The Freshman to Ph.D. Program is a grant project sponsored by the Kellogg Foundation through a sub-award from the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Minority Serving Institutions. The Freshman to Ph.D. Program is a capacity building award that seeks to deepen students’ understanding of the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Examination. To achieve this goal, the program features an independent study research course that guides students through the process of developing a major educational research project.

Some benefits of the program include:

  • One-on-one support for teacher education examination prep and research projects
  • FREE books/material vouchers
  • Praxis test preparation and one FREE Praxis examination
  • Personalized mentoring on graduation school preparation
  • Opportunity to participate in PAID summer research internships
  • Paid conference presentation opportunities
  • Academic credit for undergraduate research courses focused on education



Students who have a cumulative ACT score of 15 or higher; are freshmen or sophomores (or community college transfer students) who plan to take the teacher certification examinations.  Students who are exempt from the Core Academic Skills for Educators examination as well as those who have attempted the test without success are potential participants in the program.  


  • Take one practice test at the beginning of the program
  • Take the official ETS Teacher Education Examination in the summer or by the mid-semester in the Fall
  • Complete a one-year program, including registering for two required courses


Program Coordinators:

Deidre L. Wheaton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies
Coordinator, Social & Cultural Studies Program
Office Location: College of Edu Rm. 217-N
Office Phone: 601-979-1164
Jie Ke, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Human Resource Development
Office Location: Room 3-2, University Center, 3825 Ridgewood Rd., Jackson, MS 39211
Office Phone: 601-979-8892