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PhD in Education

Drexel University School of Education

What is a PhD in Education?

A PhD degree in education represents the highest level of education a person can receive in the field. A PhD in Education program consists of challenging coursework and more than a full year of dissertation research.

Drexel ​University’s ​PhD ​in ​Education ​program ​is ​designed ​for those ​who ​aspire ​to ​be ​leaders ​in ​the ​field ​of ​education ​as ​researchers, ​scholars ​and instructors ​in ​higher ​education ​and ​in ​educational, ​community ​or ​corporate ​settings.

The ​PhD ​in ​Education ​program ​is ​grounded ​in ​cross-cultural ​educational ​leadership, ​policy, and ​theory-driven ​research ​and ​demands ​extensive ​preparation ​in ​quantitative ​and qualitative ​research ​methods. ​Delivered on-campus in Philadelphia, ​the Education ​PhD ​degree program ​is ​situated ​in ​the ​framework ​of ​collaborative, transformational ​learning ​and ​knowledge ​generation.

Education​ ​PhD​ ​Research​ ​Program

The PhD program curriculum ​involves ​both ​formal ​coursework ​and ​professional ​research and ​development ​activities ​in ​the ​education ​field. ​Students ​work ​closely ​with ​faculty members ​and ​collaboratively ​engage ​to ​focus ​on ​solving ​significant ​educational ​problems, often ​receiving ​course ​credit ​for ​independent ​studies ​in ​problem-based ​research ​activities. The ​result ​is ​a ​broad ​knowledge ​base ​and ​specialized ​content ​knowledge ​that ​includes multiple ​perspectives ​on ​educational ​leadership ​and ​policy.

Our ​highest ​priority ​is ​to ​provide ​an ​atmosphere ​of ​scholarship ​and ​engagement ​for ​our ​PhD students. ​Research ​preparation ​is ​a ​foundation ​of ​the ​PhD ​degree ​program ​and ​presentation of ​papers, ​publications, ​and ​participation ​in ​conferences ​are ​the ​priorities.

As ​a ​result, ​students ​are ​encouraged ​to ​secure ​funding ​so ​that ​these ​activities ​may ​become the ​focus ​of ​their ​involvement ​while ​at ​Drexel University. ​Teaching ​assistantships ​and ​fellowships, which ​include ​tuition ​remission ​and/or ​stipends ​(full ​and ​partial), ​may ​be ​available ​in ​the School ​of ​Education.


There are many reasons why a student should pursue a PhD in Education from Drexel University’s School of Education. Benefits include:

  • Learning in a cohort with other students. This allows students to build professional relationships and collaborate in their courses.
  • Students have a supervising professor with similar research interests who acts as a mentor during their time in the program.
  • The opportunity to join faculty on research grants and projects.
  • Opportunities to apply and present research at leading professional conferences and summits.
  • Students in the PhD in education program learn the latest methods in education research to help them conduct sound research for their dissertation.

What​ ​Can​ ​You​ ​Do​ ​with​ ​a​ ​PhD​ ​in​ ​Education?

The​ ​PhD​ ​in​ ​Education​ ​is​ ​a​ ​rigorous​ ​program​ ​designed​ ​to​ ​prepare​ ​students​ ​for careers​ ​as​ ​educational​ ​researchers,​ ​scholars​ ​and​ ​teachers.​ ​The​ ​program​ ​involves intensive​ ​coursework​ ​in​ ​education​ ​and​ ​educational​ ​research.

Career paths for graduates include:

  • Tenure-track Professor at a College or University
  • Education Secretary in a Government administration or Department of Education
  • Education Researcher for a government agency or non-profit organization
  • Director of Education at a non-profit organization

Graduates​ ​of​ ​the​ ​PhD​ ​in Education program​ ​will​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​demonstrate​ ​mastery​ ​of​ ​subject material,​ ​including​ ​prior,​ ​current,​ ​and​ ​emerging​ ​research​ ​and​ ​theories​ ​in​ ​the student’s​ ​area​ ​of​ ​specialization​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​significant​ ​issues​ ​and​ ​topics​ ​in​ ​the​ ​field​ ​of education,​ ​broadly-construed.


Drexel University PhD in Education students come from all around the world. Students in the PhD program typically pursue careers as education researchers and tenured professors at institutions of higher learning. However, a PhD degree in Education can be a steppingstone to advancement in virtually any career. Students who wish to become well-respected scholars and thought leaders in their area of research will do well in the PhD program.

PhD in Education Program Options

The PhD in Education offered by Drexel University's School of Education is available as a full-time or part-time program. At Drexel, we aim to provide maximum flexibility to allow students to achieve their educational goals at a pace that fits their busy lives.

Full-Time PhD in Education

Students accepted into the full-time PhD in Education program receive generous benefits that include tuition remission, a monetary stipend and health insurance benefits. Drexel accepts about 6-8 students per year into the full-time program. Full-time students apply for research or teaching assistantship positions within the School of Education.

