Ph.D. students at UTA work with a faculty member on assignments

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.

Watch the Information Session


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. However, students who wish to complete the program as a full-time student can opt to take additional elective courses. 

View Dissertation Topics

View the previous dissertation topics selected by our doctoral students:

How to Apply

Our PDF application provides all the information you need to apply to our Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Submit all application materials and any questions about the program to Open the link below to get started.

PDF Application

The 2024 deadline has passed.

Ready to apply? The Ph.D. application packet for the 2024 deadline has passed. 

*This program accepts applicants for the Fall cohort only.

Questions? Email Us.



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.

Program Director

Dr. Yi Leaf Zhang


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



Phone #: 817-272-9221

Office: Trimble Hall 103 D

Bio: Dr. Yi Leaf Zhang is a 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).


Get information about College of Education programs, admissions requirements, and more.

Request Info

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