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Doctor of Philosophy in Gifted Education

Program Overview

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Program at the Arabian Gulf University was established in 2008 in order to meet the needs of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries of specialized and distinguished researchers in the field of gifted education.

The PhD Program is designed to prepare educators and psychologists who wish to become university professor, researchers, administrators, and policymakers in gifted education.

The PhD courses are distributed across three semesters where candidates take foundation courses in the first semester, and core courses in the second and the third semesters. PhD courses provide candidates with an in-depth knowledge on different topics in gifted education including identification and assessment, creativity, curriculum planning, twice exceptional, social and emotional development, and methods of assessing the impact of gifted programs provided by public sector in the Arab Gulf region.

Candidates in the PhD program are expected to publish a paper or more throughout their doctoral journey, attend regional and international conferences, and actively participate in community service activities.

After successfully completing all courses, candidates are assigned with at least two supervisors who will closely work with them to assure the quality, the added-value, and the scientific significance of their doctoral dissertation. The minimum duration of study in the PhD Program is three years and the maximum is five years.

After more than a decade of the establishment of the PhD program at the Department of Gifted Education, we are proud of graduating more than 70 PhD holders who are taking lead in different positions in K-12 education as well as higher education institutes in the GCC countries. Last but not least, we are proud of our partnerships with leading institutes and centers in the Arab Gulf Region such as Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance, King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, and the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States.


The PhD Program at the Department of Gifted Education will strengthen the science and practice of gifted education in all the GCC countries through innovative scholarly contributions, dedicated services, and rigorous preparation of distinguished future researchers and practitioners in the field of gifted education.


The PhD Program at the Department of Gifted Education is dedicated to providing rich and extraordinary learning experiences to prepare future researchers and practitioners in gifted education through evidence-based research and practice.

Program Objectives

  • To conduct cutting-edge research that address different topics related to gifted education in the GCC countries.
  • To prepare distinguished future researchers in the field of gifted education.
  • To carry out world-class research aligned with strategic priorities of the GCC countries.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the PhD Program, candidates will be able to:

  • Apply their advanced knowledge to address fundamental issues related to educating and nurturing gifted and talented students in the GCC countries.
  • Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in one or more areas of study in gifted education.
  • Engage in conducting original research that makes an original contribution to the body of knowledge in gifted education.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of gifted services provided by Ministries of Education in the GCC countries.
  • Develop and implement gifted and talented programs in K-12 education and in higher education institutions.

Program Outline

The PhD Program in Gifted Education is a 57-credit program that provides candidates with up-to-date knowledge and skills in main areas of gifted education such as (a) assessment, (b) curriculum planning and instruction, (c) creativity, and (d) counseling in order to meet the need of different populations of gifted and talented learners including academically, musically, artistically, and creatively gifted students. In addition to the courses, PhD candidates will learn advanced research and statistical methods that allow them to use advanced statistical techniques such as path analysis, Structural Equation Modeling, Item Response Theory, and Meta-analysis. Candidates are expected to complete a dissertation that will significantly contribute to the body of knowledge relating to the field of gifted education. 


First Year (First Semester)

Course ReferenceCourse TitleCredit Hours

GED GE 530

Introduction to Gifted Education


GED GE 531

Identification and Assessment in Gifted Education


GED GE 533



Total Credits for 1st Semester



First Year (Second Semester)

Course ReferenceCourse TitleCredit Hours


Cognitive Psychology in Gifted Education



Advanced Assessment and Identification in Gifted Education



Advanced Statistical Methods



Advanced Research Methods


Total Credits for 2nd Semester



Second Year (First Semester)

Course ReferenceCourse TitleCredit Hours

GED GE 717

Research Seminar



Contemporary Issues of Giftedness



Planning, Development, and Evaluation of Gifted Programs






Theories of Creativity and Applications


Total Credits for 3rd Semester



PhD. Dissertation*


Total Credit for PhD Degree


*The minimum duration for the doctoral degree is three years

Courses Outline
Introduction to Gifted Education (GED GE 530)This course introduces the education of gifted, talented, and creative students. It provides an overview of gifted education through the development of theories relevant to giftedness and creativity and their applications. The course also covers the behavioral characteristics of the gifted. Knowledge and concepts needed to understand the area of gifted education are introduced.  Finally, the roles of society and parents in caring for and nurturing the gifted are viewed and discussed. This course discusses the following topics:
  • History of gifted education
  • Characteristics of gifted learners
  • Social and emotional development of gifted and talented students
  • Curriculum for gifted and talented students
  • Enrichment and acceleration
  • Creativity and creative thinking

