Doctor of Education in College Teaching of English (Ed.D.C.T.) | Teachers College Columbia University

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
English Education

English Education

In the Department of Arts & Humanities

Skip to content Skip to content

Doctoral Programs

Admission Deadlines

The deadline for Ed.D.C.T. applications is January 2nd. The faculty of the English Education program reserve the right to consider late applications on a case-by-case basis. However, anyone wishing to submit a late application must contact the English Education program office before inaugurating any submission. Candidates submitting late applications should be aware that, if accepted into the program, that acceptance may be without financial aid if the scholarship allotment has already been disbursed.

Doctor of Education in the College Teaching of English (Ed.D.C.T., 90 credits)

Doctor of Education in the College Teaching of English (Ed.D.C.T., 90 credits)

The degree of Doctor of Education in the College Teaching of English (Ed.D.C.T.) is designed to prepare candidates for positions as college and university faculty members and researchers in English, Rhetoric, and Composition departments, and as directors of academic support programs such as college and university writing centers and reading labs.

Required courses for ALL English Education/Teaching of English doctoral candidates:

  • A&HE 5504 Research Paper: Teaching of English
  • A&HE 6504 Doctoral Seminar: Teaching of English
  • A&HE 7504 Dissertation Seminar: Teaching of English
  • A&HE 8904 Dissertation Advisement in the Teaching of English
  • A range of electives in literary, rhetorical, and cultural studies
  • Four research methods courses for a total of at least 12 credits. It is recommended that candidates include at least two of the following:
    • A&HE 5149 Writing Research: Methods and Assumptions
    • A&HE 5150 Research in Practice
    • A&HE 6151 Narrative Research in English Education
    • A&HE 6152 Advanced Narrative Research in English Education

Students in the Ed.D.C.T. program are required to take ALL of the above courses plus:

  • A&HE 6015 College Teaching of English
  • A&HE 6404 Internship in College Teaching of English (unless exempted by virtue of teaching experience).

Credit Requirements and Transfer Credits for the Ed.D.C.T. in English Education

The number of courses students must complete depends largely on the number of credits approved for transfer from previous graduate work. Students working toward an Ed.D.C.T. degree (90 credits) may transfer a maximum of 45 credits and will thus complete at least 45 credits while in the Ed.D.C.T. English program.

Coursework Restrictions

An academic advisor must approve all coursework in a student’s program plan including any exceptions to the following:

  • No course that is “R” (attendance) credit or that is “P” (pass/fail) may be counted toward the Ed.D.C.T. aside from A&HE 6504 and A&HE 7504.
  • Students must consult their academic advisors when they undertake an independent study, an internship, fieldwork courses, or graduate courses in other colleges (usually GSAS) of Columbia University or at other universities within the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium.
  • Doctoral students are generally discouraged from taking 4000-level courses and must consult with their academic advisors before registering for these courses.
  • Candidates should take a minimum of two courses outside the English Education Program (Courses not designated A&HE). 


Doctoral Program Milestones

Program Plan

During their first year of study, students in consultation with their advisor should complete and file with their advisor and with the Office of Doctoral Studies a program plan  (the forms are available in the English Education office and in the Office of Doctoral Studies) anticipating all the courses they will need to complete within the scope of their doctoral studies. This program plan should then be reviewed annually with the student’s advisor (and revised as necessary) giving student and advisor an annual measure of the student’s progress through the program.

A&HE 5504: Research Paper: Teaching of English

Before enrolling in A&HE 5504, doctoral students must have passed their first certification examination and completed at least two research methods courses, have discovered an area or problem of interest that they wish to study for their 5504 project, and have familiarized themselves with some of the available research literature on the topic or problem they propose to investigate. The research paper completed in A&HE 5504 allows a doctoral student to demonstrate the capacity to complete independent research and produce a research paper at a level of sophistication that promises success in undertaking a doctoral research project and doctoral dissertation. The completed A&HE 5504 research paper must therefore be approved by two faculty members as qualifying the student to proceed to the next milestone in the doctoral program, the Certification Examinations.

Certification Examinations

Certification examinations certify a student’s expertise in the seminal texts, research traditions, and theoretical perspectives that represent the history of English Education as an academic discipline and that inform research in the more specialized field of study defined by a student’s anticipated dissertation project. Doctoral students in English Education must pass two separate certification examinations. Examination 1 is a take-home examination, seven days in duration, covering the history of English education with a focus on one of the major curricular strands within the discipline. Examination 2, covering a specialized disciplinary area related to the student’s dissertation topic, is a take-home written examination to be completed within a time frame (up to one semester) set by the student’s faculty advisor. The topics and texts to be covered by the two examinations and the examination questions are determined by each student’s advisor in consultation with the student who will be examined. All Certification Examinations are overseen by the Office of Doctoral Studies and are scheduled for administration on specified dates during the year, usually in October, February and June. Students must register for a Certification Exam at least one month before the examination will be administered. Students become eligible to register for Certification Examinations when their signed approval form for the 5504 Research Paper has been filed in the English Education Program office.

Dissertation Proposal (A&HE 7504)

The doctoral dissertation proposal consolidates the work candidates have done in courses, professional reading, and the two certification examinations. It is usually a 60 to 100-page document, which outlines a coherent account of the work a candidate wants to undertake for dissertation research, usually presenting drafts of early chapters for the dissertation. Typically a proposal includes an introductory chapter describing the origins and aims of the project, a fairly complete review of the literature, a chapter on research methods, and some preliminary data and data analysis. The dissertation proposal must be accepted at a formal or informal hearing where at least two faculty members function as examiners. Students may not undertake the dissertation proposal until both Certification exams have been completed successfully.


The doctoral dissertation is the culminating research project of the doctoral program and constitutes a significant contribution to knowledge in the field of English Education. As candidates write their dissertations, they must enroll in A&HE 8904: Dissertation Advisement in Teaching English, which is designed to help them refine their thinking and revise their writing as they complete successive drafts of their dissertation.

The Advanced Seminar

What is known historically as the Advanced Seminar now functions as a pre-defense meeting of an Ed.D.C.T candidate’s doctoral dissertation committee, which convenes to interrogate and advise the candidate on the dissertation in progress in order to ensure its successful completion. The committee may be convened at any point in a candidate’s progress toward completing the dissertation research but is ordinarily convened for English education candidates at a point when the candidate can present a rough draft of the entire dissertation for scrutiny by the dissertation committee members.

The Dissertation Defense

The dissertation defense offers the opportunity for members of the candidate’s dissertation committee, all of whom have carefully read the dissertation, to interrogate the candidate on any and all dimensions of the candidate’s research and the written dissertation that is the product of that research. In most cases the committee will suggest minor revisions that the candidate is expected to incorporate into the dissertation before filing the final version. A typical defense, however, is less an interrogation than it is a collegial discussion of the candidate’s research project and findings with attention to next steps in the candidate’s research agenda and possibilities for revising and publishing the dissertation or sections of it. A successful dissertation defense marks both a moment of certification and a ritual initiation. At the conclusion of a successful defense, authorized doctoral faculty officially certify a candidate’s accomplishment in completing a major research study that makes a significant contribution to knowledge in the field of English education broadly defined and thereby welcome the doctoral candidate into the community of scholars.

Doctoral Program Policies
New Policies Governing English Education Doctoral Programs

This file contains new policies beginning Fall 2016 for all new doctoral students regarding flexibility in scheduling the Doctoral Certification Examination #1. Click on the link above to download a pdf containing the full policy change.