Ph.D. in Education, Concentration in Educational Psychology

VCU’s EMartinique Sealyducational Psychology program gave me the opportunity to work on exciting research projects, focused on supporting students’ motivation and learning in urban classrooms. I collaborated with so many great faculty, graduate students, and K12 educators. This was crucial to translate our theories and research to practice.” - Martinique Sealy, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Researcher at American University, Educational Psychology graduate/VCU Holmes Scholar

Designed for research-oriented doctoral students who want to promote the success of students in educational environments, the Ph.D. in education, concentration in educational psychology degree is ideal for students who want to specialize in achievement motivation and other related social processes.

Students in the program integrate theory and research in the areas of cognition, social psychology and motivation, assessment, educational policy and diversity to better study learning in schools or other educational settings. Graduates are well prepared to teach in educational psychology and related programs at the university level; as well as take leadership positions in state and local research and policy environments.

Doctoral students may be admitted with only a bachelor’s degree. It is expected that these students will have coursework related to educational psychology, research experience and/or academic writing experience.

Regardless of whether the student has a master’s degree or not, prerequisites will be determined by an analysis of the student’s transcript. All students who are admitted need to show competence in research methods in education and introductory social statistics. Students without the competencies will take up to two prerequisite classes for credit either at VCU, another institution or online.

Curriculum requirements

The Ph.D. in education, concentration in educational psychology requires a minimum of 60 total graduate credit hours:

Degree requirements for the Ph.D. in education, concentration in educational psychology »

Please keep in mind, however, that the exact course requirements may vary depending on when you matriculated into the program, so please consult your adviser or the program coordinator with any additional questions.



How to apply: Graduate application
Semester of entry: Summer or fall
Application deadline: Jan. 15
Additional materials:
Ph.D. Education-EdPsychology Handbook 2023_ADA [PDF]
Faculty listing: Foundations of Education
Research labs: 
Discourse and Learning Lab
Motivation in Context Research Lab
Caring Adult Relationships Everywhere (CARE) Lab
Center for Innovation in STEM Education (CISTEME)

Resources and Checklists

Application Checklist - Ph.D. Programs [PDF]


For more information about admission requirements, please consult our Ph.D. Education-EdPsychology Handbook 2023_ADA [PDF].


The VCU Holmes Scholars Program is a selective program that provides accepted doctoral students from historically underrepresented groups with resources and professional development to best position them for tenure track faculty positions in high (R2) and very high (R1) research universities. Our cross-disciplinary scholars create a network that leverages the collective and individual strengths of each member to maximize their VCU School of Education program. Learn more about how we live our values through the Holmes program!

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