​Learning Outcomes:

  • To recognize the characteristics of gifted and talented students
  • To describe how various definitions of giftedness affect the design and implementation of identification process
  • To analyze the effectiveness of enrichment and acceleration programming options in enhancing and extending learning opportunities for gifted and talented students
  • To evaluate the components of existing curricula, systems and models tailored to meeting the needs of gifted and talented students
  • To demonstrate an understanding of how to identify and serve students who are typically underrepresented in gifted and talented programs and services, including students from culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse environments
  • To develop collaborative relationships with parents and community members to extend and enhance learning opportunities for gifted and talented students
  • To demonstrate an understanding of how to identify and serve students who are typically underrepresented in gifted and talented programs and services, including students from culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse environments; and
  • To develop collaborative relationships with parents and community members to extend and enhance learning opportunities for gifted and talented students.​

Curriculum and Teaching Methods for Gifted Students (GED GE 532)

This course introduces learners to developing and teaching special curriculum for the gifted and talented. Learners are familiarized with curriculum and teaching techniques appropriate for gifted children. Through readings and course assignments, learners are taught the different methods for enriching educational settings with programs to improve thinking skills. This course discusses the following topics:

  • The concepts, social forces, and problems that impact curriculum for gifted learners
  • The diverse orientation to curriculum development and management for gifted learners
  • The impact of national standards on curriculum for the gifted
  • The evaluation of curriculum for gifted learners from a variety of perspectives

Learning Outcomes:

  • Identifying those instructional strategies which are most effective in meeting the needs of gifted learners and explaining the underlying theory that supports the effectiveness;
  • Implementing and evaluating instructional techniques appropriate for gifted learners;
  • Developing plans that are interdisciplinary and include challenging instructional tasks for learners;
  • Evaluating instructional plans and techniques for their potential to be both rigorous and relevant, and
  • Developing and demonstrating instructional techniques that require complex thinking on the part of students.

Creativity (GED GE 533)

The major purpose of this course is to study the theoretical and practical aspects of creativity. More specifically, this introductory course addresses the definition of creativity, theories of creativity, levels of creativity, developing and enhancing creative thinking, assessing creativity, the relationship between creativity and other related concepts, as well as obstacles to creativity and creative thinking. This is not a traditional course since it tackles a topic that goes beyond traditional thinking; thus, practicing creativity is one of the course objectives. This course discusses the following topics:

  • Theories of creativity
  • 4P's creativity model
  • Level of creativity (mini-c to Big-C)
  • Gender differences in creativity
  • Enhancing creative thinking skills
  • Creativity and mental illness
  • Assessing divergent thinking skills
  • Creativity: what it is and what it is not

Learning Outcomes:

  • To describe major theories and models of creativity based on the 4P's conceptualization of creativity
  • To describe the environmental elements that encourage (and/or) hinder creativity and creative thinking
  • To distinguish between levels of creativity (i.e., everyday vs. eminent creativity)
  • To distinguish between creativity and other related concepts (i.e. intelligence, innovation, etc.)
  • To apply techniques to enhance creative thinking skills among gifted students
  • To produce a product that is both original and effective
Cognitive Psychology in Gifted Education (GED GED 730)

This course aims to familiarize students with the theories, approaches, methods and techniques used in cognitive psychology. Moreover, this course is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of topics related to human cognition such as perception, sensation, consciousness, memory, and information processing. Throughout this course, students will examine theoretical and empirical approaches to understand cognitive abilities including lower level and higher-order thinking skills. More specifically, this course discusses the following topics:

  • Language and thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Decision making
  • Metacognition
  • Cognitive patterns
  • Information processing
  • Attention
  • Short term memory
  • Long term memory

Learning Outcomes:

  • To develop the scientific data inherent in cognitive psychology
  • To discuss theories, topics, methods and tools used to study cognitive phenomenon
  • To understand intellectual and cognitive abilities of gifted learners
Advanced Assessment and Identification in Gifted Education (GED GED 733)

This course is intended to provide students with advanced concepts and skills of measurement, assessment, evaluation, and testing to be utilized in the identifying processes of the gifted based on approved definitions of giftedness. Students will also be trained to apply formal and informal tools, grouped and individualized intelligence tests, creativity tools, and other instruments to identify gifted individuals. Standardized tests and data analysis are also covered. This course discusses the following topics:

  • Alternative assessments for gifted and talented students
  • Identifying gifted students from low-income backgrounds
  • Assessing non-cognitive abilities and skills
  • Converting raw scores to standardized scores

