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PhD Program in Educational Neuroscience (PEN)

Dr. Thomas Allen, Program Director
Sorenson Language and Communication Center, Room 1223

A newly created interdisciplinary PhD Program in Educational Neuroscience (PEN) has been approved by the Gallaudet University Board of Trustees, and will admit its first class of students in the Fall, 2013.   This is Gallaudet's first interdisciplinary PhD program, and it includes our National Science Foundation, the Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning, VL2 (the PhD program's administrative home), and the Departments of PsychologyLinguistics, InterpretationEducation, and Hearing Speech and Language Sciences.  

Gallaudet's PhD Program in Educational Neuroscience pioneers how humans learn, spanning early child development and adults, with a special interest in the neuroplasticity of visually-guided learning processes sub-serving higher cognition. The PEN PhD program at Gallaudet further provides a unique strength in, and contribution to, pioneering advances in the learning and education of the young deaf visual learner.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Neuroscience at Gallaudet University offers graduate students access to a state-of-the-art curriculum on how humans learn across the lifespan. Graduate students are provided with the most cutting-edge knowledge, powerful critical analysis and reasoning skills, and advanced knowledge of, and expertise in, contemporary neuroimaging and behavioral research - and its ethical and principled application - which are vital to education and society. 

Graduate students will marry leading scientific discoveries about how children learn knowledge at the heart of early schooling (e.g., language, reading, math and numeracy, science, and social-emotional) with core challenges in contemporary education, and to do so in principled ways through "two-way" communication and mutual growth between science and society. Graduate students will also conduct state-of-the-art neuroimaging and behavioral research that renders new knowledge that both advances science and is useable, and meaningfully translatable, for the benefit of society (spanning parents, teachers, clinicians, medical practitioners, and beyond). The knowledge content of Gallaudet University's PhD Program in Educational Neuroscience will be utterly contemporary, with exciting focus drawn from prevailing questions and challenges in contemporary education. At the most general level, students can expect to leave the PhD Program with general knowledge of overarching issues in language learning and bilingualism, reading and literacy, and child development (including early visual attention/processing, higher cognitive processes, number, and scientific concepts), educational assessments/interventions, schools/educational policy, and social-emotional family processes associated with young children, especially young deaf visual learners. Crucially, graduate students can also expect to achieve expert and specific knowledge in a select domain above, especially through their advanced doctoral dissertation research. In addition, graduate students may expert to achieve outstanding competence in contemporary brain-based neuroimaging and behavioral research as it is applied in ethical and principled ways to prevailing problems in education-indeed, scientific knowledge, experimental mastery, and translational significance at the very heart of Educational Neuroscience. Also unique to this program, PEN offers special resources, including study of Neuroethics and has an in-house, research dedicated neuroimaging facility in which interested students may select to achieve neuroimaging certification.

Application Requirements

Applicants for the Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience must complete the application procedures and meet the requirements for graduate study at Gallaudet University. Visit the Graduate Admissions web site for more information and a checklist of application requirements. Detailed program information and course descriptions are also available under the 'Courses' and 'Requirements' tabs. 

Deadline to apply for this program: February 1, 2014

General Application Requirements

  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate or graduate study (major preferred: biology, psychology, linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, education, interpretation, hearing speech and language sciences, philosophy, or other area related to Educational Neuroscience)
  • 3.2 Undergraduate GPA or higher, a 3.6 or higher GPA in the undergraduate major
  • An application fee of $50
  • A completed graduate school application form
  • Goal statement
  • Three (3) letters of reference
 

Program Specific Requirement: 

  • GRE (General Test) scores
  • At least two (2) of your three (3) letters of recommendation, which are required by Gallaudet's general application requirements, must address your potential for conducting advanced doctoral studies.
  • Strong research background
  • Narrative Statements - Both written English Essay and signed ASL digital "Essay"

In addition to the essay questions required in the Gallaudet Admission Application, please answer the question below in written English and in ASL (please be sure to answer all parts. Length limit: English, maximum 4 pages. ASL, maximum 5 minutes)

Explain your background research experiences, your future professional goals, and why you believe advanced graduate study specifically in the new discipline of Educational Neuroscience is the ideal course for you to achieve your goals.

  • Bilingual language knowledge - in both ASL and English
    • ASL: 3 or higher on the ASLPI preferred and 3+ required prior to graduation
      • Visit this website to schedule an appointment: ASLPI
    • English: as indicated by the Written English Competence in GRE.
  • Resume detailing academic, professional, and research experience is required.
  • An example of a completed written project (e.g., research report, course paper)
  • An undergraduate course in basic statistics.
  • You may be called for an interview with faculty from the PEN program.

