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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 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.

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.

PhD in Education Program Options

The PhD in 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.


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