Jun 22, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 

Doctor of Philosophy in Instructional Technology

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Check departmental information for any additional requirements.

The Ph.D. program in instructional technology prepares students for positions of leadership in research and the development of new knowledge and applications in instructional technology. Students may explore issues and advances in performance, instruction, and computer-based and distance-learning environments. Graduates are prepared for technology leadership roles in diverse settings including all levels of education, industry, government, and not-for-profit agencies. The doctoral program builds on the practical competencies of the master’s program to prepare the student for the integration of theory and skills as the base for original research.

The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/clearinghouse/outcomes/index.shtml.

Application Deadlines

To be assured of consideration for admission to the doctoral program in instructional technology, completed applications and all supporting materials must be received by the Graduate School no later than April 1 for admission for the summer and fall semesters, and October 1 for admission for the spring semester.


Admission to the doctoral program requires a master’s degree in either instructional technology or another discipline acceptable to the admissions committee. If review of all application materials supports further consideration of the application, the applicant will be expected to submit a writing sample that demonstrates research and writing skills and to participate in a personal interview with the doctoral admissions committee.

Program Planning and Advisement

Following admission to the doctoral program in instructional technology, each new student is assigned an advisory committee of three faculty members. The chair of the committee is the major adviser and works with the student to develop a proposed program of courses. The remaining members review the proposal before departmental approval and submission to the Graduate School for final approval. Students are urged to maintain close contact with their major adviser throughout the program. Changes in the program of courses must be approved by the adviser, who is responsible for submitting such changes to the Graduate School for final approval.

Student-at-Large, Study-Abroad, and Transfer Credit

Students-at-large are normally prohibited from registering for graduate courses in instructional technology unless they are pursuing an approved endorsement for Technology Specialist or Library Information Specialist. A maximum of 15 post-master’s student-at-large and transfer semester hours in combination may be applied towards the doctoral degree in instructional technology. See “Requirements for Graduate Degrees” for limitation on study-abroad and transfer credit. With the approval of the student’s faculty adviser, a student who has completed endorsement and/or licensure requirements for technology specialist and library information specialist at NIU as a student-at-large may apply some or all of those student-at-large hours towards the doctoral degree in instructional technology. The faculty adviser has the authority to refuse any course credit he or she judges to be irrelevant to the doctoral degree in instructional technology.


Program requirements are flexible to best complement the individual student’s background and professional goals. The student has significant input into the selection of specific courses for his or her program, in consultation with the advisory committee. The doctoral degree requires a minimum of 63 semester hours beyond the master’s degree as follows.

  • Research core including ETR 521, ETR 525, and two additional ETR research electives agreed upon by student and advisory committee (12)
  • Additional course work in learning and development theory, or sociocultural analyses of education (3)
  • Additional instructional technology (ETT) courses, excluding dissertation hours (18)
  • Cognate course work agreed upon by student and advisory committee
  • ETT 799, Doctoral Research and Dissertation (15)

Students focusing on performance technology, instructional design and development, technology specialist or library information specialist licensure may be required to include internship or practicum courses as part of the required course work.

Students entering the doctoral program with a master’s degree in instructional technology will generally complete 48 semester hours of course work beyond the master’s (including a cognate), plus 15 semester hours of dissertation credit. Students whose master’s degree is in another field normally take three or four additional courses to gain background in their new field; they may also complete additional hours for a cognate. The student’s advisory committee makes the final determination of additional courses to be completed.

Candidacy Examination

The candidacy examination, administered each term by the faculty in instructional technology, includes sections on research skills and learning theory as well as on the major area of study. Early contact with the program adviser to discuss the examination is highly recommended.

If the first attempt at the candidacy examination is unsuccessful, the advisory committee will determine what remediation appears to be warranted and when the student may again attempt the examination.

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