Instructional Design and Development (Ph.D.)

Degree Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in Instructional Design and Development consists of components in instructional systems design, instructional technology, learning theory, and research and evaluation. Program emphases are: applying instructional systems design procedures in educational program development; developing instructional models for a variety of subject matter areas and educational settings; matching instructional strategies to student learning styles; evaluating, selecting, and integrating new technologies into instructional systems; and utilizing formative and summative evaluation and research in the development and improvement of instructional systems. Graduates of the program will be prepared to function in school districts, colleges and universities, business and industry, health care organizations, and the military with responsibility for planning, implementing, and evaluating instructional programs.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the doctoral program with a Bachelor's degree or without a Master's degree in Instructional Design and Development from a program deemed to be equivalent by the admissions committee will be required to complete the Foundational Core courses in the Master's degree in IDD and take a qualifying exam on the Foundational Core. Students must satisfy all Foundational Core requirements and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 on all program of study courses and all work attempted. A maximum of two Cs can be counted. No grades of D or F may be counted. If a third C or any grade below is earned, the student will be dismissed from the program. The student must pass the qualifying examination. In addition, the applicant's progress and preparation for advanced work will be reviewed by a committee that will make a decision for or against admission to the regular Ph. D. program.

Applicants with a Master's degree in Instructional Design and Development or equivalent may be admitted to the regular Ph.D. program. After transcript review, however, the admission committee may require additional coursework and/or successful completion of the Master's comprehensive exam. Any additional pre-requisite coursework will be indicated in the acceptance letter.

The Admissions Committee will select the most highly qualified candidates to be considered for admission to the program. A positive effort will be made to identify and recruit minority students into the program.

Requirements for admission are found on the Program webpage at

To apply - click here to get to the graduate admissions page.

The admission decision involves evaluation of the following: the grade-point average on undergraduate and graduate course work, scores on the GRE or the MAT, letters of recommendation, professional experience,the applicant's statement of purpose, and the program's current enrollment. Final decisions regarding admission will be based on the applicant's personal and professional qualifications as well as the program's ability to accommodate additional doctoral students. Upon acceptance by the College of Education and Professional Studies, the applicant will be recommended for admission. Admissions will notify all applicants in writing of the disposition of their applications.

Information about the Ph.D. program should be requested from:

The Coordinator, Instructional Design and Development Program
UCOM 3800, College of Education and Professional Studies
The University of South Alabama
Mobile, Alabama 36688-0002
(Telephone: (251) 380-2861)

All documents for admission review (i.e., transcripts, test scores or letters of recommendation) must be official and mailed from the home institutions or testing agency directly to the Office of Admissions. Once submitted, documents become the property of the University of South Alabama.


The Doctor of Philosophy degree program in Instructional Design and Development is designed to provide persons with skills required in planning, implementing, and evaluating instructional programs in a variety of educational settings. The program consists of four major components:

  1. the instructional design and development foundation core
  2. research methods and statistics
  3. supporting coursework
  4. completion of a dissertation

A minimum of 60 semester hours of approved graduate course work is required in the program. Refer to the current Instructional Design and Development doctoral handbook for specific requirements.

The requirements for each of the components in the program in Instructional Design and Development are described below. (Any additional requirements will be determined by the student's doctoral advisory committee.)

Requirements for the Ph.D. in instructional design and development program (60 semester hours)

To qualify for the Doctor or Philosophy Degree in Instructional Design and Development candidates must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 on all program of study courses and all work attempted. A maximum of two Cs can be counted. No grades of D or F may be counted. If a third C or any grade below is earned, the student will be dismissed from the program.


Students who have not already completed a master’s degree in Instructional Design & Development must take the following ISD Foundation Courses:
ISD 610Trends and Issues in IDD3
ISD 613Instructional Strategies3
ISD 621Instructional Design3
ISD 641Performance Systems Tech3
EPY 502Psy Prin Learning3
IDE 510Educ Research and Evaluation3
Instructional Core
EPY 602Advanced Theories of Learning3
or ISD 614 Human Cognition for IDD
ISD 612Alternate Instructional Models3
ISD 622Adv Instructional Design3
IDE 660Program Research and Eval3
ISD 640Needs Assessment3
ISD 651Learning Theory and Technology3
ISD 653Developing Online Instruction3
ISD 695Internship - Doctoral3
Research Core
Select a minimum of 15 hours from the following:15
Quantitative Methods I
Quantitative Methods II
Quantitative Methods III
Adv Research Methodology
Intro Qual/Mixed Methods Res
Adv Measurement and Eval
Dir St and Research
Supporting Coursework
Select 12 hours of supporting coursework (Courses must be approved by doctoral advisory committee)12
Instructional Core and Research Core comprehensive examinations are required before enrolling in research/dissertation hours. No more than 9 research/dissertation hours count toward the semester hours requirement9
Total Hours78

Continuous Enrollment

Doctoral students must be continuously enrolled for one semester hour or more to remain active in the program. After admission to candidacy and until graduation, students must enroll each academic term for a minimum of one semester hour of IDE 799, Research and Dissertation. A minimum of 9 hours of dissertation credit is required.

Failure to enroll for any hours during any semester will result in a student being removed from the program. Students who voluntarily withdraw from the program may be considered for readmission. The student will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee under standards in effect at the time the student applies for readmission. The student will need to demonstrate that he or she is current with the research literature in the field. This may require additional work on the part of the candidate.


Students in the program will complete a minimum of one year of residency during their doctoral studies. Residency is defined as enrollment as a full-time student for a period of two consecutive semesters. Residency is a requirement for admission to candidacy.


Doctoral students are required to successfully complete two major examinations before admission to candidacy.

Research Core Examination

This Research Core Examination is a one-day examination consisting of a written portion and the analysis of a data set using a computer program of the student's choice. The purpose of the examination is to verify that the student has developed an understanding of research,measurement, evaluation and statistical skills.

Instructional Core Examination

The Instructional Core Examination is a written and oral examination. The purpose of the two-day written portion is to assure that all Instructional Design and Development candidates are prepared in the core areas of the discipline. The two-hour oral examination is intended to review and extend the topics covered in the written parts of the examination. The written exam must be passed in order to sit for the oral exam. The Instructional Core Exam may be taken only two times.


Students will be admitted to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Instructional Design and Development after successful completion of the following program requirements:

  1. doctoral advisory committee appointed;
  2. program of study established;
  3. residency established;
  4. Research Core Examination;
  5. Instructional Core Examination; and
  6. dissertation topic approved.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of 30 semester hours of graduate credit closely related to the required curriculum may be counted toward the Ph.D. plan of study. The credit is approved only after completion of a minimum of nine (9) semester hours of graduate credit at the University of South Alabama and the student must be in regular status. Recommendations concerning transfer credit will be made by the Doctoral Advisory Committee in light of a student's total program of study. All proposed transfer credit must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and the student's Doctoral Advisory Committee. Only courses with "A" or "B" grades are acceptable for transfer and must be from a regionally accredited institution.

IDD Doctoral Student Handbook

The Instructional Design and Development Doctoral Student Handbook provides additional information about the program. The latest version of the handbook is available from the Professional Studies department secretary or on-line. In addition to basic information about the program, the IDD Doctoral Handbook includes specific information on requirements doctoral students must complete.