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Doctoral Program


Doctoral Degree

DC MemorialThe Education Policy Program offers an Ed.D. in Educational Administration and Policy Studies (with Education Policy specialization). The program prepares researchers and analysts to advance knowledge and improve practice for the purposes of promoting excellence, equity, and efficiency in educational systems and organizations. In a world of accelerating change and a growing need for better understanding of the practices by educational organizations and the policies that govern them, this doctoral program prepares students for key or leadership positions as skilled analysts who are able to solve problems, make informed decisions, and help improve practice.  Please note that this program is not intended for those who aspire to become practitioners, administrators or educators in education systems. The program is ideally suited for those aspiring to hold high level positions in national government agencies, think tanks, research-based advocacy groups, professional associations involved with education, consulting firms, state education agencies, large school district central offices, or in international organizations dealing with education and training. 

The doctoral degree has five streams of preparation.  It provides considerable exposure to the methodological, historical, social, economic, and political contexts that shape education policy and its analysis. It builds expertise in policy development, analysis, advocacy, implementation, and evaluation.  It develops and enhances quantitative and qualitative research skill in the analysis of contemporary policies and policy proposals. It affords students the opportunity to develop expertise in a concentration area of their choosing while preparing to conduct their own dissertation research. 

DOCTORAL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS (for course descriptions check here) : 

Prerequisite Courses (equivalents accepted)

EDUC 6371 - Education Policy or equivalent  
EDUC 6116 - Intro Education Statistics

Core Courses    (12 credit hours)

EDUC 8110 - Adv. Study: Ideas, Issues, and Practices in Ed.  
EDUC 8321 - Economics of Education  
EDUC 8322 - Education Policy Implementation  
EDUC 8340 - Methods of Policy Analysis in Education

Research Courses    (15 credit hours)

EDUC 6381 - Program Evaluation  
EDUC 8120 - Quantitative Methods: Group Comp. Designs & Analysis  
EDUC 8122 - Qualitative Research Methods in Education  
EDUC 8171 - Predictive Designs & Analyses (Regression) [Note that this required course counts as the GSEHD           required advanced research methods course].

EDUC 8998 - Pre-Dissertation Seminar

Students may elect to take additional research methods courses to be used in their dissertation or to advance their research methods skills. There are several courses that the GSEHD research methods faculty offer, as well as several offered across campus. We suggest that you consult with your advisor.   

Elective Courses    (15 credit hours)

Students take fifteen graduate credit hours of electives.  Courses are to be selected in consultation with their academic advisors and/or program coordinator. Students are expected to use these elective courses to develop strong expertise in at least one are of concentration or field of interest in education policy. Students are strongly encouraged to take all or most of the electives that are offered by the Education Policy Program faculty: EDUC 8320 (politics), 8323 (Equity), 8325 (Accountability), and 6100 (topic varies). Students also benefit from a wide offering of courses in the GSEHD school, in the University and within the Consortium of DC universities. A minimum of three credit hours are to be taken outside the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

Students may use their electives to take a wide range of courses in which they are encouraged to develop expertise. In addition to courses offered by the Education Policy Program, students often take courses in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. Students tend to also take advanced methods courses in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development to develop their research skills. They may also take courses in programs of other schools, such as Political Science, Economics, Business Administration, International Affairs, Political Communication, Political Management,  Sociology, and Woman's Studies.  Students may also take courses at other universities that participate in the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, in accordance with the guidelines.  Finally, students may use one or more electives for supervised individual study or internships with Washington organizations following the Education Policy program guidelines and approval.

Dissertation Research    (min of 12 credit hours)

Students produce a scholarly dissertation that contributes to the body of knowledge in their concentration area.  At least 12 credits of EDUC 8999 (Dissertation Research) must be taken and more may be required to complete the dissertation.  (See the GSEHD Doctoral Handbook for more details.)

The program requires a total of 54 credit hours if the prerequisite is met prior to admission.  Students may transfer up to 6 credits of graduate courses taken at other institutions under conditions specified below and following the Education Policy program guidelines for accepted prior course credit transfers. 

Admitted doctoral students will be referred to a Web-site to self-assess their quantitative research skills.  Those with modest weaknesses will be directed self-study materials to complete the preparation needed for EDUC 8120.  Those with widespread weaknesses are to take a prerequisite course at GW (EDUC6116) or at another university prior to beginning EDUC8120.

Note: Students may elect to focus on international education policy issues and can certainly take elective courses either in international education or develop skills that they wish to apply in international education contexts. These electives, in addition to the core degree requirements, are to be selected with approval of the student's advisor and with collaboration from the International Education program faculty.  

Possible Adjustments in Credit Requirements:

Adjustments are possible to the program of study.  Such adjustments may be as follows:

1)  Entering students who have already completed the equivalent of one or more required courses or appropriate elective courses may request that the credits be applied to their GW doctoral degree following the prior earned credit Education Policy program's guidelines (available upon request). The request may only be granted if the credits were earned at an accredited university within the past three years, were passed with an A- or full A grade, have not been applied towards another awarded degree, and the student's advisor along with the program coordinator approve the transfer.  Note, however, that GSEHD requires that at least 36 credits of coursework and 12 credits of dissertation research must be earned while in degree status at GSEHD .

2) Students who have taken the equivalent of one or more of the required courses from an accredited university and earned at least an A- in them may request to take a more advanced course in place of the requirement(s).  This option can be exercised even if the previously taken courses have been applied to another degree. The student's advisor and the program coordinator have to approve the request.  If the request is to take a higher level research methods course, the approval of the Research Methods coordinator is also required. 

To request these options, a student should make a written request to his or her advisor and the program coordinator. She/he should provide formal course descriptions, official syllabi, and/or copies of the table of contents of the main assigned readings.  Generally these options will not be permitted if the courses have been completed more than three years prior to admission to the Education Policy program, but exceptions may be made for students who have been directly applying the course content in their subsequent employment or professional activities.

More information:

You can find more general information and guidelines and regulations while pursuing a degree at GWU by consulting the University Bulletin. Note that the University Bulletin is the primary rule setting guide that all students must follow. GSEHD general information and rules and policies can be found in the Doctoral Student Handbook.

More information about the program can be found on the home page, the faculty in the Education Policy program, the Education Policy Masters Degree Program, the Education Policy Doctoral Degree Program, and the applying for financial aid pages. For more specific information, please view the contact page.

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