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Educational Leadership & Policy (PHD) 
Program Description

The educational leadership program prepares leaders to achieve results in the nation's schools by translating theory and knowledge into practice, applying skills in interpersonal relations and political diplomacy, applying research and data-based, decision-making skills, and following ethical principles. Graduates are able to adapt to a changing world, predict consequences of actions, and sustain continuous education improvements over time. Individuals develop skills and qualities that enhance their ability to empower, inspire, and guide the performance of others in achieving the goals of a school, a school district, or a community.

This doctoral program is designed for practicing and aspiring administrators who wish to expand their skills as scholar practitioners.

Emphasis is placed on the practical application of theory and knowledge to school and district leadership at the elementary and secondary levels. Instruction recognizes and incorporates the principles of adult learning with courses, seminars and other educational experiences featuring reflection, group, discussion, simulations, problem solving and school-related theory. The programs, which are interdisciplinary, allow students the flexibility of selecting supportive leadership coursework both in the College of Education and other colleges in the University of Arizona.

The program features cohort groups who take a basic core of 24 units together. Each fall, 12-15 students are admitted to a cohort.

*Aspiring administrators may take administrative certification coursework concurrently.

Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program informational flyer

Department/Academic Unit(s)

Educational Policy Studies and Practice -

The Department of Educational Policy Studies and Practice (EPSP) includes Educational Leadership and the Center for the Study of Higher Education. The EPSP department combines the K-12 focus with postsecondary education to create a P-20 perspective that taps into the dominant discourse of education and policymakers today.

The 30-unit Master of Arts in Educational Policy, offered by the Education Policy Studies and Practice Department in the College of Education, will provide students with an understanding of education policymaking history and process, and develop their skills to analyze data and inform policies. The program will provide anyone interested in education policy with the necessary background to engage in the policymaking process: classroom teachers, school leaders, university personnel, community members, and those interested in continuing their studies in a doctoral program. The program will offer courses flexibly (e.g., evenings, online, hybrid) that will include research methods, critical topics in education policy, as well as the opportunity to take various elective courses that might include a focus on language policy, privatization and education reform, law, and/or public policy, among other focus areas.

Both the Center for the Study of Higher Education (HED) and Educational Leadership (EDL) maintain their core functions and curriculum, consistent with professional career paths and state standards for certification leading to licensure. However, the combined unit more broadly facilitates and encourages research, instructional, and service and outreach initiatives consistent with a policy development and analysis focus.

A  key departmental strength concentrates on how organizations, institutions (both formal and informal), official practices, and educational professions affect outcomes across local, national, and international contexts and how these entities are themselves affected by societal, economic, and political pressures.

EPSP prepares graduate students at the doctorate and master's levels. Graduate programs in HED include Ph.D. and M.A. degrees. Graduate programs in EDL include an Ed.D., Ph.D., Ed.S., M.A. and M.Ed. The M.A. degree has a focus on policy. The M.Ed. degree is a standards-driven curriculum leading to both a degree and state certification for the principalship.


College of Education  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Diana L Peel
Graduate Program Coordinator
Diana L Peel
Director of Graduate Studies
Jill Koyama
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Guadalupe Estrella
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

  • Current employment as an administrator or previous leadership experience
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.5 for graduate work
Standardized Tests

International Applicants ONLY:  

Please review English proficiency requirements here:

Financial Aid

Free Application for Student Federal Aid (FASFA)

Scholarship Universe

Graduate Access Fellowship

Admissions Deadlines

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall Admission ONLY: January 15th for priority consideration for funding.  Review of applications will continue until program is full.

International Applicants:

  • Fall Admission ONLY: January 15th
International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 72 units is required to complete the program.

Cohort Core            12 units

Electives/Theory     12 units

Research Methods  12-15 units

Dissertation             18 units

Internship                1-3 units

Minor Program         9-12 units

Total                     72 units

Minor Requirements

Minors may be declared in Educational Leadership, or outside of the program with approval from your advisor.

Students must complete the minor department requirements as stated by the minor advisor.

Student Handbook  

Program StatisticsInformation about these numbers

Program-level Information
Application Acceptance Rate 76%
Med. Time-to-degree (years) 3.00
Department-level Information
Enrollment Percent Male 29%
Enrollment Percent Female 71%
Enrollment Percent International 12%
Enrollment Percent URM 51%

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Last revised 14 Nov 2019