Graduate Qualitative Research Credential

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There is a growing demand for well-trained qualitative researchers, both nationally and internationally.  The VCU Graduate Credential of Completion in Qualitative Research (GCCQR) recognizes doctoral students who pursue an advanced course of study in qualitative research methods.

The GCCQR requires that VCU doctoral students in good standing complete 12 hours of coursework in qualitative research methods, to include a 3 credit introductory course and 9 credits of advanced course.  This is a great opportunity for doctoral students who plan to do a qualitative or mixed-methods dissertation!

To submit your VCU Graduate Credential of Completion in Qualitative Research Eligibility Form, please click here.  If you have further questions, contact or see our Frequently Asked Questions below.

Why Should I Pursue the GCCQR?

Any attempt to grasp the pressing complexities and needs of our increasingly dynamic world requires a wide range of research approaches. While quantitative methods (such as randomized trials) rightfully remain the gold standard for some research pursuits, other questions demand more open approaches. In these cases, we need methods and theories that can attend to less discretely measurable things—such as contested narratives and lived experiences of displaced peoples—and that question the very culture of scientific research itself—who gets to formulate the questions, who gets to represent “others,” etc.

To address this need, we are proud to offer this Graduate Credential of Completion in Qualitative Research to doctoral students at Virginia Commonwealth University. The coursework offers burgeoning scholars a rich and rigorous foundation in advanced qualitative methods, and draws on diverse theoretical and methodological traditions from anthropology, philosophy, critical theory, culture study, feminist theory, and other fields. These qualitative, mixed-method, and interdisciplinary approaches prepare students to do research that engenders a deeper understanding of complex worlds and their potential for lasting transformation.

What Are The Requirements?

To earn the credential, students must complete a minimum of 12 credits of qualitative methods coursework. All students are required to start with a three-credit foundation course before taking any advanced courses. In addition to the foundation course, a minimum of three advanced courses (or at least 9 additional credits) is required. If a student wants to use an independent study or another course that is not on this list to meet one of their advanced course requirements, they must first submit a request to the program director (emails should go to for approval.

Who Is Eligible For The GCCQR?

Any VCU doctoral student in good standing is eligible to receive the credential. You simply need to submit a brief VCU Graduate Credential of Completion in Qualitative Research Eligibility Form. The form can be submitted after the student has taken one or more of the required courses, but must be submitted no later than the semester before graduation to be considered eligible.

What VCU Courses Meet the GCCQR Requirements?

The list of courses that can be applied to the GCCQR is not static, and we expect that it will continue to grow.

Here is a list of currently offered courses that will qualify you for the credential:

Foundation Courses (All students must take one of the following before taking advanced courses):

EDUS 711 Qualitative Methods and Analysis

NURS 772 Qualitative Research

PPAD 791 Qualitative Research Methods

SBHD 638 Applications in Qualitative Research Methods

SWKD 704 Multiparadigmatic Qualitative Methods

Advanced Courses (Students must take at least 3 of the following for at least 9 credits):

EDUS 651 Qualitative Data Analysis

EDUS 712 Mixed Methods Research

EDUS 780/TEDU 780 Researching Lived Experience: Post Phenomenology (previously EDUS 651)

GSWS 602 Feminist Research Epistemology and Methods

NURS 711 Conducting Mixed Methods Research

SBHD 636 Community-Based Participatory Research

SBHD 638 Applications in Qualitative Research Methods

SBHD 640 Seminar in Mixed Methods Research (1 credit)

SOCY 676  Digital Research Methods and Design

SWKD 724 Constructivist Inquiry

Independent Study or Other Course With prior approval from program director

What Do I Get For Completing the GCCQR?

Aside from the respect and adoration of your friends, family, and colleagues, the completion of the CGGQR requirements will result in:

  • An advanced foundation for your professional and academic journey, and . . .
  • A text comment will be recorded on the your academic transcript, to read: “Qualitative Research Credential: [Semester, Year Completed]”

Who Should I Contact If I Have More Questions?

Please contact Dr. Jose G. Alcaine at  Looking forward to hearing from you!