University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Urban Education - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The University of Pittsburgh School of Education’s Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs prepare students to be nationally competitive and highly qualified for research careers in both academic and non-academic institutions. Our full-time, research-intensive PhDs produce scholars who demonstrate excellent writing and research skills, independent scholarship and productivity, and proficiency in teaching. Under the guidance of our distinguished graduate faculty, students will have the opportunity to produce peer-reviewed publications, present at professional conferences, and collaborate on grant-writing and review, positioning them to excel in their careers as researchers and faculty. Because the PhDs are usually full-time, students can be fully immersed in their coursework and research in preparation for an impactful scholarly career.

Urban Education – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Urban Education (CUE) in the School of Education offers a Ph.D. in Urban Education.

Why Urban Education?

The Urban Education PhD program is geared toward training highly qualified scholars in K-16 urban education with emphasis in supporting students’ deeper understanding and application of law, policy, the social and cultural contexts of education, and evaluation and research methods within the urban context. Both research and the current social climate point to a need for racially conscious, highly effective scholars trained with a focus in urban education.

Students in urban schools and communities are underserved, and current research conducted on and within these contexts frequently lacks a systematic grounding in the historical, sociopolitical, and psychosocial aspects of urban contexts, as well as an understanding of research methods that forward asset-based approaches to understanding and working with urban communities. Because urban education requires a cross-disciplinary understanding, the core of this program is specific to the understandings of urban contexts and associated policy and practice complemented by courses both in and outside of the School of Education.

The Urban Education PhD program is built around an innovative, experiential, research-focused curriculum that prepares scholars to address the multifaceted issues facing urban education, and will prepare students to be nationally competitive for research careers in both academic and non-academic institutions. This program is designed to cultivate professionally competitive educational researchers who will focus on issues of equity and social justice as they work to forward greater understanding of teaching and learning in urban schools and contexts.

In the Urban Education Program (UE) PhD program, students can expect to:
  • gain expertise and exposure to leaders in the field of urban education 
  • benefit from opportunities to engage and work with active researchers who integrate research, theory, and practice  
  • have the opportunity to engage in critical scholarship on diversity, equity, and social justice in urban education
  • engage in coursework that scaffolds their scientific writing and research methodology skills be socialized in professional skills (e.g., collaboration with research teams, school and community partners; oral and written presentations, etc.) 
  • produce dissertations that speak to and address the scope of issues confronting stakeholders in urban schools and contexts 

Affiliated Faculty
Dr. T. Elon Dancy II
Dr. Dana Thompson-Dorsey
Dr. Lori Delale-O’Connor
Dr. F. Alvin Pearman, II

Admissions Requirements

Admissions Inquiries and General Information

School of Education
Admissions and Enrollment Services
5500 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
PHONE: 412-648-2230
FAX: 412-648-1899
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