Part-Time PhD in Education

The part-time PhD in Education program is designed for working adults who wish to earn their PhD without giving up their current job. Students take two courses each term and complete their degree in four years. Students take online electives during the summer term and complete a fellowship program. On-campus courses are held in the evenings after the traditional work hours and students have access to the same facilities and resources as full-time students including the Hagerty Library and support from School of Education faculty and advisors. Students in the part-time program are not eligible for the same tuition, stipend, and health benefits available to full-time students. If you are interested in the part-time program but unsure if you can afford it, we encourage you to explore financial aid, grants, scholarship options available to students on the Drexel Central website.


The PhD in Education program can be completed in 4-5 years, depending on which program the student is enrolled in. Students in the full-time fully funded fellowship program can complete their courses and dissertation research in 4 years. Students in the part-time program follow a 5-year plan of study.

PhD​ ​in​ ​Education​ ​Program​ ​Curriculum

The ​PhD ​program ​coursework ​combines ​formal ​coursework ​and ​informal ​experiences. ​The program ​is ​designed ​to ​immerse ​the ​student ​in ​educational ​content, ​inquiry ​and methodology, ​encouraging ​the ​ability ​to ​ask ​critical ​questions ​and ​design ​procedures ​to conduct ​research.

The ​program ​requires ​the ​successful ​completion ​of ​74 ​credits, ​distributed ​among ​the following ​areas:

  • Foundation in Education Courses (15.0 credits)
  • Research Courses (26.0 credits)
  • Core Focus Courses in PK-20+ Education (15.0 credits)
  • Electives (9.0 credits)
  • Dissertation Research (9.0 credits minimum)

Research ​preparation ​is ​the ​foundation ​of ​the ​PhD ​program. ​Students ​begin ​research activities ​during ​the ​first ​year ​of ​the ​program ​and ​continue ​to ​develop ​their ​skills ​by conducting ​various ​research ​projects ​with ​School ​of ​Education ​faculty. ​Activities ​in ​this ​vein include ​presenting ​research ​findings ​at ​conferences, ​writing ​research ​papers ​and dissertation ​work.

For ​course ​descriptions, ​please ​see ​the Drexel ​University ​Course ​Catalog.

PhD in Education Program Outcomes

Graduates of the PhD program will:

  • Demonstrate mastery of subject material, including prior, current, and emerging research and theories in the student’s area of specialization as well as significant issues and topics in the field of education, broadly-construed. This mastery includes:
    • Interpreting relevant literature and relate to critical questions in education, both local and global
    • Synthesizing existing research and constructing literature-based arguments
    • Identifying, describing, and justifying relevant “gaps” in the literature
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct scholarly inquiry in a responsible and ethical manner
  • Produce and defend original research that contributes to the body of knowledge in the student’s area of specialization
  • Disseminate this research, either through peer-reviewed conferences or publications
  • Become an academic leader in the student’s area of specialization through the development of new ideas, theories and best practices grounded in global and local contexts

PhD in Education Admission Requirements

Applicants for the PhD in Education program must have a master’s degree in a subject related to the area in which they intend to study and a GPA of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale. GRE scores are not required.

Applicants must also provide the following:

  • A completed application
  • Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate study
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Statement of Purpose (centering on how the applicant seeks to develop research that focuses on, and includes aspects of, social justice and equity in education). The applicant should be sure to visit the School of Education’s faculty page to identify faculty members with similar research interests.
  • Three letters of recommendation. Priority will be considered for those applicants who include letters of recommendation from School of Education faculty members (note: this letter of recommendation is in addition to the required three letters of recommendation addressing prior academic performance and future potential).
  • Program writing prompt:
    • Within the School of Education PhD program, social justice is central to our program and course structure. Can you address how social justice and diversity issues relate to your potential research focus? If you have not had direct experience in this area, please tell us about your aspirations of infusing social justice and diversity scholarship into your potential research focus.
  • The School of Education admissions committee will review each application, and, prior to acceptance, an interview may be required.

PhD in Education Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it possible to get a fully funded PhD?

Yes, students accepted into the full-time PhD in Education program will have their tuition covered by the School of Education. Additionally, students in the fully funded program complete a 20-hour per week fellowship within school. In exchange, students receive a monetary stipend and health insurance benefits.

Can you get a PhD while working?

The part-time PhD in Education program is ideal for those who have a full-time career. Students complete in-person courses in the evening. Online electives may also be available.

Can you skip a master’s degree and get a PhD?

A master’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.25 is required for admission into Drexel’s PhD in Education program.

Is a PhD worth it in education?

A PhD in Education is a great steppingstone to a rewarding career in education. Students with a PhD can obtain careers as professors at leading colleges and universities. They can also stand out in the job market for many other positions in education and research settings.

How​ ​to​ ​Apply​ ​to​ ​the​ ​PhD​ ​in​ ​Education​ ​Program

Those interested in applying for the PhD in Education program can get started by filling out the graduate admissions application.

For ​more ​information ​about ​the PhD ​in ​Education program ​and ​funding ​options, ​please send an email to