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Educational Psychology

Wist Hall 214
1776 University Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96822

Tel: (808) 956-7775
Fax: (808) 956-6615
Web: www.hawaii.edu/coe/departments/edep/


*Graduate Faculty

*A. Bayer, PhD (Chair)—literacy, collaborative-apprenticeship, sociohistorical psychology
*F. T. Bail, PhD—human learning and cognition, learning strategies
*D. Blaine, PhD—quantitative methods, individual differences in learning and cognition
*M. K. Iding, PhD—literacy, learning and cognition
*M. K. Lai, PhD—program evaluation, research methods
*L. Yamauchi, PhD—cognitive development, cultural influences on learning, minority students and schooling
*S. Zhang, PhD—quantitative research methodology, statistics, second language acquisition

Cooperating Graduate Faculty

*P. R. Brandon, PhD—program evaluation, research on Asian-American students
C. J. Chaudron, PhD—classroom discourse, psycholinguistics, second language acquisition
B. D. DeBaryshe, PhD—social development, parent-child relations, stress and resilience

Affiliate Graduate Faculty

M. E. Brandt, PhD—cognitive development, models of memory, alternative assessment
S. A. Chin-Chance, PhD—program evaluation
P. G. LeMahieu, PhD—student assessment, program evaluation

Degrees Offered: MEd in educational psychology, PhD in educational psychology

The Academic Program

Educational psychology (EDEP) is directed toward increasing the candidate’s competence in educational inquiry. Specific objectives of the graduate programs are (a) the development of competent scholars in the discipline; (b) the preparation of individuals to perform career activities (basic and applied research as well as teaching and mentoring) in school systems, colleges, and universities; and (c) the preparation of individuals to act as consultants or administrators in major areas of educational psychology, namely, human learning, human development, research methodology, statistics, measurement, and evaluation.

Program graduates can be found in more than a dozen countries serving as teachers, evaluators, personnel specialists, and learning specialists.

Students in educational psychology utilize advanced computer technology supported by the UH’s computer facilities. They may also gain research internship experience in the UH’s Curriculum Research and Development Group. Professional growth is further encouraged through departmental links to such institutions as the Hawai‘i Department of Education, East-West Center, Kamehameha Schools, Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, and Hawai‘i Educational Research Association. Graduate study in Hawai‘i offers unique opportunities for multicultural research, including the study of Pacific and Asian populations.


Prospective students are invited to contact the department for information and advice.

The Graduate Chair assigns each incoming MEd and PhD student a temporary adviser, based on faculty advising load and interest areas. The role of the temporary adviser is to facilitate the student’s progress through the program until such time as the dissertation/thesis chair or Plan B project adviser has been determined. Initial assignment of a temporary adviser in no way obligates the student to select the temporary adviser as his/her MEd Plan B project adviser (MEd Plan B) or to include the temporary adviser as a thesis (MEd Plan A) or dissertation (PhD) committee chair or member. Likewise, the temporary adviser has no obligation to become the advisee’s Plan B project adviser or to serve on his/her thesis or dissertation committee. Each temporary adviser contacts each of his/her incoming advisees upon acceptance into the program.

It is the intent of the Department to maintain a close working relationship between each student and at least one faculty member. This will allow the faculty a more careful assessment of each student’s progress, and it will allow the student a conduit to address his/her concerns and to raise issues that may be brought before the faculty as a whole. Each advisee should contact her/his adviser at least three times each semester: during the first three weeks of classes, prior to determining courses for the following semester, and at the end of each regular semester to assess and direct the student’s progress toward the degree. The end-of-semester conference is held with the faculty as a whole for PhD students, with one’s Plan B MEd project adviser or Plan A MEd thesis chair, or with one’s temporary adviser for all other MEd students.

The Graduate Chair sends a Student Review Progress form to all graduate students early in each semester. This helps students chart their development during the semester and assists faculty in the advisement process. Each graduate student turns in two copies of the completed Student Review Progress form to the adviser during the end-of-semester conference, to be used as the basis for review and planning.

Graduate Study

In general, the domain of inquiry encompasses human learning and development in the context of education, as well as emphases in statistics, measurement, and research methodology. Applicants for the MEd and PhD in educational psychology are expected to be familiar with the fundamentals of measurement, statistics, research design, and psychological foundations of education.

