skip to navigation skip to content

CEHD and U of M Word Marks


206 Burton Hall
178 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Fax: 612-624-3377

Undergraduate Studies:

Graduate Studies:


Ph.D. in OLPD: Education Policy and Leadership (EPL) Program


Applications are due December 1, 2017 for 2018 Fall semester start.

Fall semester start only.

Only students accepted in the December review are considered for assistantships.

Admission requirements

Click to apply


The doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in organizational leadership, policy, and development with a program track in education leadership and policy (EPL) provides an opportunity for intensive study of the field of education. It is especially suitable for students who wish to pursue careers in policy, research, or college and university teaching. It is also available to students who are interested in careers in school, district, and statewide administration though it is more theory and research oriented than the doctorate of education (Ed.D.) degree which is also offered by OLPD.

EPL offers coursework and research opportunities for those interested in making a difference in educational systems and settings that involve PreK-12 children and youth. The program is committed to supporting the development of leaders and scholars who work to continuously improve educational quality and effectiveness so that young people graduate from secondary education well prepared to continue their learning and to contribute to their communities. The program promotes understanding of schools as organizations and emphasizes application of knowledge and research to varied contexts of educational practice.

Who enrolls in this program?
Ph.D. students are the future leaders, university faculty members, and researchers in the field of education. They come to this program from positions as teachers, school and district administrators, and from leadership positions in state and private organizations committed to improving education. The program is selective; it is limited to 10 students each year. They are selected on the basis of their credentials and their long-term interest in policy, research, and college and university teaching. All new students begin in the fall semester.


EPL Ph.D. Curriculum

General Ph.D. Info
Graduate School Catalog

What will my program look like?
The Ph.D. requires that students take at least 46 semester credits of coursework. With adviser approval, students can transfer 9-18 semester credits from their master's degree toward these 46 Ph.D. credits. In addition, 24 semester thesis credits will be required for the dissertation for a total of 70 credits. Typically, a course that meets once a week throughout the semester is three credits. Students can complete the coursework on either a full-time or part-time basis.

How long will my Ph.D. program take?
Going full time, including summers, students often can complete the required coursework in 2 to 2½ years, at which time they complete preliminary written and oral examinations. Many are able to complete their dissertation in another 1 to 2 years. Upon completion of their dissertation, they take a final oral examination. Doctoral students must complete all their requirements and receive their degree within five calendar years after passing their preliminary oral examination.


For questions regarding the admissions process, admissions documents, or general information about the program contact:

Dr. Jeremy Hernandez
Coordinator of Graduate Studies

Specific questions regarding course content should be directed to the program coordinator:

Dr. Katie Pekel
Coordinator, Education Policy and Leadership Programs

Revised February 2, 2016