognate. Candidates must also complete a 10-credit (minimum) dissertation research project.

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National Accreditation

The Teachers College is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Learn more.

Basic Required Courses (14 credits)

  • EDPS 641 Statistical Methods in Educational and Psychological Research (3 credits)
  • EDPS 642 Intermediate Statistics (3 credits)
  • ID 705 Research Colloquium (2 credits)

Behavior Studies: Choose One Course

  • EDPS 600 Advanced Educational Psychology: Learning (3 credits)
  • EDPS 603 Psychology of Human Development (3 credits)
  • EDPS 627 Child Development (3 credits)

Humanistic Studies: Choose One Course

  • EDFO 631 Philosophy of Education (3 credits)
  • EDFO 641 History of American Education (3 credits)
  • EDFO 651 Educational Sociology (3 credits)


EDPS 640 Methodology of Educational and Psychological Research, or its equivalent, is a prerequisite for the doctoral program. Graduate students who enter without this credit, must meet the requirement as a deficiency rather than as part of the program.

Areas of Specialization

PhD candidates will complete 30 credits of course work in an area of specialization. Students determine courses for their specialization with their doctoral committees. Candidates will select one of the three following areas of specialization:

  • Elementary Education (EDEL)
  • Early Childhood Education (ECYF)
  • Literacy/Reading Education (EDRD)

Cognate Area

PhD candidates will choose either a 24-credit research cognate or two 15-credit cognate fields (one of the 15-credit cognate areas will be in the field of research, while the other can be in an area of your interest). The 24-credit research cognate must include a minimum of 12 Ball State credits, and the 15-credit cognates must each include a minimum of nine Ball State credits.

*PhD candidates must meet the following research cognate requirements:

  • a minimum of two quantitative research courses
  • a minimum of two qualitative research courses
  • additional research courses approved by the committee

Additional Requirements

  • Doctoral Seminar in Elementary Education (10 credits)
  • EDHI 710 Advanced Research Seminar in Higher Education (3 credits)
  • Dissertation (10 credits)

For a complete list of courses and their descriptions, see the course catalog.

View Catalog

Federal Employees Pay In-State Tuition

Ball State has joined the Federal Academic Alliance and is offering reduced tuition rates for all eligible, non-Indiana resident Federal Government Employees (civil servants), spouses, dependents, and retirees who enroll in online graduate-level programs and courses through Ball State’s Teachers College. Learn more.

Ready to Apply?

Are you interested in pursuing this degree? Then you will need to meet our admissions criteria and apply.

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Students from Other States

Ball State is authorized by the U.S. Department of Education to accept online students from all U.S. states. However, if you are considering a program that leads to professional licensure, some states may have additional regulations. Review our state authorization website if you live outside of Indiana and contact us if you have questions.

More Information

For additional information about the doctoral program, please fill out the online information form, or reach out by email or phone to program advisor Becky Druetzler.

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