Doctor of Philosophy in Education and Human Development, Critical Studies in Education

School of Education & Human Development


Degree: PhD

Classroom Type: Online and on campus classes

The PhD in Education and Human Development brings together award-winning faculty and doctoral students who ground their approach and research in transdisciplinary and critical frameworks and advocate for educational equity and transformative, liberatory education.

Application​ deadlines

December 16, 2024

Program Details

Interest Categories: Education & Counseling

Campus: CU Denver

What Students Learn

Students of this program see education research and teaching through a transdisciplinary and critical lens. The program itself is framed around race, gender, class, disability, sexuality, language, and culture. Curriculum centers on social justice and promotes ideas of educational equity, transformative education, and educational activism in nontraditional ways.
Students in this concentration will explore how society and schooling, including its structures, policies, and practices are dialectical sites of oppression and liberation. Students delve into the idea of educators as intellectual activists, facilitating liberation. The concentration promotes an activist approach. This includes the opportunity to engage in a monthly faculty and student meeting. Through this meeting, students and faculty collaborate on research, publications, conference presentations, and theory building.
The faculty in this concentration area approach education in critical ways. This ensures the future of a more transformational, liberating, and humanizing educational system and society.

Choose CU Denver's School of Education & Human Development

Students trust CU Denver to provide an education that will prepare them for excellence in their career as a faculty member or researcher. The program prepares leaders who value educational excellence and social justice. Additionally, the School of Education and Human Development is counted among U.S. News & World Report's “Best Graduate Schools,” making CU Denver one of the top education schools in the country.


The 75-credit program begins each fall.
The curriculum includes a combination of on-campus, hybrid, remote, and online courses each semester.
Every student must be available to attend on-campus courses each semester.

Helpful Links & Documents

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Program Courses

Course Catalog

Recommended Completion Time:4 to 8 years

Required Credits for Completion:75

Admission Requirements

The core course rotation begins every fall. We encourage students to review the concentration area choices on our website and contact one or more of the faculty associated with that concentration area for an appointment prior to submitting their application. This ensures the students have an opportunity to discuss their research area of interest, as well as introduce themselves to the faculty. Also, the financial support we provide our PhD students is often tied to federal and state funding decisions, so meeting with a faculty member will let you know if any funding opportunities will be available in the upcoming year.

As part of gaining admission to the PhD program, students are paired with a doctoral faculty advisor/mentor. The doctoral faculty may request a personal interview to complement the information provided in the application materials.

Application Dates

Application Opens: July 1, 2024
Application Deadline: December 16, 2024

Application Requirements

  • Minimum requirements:
    • Master's degree or equivalent
    • 3.5 GPA in graduate-level course work recommended
  • 3 recommendation letters: two letters should come from faculty in a university program in which you were previously enrolled
  • Official Transcripts from all institutions attended
  • If applying for a license, a copy of your teaching license is required
  • Resume/CV: Applicants must have and show evidence of relevant professional and/or academic experience.
  • Written Statement: In 2-4 pages (double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 point font or larger). This should be a brief biographical description of your educational experiences and preparedness for doctoral studies and your research goals or a problem of practical or theoretical importance that could lead to a research study. Be sure to address how your career goals would fit into the concentration area.
  • Recommended: Master's thesis and/or published materials — Examples of published materials include articles, book chapters, newsletters and technical reports.
  • $50.00 application fee
  • Admissions Interview: An interview may be required as part of the admissions process. If so, applicants will be contacted with more details.
  • International Applicants only: Proof of English Language Proficiency (International applicants should review the following information regarding English language proficiency)
For more information, email or call 303.315.6300.

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