Montana State University

MSU offers new Ph.D. in education program

September 24, 2015 -- MSU News Service

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Montana State University is now offering a Ph.D. in education program, which is designed to prepare graduates for careers in research and as faculty members.

The Doctorate of Philosophy in education is the first program of its kind in the state. It is housed in the MSU College of Education, Health and Human Development’s Department of Education, and funding is available for up to 10 on-campus Ph.D. students.

Benefits of the program include enabling individuals to develop the skills needed for rigorous investigation of problems that need new solutions, according to Arthur Bangert, MSU associate professor of education who helped design the program. The program will provide graduates with a deep understanding of the Montana context and will allow them to impact educational policy and practice across the state, he said.

MSU also has offered a Doctorate of Education, or Ed.D., program for nearly 60 years. While the Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs may appear similar, they serve different purposes, according to Tricia Seifert, MSU associate professor and program leader for the Ph.D. in adult and higher education concentration.

“If your career goal is to impact policy and practice through research, then the Ph.D. is the appropriate path. If your interest is in bringing research based knowledge to practical settings, such as a K-12 school or institution of higher education, a board or in an administrative position, the Ed.D. will provide the training needed," Seifert said.

As one component of the new Doctorate of Philosophy program, the Department of Education will establish a Research Commons, a space where faculty and students will gather to work on data analysis, writing and collaborative efforts. The commons will be located in Reid Hall.

“We want to establish collaborative and interdisciplinary partnerships as part of this program, and the Research Commons will facilitate those sorts of interactions,” Bangert said.

The Ph.D. program was approved by the Montana Board of Regents at its March board meeting. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, MSU’s accrediting body, subsequently granted accreditation to the new program in August.

A group of 12 students began the program this fall.

Applications to the program are due each year in May and admitted students will begin the program the following fall.

For more information, visit or contact Ann Dutton Ewbank, MSU assistant education professor, at (406) 994-5788.

Contact: Ann Dutton Ewbank, MSU assistant education professor, (406) 994-5788 or