All courses at the 400 level or above are potentially applicable to an individual’s program of study, with the provision that all programs must conform to Graduate Division policies. Interdisciplinary study is particularly encouraged. Students in the MEd program are required to take 30 credits, including EDEP 416, EDEP 429, EDEP 611, and EDEP 661. There are no specific course requirements for the PhD.

Application Procedures

In addition to the application form required by the Graduate Division, a departmental form obtained by writing to the department must be submitted. Applications must be accompanied by (a) scores on the GRE (PhD only, General Test only), (b) three letters of recommendation attesting to academic and professional strengths, and (c) a complete record of undergraduate and graduate course work.

Master’s Degree

Both Plan A and Plan B MEd options are available in either MEd concentration, although most students in the Learning and Assessment concentration will define a Plan B project in order to finish in the cohort time frame.

Students who plan to later pursue doctoral study are expected to define a Plan A program of study at the master’s level. For Plan A candidates, 6 of their graduate credits must be thesis 700. The Plan B project is an original educational inquiry resulting in a product that informs educational practice. The general steps for framing this educational inquiry include identification of a question or problem, identification of the relevant research and professional educational experience to provide a meaningful context for the inquiry question, design of a quantitative and/or qualitative method used to conduct the inquiry, and a 2-3 page proposal addressing these three steps submitted to one or more faculty members in Educational Psychology by the beginning of the second year in the program. This proposal will be the basis of a subsequent discussion with that faculty member. Upon a faculty member’s approval of the proposal, that faculty member becomes the student’s Plan B adviser. The final format of the Plan B project may be entirely written or it may use a less traditional format (e.g., a video, a website, a web-based presentation, or a CD-ROM). To the extent that the traditional components of educational research (viz., statement of problem, literature review, method, and data analysis) are not directly clear in whatever format the findings are presented, written documentation of those components is required. Students have the option of soliciting a second reader for their Plan B project; this may be particularly helpful when the project is interdisciplinary or when specific professional expertise is desired. Prior to graduation, students are required to make a presentation of their Plan B projects.

The student’s status is reviewed at the end of each semester in a meeting of the adviser and the individual student. Continuation in the master’s program is based on satisfactory progress toward the degree as determined by the graduate faculty.

1. Studies in Educational Psychology
Graduate study is primarily oriented toward students with specific professional educational objectives, but it is also applicable to students who find a major in educational psychology congruent with their personal objectives and who wish to engage in elective study to the greatest extent possible while fulfilling degree requirements. After admission, the student and his/her temporary adviser detail a coherent program of study that includes a minimum of 30 credit hours. This program of study is forwarded to the graduate chair for endorsement.

2. Learning and Assessment
This 30-credit MEd concentration is designed to meet the professional development needs of Hawai‘i’s educators. The program emphasizes (a) understanding student learning in terms of current theories and research, (b) using classroom and student assessment to improve curricula and instruction, (c) integrating classroom instruction and the statewide student assessment system, and (d) examining issues of assessment relative to diverse student populations. Participants who hold a State of Hawai’i Department of Education basic teaching certificate are eligible for professional certification upon completion of the program.

Doctoral Degree

It is expected that students seeking the PhD will have demonstrated their motivation and potential through prior research involvement. Typical evidence of such involvement includes a master’s research thesis; a published or publishable article, review, or report; or a coherent research proposal. Some document of this type must be submitted as part of the student’s application for doctoral study. Students with insufficient prior research involvement may be advised to enter the master’s program. Applications for admission to the PhD program are considered for the fall semester only.


Although there are no specific course requirements for the PhD, students are expected to complete at least 6 graduate credit hours outside the department in addition to their work within the department. Students work closely with the members of the graduate faculty in defining individualized programs that typically span three to four years of concentrated study within the broadly defined discipline of educational psychology. An oral review to assess the student’s progress toward the degree is conducted by the graduate faculty and the student at the end of each semester. Advancement to candidacy follows satisfactory completion of the qualifying examination. Candidates for the PhD are also expected to teach at least one course in the undergraduate or graduate program and to complete a directed research course with one or more faculty members.

EDEP Courses