Learning Outcomes:

  • To use alternative assessments and technologies to evaluate learning of gifted and talented individuals
  • To be able to administer a variety of cognitive and non-cognitive assessments
  • To be able to interpret assessments' results
Advanced Research Methods (GED GED 735)

This course covers the major approaches to qualitative, quantitative and mixed research designs, including phenomenology, ethnography, case study, descriptive, correlative, causal-comparative, single, and group experimental research. The course also supports and encourages students to develop ideas for their dissertations. Experience in writing and assessing published work is provided. This course discusses the following topics:

  • Introduction to research methods
  • Selecting a sample
  • Sampling in quantitative research
  • Action research
  • Correlational research
  • Causal-comparative research
  • Experimental research
  • Case study research
  • Mixed methods research: Integrated qualitative and quantitative methods
  • Data Collection
  • Preparing a research report

Learning Outcomes:

  • To understand concepts and definitions of educational research
  • To select a tentative research topic to be subsequently developed into a research proposal
  • To be familiar with and use library databases and references
  • To know how to develop chapter one (introduction) of the dissertation
  • To know how to develop chapter two (theoretical background and literature review) of the dissertation
  • To know how to develop chapter three (methodology) of the dissertation
  • To know how to write and interpret results (chapter four)
  • To know and apply APA rules and guidelines related to writing formal research reports 
Advanced Statistical Methods (GED GED 734)

The aim of this course is to help students to understand the advanced statistical methods, employ them scientifically in verifying the hypotheses of the study, and distinguish between descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. Students will also be able to realize the differences between the uses of parametric and non-parametric methods, acquire information and concepts related to the inferential statistics and hypothesis tests, as well as define the appropriate statistical method, analyze and interpret the results. This course also trains students to write reports and extract the most important results from statistical analysis, and to use the statistical programs practically in performing the analysis by using  advanced statistical methods, and the statistical significance test. This course discusses the following topics:

  • Exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis
  • Item Response Theory
  • Structural equation models
  • Meta-analysis
  • t- Test
  • Non-parametric tests
  • Multiple linear regression
  • Path analysis
  • Cluster analysis

Learning Outcomes:

  • To recognize the basic statistical procedures and concepts (e.g., Variable and constant; quantitative and qualitative; continuous and discrete Data; nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio scales of measurement; Type I error Vs type II error; Test power; Level of significance; Statistical significant; Null and alternative hypothesis)
  • To distinguish between the parametric and non-parametric tests
  • To distinguish between the Exploratory Factor Analysis and Confirmatory Factor Analysis.
  • To distinguish between Multiple Linear Regression, Path Analysis, and Structural Equation Models
Research Seminar (GED GED 717)

As a course for PhD students in gifted education, this course provides a critical survey of the research issues, policy, ethics and practices. In addition, it enables students to explore theories of giftedness, creativity and intelligence. The chosen readings are challenging so as to stimulate interesting discussions about philosophy and practice in gifted education. This course discusses the following topics:

  • Evaluation of previous studies
  • Discussion of statistical analyses
  • Preparation of a research study requirements
  • Discussion of the research problem

Learning Outcomes:

  • To select a research topic drawing on different theories, perspectives and past research studies and methods
  • To review and critically evaluate published research in gifted education
  • To write a comprehensive review of literature on a topic in gifted education
  • To write a journal- length manuscript, appropriate for submission to a professional journal in gifted education
Contemporary Issues of Giftedness (GED GED 722)

​This course is concerned with enriching the students' knowledge of concepts, topics, and modern and future changes in the field of identifying the gifted and gifted education. Moreover, it deals with modern ideas in theoretical literature, studies and research related to gifted students. In addition, the course stimulates students' attention towards some research issues and topics that are related to detecting, building, and developing gifted programs from different angles. The course  also focuses on the students' in-depth knowledge of the main topics in the field of gifted education and also the search for the latest developments in the field of giftedness as well as  the selection of one of the modern and future trends in order to write an integrated scientific paper that is publishable. This course discusses the following topics:

  • Twice exceptional students
  • Successful intelligence and Aurora Battery
  • Musically and artistically talented students
  • Tacit knowledge, practical Intelligence, and entrepreneurship
  • Talent management
  • STEM & STEAM and integrated science for the Gifted
  • Evaluation of Giftedness Programs
  • Add-value and enrichment programs
  • Standards of gifted programs

Learning Outcomes:

