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The cognate component provides for graduate study in areas of particular interest to an individual student. It serves to broaden and deepen a student’s professional understanding of the related body of literature or increase related skills.

A student may select cognate areas from those graduate disciplines that support a curricular area and/or have professional relevance.


Follow your passion

Interdisciplinary cognates, both within and beyond the College of Education, are encouraged and may include graduate courses, directed research and reading, practica, and internships.

The Cognate Experience

The cognate must be a planned set of experiences leading to goals specified by the student in consultation with his or her program advisor and committee. Credits may be transferred to be applied to the cognate from approved graduate programs at other universities at the discretion of the program advisor and committee members and subject to approval by the Doctoral Management Committee and the Graduate College Dean. This program should include a rationale for each element and a proposed timeline.


A specialization in bilingual education provides students with a rich understanding of the research and practice of bilingual education. It prepares them to be change agents and leaders in areas of bilingual education and English as a second language.

Curriculum and Instruction

A specialization in curriculum and instruction is designed to advance the professional learning and development for practicing educators. While this cognate focuses on the K-12 education landscape in particular, student work outside of the K-12 systems is also recognized and accepted.

Early Childhood and/or Special Education

A specialization in early childhood intervention and/or special education provides students with knowledge and experience in implementing evidence-based instructional strategies to more effectively serve all students from birth through 12th grade, with special emphasis on supporting students with disabilities and their families.

Educational Leadership

A specialization in educational leadership prepares students for leadership positions in educational settings and to improve the knowledge and performance of current leaders in educational leadership positions. The program focuses on the relationship between tested practices and applied theory.

Educational Technology

A student seeking a doctorate in education (Ed.D.) with a focus on educational technology has two options through Boise State University.

1. Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction, with a specialization in Educational Technology (mode: blended)

2. Ed.D. in Educational Technology (mode: online only)


A specialization in kinesiology provides students the opportunity for advanced study in physical education, sport sociology, psychology and history, exercise physiology, and biomechanics. Students who complete this degree are prepared to teach kinesiology-related topics at the college level.


A specialization in literacy provides opportunities for advanced study beyond the master’s degree with specialization in theoretical approaches to literacy instruction, application of theory to practice and use of specific materials and methods of literacy instruction based on current research studies.

Mathematics Education

A specialization in mathematics is designed to prepare and build the knowledge of individuals who are interested in improving their skills and understanding related to mathematics classroom instruction, coaching teachers in mathematics, or becoming mathematics teacher leaders.

Program, Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics

A specialization in program evaluation, measurements, and statistics focuses the tools and assessment strategies related to educational assessment, program evaluation, data collection, and research.

Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM)

The curriculum for the STEM cognate is targeted towards in-service teachers and highlights current developments in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines. In addition to subject matter knowledge, emphasis is placed on STEM pedagogy and educational research.

Student-Developed Specializations

Doctoral level students have the option of creating their own area of specialization with the help of their advisor. The credit requirements remain the same. This specialization is subject to approval by the advisor and Doctoral Program Coordinator.

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