Ph.D. in OLPD
Leadership for Intercultural and International Education cohort

This cohort-based doctorate program option for international educators and those interested in leadership in international/intercultural contexts, is oriented toward working professionals and is specifically designed to meet the needs of leaders working in highly diverse organizational settings. It is possible to remain fully employed while studying for this advanced degree.

Students enrolled in the program spend three weeks on the U of MN-Twin cities campus for three summers (typically late June through mid-July) and complete courses offered online during the fall and spring semesters. Students also complete a 24 credit dissertation. This is often a dissertation thesis, the results of which, provide a contribution to their own organization as well as a related professional field.

Students are leaders and policy-makers working in international education, intercultural training and organizational development in diverse international/intercultural contexts. Our students themselves come from multicultural backgrounds, and bring a breadth of learning experiences to the classroom.

Doctoral students in Comparative and International Development Education gain the capacity to:

  • Articulate and analyze historical and contemporary challenges in education across international and intercultural contexts.
  • Design meaningful, relevant research projects; collect, analyze, and interpret qualitative and quantitative data; and provide clear and actionable insights for policymakers and practitioners.
  • Develop and teach courses in comparative, international, and intercultural education; research methods; and allied fields (e.g., applied linguistics, inclusive education, leadership, and teacher education).
  • Become faculty members in top internationally-oriented academic programs across the nation and globe who apply theory to practice and use practice to build theory in addressing some of our most challenging educational issues and problems.
  • Become leaders in international development, international education, and intercultural education institutions who use their expertise to improve policy, school organization, classroom practices, and formal and informal learning in international and intercultural contexts.

This program prepares students for a wide range of careers, including:

  • Senior international office
  • Head of school (International)
  • Independent consultant
  • Professor of international education
  • Director of study abroad office
  • Director of international student office


  • 72 credits (48 coursework / 24 thesis) completed in 3-5 years for full time students

Departmental core (16 credits)

Professional socialization seminar

  • OLPD 8011—Doctoral Research Seminar I (1 cr) [Take Fall term of first year]

Research courses

  • OLPD 8015—Inquiry Strategies in Educational and Organizational Research (3 cr) [Take Spring term of first year]
  • Quantitative course (3 cr inside or outside of department; with approval of advisor)
  • Qualitative course (3 cr inside or outside of department; with approval of advisor)
  • Additional methods course (6 cr; with approval of advisor)

Program core (20 credits)

Includes the OLPD 8121 series, specialization courses for one of the two CIDE specializations, and CIDE electives; courses not specifically listed below should have advisor approval.

Doctoral seminars in CIDE

Take 6 credits; 2 credits in each of 3 semesters starting in the spring term of the first year.

  • OLPD 8121-section 002—Doctoral Seminar: CIDE I (3 cr)
  • OLPD 8121-section 003—Doctoral Seminar: CIDE II (3 cr)
  • OLPD 8121-section 004—Doctoral Seminar: CIDE III (3 cr)

Specialization courses: Intercultural/international education (6 credits)

  • OLPD 5048–Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Leadership (3 cr)
  • OLPD 8087–Seminar: OLPD (3 cr) [Take course topic approved by LIIE cohort advisor]

Electives (8 credits)

  • OLPD 5103–Comparative Education (3 cr)
  • OLPD 5124–Critical Issues in International Education and Educational Exchange (3 cr)
  • OLPD 5132–Intercultural Education and Training: Theory and Application (3 cr)

Additional Coursework (12 credits)

  • OLPD 8002–Critical Issues in Contemporary Education (3 cr)
  • OLPD 8602–Advanced Organizational Development (3 cr)
  • OLPD 5044–Introduction to the Economics of Education (3 cr)
  • Transfer Class (3 cr)

Thesis credits (24 credits)

All Ph.D. students are required to register for 24 semester thesis credits after completing the preliminary oral exam. The 24 credits must be taken over two or more terms.

  • OLPD 8888—Thesis Credits: Doctoral

How to apply

The deadline for the 2023 LIIE cohort cohort was November 1, 2022; the next cohort will begin in summer 2026, so the likely application deadline will be November 1, 2025.

Applicants may only apply to one OLPD track.

Applications are not complete until ALL required materials and fees have been received. If anything is missing, your application may not be considered until the next review date the following year. It is strongly recommended to apply at least two weeks before any submission deadlines.

Applications are processed by the Graduate School. A decision for admission notice will be emailed to you once your application is carefully reviewed by the department's admission committee and your transcripts and any credentials (test reports, diploma copies, etc.) are authenticated by Graduate School officials.

Online application and instructions
Note: be certain to select "Org Ldrship Policy Dev-Comparative Intl Dev Educ - PhD" in the online application system when applying for this program. The system does not allow applicants to specify "LIIE."

Admission requirements

Degree: Master's degree or equivalent

GPA: Undergraduate 3.0; Graduate 3.5

TOEFL/IELTS Scores (Not required for U.S. students):

  • TOEFL: Internet based = 79 or above
    (21 writing/19 reading)
  • IELTS = 6.5


If a graduate student in an OLPD program has become inactive they must follow the readmission procedures.

Tuition and funding

Tuition information: CEHD | OneStop

Financial aid: CEHD | OneStop


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