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 Educational Economics & Finance Policy
  • ELP 390S Social & Cultural Contexts of Education
  • ELP 390P Educational Politics & Policy 
  • ELP 390R Organizational Design & Behavior

Educational Policy Core (21 hours)

Policy Requirement

  • ELP 394E Policy Research Problems  (Capstone)
  • ELP 390C Introduction to P-20 Research and Careers (Pro Seminar)
  • ELP 384C Policy Analysis 

Policy Electives (Choose 2 from the following)

  • ELP 384F Foundations of Educational Policy
  • ELP 384M Policy Implementation
  • ELP 384V Poverty and Educational Policy

Advanced Policy Seminars (Select 2)

  • ELP 394K.1Seminar in Latinx Education  
  • ELP 394K.2 Market Based Reforms in Education
  • ELP 394K.3 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 Race and Ethnic Relations in Schools
  • ELP 394K Contemporary Education Policy Issues

Research Core (12 hours)  

  • ELP 391E Epistemologies of Educational Research  
  • ELP 391P Quantitative Research Design & Analysis
  • ELP 391Q Qualitative Research Design
  • ELP 392Q Advanced Qualitative Research 
    ELP 392P 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 (15 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 399R
  • ELP 399W

Program Plan Worksheets