Fall I

CodeTitleCredits
PEN 701*Educational Neuroscience Proseminar1
PEN 703Foundations of Educational Neuroscience3
PEN 705New Directions in Neuroethics3
PSY 711Principles of Statistics3
  • *  First part

Spring I

CodeTitleCredits
PEN 701*Educational Neuroscience Proseminar1
PEN 704Fdntns of Edu Neuroscience II3
PEN 895Special Topics1-3
EDU 802Principles of Statistics II3
Open core elective
Complete Preliminary Exam
  • *  Second Part

Summer I

CodeTitleCredits
PEN 700Laboratory Research Rotation I4

Fall II

CodeTitleCredits
PEN 801Guided Studies: Clerc Center/Pk-12 Schools and Two-Way Translation3
2 core elective courses

Spring II

CodeTitleCredits
PEN 802Guided Studies: Research3
Core elective course (advanced statistics) at Gallaudet University or consortium university
Open core elective
Complete Qualifying Exam
Petition to Advance to Candidacy

Summer II

CodeTitleCredits
PEN 710Laboratory Research Rotation II4

Fall III

CodeTitleCredits
PEN 803Guided Studies: Theory3
HSL 893Seminar in University Instruction and Supervision in Hearing, Speech, and Language Sciences3
Complete Comprehensive Exam
Complete Comprehensive Exam

Spring III

CodeTitleCredits
PEN 898Dissertation Proposal3
PEN 831Doctoral Teaching Internship3
Complete Comprehensive Exam
Defend Dissertation Proposal

Fall IV

CodeTitleCredits
PEN 900Dissertation Research3
Complete Comprehensive Exam

Spring IV

CodeTitleCredits
PEN 900*Dissertation Research3
Complete Comprehensive Exam
Defend Dissertation
  • *  Successfully defend dissertation in Dissertation Defense by end of spring semester
 

EDU 802 - Principles of Statistics II (3)

The purpose of this second course in statistics is to develop specific concepts and techniques to conduct basic inferential statistical analysis. The course emphasizes application skills, i.e., the ability to fit the appropriate analysis to a particular data set. Students will learn to conduct and interpret the most often used inferential tests for research and evaluation projects. Computer-assisted analysis (such as SPSS) will complement course work.

  • Prerequisites: EDF 720 or equivalent and EDF 801 or equivalent

HSL 893 - Seminar in University Instruction and Supervision in Hearing, Speech, and Language Sciences (3)

This seminar is a pre-requisite for PhD students in the HSLS PhD Program who will be enrolled in a Practicum in University Instruction the following Spring semester. Students in this seminar become familiar with trends and issues in higher education instruction and supervision of interns in higher education Audiology and SLP programs.

  • Pre-requisite: Admission to the PhD Program in Hearing, Speech, and Language Sciences.

PEN 700 - Laboratory Research Rotation I (4)

In this first of two research laboratory rotation courses (PEN 700), students gain intensive Educational / Cognitive Neuroscience laboratory research experience at a partnership university during the summers after their first and second years in the PEN doctoral program, devoting special attention to the lab's scientific questions, hypotheses, and methods. Students will become familiar with the set of research questions guiding the laboratory's research, understand how the questions have been approached in the laboratory setting and represented as research hypotheses, gain hands-on experience in the technical aspects of data collection and analysis in the lab, and study how the lab's current work adds to the previous findings of the lab and the discipline. Students will also consider the principled application of the lab's research activities to the improvement of education and society, although this topic will become a major focus of the second rotation of the following summer. Students will focus their final paper and presentation on demonstrating their knowledge of the research process in the visited lab from theory to hypothesis to research design to analysis to interpretation.

  • Prerequisites: PEN 701, PEN 705, and CITI Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) certification, as well as permission from the scientist in the partner lab.

PEN 701 - Educational Neuroscience Proseminar (1)

This course (PEN 701) serves as an introduction to foundational issues in this discipline of Educational Neuroscience. Students are required to take this course twice (fall and spring). It is organized around three to four public lectures each semester, delivered by invited speakers on themes drawn from prevailing questions and challenges in education today. Each lecture is preceded by a preparation seminar, during which students will discuss readings relevant to the lecture topic. After each lecture, students will join the invited speaker for a special discussion session, during which they will have the valuable opportunity to interact directly with researchers pursuing innovative projects in the field of Educational Neuroscience. Students can expect to gain general knowledge of topics such as language learning, reading, child development, educational assessment, educational intervention, and school, policy, and family processes associated with young children, especially young deaf visual learners. Students will also learn how contemporary brain and behavioral research may be applied in principled ways to address prevailing problems in education. All seminars and lectures will be conducted bilingually, in ASL and English.

