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PhD in Education - Philadelphia Educational Leadership Program

Drexel University School of Education

Drexel ​University’s ​PhD ​in ​Education ​and ​Educational ​Leadership ​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 as ​part ​of ​our ​Philadelphia on-campus, ​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.

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​ ​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.


This​ ​highly​ ​competitive​ ​full-time​ ​program​ ​is​ ​small​ ​by​ ​design,​ ​admitting​ ​approximately 6-8​ ​students​ ​per​ ​cohort.​ ​Students​ ​have​ ​the​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​apply​ ​for​ ​research​ ​or teaching​ ​assistantships​ ​that​ ​provide​ ​a​ ​generous​ ​stipend,​ ​tuition​ ​remission,​ ​and​ ​a health​ ​insurance​ ​subsidy.

Currently, ​two ​areas ​of ​concentration ​are ​available ​for ​PhD ​in ​Education ​students:

Science, ​Technology, ​Engineering ​and ​Mathematics ​(STEM) ​Education

Today’s ​education ​experts ​recognize ​the ​importance ​of ​providing ​a ​quality ​STEM ​education to ​every ​K–12 ​student. ​The ​STEM ​education ​concentration for ​PhD ​students prepares candidates ​for ​research, ​scholarship ​and ​leadership ​in ​this ​vital ​field.

Individuals ​are ​prepared ​to ​evaluate ​programs, ​identify ​problem ​areas, ​and ​implement changes ​to ​improve ​outcomes ​in ​many ​different ​educational ​environments.

In ​addition ​to ​the ​core ​PhD ​courses, doctoral students ​take ​three ​STEM ​courses ​that ​provide a ​common ​theoretical ​foundation ​in ​education, ​psychology ​and ​the ​learning ​sciences. ​The remainder ​of ​the ​STEM ​concentration ​consists ​of ​courses ​and ​independent ​studies ​in ​the specific ​concentration ​area ​selected ​in ​consultation ​with ​the ​student’s ​supervising ​professor and ​advisor.

Education ​Leadership ​and ​Policy

Administrators ​and ​policymakers ​provide ​critical ​leadership ​in ​shaping ​educational programs. ​These ​rewarding ​careers ​require ​extensive ​knowledge ​and ​complex ​thinking. ​The educational ​leadership ​concentration ​prepares ​students ​to ​explore ​and ​address ​the ​critical issues ​and ​challenges ​faced ​by ​today’s ​educational ​leaders.

In ​addition ​to ​the ​core ​PhD ​courses, ​students ​take ​three ​common ​courses ​that ​provide ​a common ​theoretical ​foundation ​in ​leadership ​and ​organizations. ​The ​remainder ​of ​the educational ​leadership ​concentration ​consists ​of ​courses ​and ​independent ​study ​in ​a specific ​concentration ​area selected ​in ​consultation ​with ​the ​student’s ​supervising ​professor ​and ​advisor. ​The concentrations ​include:

  • Global ​and ​International ​Education
  • Creativity ​and ​Innovation
  • Higher ​Education
  • Educational ​Policy
  • Human ​Resource ​Development
  • Educational ​Administration
  • Special ​Education

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. ​Teaching ​assistantships ​and ​fellowships, which ​include ​tuition ​remission ​and/or ​stipends ​(full ​and ​partial), ​may ​be ​available ​in ​the School ​of ​Education.

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:

  • Breadth ​and ​depth ​in ​education ​and ​educational ​research ​(12 ​credits)
  • Research ​core ​(20 ​credits)
  • Content ​concentration ​(27 ​credits)
  • Mentored ​research ​experiences ​(6 ​credits)
  • Dissertation ​research ​(9 ​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.

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

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 application the graduate admissions application.

For ​more ​information ​about ​the PhD ​in ​Education program ​and ​funding ​options, ​please contact:

Jemina ​Williams, Program ​Manager
Phone: ​215.895.1965