The Educational Leadership & Policy, PhD, program is designed to expand the boundaries of the educational leadership and policy field with an explicit foci on inclusivity, social justice, and anti-racism. The 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. This doctoral program is designed for practicing and aspiring administrators who wish to expand their skills as researchers and policy makers.
The program of study for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in the Educational Leadership Program (EDL) at the University of Arizona leads to an advanced research degree with an emphasis on leadership and policy research that addresses complex issues of social justice and anti-racism. Educational leaders completing course work, examinations and research for the Ph.D. are prepared to work in public schools, public policy and academic settings.
The course work and research are designed to give students a comprehensive knowledge of the field and of research design and methods with an emphasis on a particular area of interest. Degrees are granted based on a student’s competence in the literature and research in the field, their ability to think critically, and their demonstrated ability to do independent research. Student must have acquired the ability to make persuasive academic arguments with clarity and fluency in both written and oral communication. Completion of course work is a necessary but not sufficient requirement for completion of the degree.
The Department of Educational Policy Studies and Practice (EPSP) includes Educational Leadership & Policy and the Center for the Study of Higher Education. The EPSP department combines the PK-12 focus with postsecondary education to create a P-20 perspective that taps into the dominant discourse of education and policymakers today.
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 EDLP include an Ed.D., Ph.D., 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.
The Educational Leadership, M.Ed., program is designed for aspiring educational leaders who are seeking administrative certification. This cohort-based, 36-unit program can lead to principal certification in the state of Arizona and can be completed within two years. The cohort concept has been used successfully by the University of Arizona Educational Leadership Program for several years. In this model, students develop formal and informal relationships with other students that support their journey to successful completion of an advanced degree. It also provides a solid foundation for leaders considering doctoral work at the elementary and secondary levels. In fact, some of the core courses may be applied toward the doctoral program in educational leadership.
The traditional M.Ed. course sequence consists of two courses each fall semester and two courses each spring semester. There are also four courses offered in the summer of the first year of participation in the program. Courses are held in the evenings once per week and are generally offered on the university campus. Off-campus locations may also be utilized at times.
Courses in the program are delivered in a variety of formats, including completely online, hybrid (meaning a combination of in-person and online classes), and in-person. Core coursework of the program includes classes like EDL 560 (Foundations of Educational Leadership: Theory, Research & Practice), EDL 561 (The Principalship), and EDL 562 (Arizona Education Law).
Both the Center for the Study of Higher Education (HED) and Educational Leadership & Policy (EDLP) 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.
College of Education
University of Arizona - Main - Tucson
International Applicants ONLY:
Please review English proficiency requirements here: https://grad.arizona.edu/admissions/requirements/international-applicants#english-proficiency
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
The PhD requires a minimum of 72 units with an emphasis on theory and research. PhD candidates take doctoral courses in the College of Education at the 600 level or higher. There are three groups of courses that are part of the 72 hour PhD requirement. First, there are courses in educational leadership and policy including some that are required and some that are electives. Additionally, there are required courses in research, statistics and methods that form the foundation for candidate’s dissertation research. The last group are courses in a minor area of study.
Required Core (12 credit hours)
• EDL 606: Policy Analysis in Education Leadership, 3 units, Regular Grades
• EDL 620: Advanced Foundations in Educational Leadership: Theory, Research & Practice, 3 units, Regular Grades
• HED 633: Introduction to Critical Race Theory in Education OR EDL 626: Leadership for Social Justice: Ethics and Law, 3 units, Regular Grades
• EDL 625: Leadership for the School and Diverse Community (Recommended but not required for students who started in Fall 2021 or later. Required for students who started prior to Fall 2021), 3 units, Regular Grades
• EDL 622: Research and Data-Based Decision Making (Required for students who started in Fall 2022 or later. Recommended but not required for students who started prior to Fall 2022), 3 units, Regular Grade
Electives (12-15 credit hours) PhD candidates will select electives, in consultation with their advisors, that support research interests or enhance skills and theoretical knowledge.
