Looking for a M.Ed. option?

Check out our Master's in Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Policy which features a specialization in Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership.

What you can earn


6 years for Ph.D.

Credits earned

90+ for Ph.D.



Time commitment


Upcoming deadline

January 3, 2025

Shape the future of education in the U.S.

The Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership (EdPOL) program empowers graduates to take action, driving educational equity. Our program addresses the pressing problems within educational practice, ensuring that learning opportunities are not just equal but equitable.

From early childhood through K-12 and the transitions into post-secondary education, we emphasize the need to eliminate disparities related to race, class, language, ability, and other social identities.

At EdPOL, you'll shape a personalized course of study with your advisor and engage with three core areas:

  • Policy: Learn to make and evaluate education policies that drive change
  • Organizations: Understand how schools and systems work
  • Leadership: Develop skills to make real educational reform happen
Educator speaking with two young children in a school building

What you'll learn

Policy insights

Gain an in-depth understanding of how policies are formulated, implemented and evaluated

Organizational dynamics

Discover the intricacies of educational organizations and their evolving nature. Learn how to navigate change within these structures

Leadership in education

Develop the skills to exert meaningful influence in educational settings. Become a catalyst for positive change

Research mastery

Master various research methodologies, including qualitative, quantitative, mixed and design-based research. Acquire the tools to conduct impactful studies

Community partnerships

Forge collaborative relationships with communities, schools, districts and state agencies. Understand how research can drive positive changes in real-world settings.

Equity and inclusion

Explore the critical issue of educational equity, ensuring that all students have equal access to quality education regardless of their backgrounds.

After graduation

Upon graduation, your career path may lead you to work in academia (such as faculty), community-based organizations, government agencies, and the educational sector in roles like policy analysis, educational leadership, community outreach.

Let's connect

We're excited that you're interested in our program! By joining our mailing list, you can receive updates on info sessions, deadlines, financial aid and more!

Connect with us


    Our program is designed to be both flexible and comprehensive. While most students complete their Ph.D. in 4-6 years, we understand that each academic journey is unique. You'll work closely with advisors to tailor your program, focusing on areas of research specialization that align with your goals and interests.

    Ph.D. students are expected to participate in a research apprenticeship for a minimum of two school years, or six quarters. Depending on the type and stage of research project, this apprenticeship could include:

    • Opportunities to participate in research design (and perhaps grant writing)
    • Data collection
    • Data analysis
    • Writing manuscripts/reports based on findings
    • Presenting findings to stakeholders and/or research meetings
    • Participating in research team meetings

    You can meet this requirement through a research assistantship, by receiving course credit for participating in the work, or volunteering on a project. Students are encouraged to participate in a research project led by an EdPOL faculty, although this is not mandatory.

    Admission requirements and process

      Master's degree from an accredited institution

      Your degree can be in-progress when applying but must be completed before program starts

      Unofficial transcript(s) with minimum 3.0 GPA
      • Include one from each institution from which you've earned a degree and one from every institution you have attended in the previous 5 years.
      • Your transcripts must include your name, coursework and degree (if completed)
      • If you are offered admission, the UW Graduate School will request an official transcript from your most recent degree earned

      The UW Graduate School requires a cumulative GPA of 3.0, or 3.0 for your most recent 90 graded quarter credits (60 semester credits). However, we review your application holistically. If your GPA is below 3.0, contact us at edinfo@uw.edu for advice on how to strengthen your overall application.

      Three letters of recommendation

      During the online application process, you will be given instructions for adding your recommenders and getting their letters submitted electronically. All recommenders must submit their letters online.


      A current academic and professional resume or vita is required. In addition to educational degrees and professional experience, you should include a listing of all relevant awards, publications, presentations or other achievements that will help us evaluate your application.

      Statement of purpose

      The admissions committee uses your statement of purpose, along with other evidence, to determine whether your goals are well-matched with our programs. Your statement should address goals, relevant experience, future plans and how the desired specific program meets your needs. Be sure to include personal experiences that have prepared you for the challenge of graduate school, topics like:

      • Scholarly interests
      • Career goals
      • Your match for the program
      • Faculty interests

      Your statement should be 3-5 pages, double-spaced.

      Writing sample

      Submit one sample of scholarly writing (e.g., course papers, articles, essays). The sample should demonstrate how well you can analyze or synthesize and critically reflect on information. The writing sample must have been written by you alone.

