The P-12 EdPOL Ph.D. program aims to prepare students to engage in research and leadership, advocacy and innovation to address pressing problems of practice in educational systems. Our work seeks to ensure equitable learning opportunities and results for students in and out of schools, from early childhood through K-12 and transitions to post-secondary education, with an emphasis on addressing disparities by race, class, language, ability, and other social identities.

We inquire about these pressing problems by employing a variety of methodologies including qualitative, quantitative, mixed, and design-based research. We rely on collaborative partnerships with communities, schools, districts, and regional and state agencies to shape our research.  We work to ensure that our scholarship contributes to improving practice and policy while also advancing, research, theory and knowledge about educational policy, leadership, and organizations.

Our students prepare for careers in the academy, policy research organizations, community-based organizations and government. Our goal is to prepare the next generation of scholars who partner with practitioners and communities to generate rigorous, actionable knowledge that will advance the fields of educational policy, organizations, and leadership and transform schools and systems. To reach this goal, candidates take coursework grounded in the latest research on policy, organizations and leadership; work closely with their doctoral advisor or other faculty in a research apprenticeship; participate in professional communities; and receive meaningful mentorship with writing, publishing, and presenting to scholarly and practice audiences.

About research apprenticeships:

As a part of the EdPOL PhD program requirements, 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

A student 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.

Ph.D. students work closely with their advisers to create highly tailored programs of study that include intermediate and advanced coursework in Educational Policy, Organizations and Leadership Studies as well as outside coursework to gain broader perspective and deeper insight into specialized topics. Learn more about specific requirements and milestones for Ph.D. students.

Prospective students holding relevant master’s degrees should apply to the College of Education’s Ph.D. program.

To apply for this program, select "Organizational and Policy Studies" in the Graduate School's online application.

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