Doctoral Program of Study

The Educational Policy and Planning (EPP) program prepares the next generation of scholars, researchers, and analysts who will significantly and positively change public education. The EPP doctoral program (Ph.D.) prepares future faculty members, policy analysts, and researchers to be anti-racist education policy scholars and analysts, with a critical focus on issues of equity.

Students will gain a theoretical foundation in educational policy development, implementation, and analysis, as well as the legal, sociocultural, and sociopolitical foundations of educational policy. Upon completion, graduates will be prepared for careers in research and teaching at universities, research- and community-based organizations, and government agencies.

Our graduates will: 

  • Understand the complexity of the educational system, including the historical, cultural, economic, political, and social conditions that may affect student learning. 
  • Research the effectiveness of policy proposals and better understand the implementation of existing policies, particularly as they affect outcomes for traditionally marginalized students. 
  • Advocate for the implementation of different approaches to enhance student learning for all children from marginalized groups. 
  • Critically consume, synthesize, and produce cutting-edge knowledge in the field of educational policy. 
  • Approach policy research from a multidisciplinary perspective. 
  • Learn the most sophisticated policy research techniques and methodologies. 

Program Features

  • Cohort model 
  • Full-time study 
  • Multidisciplinary 
  • Rigorous training in quantitative and qualitative methods 

Key Competencies You Will Gain

  • Leadership acumen for the transformation of lives in education and in society 
  • Critical understanding of the racial and other structural inequities in schools and the policies and practices to address them
  • Rigorous scholarship 
  • Interdisciplinary thinking 
  • Expertise in quantitative and qualitative methodologies 
  • Fluency in working with large and small data sets 
  • Deep understanding of law, policy, education, and research 


Total minimum of 66 hours which includes a dissertation

Social Science Core (12 hours)  

  • ELP 390E / EDA 388E Educational Economics & Finance Policy
  • ELP 390S / EDA 388M Social & Cultural Contexts of Education
  • ELP 390P / EDA 388P Educational Politics & Policy 
  • ELP 390R / EDA 382 M Organizational Design & Behavior

Educational  Policy Core (18 hours)

Policy Requirement

  • ELP 394E / EDA 395K Policy Research Problems  (Capstone)
  • ELP 390C / EDA 388S Comparative Exploration of P-16 Education (Pro Seminar)

Advanced Policy Seminars (Select 4)

  • ELP 394K.1Seminar in Latinx Education  
  • ELP 394K.2 / EDA 395L Market Based Reforms in Education
  • ELP 394K.3  / EDA 395 Place, Opportunity, and Education 
  • ELP 394K.4  Schools and Gentrification
  • ELP 394K.5 Law, Leadership and Discipline Policy   
  • ELP 394K.6 Language Policy in Education
  • ELP 394K.7 Immigration Theory in Education 
  • ELP 394K Accountability & School Reform
  • ELP 394K / EDA 395L Race and Ethnic Relations in Schools
  • ELP 394K  / EDA 395L Contemporary Education Policy Issues

Research Core (12 hours)  

  • ELP 391E / EDA 387Q Epistemologies of Educational Research  
  • ELP 391P / EDA 381P Quantitative Research Design & Analysis
  • ELP 391Q / EDA 381Q Qualitative Research Design
  • ELP 392Q / EDA 381S  Advanced Qualitative Research 
    ELP 392P / EDA 383 Advanced Quantitative Research & Analysis 
    _____ Advanced Course in Research Methodology (out of the department, as approved by your faculty advisor)  

Outside of the College of Education (18 Hours)

Ph.D. students are required to take courses from other colleges within the university. This may be accomplished within a single discipline or in a multidisciplinary form. Program advisor must approve in advance the multidisciplinary option.

Dissertation (6 hours)

  • ELP / EDA 399R
  • ELP / EDA 399W

Program Plan Worksheets