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Social Sciences, Humanities, and Interdisciplinary Policy Studies in Education (SHIPS)

The doctoral programs in SHIPS combine two kinds of approaches to research in education. One approach is disciplinary, in which we prepare students to study education issues from one of a wide array of disciplinary perspectives. We call this approach Humanities and Social Sciences in Education (HSS). These disciplinary perspectives include:

  • Anthropology
  • Economics
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Organizational studies
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology

The other approach is issue based, in which we focus on major issue domains in education that are of particular salience to educational policy. We call this approach Issue Domains in Education (IDE). These issue domains include:

  • Educational policy
  • Higher education
  • International comparative education
  • Race, inequality, and language in education

The power in the SHIPS approach to doctoral study is the way it opens up the possibilities for educational research that comes from combining the two approaches: deep expertise in a disciplinary tradition (HSS) applied to major issue areas in education (IDE).

The result is a SHIPS matrix:

SHIPS Matrix image

All doctoral students in SHIPS may pursue one of three programs options, enrolling in one of the following:

  • A program in one of the seven HSS disciplines, or
  • A program in one of the four IDE area, or
  • A dual specialization program in one HSS discipline and in one IDE area

The dual-specialization option draws on the particular strengths of the SHIPS area within the GSE– combining disciplinary expertise and policy relevance, which allows students to apply a deep understanding of a single discipline to a major issue in educational policy. It also gives students a credible dual identity as scholars, which can be helpful in the job market. Students with a dual specialization will earn a Ph.D. from the GSE that lists both programs on the diploma. A key point is that pursuing the joint degree option does not entail taking more total units than pursuing either an HSS or IDE degree.

SHIPS Program Requirements

Humanistic and Social Science Disciplines in Education (HSS)

For students enrolling in one of the disciplinary programs within HSS:

  • Normally a student will complete the equivalent of a master's program in an appropriate department (e.g., sociology, philosophy, economics, etc.).
  • In addition, in consultation with the advisor and program committee, the student will construct a major course of studies in education appropriate to his or her disciplinary specialty from courses and individual studies offered within SHIPS, the GSE, and elsewhere on campus as needed.
  • Students must pursue studies beyond the introductory level in one other field of HSS offered within the program.
  • Students must meet GSE requirements.
  • Beyond coursework, a research apprenticeship is required from each student, to obtain intensive training on an on-going project or undertake supervised fieldwork. If a student plans a career in college teaching, he or she is also encouraged to do some supervised teaching during the graduate career.
  • Students completing one of the disciplinary concentrations in HSS will graduate with a degree in Anthropology and Education, Economics and Education, Educational Linguistics, History and Education, Organizational Studies, Philosophy and Education, or Sociology and Education.

Issue Domains in Education (IDE)

Educational Policy

For students enrolling in the program in Education Policy:

  • In consultation with the advisor and program committee, the student will construct a major course of studies in education appropriate to his or her program interests in Educational Policy from courses and individual studies offered within SHIPS, the GSE, and elsewhere on campus as needed.
  • This program should include at least one course in each of the four main areas within the program: economics, sociology/organization studies, policy, and history.
  • Students must pursue a minor or master's outside the GSE. This can either be a departmental minor, under the terms defined by the appropriate department, or an Individually Designed Distributed Minor. Both require substantial coursework from a department or school within Stanford but outside of the GSE.
  • Students must meet GSE requirements.
  • Beyond coursework, a research apprenticeship is required from each student, to obtain intensive training on an on-going project or undertake supervised fieldwork. If a student plans a career in college teaching, he or she is encouraged to do some supervised teaching during the graduate career.
  • Students completing this program will graduate with a degree in Educational Policy.

Higher Education

For students enrolling in the program in Higher Education:

  • In consultation with the advisor and program committee, the student will construct a major course of studies in education appropriate to his or her program interests in Higher Education Policy from courses and individual studies offered within SHIPS, the GSE, and elsewhere on campus as needed.
  • This program should include the following three courses:
    • EDUC 265/165 - History of Higher Education
    • EDUC 347 - Economics of Higher Education
    • EDUC 355 - Higher Education and Society
  • In addition students must take two electives in higher education.
  • ED 346 – Research Seminar in Higher Education – is not required but is strongly recommended for students who have not had previous training in higher education.
  • Students must pursue a minor or master's outside the GSE. This can either be a departmental minor, under the terms defined by the appropriate department, or an Individually Designed Distributed Minor. Both require substantial coursework from a department or school within Stanford but outside of the GSE.
  • Students must meet GSE requirements.
  • Beyond coursework, a research apprenticeship is required from each student, to obtain intensive training on an on-going project or undertake supervised fieldwork. If students plan a career in college teaching, they are encouraged to do some supervised teaching during the graduate career.
  • Students completing this program will graduate with a degree in Higher Education.

