PhD in Education Policy

Become a world-class researcher in equity-driven educational policy through the PhD in Education Policy at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. You will develop a deep and nuanced understanding of the education policy process, including policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation, and the methodological approaches used to examine these processes and their effects. As a student, you will also explore how the (re)design of policies and systems create substantive improvements in learning opportunities for learners of all ages. Through apprenticed research experiences and coursework, students will be prepared to engage in collaborative partnerships with a range of policy stakeholders including educators, leaders, policymakers, students, and communities across local, national, and international contexts

Quick Facts

  • Program Duration: 5 years
  • Time Commitment: Full time
  • Term of Enrollment: Fall
  • Course Requirements: 90 credits 
  • Format: In-person
  • Application Deadline: December 1
  • Admissions Requirements: GRE exam not required
     

Apply now button

Program Details

The PhD in Educational Policy is a 90-credit doctoral program. Through apprenticed research experiences, students will gain expertise in policy analysis necessary to prepare them to do independent research and pursue careers in policy research.

Flexible Curriculum

Students have the flexibility to choose courses that match their interests. Many options for customization exist within the curriculum and through the choice between electives or the completion of an optional Area of Concentration (ARCO). 

Specialization Option

In place of the elective requirement, students have the option of completing an Area of Concentration (ARCO) as part of the degree. An ARCO is a University of Pittsburgh credential that provides specialization within a specific discipline of education policy. The doctoral ARCO pathway is 18 credits and does not result in any added cost, time, or credit hours. 

  • Comparative and International Education ARCO

Curriculum Overview

For expanded class descriptions, visit the University of Pittsburgh Graduate and Professional Studies catalog.

Minimum of 90 credits required

Policy Foundations (6 credits)

Students are required to complete both courses:

  • EFOP 3010 - EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS, MACRO POLICY, AND POLITICS, PHD (3 credits)
  • EFOP 3011 - EDUCATION POLICY IMPLEMENTATION: STUDENTS, FAMILIES, EDUCATORS, AND POLICYMAKERS, PHD SEMINAR (3 credits)
Social Contexts of Education (3 credits)

Students select one course from the following options:

  • EDUC 2100 - EDUCATION AND SOCIETY (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2133 - GENDER AND EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2305 - SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2306 - HISTORY OF EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2307 - POLITICS AND HISTORY OF HIGHER EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2310 - CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2343 - EDUCATION AND CULTURE (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2352 - ANTHROPOLOGY OF EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 2398 - ECONOMICS OF EDUCATION (3 credits)
  • EFOP 3003 - THEORIES OF EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY (3 credits)
Methods Sequence (21 credits)

Students take the following three schoolwide PhD core courses (9 credits):

  • EDUC 3100 - INTRODUCTION TO QUAN METHODS: DESCRIPTIVE AND INFERENTIAL STATISTICS (3 credits)
  • EDUC 3103 - EDUC 3103 - QUANTITATIVE METHODS 2 (3 credits)
  • EDUC 3104 - INTRODUCTION TO QUALITATIVE METHODS (3 credits)

Students must take four additional courses based on interests. Recommended courses include but are not limited to (12 credits):

  • EDUC 2205 FIELD METHODS
  • EDUC 3100 INTRODUCTION TO QUAN METHODS: DESCRIPTIVE AND INFERENTIAL STATISTICS
  • EDUC 3103 QUANTITATIVE METHODS 2
  • EDUC 3104 INTRODUCTION TO QUALITATIVE METHODS
  • EDUC 3501 CRITICAL POLICY ANALYSIS
  • EDUC 3505 RESEARCH-PRACTICE PARTNERSHIPS: APPROACHES TO COLLABORATIVE DESIGN INQUIRY & COLLABORATIVE DESIGN, INQUIRY & CHANGE
  • EFOP 2030 EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN
  • EFOP 2072 EDUCATIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL MEASUREMENT
  • EFOP 3012 QUALITATIVE DATA MANAGEMENT ANALYSIS AND PRESENTATION
  • EFOP 3201 INTRODUCTION TO EDUCATIONAL EVALUATION
  • EFOP 3408 HIERARCHICAL LINEAR MODELING
  • EFOP 3471 CONSTRUCTING QUESTIONNAIRES AND CONDUCTING SURVEYS
  • EFOP 3472 CAUSAL INFERENCE IN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH
  • TLL  3003 RESEARCH INTERVIEWING
  • TLL 3002 ADVANCED APPLIED QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS
Supporting Field (9-18 credits)

All PhD students are required to have 9-18 credits in a disciplinary area outside of the School of Education in order to meet the University of Pittsburgh’s cognate requirement. 

