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IOU Open University online Ph.D programs

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PhD Programs


  • Social and Cultural Studies
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • Health Sciences (including Oriental Medicine)
  • Economic Studies


The individualized dual degree PhD Program with the Universidad Azteca and the Universidad Central de Nicaragua requires that the adult learner assumes a great deal of responsibility for his/her own learning process. The responsibility begins with the selection of a field of study which fits in the learner's special interests, background, and goals.

The program makes it possible for the learner to choose any area of study that would not otherwise be available, either because it is not offered in any university, or because it is not offered at one convenient to the learner. It also allows for interdisciplinary degrees, such as combining Anthropology and Sociology, Education and Psychology, Philosophy and Religion, Political Science, and Peace Studies.
Overview of PhD Programs

Learner Handbook: Overview of the PhD programs


Intercultural Open University Foundation (IOUF) aspires to create an academic environment grounded in interdisciplinary intellectual discovery and guided by rational discourse. Within its learning community, IOUF endeavours to act according to its basic values of respect for one another, cooperation, creative imagination, pride in a job well done, and intellectual and spiritual growth.


This Handbook is designed to be a resource for the Ph.D. studies.

Learners in the Graduate Studies Program may concentrate on a variety of areas in social sciences and humanities consistent with the expertise of their Ph.D. Committees which includes: the Core Faculty Advisor, the Second Core Reader, an External Scholar, two peers, and, if appropriate, one or more consultants.
Dissertation Conceptualization

Guidelines: PhD Degree IOUF/UA/UCN


The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a research degree. The Intercultural Open University Foundation and the Universidad Azteca and the Universidad Central de Nicaragua requires that each PhD learner complete a significant scholarly work, the dissertation. Your dissertation gives you the opportunity to engage in scholarly inquiry and research and to make an original contribution to knowledge. Excellence in scholarship is the primary criterion for your dissertation.

A sound dissertation proposal will help you to design and conduct your research and to create your document. As you develop your proposal, you should become familiar with the approaches, methods, and critical questions asked by researchers in your particular
field(s) of study. You should keep in mind the following issues as you begin to formulate your proposal:
PhD Application Form

Suggestions for writing your PhD Program application narrative

  1. Describe in the autobiographical essay your intellectual and personal development, work history, schooling, achievements and awards and any other pertinent background information.
  2. Describe your current interests and activities, giving particular attention to the nature of your work, studies and current readings, career plans, areas of special interest, and indicate your reasons for seeking an IOU Foundation degree.
  3. Describe your conceptualization of your proposed PhD Program with IOU Foundation, including the degree you wish to pursue, the types of learning resources you anticipate using, the final project or products you propose to undertake in the degree program and other plans and desires for your personal and professional development. In additional, discuss the overall learning objectives, the mechanisms which would be utilized to reach those objectives, the means for acquiring proficiency in the theoretical foundations in your area of specialization, the method of interrelating the theoretical and pragmatic aspects of your degree program, the objectives of your dissertation and the general cohesiveness of your proposed PhD Program.
Transcript guidlines

Guidelines For Preparing Your Intercultural Open University Foundation PhD 

You initially draft the Narrative Transcript of your PhD Program in preparation for  your Pre-graduation Meeting. The draft is reviewed and approved at the Final Degree Meeting, prior to submission to the Office of the Registrar.  When the approved draft is received in the Academic Records Office, it is used to prepare an official Transcript. A copy of the final document is kept in your permanent file.


Establishing Masters Equivalency


The Intercultural Open University Foundation PhD Admissions Committee does not normally admit applicants who do not hold a Masters degree. To be admitted without a Masters degree, the applicant’s task is to convince the Admissions Committee that the applicant has, essentially, the equivalent of a Masters degree in the individual’s proposed PhD field of study, or a closely related field. To accomplish this task, the applicant needs to convince the Committee that he or she possess (1) a strong experiential and theoretical background in the proposed PhD field, and (2) that sufficient information is provided about the proposed field of study to assure the Committee that the applicant can design a Ph.D. program and carry it out with the assistance of the learner’s PhD advisors.