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 thoughtful scholars of educational policy, with a critical focus on issues of equity. Students take coursework in education politics, policy implementation, social and cultural contexts of education, economics of education, and research methodology. Students also take advanced policy seminars oriented around our faculty members’ areas of expertise. 

Our graduates will: 

  • Understand the complexity of the educational system, including the historical, cultural, economic, 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. 
  • Develop 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 
  • 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 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