Other Required Courses (27 credits)
  • EDUC 3102: First-Year Seminar (1 credit)
  • EDUC 3105: First-Year Seminar (2 credits)
  • EFOP 3097: Supervised Research (6 credits)
  • Dissertation Credits (18 credits)
Electives (18 credits) or optional Area of Concentration (18 credits)

Students can either take electives or select from an approved list of courses in the Comparative and International Education ARCO

Electives (18 credits)

Students select elective courses to develop a coherent plan of study. Some potential options are listed below, but students can select from any graduate-level courses relevant to their program of study:

  • LSAP 3095: Organizational Perspectives on Educational Improvement 
  • LSAP 3540: Design of Educational Systems
  • EFOP 2104: Latin America Social & Public Policy
  • EDUC 3016: Urban Schools and Social Policy
  • EFOP 3015: Ethical Issues in Higher Education
  • EFOP 3131: Student, Campus, and Society
  • EFOP 3141: Policy Studies in Higher Education
  • EFOP 2096: Internship in EFOP
  • EDUC 3114: Black Educational Thought
  • EFOP 2305: Sociology of Education
  • EFOP 3003: Theories of Educational Inequality
  • EFOP 2306: History of Education
  • EFOP 2307: Politics & History of Higher Education
  • EFOP 2310: Contemporary Philosophy of Education, Equity & Justice
  • EFOP 2398: Economics of Education
  • EFOP 2352: Anthropology of Education
  • EFOP 2343: Education and Culture
  • EFOP 2133: Gender and Education
  • EFOP 2356 - FIELD METHODS
  • EFOP 2398 - ECONOMICS OF EDUCATION
  • EFOP 2410 - APPLIED REGRESSION ANALYSIS
  • EFOP 2416 - APPLIED MULTIVARIATE ANALYSIS
  • EFOP 3003 - THEORIES OF EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY
  • EFOP 3012 - QUALITATIVE DATA MANAGEMENT ANALYSIS AND PRESENTATION
  • EFOP 3131 - STUDENT, CAMPUS, AND SOCIETY
  • EFOP 3136 - COMPARATIVE HIGHER EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3141 - POLICY STUDIES IN HIGHER EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3150 - FOUNDATIONS FOR THE STUDY OF HIGHER EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3201 - INTRODUCTION TO EDUCATIONAL EVALUATION
  • EFOP 3208 - CASE STUDY METHODS IN EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3311 - WAYS OF KNOWING
  • EFOP 3408 - HIERARCHICAL LINEAR MODELING
  • EFOP 3471 - CONSTRUCTING QUESTIONNAIRES AND CONDUCTING SURVEYS
  • EFOP 3472 - CAUSAL INFERENCE IN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH
  • EDUC 3100 - INTRODUCTION TO QUAN METHODS: DESCRIPTIVE AND INFERENTIAL STATISTICS
  • TLL 3001 - ADVANCED APPLIED QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS
  • TLL 3021 - LEARNING SCIENCES AND EDUCATIONAL CHANGE
  • TLL 3008 - EDUCATIONAL POLICY
  • TLL 3095 - ORGANIZATIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON EDUCATIONAL IMPROVEMENT
  • TLL 3540 - DESIGN OF EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS

Area of Concentration (ARCO) Option (18 credits)

Students can opt to add an ARCO in Comparative and International Education Policy. Students interested in pursuing a more generally-focused policy degree will enroll in the Education Policy major with no ARCO.

The Comparative & International ARCO requires the following courses:

  • EFOP 2085/3085: Comparative and International Ed Seminar
  • EFOP 3343: Comparative Education or ADMPS 3136: Comparative Higher Education
  • EFOP 2359: Gender, Education, & International Development
  • EFOP 2398: Economics of Education
  • EFOP 3301: Social Theories & Education in Global Context
  • EFOP 3302: Education and Development Debates

Degree Requirements

  • Completion of all coursework 
  • Dissertation defense
  • Doctoral comprehensive examination

Prerequisites

  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject
  • Interest in a career related to education policy and in exploring how policy can contribute to more just and equitable education systems

Core and Affiliated Faculty

Our excellent faculty offer training in diverse expertise and perspectives that prepare students for careers in education policy. 

Career Pathways

Popular pathways include the following: 

  • Faculty position at a higher education institution
  • Senior policy fellow
  • Policy researcher for a government agency, non-governmental agency, or nonprofit institution