Doctor of Philosophy

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is this degree program for?

The Ph.D. in Career and Workforce Education is a research degree that prepares professionals interested in positions in teaching, research, and policy positions in universities, four-year colleges, community/technical colleges, government agencies, and in the private sector. The doctoral program seeks to provide professionals in related fields with the preparation needed to address important research questions central to the planning, organization, delivery, and evaluation of systems and components involving the connection of education, work, and economic development.

How long will it take to complete the program?

Students taking at least two courses per semester, including summers, may complete coursework in about 3- 3.5 years depending on coursework needs. In turn, the time to complete dissertation work may vary widely from one to four years depending on the nature of dissertation, data collection issues, writing disposition, and other intangibles that either facilitate or hinder related activities. The rule established by the Graduate School is for students to complete doctoral coursework within 4 years. After completing coursework, students have an additional 4-year period for completing dissertation work.

Do I have to take two courses every semester?

For part-time students it is recommended to take two courses per semester including summer sessions, if possible. This is the minimum load to stay engaged during the program. Although it is possible to take one course per semester, in addition to stretching the program considerably, it is difficult for students to stay intellectually engaged and build a knowledge base on a consistent and integrated fashion. If your family or work situation prevents you from taking a course during a particular semester, the preference is to skip courses that can be taken later on out of sequence such as concentration and foundations courses, rather than core coursework design to work on a sequential basis.

What are the admissions requirements?

Admission to the Ph.D. in Career and Workforce Education is based on evaluation of the applicants’ demonstrated potential to complete successfully program coursework and research requirements. For detailed information on admissions requirements, procedures, and criteria, visit the Admission Requirements page.

Is the program entirely online?

The extent of online coursework varies depending upon the individual area of concentration. For related information, visit the Online Delivery page.

Do I have to come to the USF campus in Tampa?

Students are expected to come to the Tampa campus three times each year as part of CWE core coursework. The initial kick-off session provides the opportunity for participants to get to know one another face-to-face, taking cohort photographs, establishing group cohesion as a cohort and exploring Canvas and how to conduct online research. If you are unable to attend this kick-off session, it is best to defer your participation until the next entry point. Subsequently, on-campus meeting focus on course wrap-ups and orientation. These sessions are important to continue networking with fellow participants, interacting with faculty and guest speakers and sharing information. This cycle of three on-campus sessions is repeated during the duration of coursework-taking.

Are there any face-to-face class meetings as part of online coursework?

For online courses that are part of the CWE core, other than the cycle of meetings noted above, there are no additional on campus meetings. However, for online courses offered through other departments in the College of Education, additional meetings may be required as part of such courses counting toward an area of concentration. At any rate, you will have to manage your time and stay on schedule as you complete the online courses.

How much work do the online courses entail?

Overall, online learning requires about the same level of time and effort as face-to-face learning does. The main difference is that in online learning more time is spent productively engaged in reading, researching, and interacting electronically rather than traveling to and from class.

What kinds of tasks will I be doing while enrolled in program courses?

While each course is a bit different, you will typically be conducting extensive reading from textbooks and/or other information resources (e.g., journal articles and reports). In some cases, you’ll be viewing PowerPoint presentations and streamed videos and listening to podcasts. Finally, you will spend a considerable amount of time developing scholarly skills in the form of independent research (e.g., literature reviews and synthesis), writing term papers, interacting electronically with the instructor and fellow participants, and providing feedback to others depending upon the nature of courses.

Can I pursue this program while also pursuing another degree or graduate certificate program?

No, this is not advisable. There have been a few students trying to do this while also working full-time and we have found that there is just not enough time in the day to do either program justice. Like any educational endeavor, you’ll get out of the program proportionately to what you are willing (and able) to put into it.

Can I transfer in courses I’ve taken elsewhere?

The USF College of Education allows a maximum of four transfer courses (up to 12 credits) from a different institution. These must be from an accredited institution, directly or indirectly relevant to the program of study and no older than five years upon graduation.

Does this program lead to Florida certification as Local Director of Vocational Education?

The coursework leading to certification as Local Director of Vocational Education is available as part of the Master of Arts in Career and Technical Education, and may serve as the basis for an area of concentration. Keep in mind that courses in other areas may be also required for certification. This option makes sense for students at the master’s level or those interested in an intermediate Educational Specialist degree. At the doctoral level, the need for additional courses to secure certification may sidetrack the focus and effort to complete an area of concentration. Download the list of requirements for the Local Director Certification.

Is the program accredited?

There is no accrediting body specifically for graduate programs in Career and Workforce Education. However, USF is fully accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Is the program part of the SREB Academic Common Market?

Yes, the program has been approved as an online program available through the Academic Common Market and students residing in member states are eligible for reciprocal in-state tuition. The purpose of the Academic Common Market (ACM) is to provide programs of study to students that are not available in their home state. The student must first be accepted for admission to the desired degree program by following the normal admission procedure at the University of South Florida Graduate Studies. The student must be accepted as a degree-seeking student in the specified major with a regular admission status. Students with a provisional or non-degree- seeking status at the institution are ineligible for ACM participation.

The student must be certified as a resident of his or her home state. Each state maintains its own forms and procedures for certification, which are consistent with state residency classification requirements. Residency certification should be considered valid as long as the student progresses toward the specified degree, remains enrolled at the institution and does not invalidate his or her residency in the home state as defined by the home state's domiciliary law.

After certifying the residency, the state coordinator sends a notice of certification to the student and to the University of South Florida's institutional ACM coordinator. The notice of certification must contain, at a minimum, the student's name, address, degree program and title, and the date on which he or she becomes eligible for the agreement. The institutional ACM coordinator makes arrangements with the appropriate officials at the institution so that the student is not charged out-of-state tuition. Any required fees for students are not subject to waiver. The institution sets policy regarding any institutionally imposed deadline for the payment of tuition. ACM students not accepted or certified within the deadline for payment may have to wait until the next tuition payment period to receive the out-of-state fee waiver or in-state status. Waivers or in-state status are not retroactive to any point prior to acceptance into the ACM program, except at the discretion of the institution.

To obtain information for participating states, visit the Southern Regional Education Board then select Academic Common Market (located at the top, right hand corner of the web site). Then from the menu on the left side, select "Search for Programs" and then enter the state of residence.