PEN 703 - Foundations of Educational Neuroscience (3)

The main objective of this two-part course, Foundations of Educational Neuroscience (fall, PEN 703 & spring, PEN 704) is to understand how the rich multidisciplinary field of Educational Neuroscience can inform science and education (and educational policy) in principled ways. In this first course PEN 703, the field's driving overarching objectives are identified: (i) to marry leading scientific discoveries about how children learn knowledge that is at the heart of early child development and schooling (e.g., language, reading, number, science, social-emotional) with core challenges in contemporary education, and to do so in principled ways through "two-way" communication and mutual growth between science and society; (ii) to conduct state-of-the-art behavioral and neuroimaging research that renders new knowledge that is useable, and meaningfully translatable, for the benefit of society (spanning parents, teachers, clinicians, medical practitioners, and beyond). Topics span the ethical application of science in education, neuroscience methods, and how children learn the content of their mental life, and the role of culture in learning. One major objective is for students to learn how Educational Neuroscience can provide specific advances in the education of all children, particularly young deaf children. Students in this course will read research articles, participate in discussions, do a small research project, and present a final paper.

PEN 704 - Fdntns of Edu Neuroscience II (3)

The main objective of this two-part course, Foundations of Educational Neuroscience (fall, PEN 703 & spring, PEN 704) is to understand how the rich multidisciplinary field of Educational Neuroscience can inform science and education (and educational policy) in principled ways. In this second course PEN 705, we draw scientific advances from the field and from the National Science Foundation, Science of Learning Center, Visual Language and Visual Learning, "VL2" at Gallaudet University. Topics span the impact of early brain plasticity of the visual systems and visual processing on higher cognition, early social visual engagement and literacy learning, the role of gestures in learning, early sign language exposure and its facilitative impact on language learning, the bilingual brain, the surprising role of "Visual Phonology" in early reading, and innovations in two-way educational translation uniting science and research. One major objective is for students to learn how Educational Neuroscience can provide specific advances in the education of all children, particularly young deaf children. Students in this course will read research articles, participate in discussions, do a small research project, and present a final paper.

  • Prerequisite: PEN 703

PEN 705 - New Directions in Neuroethics (3)

The field of neuroethics examines the ethical, social, and legal implications of the application of neuroscience research to society. This course begins with a view of how and why neuroscience has 'evolved' to become a dynamic force in both science and society. Students will explore how bioethics has become a critical dimension of any/all consideration of scientific advancement, particularly in light of modern scientific, research and medical ethics, and as a consequence , of socio-political trends and influences. From this, the field and practice of neuroethics will be addressed and discussed, with relevance to the ways that progress in neuroscience compels and sustains both the issues and dilemmas that arise in and from neuroscientific and neurotechnological research and its applications, and the importance of acknowledging and addressing the ethical basis and resolutions of such issues. An overview of specific frontier areas of neuroscience and technology will be explored, including core topics that involve Educational Neuroscience, with a special emphasis on (a) the extent and scope of new knowledge and capability that such developments afford to impact the human condition, and (b) key ethical concerns that are incurred by such neuroscientific and neurotechnological process. Paradigms for neuroethical, legal, and social probity, safety and surety, and a putative "precautionary process" will be explored. The ethical implications of the application of neuroscience research to special and diverse populations of individuals will be of great salience in our discussions.

PEN 710 - Laboratory Research Rotation II (4)

In this second of two research laboratory rotation courses (PEN 710), students gain intensive Educational/Cognitive Neuroscience laboratory research experience at a partnership university during the summers after their first and second years in the PEN doctoral program, devoting special attention to the lab's translational impact. Students will become familiar with the set of research questions guiding the laboratory's research, understand how the questions have been approached in the laboratory setting and represented as research hypotheses, gain hands-on experience in the technical aspects of data collection and analysis in the lab, and study how the lab's current work adds to the previous findings of the lab. Students will especially consider the principled application of the lab's research activities to the improvement of education and society, which will be a topic of major focus in this second lab rotation course. Students will focus their final paper and presentation on demonstrating their knowledge of the research process in the visited lab from theory to hypothesis, to research design, to analysis and interpretation, and, to its important translational impact.

  • Prerequisite: PEN 700, PEN 705, and have received CITI Responsible Conduct of Research (CRC) certification prior to this course.

PEN 801 - Guided Studies: Clerc Center/Pk-12 Schools and Two-Way Translation (3)

In this first of three-part sequence of intensive guided study courses (in class discussions and field experiences), Guided Studies (I): Translation (PEN 801), students advance their knowledge in making "two-way" connections between basic research discoveries and educational translation, with a special focus on building students' understanding of the priorities,m prevailing issues, translational challenges, and translational successes that are of looming importance in education today. Students will interact with educational personnel, parents, and deaf and hard of hearing children in the greater Washington area (for example, the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Educational Center administrators, teachers, children, and parents). The PEN student will gain new knowledge spanning K-12 educational settings, understand the many processes involved in going from translational research outcomes to and educational policy change, and gain specific and crucial new knowledge about the education of the young deaf visual learner. On-site oversight of the student will occur through close, mutually rewarding collaboration with members of the school. Both a written paper on the topic of translational research as well as a presentation of this paper to the student's PEN Program Committee, will comprise the student's first-year Preliminary Exams, which will occur at the end of this course.

