PhD Program Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Organization, Information, and Learning Sciences is a research degree. It is designed to develop the candidate’s competencies to design, conduct, and report original theoretical and applied research in the selected area of study. The Program of Studies and the dissertation reflect an emphasis on theoretical concepts, inquiry skills, and original research.

An OILS PhD candidate must complete an approved program of studies of no less than 60 graduate credit hours of course work plus 18 credit hours of dissertation. All candidates complete the required core courses (18 credit hours), concentration courses (24 credit hours) and research courses (18 credit hours).

Candidates for the PhD are required to demonstrate inquiry skills appropriate to conducting scholarly research. The identification and certification of the inquiry skills are completed by the student’s Program of Studies Committee on Studies prior to the candidate’s starting work on a dissertation.

The dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy must demonstrate an ability to conduct independent research and competence in scholarly exposition. Both traditional and non-traditional (hybrid) dissertation options are accepted. Students should choose an option in consultation with their committee members. It should present original investigation at an advanced level, of a significant problem and should provide the basis for a publishable contribution to the research literature of the major field. A non-traditional (hybrid) dissertation consists of a collection of related articles prepared and/or submitted for publication or already published. Each dissertation must include “Introduction” and “Conclusion” sections. The student must meet the general manuscript format criteria set forth in the UNM Catalog/Web site on manuscript guidelines. Students must adhere to copyright policies for obtaining permission to use a previously published manuscript.

Program of Studies Planning

The PhD degree in Organization, Information, and Learning Sciences includes a minimum 60 course work credit hours plus 18 dissertation hours. Students must meet with their advisor in their first semester to begin planning their program of studies.

See the Program of Studies Planning Grid available below and download the form under Current Students > Forms for full details on completing your Program of Studies.

Doctoral Core (18 credit hours)

OILS 570 must be taken in the first semester of coursework. OILS 541 and (OILS 543 or OILS 546/OILS 547)  must be taken in the first year, as these courses are prerequisites to many other courses. Students who have already taken OILS 541 and/or OILS 543 (OILS 546/OILS 547), or equivalent courses may transfer in that credit.

Course Name

Course Title

Credit Hours

OILS 541

The Adult Learner


OILS 543


OILS 546


OILS 547

Instructional Design


Framing Designs of Learning


Prototyping Designs for Learning






OILS 570

Research Foundation in Social and Learning Sciences


OILS 601

Advanced Instructional Design


OILS 690

Dissertation Proposal Seminar


OILS 696

Research Practicum


Doctoral Concentration (24 credit hours)

The courses selected are chosen in concert with the student’s advisor and reflect the student’s particular programmatic interest. For example, if students are particularly interested in the use of multimedia and distance learning technologies, they choose a set of courses that help them develop these areas of expertise. Likewise, if students are interested in training and organization development knowledge and skills, they choose courses that develop these areas of expertise. Students must take 9 credit hours of doctoral level seminar courses to be selected from the following 3-credit hour seminars.

Course Name

Course Title

Credit Hours

OILS 600

Science, Technology & Society


OILS 608

Advanced Seminar in Organizational and Program Evaluation


OILS 635

Research in Distance Education

Note: this course carries prerequisites (OILS 530, 543, 544 and 541 or EDUC 500) that may be taken as part of the core and concentration


OILS 639

Advanced Technology Seminar


OILS 641

Advanced Seminar in Organizational Development and Consulting


OILS 661

Transformational Learning


OILS 642

Advanced Seminar in Leadership


Six credit hours must be taken outside of OILS to develop an interdisciplinary lens on the concentration.

An additional nine credit hours of graduate coursework in OILS may include 500-level courses taken to meet prerequisites for 600-level courses, other 500- and 600-level OILS coursework, and OILS 698 (Directed Readings in Organization, Information, and Learning Sciences).

Research Requirement (18 credit hours)

Students must complete at least one quantitative and one qualitative course; these courses must be approved by the advisor. Students must enroll in repeatable OILS 604 for at least 9 credit hours.  Different method courses, such as quantitative methods, qualitative methods, design-based research, learning analytics, and social network anlaysis, will be offered under OILS 604.  Students should take three different OILS 604 classes.

Course Name

Course Title

Credit Hours

OILS 604

Current Methods for the Study of Learning

3 x 3 = 9

Students should take at least two advanced research courses, based on the qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods focus of the dissertation, such as from the list below, but other courses may be approved by the student’s Program of Studies Committee Chairperson.

Course Name

Course Title

Credit Hours

CJ 609

Mixed Methods Research Designs


EDPY 606

Applied Multivariate Statistics


EDPY 607

Structural Equation Modeling

EDPY 608Multilevel Modeling3

EDPY 651

Advanced Seminar in Quantitative Educational Research


NURS 613

Mixed Methods Research


LLSS 605

Advanced Qualitative Research Methods


LLSS 606

Case Study Research Methods


LLSS 623

Ethnographic Research


STAT 565

Stochastic Processes with Applications


STAT 577

Introduction to Bayesian Modeling


STAT 585 or 586

Nonparametric and Robust Methods


STAT 590

Statistical Computing


Students can complete the research method requirements by take additional three credit hours of method classes.  Students are encouraged to take an additional advanced method course, or take three 1-credit hour of OILS 604 to complete this requirement.

Transfer Credit Hours

Students who have previously completed graduate coursework outside OILS from UNM may request to transfer in up to 6 of those credit hours for the doctoral concentration requirement of taking courses outside OILS. The final decision of which courses are accepted is made by the student’s Program of Studies Committee. For more information on the transfer of courses, see Transfer Credit in the Graduate Program section of this Catalog.

Questions about the PhD Program?


PhD Program Contact

Victor Law
OILS Program Director
(505) 277-2565


242 Zimmerman Library

Ph.D. Forms

Comprehensive Exam Guidelines

Mid-point review policies and procedures

Mid-point review form

Program of Study Planning Grid

Thesis Committee Form