University of Vermont

College of Education and Social Sciences

Doctoral Programs in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

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Current Ph.D. Students


The course work and experiences for each student's program are organized around four major themes, which provide the framework of the program:

  • critical theoretical perspectives
  • organizational theory, change, and leadership
  • policy studies and political processes
  • process of inquiry/applied research and utilization of knowledge


The concentration areas reflect the discipline-based expertise areas that students develop:

  • educational leadership and policy studies
  • curriculum and instructional leadership
  • higher education leadership
  • social policy

Schedule of Coursework

The program requires:

  • A minimum of 75 semester credit hours comprised of:
    • Coursework is divided into 12 credits of core courses, 18 credits of research, 12 credits in a chosen concentration area, 9 hours in a transdisciplinary field of study/cognate, and a 3 credit seminar on dissertation writing (EDLP 449).
    • 21 additional credits of dissertation research

The Cohort (Year 1 & 2)

  • During the two years, students participate in the learning community known as the Cohort.
  • This Cohort experience is comprised of four core courses, which are offered in the evening for both Ed.D. and Ph.D. students. The content of these courses includes critical perspectives and theory, emerging views of leadership, organizational development and change, and policy and politics.
  • The core experience culminates during the second year with a policy development and analysis course.

Program of Study

  • In the first year, students consult their advisor start to think about a concentration focus and to start to develop an individually designed plan of study
  • In the second or third year of a program, students should start to think about forming a program committee of three faculty members from CESS whose expertise can support their research interests.
  • The program of study should be signed off on by a studies committee of three faculty no later than the third year of the program.

Teaching Requirement

All doctoral candidates must acquire appropriate teaching experience. Satisfying the teaching requirement is determined in consultation with the student’s academic advisor. For example, this can be satisfied either by co-teaching a course with a faculty member or through teaching work associated with a GTA or other formal UVM teaching opportunity such as teaching a course through CE or for a program.

Comprehensive Exam

The comprehensive exam is both oral and written. The individualized exam is prepared in consultation with the student’s program committee with the goal of producing a draft publication during or after the final semester of completing coursework requirements (not including the dissertation writing seminar). The draft paper is to be presented at a CESS Research Colloquium either in the spring or fall semester but before the student can defend their dissertation proposal.

Dissertation Requirement

Journal Article format with a focus on original research illustrating mastery of competing theories with the goal of informing knowledge (per Graduate College guidelines). This format requires that the candidate will complete 1-3 journal articles with the goal of manuscript submission for publication in a refereed journal.


Last modified February 03 2013 03:07 PM

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