  • Prerequisites: First-year required/core courses and lab rotation in the PEN PhD program. (This is a second year, first term fall required course in sequence.)

PEN 802 - Guided Studies: Research (3)

In this second of a three-part sequence of intensive guided study courses (in classroom and field experience), Guided Studies (II): Research (PEN 802), students advance their knowledge and critical analysis of the scientific process through active participation in and completion of a small research project. The course will involve a field experience assignment in a PEN lab at Gallaudet. The student will be further assigned to a subset of previously collected data from the lab on which students will be trained to analyze. The hands-on experience will involve the writing of a final research report in APA Journal Article format that includes articulation of the central question in Educational Neuroscience that the lab's study addresses (including theoretical significance, rationale, hypotheses, related predictions), the design of the mini study using the already collected data, articulation of the methods, data analyses, and findings, and discussion of the scientific and translational implications. This field experience will also include the student's writing of an IRB application, as well as a final presentation. In addition, both the written and presentation components will also constitute the student's Qualifying Examinations, which are scheduled separately at the end of this course with the student's PEN PhD Program Committee. After successful completion of Qualifying Examination, the student may petition to advance to candidacy in this program.

  • Prerequisites: First-year required /core course and lab rotation in the PEN PhD program, and PEN 801. (This is a second year, second term/spring required course in sequence.)

PEN 803 - Guided Studies: Theory (3)

In this third of a three-part sequence of intensive guided study courses (in class and field experience), Guided Studies (III): Theory (PEN 803), students advance their knowledge knowledge, critical analysis, and independent scholarship in one select domain of Educational Neuroscience of the student's choice. Through a combination of course work and field experience as independent library scholarship, students will advance to writing a paper in research grant proposal format in which they identify a research question of important contemporary scientific and educational significance in Educational Neuroscience, along with an in depth and detailed literature review. The student will also provide a presentation of this work at the end of the course. In addition, the grant proposal and presentation constitute the student's Comprehensive Examination, and is also separately presented at the end of the semester to the student's Comprehensive Examination Committee.

  • Prerequisite: Completion of PEN 801, PEN 802, and PhD Qualifying Exams

PEN 831 - Doctoral Teaching Internship (3)

The present course provides advanced PEN doctoral students with the opportunity to teach independently with the supervision of department instructors. The student assumes the role of instructor in one or more course(s) in the Departments of Education, Linguistics, Psychology, Interpreting or Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences (with possibility of doing so at a university in the Washington, D.C. Consortium). An important aim of this internship is to develop and hone the PEN doctoral student's ability to plan, implement, and evaluate an academic course.

  • Prerequisite: HSL 893

PEN 895 - Special Topics (1-3)

Grading System: letter grades only.

PEN 898 - Dissertation Proposal (3)

The purpose of this course is to guide students through the important process of writing a doctoral dissertation proposal. The dissertation proposal will include the articulation of an important and unique research question, with theoretical justification/rationale, and a literature review. It will lay bare the hypotheses and the predictions that follow from the posed question. It will also articulate specific details of the research design, methodology, proposed data analyses and anticipated outcomes as per the hypotheses and alternative hypotheses. A discussion of the scientific and translational significance of the proposed study will also be provided, as well as limitations. This course will culminate with an 'oral' defense of the dissertation proposal, the Dissertation Proposal Defense.

  • Prerequisite: PEN 803

PEN 900 - Dissertation Research (3)

This course is for advanced doctoral students in Gallaudet University's PhD Program in Educational Neuroscience (PEN) who have completed their Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Defense. The purpose of this course is to facilitate students through the important next steps of doctoral dissertation research and writing of the doctoral dissertation, culminating in the 'oral' defense of the dissertation, the Dissertation Defense.

  • Prerequisite: PEN 898

PSY 711 - Principles of Statistics (3)

Discussion of the theory and applications of inferential statistics, including sampling, estimation, confidence intervals, inferences, effect sizes and hypothesis testing as well as descriptive statistics, validity and reliability. Specific statistical techniques such as t tests, Chi Square, one way and factorial analyses of variance, correlations, simple and multiple regression as well as an introduction to trend analysis will be presented. Lab experiences in using SPSS or similar computer programs for analyzing data will be provided. Evaluations of statistical methods used in published research will be discussed.

 
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