  • To discuss the definition of Giftedness from different perspectives
  • To determine the main regional and global issues in each program
  • To determine how to treat a gifted individual with special needs
  • To define the education and preparation of gifted education teacher
  • To determine the gifted research problems
  • To determine the rules and regulations pertaining to gifted students 
Planning, Development and Evaluation of Gifted Education Programs (GED GED 731)

The purpose of this course is to introduce models and practices related to planning, developing, and evaluating gifted education, that reflect the philosophies and goals of international models associated with teaching the gifted worldwide and in the Arab world. Coursework includes an analysis of legislation and current plans for gifted programs and the budgets required to implement them. Candidates will acquire knowledge of strategies to implement gifted programs in terms of planning, administration and technical aspects.  Additionally, candidates will be provided with steps and strategies to evaluate gifted programs starting with the goals and ending with a final product. Candidates will also acquire skills for enriching traditional school curriculum to fulfill the needs and meet the abilities of various groups of gifted students. This course discusses the following topics:

  • The role of creativity in identification of the gifted and talented
  • Misapplication of tests in identifying the gifted
  • Problems in the identification of gifted learners
  • Alternative assessments for gifted and talented students

Learning Outcomes:

  • To identify processes and procedures for the identification of gifted and talented individuals
  • To critically interpret different types of assessments of gifted and talented learners
  • To use unbiased approaches for the identification process of gifted and talented learners
Twice Exceptional (GED GED 732)

This course helps students to recognize gifted students with special needs, or what is known in gifted education literature as “twice-exceptional." Moreover, this course discusses appropriate assessments for identifying twice exceptional students. Another topic this course targets is intervention programs and techniques for tackling some of the social and emotional challenges that twice exceptional students face. More specifically, this course discusses the following topics:

  • Continuum of needs and services for twice exceptional students
  • Encouraging academic achievement of twice exceptional
  • Supporting cognitive style for twice exceptional students
  • Factors leading to misidentification of twice exceptional students

Learning Outcomes:

  • To clarify the concepts of giftedness, talent, creativity, learning difficulties and the relationship between these concepts
  • To clarify the class of gifted students with double needs, their characteristics, the methods of diagnosis
  • To explain the concept of hyperactivity, to know the basic features of this category, and its relation to giftedness, the role of parents, teachers, and the way of counselling them
Theories of Creativity and Applications (GED GED 736)

This course introduces students to the concepts of creativity and its components. In addition to addressing the theories of creativity, the course also focuses on the concepts including creative productivity, creative behavior and methods of individual and collective creativity in greater depth. This course discusses the following topics:

  • History of the study of creativity
  • Theories of the creative process
  • Creative personality
  • Creative style
  • creative product

Learning Outcomes:

  •  To provide the students with a preliminary introduction to the concept of creativity and stages of development
  • To learn how to benefit from the theories of creativity 

Methods of Assessment

Methods of assessment vary from formative assessment where instructors examine students' knowledge and skills at the beginning of the program, to criterion-reference assessment where students performance is being assessed based on the learning outcomes specified in each course. As we believe that there are individual differences between students, the formative assessment allows each instructor to modify curriculum based on the level of each student.

Another kind of assessment employed in the PhD Program is summative assessment. Summative assessment method is used in the middle and at the end of each course through variety of methods including weekly assignment, projects, and quizzes and exams.

Finally, the overall performance of all students is assessed at the end of the program through comparing their overall performance with the Program Learning Outcomes.

Admission Requirements

All applicants for the PhD Program must meet the following admission criteria:

  • Submit a research proposal,
  • A minimum of 3.00 out of 4.00 Grade Point Average (GPA) in the master's degree from an accredited higher education institute,
  • Official transcripts from all institutions attended,
  • Successfully passing the interview with the Department faculty,
  • Successfully passing an exam in gifted education and an exam in research methodology, and
  • Submit a TOEFL score of at least 450 paper based (46 Internet based), OR an IELTS score of 5.

Graduation Requirements

  • Successfully complete 57 credit hours including course work and doctoral dissertation
  • Successfully pass doctoral dissertation defense
  • Obtain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 out of 4.00 points.



Admission and Registration Office

Arabian Gulf University

P.O. Box: 26671, Manama

Kingdom of Bahrain

Telephone: (+973) 17239999

Fax: (+973) 17239555

Website: www.agu.edu.bh

Information on Program

Department of Gifted Education

College of Graduate Studies

Arabian Gulf University

P.O. Box: 26671, Manama

Kingdom of Bahrain

Telephone: (+973) 17239999

Fax: (+973) 17239555