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Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Goals and Objectives

The Ph.D. in K-16 Educational Leadership and Policy Studies seeks to engage graduate students in education and other leaders in the Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington Metroplex in research-driven policy and policy discussions that affect the future course of K-16 education. 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. Seminars and research practica 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 its mission to obtain status as a Tier One national research university.  

The Ph.D. program aims to prepare students for scholarship, teaching, and further research contributions to the knowledge base. In addition, the Leadership and Policy Studies doctoral program will prepare candidates from within the Metroplex and other geographic locales for professional assignments in the Metroplex or similar urban/metropolitan contexts/environments. Located in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington Metroplex, the program is offered in the rich urban laboratory of more than 150 cities, 200 school districts, and thousands of business enterprises. The area serves a population of approximately 6.3 million and provides multiple opportunities for student research, internships, and employment advancements.

The objective of doctoral work in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies is to graduate future policy and research leaders for today’s educational settings, spanning pre-school through life-long learning environments. Through the K-16 Educational Leadership and Policy Studies 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 requires the completion of a dissertation and research that contributes to the scholarship and academic knowledge base.

Generally, the goal of graduate study is the development of a student’s ability to engage in creative research, critical evaluation, and scholarship in a particular discipline or in interrelated disciplines. Graduate study actively involves students in research, and by sharing in investigations with their professors, graduate students acquire the spirit as well as methods of creative scholarship. Achievement of the goal is demonstrated by preparation of theses and dissertations.

Each year, students who are accepted into the program are admitted into a cohort of students. For the first three and a half years, students take coursework together. Because most of our students are working professionals, students take six hours a semester in the fall, spring, and summer. In addition to coursework, students are required to take a qualifying examination, attend at least one national research conference (to be approved by faculty), complete an academic travel experience with faculty (to Austin, TX or Washington, D.C. to meet with policymakers, or internationally), and successfully complete a dissertation.

The five educational objectives of the K-16 doctoral studies program are to prepare collaborative K-16 educational leaders to:

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.