      If you have no appropriate examples of scholarly writing, we urge you to consider preparing a medium-length (10-12 page) critical essay review of a book that you feel is central to your interests in education. The writing sample will be uploaded in your online application.

      Personal history statement (optional)

      While optional, you can add to your application by submitting a personal history statement with each application. This statement should address your intellectual growth and development, inclusive of and beyond your academic goals. Speak to topics like:

      • Educational, cultural and economic opportunities and disadvantages you've experienced
      • Ways these experiences affected the development of your special interests, career plans and future goals.
      • Any additional topics requested on a specific program's page

      Statements should be no longer than two pages long. And while there are no standard formatting requirements, we encourage double-spaced text with a legible font.

      1. Gather all required documents
      2. Visit the Graduate School website
      3. Log into your account or create a new profile if you are a first-time applicant
      4. Complete all steps in application process and upload your documents
      5. Pay the nonrefundable $90 application fee
        • You may request a fee waiver during the application process
      6. Submit your application

      Here is our general timeline for decisions. Have questions about the process? Visit our graduate admissions page.

      Step 1: Application processing

      • Within 7 business days after the deadline, we will check if your application if fully complete
      • We will email you whether your application is complete or incomplete
      • If your application is missing anything, you will have a short amount of time submit these items
      • You can also log into the online application and check your status and see any missing items

      Step 2: Application review

      • Committees begin reviewing applications about three weeks after the deadline
      • You will receiving an email when your application has entered the review phase

      Step 3: Decision notification

      • The final decision will be emailed to you
      • Your status will also be updated in the online application

      We value and welcoming applications from international students! If you are applying from outside the United States, there are additional requirements and application materials.

      Prior degree requirements
      • At minimum, you must have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree (a four-year degree from an institution of recognized standing)
      • Evaluation of your degree will be based on:
        • The national system of education in the foreign country
        • The type of institution
        • The field of study and level of studies completed
      • International transcripts must be submitted in the original language.
      • Your transcript should include date of graduation and title of the awarded academic degree
      • If your transcript is not in English, you must also provide a certified English translation
      • You do not need to have your transcript evaluated for the degree by an agency
      English language proficiency

      Per UW Graduate School policy, you must submit a demonstration of English language proficiency if your native language is not English and you did not earn a degree in one of the following countries:

      • United States
      • United Kingdom
      • Australia
      • Bahamas
      • Canada
      • Ireland
      • Jamaica
      • New Zealand
      • Singapore
      • South Africa
      • Trinidad and Tobago

      The following tests are accepted if the test was taken fewer than two years ago:

      • TOEFL
        • Minimum score: 80
        • Recommended score: 92+
        • The UW's 4-digit code is 4854
      • IELTS
        • You must request from the center where you took the test that your scores be sent electronically using the IELTS system (E-TRF) to the following address:
          • University of Washington All Campuses, Organisation ID 365, Undergrad & Graduate Admis, Box 355850, Seattle, WA, 98105, United States of America
        • Minimum score: 6.5
        • Recommended score: 7.0+
        • School information for submission:
          University of Washington, All Campuses
          Undergraduate & Graduate Admission
          Box 355850
          Seattle, WA 98195
      • Duolingo
        • Minimum score: 105
        • Recommended score: 125+
        • Follow the instructions on the Duolingo website to submit your scores
      Financial ability

      If apply and are offered admission to UW, you will need to submit a statement of financial ability.

      Costs and funding

        We are a tuition-based program. Estimated tuition rates are based on your residency: 

        • Washington state residents: $19,584 per year
        • Out-of-state students: $35,352 per year

        Estimates are subject to change and may differ due to course load and summer quarter enrollment. Estimates include building fees, technology fees, U-Pass, etc. Additional program-specific fees are not included in this estimate.

        View the UW tuition dashboard →
        Visit the Office of Planning & Budgeting →

        Federal financial aid is available for students. Visit the UW Financial Aid website for information and resources. The College of Education also provides scholarship and other funding opportunities.

        Graduate students can be awarded $2,000 - $5,000 if they are earning their M.Ed, Ed.S, Ed.D or Ph.D through a College of Education program.

        Program Faculty

        Professor of Practice
        Associate Professor
        Associate Professor
        Assistant Professor
        Associate Professor