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Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Goals and Objectives

The Ph.D. in Educational Leadership program aims to prepare and engage students for scholarship, teaching, and further research contributions to the knowledge base, as well as research-driven policy discussions that affect the future course of K-16 education. The objective of doctoral work in Educational Leadership is to graduate future policy and research leaders for today’s educational settings, spanning preschool through life-long learning environments. Through the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program, we promote and require rigorous scholarship that spans the educational continuum and is ideal for students seeking to enter careers in research, government or private industry, institutional assessment, policy analysis, instructional leadership, or the professoriate.

The program is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington Metroplex, which serves a population of approximately 6.3 million and provides multiple opportunities for student research, internships, and employment advancements. Doctoral students have shared requirements for preparation in the core areas of the field (leadership and policy), as well in the research design and methodology classes. Elective courses allow students to gain deeper knowledge and experience in issues across the K-16 continuum. Students of ELPS should anticipate the academic rigor that the University and department embrace as UTA has become one of the 115 national Research-1 Doctoral Universities (Highest Research Activity). The program requires the completion of a dissertation and research that contributes to the scholarship and academic knowledge base.

Each year, students who are accepted into the program are admitted into a cohort of students. For the first five semesters, students take coursework together. Because most of our students are working professionals, students are not expected to take more than six hours (two courses) per semester in the fall, spring, and summer. After completing 30 credit hours of core courses, students take 18 hours of electives to expand their research skills and/or content knowledge (e.g., K-12 Leadership or Higher Education). The remaining 18 credit hours are designated to prepare and defend a dissertation proposal, and then finalize and defend the dissertation. In addition, students are expected to participate in other scholarly activities (e.g., ELPS Research Day, conference presentations, publications).

The following five educational objectives of the doctoral studies program are to prepare collaborative educational leaders.

Objective 1: Conduct significant research for use as a basis for problem-solving and program planning and to advance the knowledge base in K-16 education;

Objective 2: Use research-based approaches to understand and evaluate technologies and their integration throughout K-16 educational environments;

Objective 3: Build strong local, state, and national research networks for support, collaboration, and institutional improvement;

Objective 4: Bring the K-12 and post-secondary education systems together to create aligned policy and practice; and

Objective 5: Become life-long learners, modeling commitment to research and continued personal and professional growth.