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PhD Interdisciplinary Specialization (e.g., Sport, Recreation and Tourism Management)

The PhD in Education Program is individualized, interdisciplinary, and experiential. Students with an interest in research training in fields aligned with our College faculty but not represented in our specialization and concentration options (e.g., sport, recreation and tourism management) may apply for the program through our interdisciplinary specialization that allows students to create a self-defined interdisciplinary program of study.

Have questions? Attend an information session or contact the specialization representative, Sheri Berkeley.

About the Specialization

Primary or secondary specialization areas can be interdisciplinary. The decision to designate an interdisciplinary specialization is made by the student and the student's Program Advisory Chair. Eligible faculty from any professional specialization can serve as a Program Advisory Chair or Co-Chair for the Interdisciplinary Specialization.

Interdisciplinary specialization coursework should align with a coherent rationale for the choice of specific coursework which meets the student's professional goals. Coursework for the interdisciplinary specialization must have the approval of the student’s Program Advisory Committee as well as the Director of the PhD in Education Program.

Our Graduates

Justin Merrigan, PhD 2020 

  • Specialization: Exercise Fitness and Health Promotion 
  • Dissertation Title: During and Post-exercise Effects of Accentuated Eccentric Loading  
  • Dissertation Chair: Dr. Margaret Jones 
  • Employment on Graduation: Senior Researcher, Ohio State University 

Jennifer Fields, PhD 2020 

  • Specialization: Exercise Fitness and Health Promotion 
  • Dissertation Title: Comprehensive Load Monitoring for Athlete Health in Collegiate Men and Women Athletes 
  • Dissertation Chair: Dr. Margaret Jones 
  • Employment on Graduation: Assistant Professor, Springfield College 


Each student in the PhD in Education Program is mentored by faculty in the development of their own personalized program of study that fosters their ability to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of significant theories, developments, and practices in one's chosen area of study
  • Understand, utilize, and interpret basic principles, ethical practice, and methodologies of educational research design and data analysis
  • Effectively communicate both orally and in writing to a variety of professional audiences

Supported professional experiences and internships beyond required coursework support mastery of these competencies, including:

  • Attending and/or presenting your scholarly work at professional conferences to researchers, policymakers, and practitioners
  • University teaching and/or co-teaching experiences in professional areas of expertise
  • Supervising pre-service teachers
  • Writing, editing, and reviewing for scholarly journals
  • Research apprenticeships and assistantships
  • Supported independent research in an area of professional interest
  • Internships unique to the individual’s area of study
  • Building a professional portfolio

The PhD in Education is awarded after the successful completion of:

  • Coursework
  • A comprehensive portfolio assessment
  • A written dissertation
  • An oral dissertation defense

Why This Program?

Are you ready to expand your impact in the field of education?

A PhD in Education from GMU can help you reach that goal! Our accomplished faculty can help you leverage your existing expertise in the field of education and deepen your toolkit of professional knowledge and skills that will take your career to the next level of influence. 
Our graduates have attained consequential professional positions such as:

  • Academic faculty at post-secondary institutions
  • Leadership and research positions in federal and state government, post-secondary institutions, research organizations, and non-government agencies
  • Analysts and consultants with private companies, political advocacy groups, education or research think tanks, and professional associations
  • School, district, and statewide leadership positions in major preK-12 school districts, technical assistance centers, and other informal educational agencies
  • Curriculum and instructional materials developers

Our flexible student-centered program structure allows each student to design a personalized, interdisciplinary program of study that helps them to become outstanding educational researchers, practitioners, and leaders in their respective fields. Our faculty have strengths in:

Theoretical & Applied Research

  • Choose from a wide range of advanced quantitative and qualitative research methods coursework options
  • Have the opportunity to gain research experience on projects funded by federal agencies, including the Institute for Education Sciences and the National Science Foundation 

Advanced Teacher Preparation

  • Choose from a wide range of teaching and teacher preparation coursework and internship options, including opportunities to co-teach university courses with faculty and supervise teacher internships
  • Receive advanced training in online teaching and learning

Education Leadership & Policy

  • Choose from a wide range of coursework and internship opportunities in leadership and policy fields, both national and international
  • Have unique opportunities for experiential learning due to proximity to Washington DC and several of the largest school systems in the country

Movement & Sport Sciences

  • Choose an intensive Kinesiology program with opportunities for experiential learning in state-of-the-art movement labs.
  • Or, create a custom program of study in fields related to movement and sport sciences, including teaching in physical education and sport management

How Can I Learn More?

Visit our Frequently Asked Questions and Answer Page

Frequently Asked Questions

Attend an Information Session

The PhD in Education Program periodically conducts information sessions to acquaint applicants with our program and the admissions process. Information sessions include an overview of the PhD in Education Program followed by breakout sessions with faculty who can answer questions about professional specialization areas. Scheduled sessions are listed at the top of this page.