International Comparative Education

For students enrolling in the program in International Comparative Education (ICE):

  • In consultation with the advisor and program committee, the student will construct a major course of studies in education appropriate to his or her program interests in International Comparative Education from courses and individual studies offered within SHIPS, the GSE, and elsewhere on campus as needed.
  • This program should include the following courses:
    • EDUC 202 - Introduction to Comparative and International Education
    • EDUC 306A, B, D - ICE core sequence on education and development
  • Students must pursue a minor or master's outside the GSE. This can either be a departmental minor, under the terms defined by the appropriate department, or an Individually Designed Distributed Minor. Both require substantial coursework from a department or school within Stanford but outside of the GSE.
  • Students must meet GSE requirements.
  • Beyond coursework, a research apprenticeship is required from each student, to obtain intensive training on an on-going project or undertake supervised fieldwork. If students plan a career in college teaching, they are encouraged to do some supervised teaching during the graduate career.
  • Students completing this program will graduate with a degree in International Comparative Education.

Dual Specialization in HSS and IDE

For students enrolling in a joint degree program including one program in HSS and one in IDE:

  • In consultation with the advisor and program committee, the student will construct a program that meets the requirements of both his or her HSS program and his or her IDE program.
  • Students must meet School of Education distribution requirements.
  • Beyond coursework, a research apprenticeship is required from each student, to obtain intensive training on an on-going project or undertake supervised fieldwork. If students plan a career in college teaching, they are encouraged to do some supervised teaching during the graduate career.
  • The dual degree program will require no more units in total than a program in HSS or IDE.
  • Students completing this program will graduate with a degree listing both areas of specialization, one in HSS and the other in IDE.

First-Year Review

During the third quarter of enrollment, usually the Spring Quarter of the first year, in the program, each student shall submit a portfolio containing:

  • A preliminary Graduate Study Program (GSP) signed by the advisor.
  • An unofficial transcript from AXESS.
  • An explanation of any "incompletes" and when the incompletes will be removed.
  • A finalized plan for a doctoral minor or a disciplinary master's (as appropriate).
  • Copies of two class papers to illustrate writing and analytic abilities.
  • Three copies of a short (2-3 pages) statement of purpose describing the rationale for the proposed GSP including future research interests and plans.

A copy of the portfolio should be submitted to each Review Committee member individually at least two weeks before the Review date.

There should be a face-to-face meeting between the student and a committee made up of two or three faculty members. The number of committee members is up to the discretion of the advisor. One member should normally be the program advisor; the other one or two members should, if possible, be acquainted with the student's class work, or work as an RA). At least two members of the committee must be GSE academic council faculty. See the Committee Composition requirements. The SHIPS First-Year Review committee is a special case that permits two faculty members instead of the usual three. After the review meeting, the student will submit the signed SHIPS first-year review form and preliminary GSP to the Doctoral Programs Officer. After these documents are submitted, the results of the first-year review will be posted on the student's record on Axess.

Only in extreme cases, a student can petition for an extension of the deadline for the First-Year Review (see the First-Year Review section). The petition should be endorsed by the faculty advisor, and it will be considered by the SHIPS Area Committee in Executive Session.

Second-Year Review (Qualifying Review)

During the sixth quarter of enrollment, normally the Spring Quarter of the second year, in the doctoral program, students shall submit a portfolio containing:

  • An unofficial transcript from AXESS.
  • A final Graduate Study Program (GSP) ready for approval by the advisor and Area Committee.
  • A copy of the Qualifying Paper (QP).

A copy of the portfolio should be submitted to each Review Committee member individually at least two weeks before the Review date.

The QP shall be read by three faculty members (one being the advisor, and the other two either assigned by the advisor or by the Area Chair). The Second-Year Review committee must have at least three faculty members (see the Committee Composition section).

The QP and the rest of the portfolio will be discussed with the student in a review meeting no later than a few days before the final SHIPS Area Committee meeting of Spring Quarter with the three faculty readers who comprise the Review Committee. The faculty will have reviewed in advance the qualifying paper and the portfolio. The QP will be deemed one of the following: acceptable as is; acceptable with minor revisions or addendum; acceptable if a revised and resubmitted paper is approved by the committee; or unacceptable. After the review meeting, the student will submit the signed SHIPS second-year review form and final GSP to the Doctoral Programs Officer. After these documents are submitted, the results of the second-year review will be posted on the student's record in Axess. If the results are favorable, the student will be eligible for advancement to candidacy as soon as they submit a signed and completed Application for Doctoral Candidacy (all forms available on the GSE Website, under current students>forms). If the results of the Review are unacceptable, the advisor should confer with the Area Chair and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs on the appropriate course of action.

See the Second-Year Review section of the handbook for more details on the second year review, including the expected timeframe and procedure for requesting extensions.

Dissertation Proposal Hearing

Doctoral students are expected to complete a dissertation proposal during the fourth year. Students who plan to do extensive field research should plan to complete the proposal by the end of the third year.

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