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Challenge the Status Quo

Our doctoral degree program challenges the conventional wisdom that K-12 and postsecondary education are different worlds by bringing together scholars and students from all levels of education to work and study together. Working from the premise that all people can learn at high levels, the program explores the systemic barriers that prevent so many individuals from achieving their fullest potential.

The Ph.D. in Educational Leadership program is designed for candidates who seek to pursue careers in institutional assessment, policy analysis, institutional leadership, higher education administration, student affairs, or the professoriate. 

Doctoral students in this program receive a broad foundation in the study of educational leadership and policy development through a wide range of course offerings focused on both K-12 leadership and higher education.

Candidates in the Ph.D. program will be part of a cohort throughout their required coursework, leading to the dissertation. Research has demonstrated that cohort models can be very effective in fostering deep learning and increasing the likelihood of students moving towards program completion. Because most of the students in the program work full-time, they are required to take only six graduate credit hours per semester.

Early admission deadline for Fall 2021 UTA cohort is March 8, 2021. 
Final deadline: May 1, 2021

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Tap Into Your Potential

Ph.D. student Courtney Matthews talks about her experience getting her degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

Course of Study

 EDAD 6304  K-16 Quantitative Research Design & Methodology  3
 EDAD 6310  Statistical Methods  3
 EDAD 6315  Advanced Statistical Methods  3
 EDAD 6318  Advanced Qualitative Methods  3
 EDAD 6308  Qualitative Research Design & Methodology  3

 EDAD 6301  Introduction to K-16 Doctoral Studies  3
 EDAD 6325  K-16 Philosophy & History Policy Research  3
 EDAD 6330  K-16 Policy & Law Analysis Research  3
 EDAD 6342  K-16 Organizational & Leadership Theory Research  3
 EDAD 6343  History, Social & Cultural Contexts of Education   3

 EDAD 7399  Doctoral Degree Completion

* Students must be enrolled in in EDAD 7399 the term in which they plan to defend the final dissertation.


***Please refer to your Cohort Handbook for additional requirements. ***

For further information about the Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership, contact the department at

View degree program in catalog

Program Directors

Dr. Catherine Robert

Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Research Interests: Employee misconduct, turnover, leader development, policy implementation/analysis, education law



Phone #: 817-272-0463

Office: 103G Trimble Hall

Bio: Dr. Catherine Robert is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Department and Co-Director of the Center for Educational Research, Policy, and Practice. She received her B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of Houston, her M.Ed. from Schreiner University, and her Ed.D. from The University of Texas at San Antonio. She specializes in human resource topics including employee misconduct, employee turnover, and policy implementation. Prior to completing doctoral work, Dr. Robert served as a teacher, analyst, and administrator at campus, district, and regional levels, most recently as executive director of human resources in a school district. 

Dr. Yi (Leaf) Zhang

Associate Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Research Interests: College access, student transition & success, STEM education



Phone #: 817-272-9221

Office: 103D Trimble Hall

Bio: Dr. Yi Leaf Zhang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington. Zhang has developed a strong interest in studying college access and success, especially in the community college context. Her research focuses on community colleges as a gateway to STEM education, transfer students’ educational pathways, and international education in four-year and two-year institutions. Zhang is currently an editorial board member of the Community College Journal of Research and Practice (CCJRP) and an associate editor of the Journal of International Students (JIS).

Contact a Graduate Advisor

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ELPS Ph.D. alumni have gone on to serve as:

- Administrators in institutions of higher education

- Administrators and superintendents in K-12 education

- Professors of educational leadership