EDL 504 Disciplined Inquiry in Education,3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 522 Critically Evaluating Education Policy Research, 3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 558 Market-Based Educational Reform, 3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 560 Foundations of Educational Leadership: Theory, Research and Practice ,3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 561 The Principalship, 3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 562 Arizona Education Law, 3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 563 Supervision of the Instructional Program, 3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 564 Personnel Administration in Education, 3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 565 School Finance, 3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 567 School, Family and Community, 3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 568 Curriculum Leadership and Data Literacy for Continuous School Improvement, 3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 587 State and Local Education Policy, 3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 593A The Principal Internship,1-6 Units, Alternative Grading: S, P, F
EDL 593B The Superintendent Internship,1-6 Units, Alternative Grading: S, P, F
EDL 593C Leadership Internship, 1- 6Units, Alternative Grading: S, P, F
EDL 598 Problems in Educational Leadership: Capstone Experience, 3 Units, Regular Grades
Prerequisite: EDL 504
EDL 602 Culturally Responsive Leadership and Policy, 3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 604 Leadership for Educational Change, 3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 605 Qualitative Methods in Education, 3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 607 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods, 3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 620 Advanced Foundations of Educational Leadership: Theory, Research & Practice, 3 Units, Regular Grades
EDL 622 Research & Data-Based Decision Making, 3 Units, Regular Grades
Dissertation (18 credit hours) Units of dissertation are taken AFTER completing the Comprehensive Exam.
Program Requirements: Program Milestones
The PhD program is organized around five milestones:
• Milestone #1: (Comprehensive Examination) The Comprehensive Examination is completed after all required coursework is finished.
• Milestone #2: (Dissertation Proposal) The dissertation proposal is a draft of the first three chapters, Introduction, literature review and methods.
• Milestone #3: (Proposal Defense) Once the dissertation proposal is complete, it is presented in a defense to committee members. Additional revisions may follow the defense.
• Milestone #4: (Dissertation) Candidates develop an original research plan focused on an aspect of education leadership or policy of interest to them. The dissertation represents a deep understanding and engagement with existing research and theory, as well as the production of a unique contribution based on the researchers’ interests which adds significantly to the field.
• Milestone #5: (Dissertation Defense) Once the dissertation has been through multiple rounds of review with committee members and leaders in the field, it is finalized and presented in a defense before committee members and colleagues. Additional revisions may follow the defense, but this milestone marks the final milestone in the PhD journey.
The Comprehensive Examination is the gateway to doctoral candidacy, the dissertation proposal, the dissertation and graduation. The Comprehensive Examination is completed once all coursework has been concluded (without any incompletes). This examination is based on what you have learned in your course work applied to a current researchable topic of interest and requires using transferable academic skills including but not limited to planning, writing, conduction a literature review, understanding the research process, methods and design, and facility using various theoretical approaches to research and policy. PhD candidates must be enrolled for at least 3 credits in the semester they take their oral examination. Students have 5.5 years to complete their degree after successful completion of the Comprehensive Exam.
The first part of the process includes a written document. With advisor and committee approval of your written comprehensive exam, the oral component of the examination can be scheduled.
Description of the written examination to be added.
When the student has passed the written and oral portions of the Comprehensive Examination, and the Graduate Student Academic Services office has confirmed completion of the required courses on the approved doctoral Plan of Study, the student will advance to doctoral candidacy.
The dissertation is an independent original research project that is the culmination of your graduate studies. A dissertation research project will add to the body of knowledge in the fields of leadership or policy by expanding on previous foundational research. The dissertation process is carefully scaffolded to guide PhD candidates to completion. Close work with an advisor is essential. Committee members can make significant contributions.
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.
Minor Program (9-12 credit hours) This is coursework taken outside the EDL program that will complement your major and your research interests. Work in this program must be approved by your minor department advisor.
Please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook for students who are pursuing this program of study.
|Application Acceptance Rate||92%|
|Med. Time-to-degree (years)||3.25|
|Enrollment Percent Male||22.73%|
|Enrollment Percent Female||77.27%|
|Enrollment Percent International||6.82%|
|Enrollment Percent URM||56.82%|