This is an archived copy of the 2016-17 catalogue. To access the most recent version of the catalogue, please visit

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Ph.D.

All students must meet the Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree


The Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies is a multidisciplinary program that seeks to examine complex educational and social problems through the integration of multiple theoretical, methodological, and disciplinary lenses. The Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies is intended as a full-time program to prepare candidates to attain a high level of scholarly competence and to develop the capacity to contribute knowledge to their field. The program will develop scholars who can analyze and inform the development of educational systems and public policies that will positively impact the lives of children and youth and address broad societal issues such as child poverty. The degree will serve students who wish to pursue research/teaching careers in universities and/or research and policy positions in government agencies, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, and other public and private sector organizations.

The goals of the program include, but are not limited to:

  • Preparing professional researchers, scholars, and faculty competent in conducting and sharing research.
  • Focusing on research training that uses advanced quantitative, qualitative, and mixed method approaches to add to theoretical knowledge.
  • Emphasizing publication of research findings to enhance knowledge in education and social services.
  • Developing areas of interdisciplinary specialization.
  • Candidates will be mentored in conducting independent research, presenting papers at professional conferences, and submitting their work for publication.

Specific Requirements

Requirements for Admission to Graduate Studies for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

  • Master’s degree or undergraduate work in a related field such as educational leadership, educational studies, higher education, public administration, counseling, social work, or curriculum and instruction characterized by a distinguished academic record.
  • Demonstrated commitment in letters of application and references to social change and justice with experience in inquiry at a level that will predict successful research and college teaching.
  • GRE general test scores taken within the last 5 years.
  • Research interests compatible with those of CESS faculty.
  • Strong inquiry and writing skills.
  • In-depth understandings of systems change, leadership, and policy in order to conduct high quality research.
  • The application deadline is January 6th.

Minimum Degree Requirements

A minimum of seventy-five credits of doctoral studies following formal admission to the program comprised of:

Core Requirements9
EDFS 455Soc Process & Institutionl Chg3
EDLP 431Adv Sem Organizational Ldrshp3
EDLP 437Sem on Educational Policy3
Required Research Courses9
EDLP 409Applied Educational Research3
EDLP 419Quantitative Research Methods3
EDLP 429Adv Quantitative Rsch Methods3
Elective Research Courses - 2 possibilities shown9
EDLP 350Survey Research Methods3
EDLP 439Hierarchical Linear Modeling3
Guided by student interest and committee approval
Field of Study/Cognate9
Transdisciplinary options within and outside of CESS (guided by student interest and committee approval)
Dissertation Seminar3
EDLP 449Dissertation Writing Seminar3
A written and oral individualized exam developed by dissertation commitee after completing all coursework except for EDLP 449
Dissertation Research Credits21
EDLP 491Doctoral Dissertation Research1-12
Total Credits75

All course credits beyond the core are distributed in educational leadership, research, critical perspectives, organizational change, and selected specialty content areas.

A maximum of twenty-four (24) semester hours may be accepted in transfer from an accredited graduate program. Transfer credit may be completed prior to admission to the EDLP Ph.D. program provided that the credit is approved by the student's graduate studies committee and that the credit conforms to all other Graduate College requirements.

Dissertation expectations require a Journal Article format with a focus on original research, illustrating mastery of competing theories with the goal of informing knowledge (per Graduate College guidelines). This format requires that the candidate will complete one or more journal article(s) with the goal of manuscript submission for publication in refereed journals.

Comprehensive Examination

In order to assess students' scholarship and critical thinking, a comprehensive examination is required by the end of a student's course of study (typically the third year).  The examination consists of a critical, in-depth review/empirical article on a topic to be agreed upon by the student, his/her mentor, and one additional faculty reader, with these individuals approving an abstract of the paper in advance. The review/empirical article must demonstrate comprehensive empirical and theoretical mastery of the agreed-upon topic, including relevant knowledge on which the specific research area is based.

Once the student's advisor and one other faculty member deem the article original and ready for review, the student will schedule a research colloquium on the topic of the paper for the CESS community.  The student's studies committee will serve as the faculty examiners for the comprehensive examination.  They will, by consensus, assign a grade of fail, conditional pass, or pass for the comprehensive examination.  The article may later be incorporated into the student's doctoral dissertation if deemed appropriate by the student's dissertation committee.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Successful completion of any pre-requisite courses, and at least 15 graded graduate credits with a 3.00 GPA or better, including all core courses and a comprehensive examination.

For further requirements concerning studies committees, research and dissertation, and the dissertation defense examination committee, refer to General Requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.