Doctor of Philosophy in Organization, Information, and Learning Sciences

The 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 learning sciences, eLearning, organizational learning and development, instructional technology, and human performance technology.  The Program of Study and the Dissertation reflect an emphasis on theoretical concepts, inquiry skills, and original research.

General Expectations & Requirements

The Program of Study and the Dissertation shall reflect greater emphasis on theoretical concepts, inquiry skills, and original research. Doctoral study is intended to be a stimulating and demanding intellectual experience. Emphasis is placed upon excellence of intellectual, analytical, and conceptual achievements applied effectively to professional situations. Graduates are expected to become leaders in the education and training fields through the application of research, knowledge, and critical thinking skills.

The Doctorate is a degree representing broad scholarly attainments, a deep grasp of a field of study and expertise in the conceiving, conducting, and reporting of individual research. As such, its attainment is not merely a matter of meeting requirements. Thus, the requirements described on this page should be viewed only as a minimal formal context in which the student is expected to grow to the professional stature denoted by the Doctoral Degree.

How Much Work?

Full-time students may take 3-4 classes per semester, and they may finish all the coursework around 3 years.  Dissertation work for full-time students takes a least 1 year to complete.

Part-time students may take 2 classes per semester, and they may finish all the coursework around 5 years.  Dissertation work for part-time students usually takes 1 1/2 years or more.  

Financial Aid

The OILS Program offers teaching and graduate assistantships for some strong PhD students.  The assistantships usually involve assisting faculty to conduct research or teach a class.  They are usually available for 10-20 hours of work per week. Tuition waivers may be awarded for the semester(s) when services assistantships are awarded. These funding opportunities are highly competitive, and high academic standards should be met for consideration.





A Master's degree


Although the program does not require any pre-requisites, students who are interested in the doctoral program may take the following two foundation courses prior their admission.  Those two courses are part of the 60-hour coursework requirements.

  1. OILS 546: Framing Designs of Learning, AND OILS 547: Prototyping Designs for Learning OR OILS 543: Instructional Design (formerly OLIT 501)
  2. OILS 541: The Adult Learner (formerly OLIT 561)



60 hours of coursework is required (including the transferable coursework).   Details of the coursework requirements are shown the the Program of Study.

Please note that most of the courses at the doctoral level are Face-to-Face.

The Dissertation

The Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy must demonstrate both ability to do independent research and competence in scholarly exposition. 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.