Vulnerable and Marginalized Groups Studies, Ed.D.

The specialization in Vulnerable and Marginalized Groups Studies is designed to promote an understanding of the theories underpinning marginalization and vulnerability and to equip graduates to develop possible solutions for equity concerns and social justice. The program is accepting students for Fall 2020.

Diversity Studies - specialty image, students on campus

Program Description

This program is currently accepting applicants and will begin in Fall 2020. The program is led by faculty in the Department of Educational Research and Administration.

This specialization focuses on contemporary discourses related to race and ethnicity, racial identity, gender equity, socioeconomic status, sexuality, ageing, second language acquisition, disabilities, and immigration. Graduates will be able to make connections among various diversities based on cultural competence, ideological considerations, and research best practices. Graduates might bring their expertise to bear in the fields of community health, social work, social services, education, nonprofits, and NGOs, among others.

Professional Core

The 27 semester hours in the professional core required for an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction will provide you the foundational knowledge for leading curriculum development and evaluation efforts. You will learn the psychological and philosophical foundations of curriculum and instruction. You will also examine critical issues in education—particularly those surrounding topics such as culture, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, age, sexuality, and disabilities—and learn how to conduct educational research.

Vulnerable and Marginalized Groups Studies

The Vulnerable and Marginalized Groups Studies specialization (18 semester hours) focuses on (a) cultural competence and education of marginalized ethnic groups; (b) education and marginalization of various diversities; (c) theoretical perspectives underpinning marginalization; (d) poverty, education, and human rights; and (e) relevant research methods and applications. The goal is to produce reflective practitioners who promote social justice and transform institutions and systems to advocate for and empower marginalized and vulnerable populations


The final step in achieving your doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Vulnerable and Marginalized Groups involves planning, conducting, and documenting a research study focused on an issue related to your specialization for your dissertation. The dissertation process is a major effort involving 18 semester hours, during which time you will work independently under the guidance of your dissertation committee.

Department Contact

Dr. Mark Malisa
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Research and Administration

Catalog Description
Department's Website

Specialization Student Learning Outcomes

Specialization SLOs must address each of the following five domains:


Evaluate issues of vulnerable and marginalized groups and the theoretical perspectives that underpin vulnerability and marginalization as they relate to the field of curriculum and instruction and education in general.

Critical Thinking

Develop logical, well-reasoned arguments to explain the connectedness of equity and social justice issues and the design of educational policy and practice.


Articulate implications of the issues of vulnerability and marginalization on educational policy and practice in different curriculum and instructional settings.


Conduct and evaluate studies on vulnerable and marginalized groups based on sound philosophical and theoretical perspectives with a clear understanding of the literature on the subject matter and ethical principles.

Admissions Requirements

In addition to the University graduate admission requirementsdescribed in the Graduate Admissions section of the catalog, the department bases decisions for regular admission on a holistic review of credentials in which the criteria listed below are used to assess the potential success of each applicant.

University Requirements*
• Submission of Graduate Application and Processing Fee 
• Submission of official transcripts 
*International students may have additional requirements.

Departmental Requirements
• Submission of official test scores - GRE, MAT or GMAT* 
• Master's GPA (A master’s GPA below 3.5 requires competitive GRE, GMAT, or MAT scores)
• Submission of a resume 
• Submission of three professional reference forms where at least two references are able to speak to your academic work, writing skills and sustainability for rigorous doctoral academic work. (Professional Reference Form)
• Overall fit with the program 
• Submission of letter of intent responding to the following questions/prompts:

a. What personal and professional goals do you hope to meet through earning a doctorate, and why do you think the UWF Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction is a good fit for your goals?

b. What special knowledge, skills, and experiences would you bring to the chosen specialization and how are these aligned with the mission of the doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction as a whole? If you have had experiences that may have affected your academic performance, please provide explanatory context.

c. Be careful to clearly articulate how your skill set and experiences align with goals of the selected specialization, and show how these will impact your career trajectory.

Note: Your responses to the three questions should not be less than six double spaced pages, 12 fonts size Times New Roman.

* Review your eligibility for an admission test score waiver.

Application Deadlines

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  • calendardates_Spring
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Certain graduate programs have earlier application deadlines. Check with the graduate department for departmental specific deadlines.

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