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PhD Program Information

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Introduction to the Program
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students are expected to develop expertise in theory and research related to educational leadership and/or policy. This program is designed especially for those who seek careers as high-level administrators, university professors, researchers, or research and policy analysts in educational agencies.

Students choose to specialize in either K12 or Higher Education. Coursework includes topics in educational leadership, organizations, educational policy, or critical studies in education. Additionally, students will enroll in courses that focus on research methods (qualitative and quantitative) which will help support a two semester research apprenticeship with a selected member of the faculty. Independent research in an area chosen by the student will be the basis of the final dissertation. Assistantships are available to full-time students. Students work 20 hours a week and receive a stipend along with a full tuition waiver.


Participating faculty in the PhD program are scholars and educators who guide students to achieve their academic goals. The ELP department has many excellent faculty members with expertise in both K-12 and higher education.  Profiles of the faculty, along with copies of their vitas are available on the department website

Coursework Requirements (68 credits)

Core Courses (12 credit hours)

ELP 7220 Leadership Theory

ELP 7240 Organizational Theory

ELP 7480 Leadership, Diversity, & Social Justice in Education

ELP 7440 Education Policy

Content Specialization (15 credit hours)

These courses offer students choice in formulating their program of study, which informs independent research. Six credits must be taken outside the ELP department.

Research Methods (21 credit hours)

Required (12 credit hours)

ELP 7030 Introduction to Inquiry

ELP 7040 Quantitative Methods 1

ELP 7060 Qualitative Methods 1

ELP 7600 Dissertation Proposal Writing Seminar

Specialization Sequence (9 credit hours)

Advanced qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods or other approved courses

Qualifying Exam: Students must be enrolled during the semester in which they take the exam. Students should consult with both their supervisory committee chair and the ELP academic coordinator regarding specific enrollment. Once students pass their exam, they can then begin registering for dissertation credit hours (ELP 7970) with their chair. Students need a minimum of 14 dissertation credit hours.

Research Apprenticeship (6 credit hours)              Dissertation Research (14 credit hours)

ELP 7660                                                                             ELP 7970

Residency Requirement

At least one year (i.e., two consecutive semesters) of the doctoral program must be spent in full-time academic work at the University of Utah. A full load is nine credit hours.


Last Updated: 10/9/20