The Doctor of Philosophy program in educational policy and leadership studies with an educational leadership subprogram requires a minimum of 90 s.h. of graduate credit. Students must earn a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.00 in major coursework. The program prepares scholarly professionals for leadership positions in a wide range of educational and public sector settings. Students acquire strong backgrounds in leadership, policy, and research. They equip themselves to discover, integrate, and apply knowledge as transformational leaders.

The Ph.D. in educational policy and leadership studies with an educational leadership subprogram requires the following work.

Common Courses12
Cognate Courses9
Electives29
Concentration Area Courses12
Research Courses18
Dissertation10
Total Hours90

Students also complete the comprehensive examination and a dissertation, described below.

Many educational leadership courses are offered by distance education; see MyUI for information about courses offered during current semesters.

For more detailed coursework information, see Educational Leadership on the Educational Policy and Leadership Studies website.

Research Courses

All educational leadership Ph.D. students must complete either EALL:5150 Introduction to Educational Research or EPLS:6206 Research Process and Design during the first year of their Ph.D. program. They also must complete a minimum of 15 s.h. in qualitative and quantitative coursework, with at least 9 s.h. from one area (qualitative or quantitative) and at least 6 s.h. from the other. Students select from courses listed under Ph.D. Research Requirements on the College of Education website.

Comprehensive Examination

Students must satisfactorily complete a written take-home comprehensive examination consisting of three parts. The first part covers a student's major area of study, and the second covers two additional concentration areas. The third is on the student's outside area of study and is prepared by faculty members outside the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies. The written exams are followed by an oral examination.

Dissertation

Students must write a dissertation based on an original research project in an area of educational leadership. Students must earn 10 s.h. of credit for dissertation research. The doctoral program culminates with a final oral defense of the dissertation. Students must be registered at the University of Iowa during the session in which they graduate.

Admission

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College and of the educational leadership program. They also must satisfy the residency requirement of two full-time (at least 9 s.h.) registrations. Required application materials include transcripts, official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores (the GRE requirement has been suspended for the 2020-21 admissions cycle), three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement of career goals. Admission is based on grade-point average and GRE scores, promise for scholarly and professional growth, and recommendations. Complete applications are reviewed as they are received.

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit official test scores to verify English proficiency. Applicants can verify English proficiency by submitting official test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). For specific score requirements, see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College on the Graduate College website.

The Doctor of Philosophy program in educational policy and leadership studies with a higher education and student affairs (HESA) subprogram requires a minimum of 90 s.h. of graduate credit. At least 39 s.h. must be earned while registered in the Graduate College at the University of Iowa, and after formal program admission. Students must earn a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.00 in major coursework.

The doctoral program prepares individuals to be leaders in student affairs and academic administration, graduate faculty at research universities, leaders in conducting research about college students and higher education, policy analysts in postsecondary institutions and public or private agencies, and teachers and academic leaders at two-year and four-year colleges. The HESA program integrates academic experience with the cocurricular learning experiences of students and studies the outcomes of both.

The Ph.D. in educational policy and leadership studies with a higher education and student affairs subprogram requires the following coursework.

Substantive Core Courses18
Research Methods Courses18-22
Concentration Area Courses18
Graduate Electives24
Dissertation12
Total Hours90-94

Substantive Core

The substantive core provides foundational understanding of higher education and general knowledge that all students must master, regardless of their career goals and interests. All courses in the core (18 s.h.) must be completed at the University of Iowa.

All of these:
EPLS:6216Finance in Higher Education3
EPLS:6220History of Higher Education3
EPLS:6224Organizational Theory and Administrative Behavior3
EPLS:6273College Students3
EPLS:6275Diversity and Equity in Higher Education3
EPLS:6311Seminar: Research Topic in Education3

Research Methods

Research methods courses (at least 18 s.h.) assure that students achieve scholarly autonomy and initiative.

Basic Research Methods

Both of these (6 s.h.):
EPLS:6206Research Process and Design3
EPLS:7373Qualitative Research Design and Methods (or approved substitute)3

Statistics/Linear Regression

These courses (6-8 s.h.) must be taken in this order.

One of these:
PSQF:6242Selected Applications of Statistics3
PSQF:6243Intermediate Statistical Methods4
One of these:
EPLS:6370Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis3
PSQF:6244Correlation and Regression4

Advanced/Specialized Research Methods

Students consult with their advisor to choose two courses (at least 6 s.h.) from either list appropriate to their dissertation design and intended learning outcomes.

Qualitative Methods

EPLS:5240Topics in Education (when topic is introduction to historical methodology or critical qualitative inquiry)3
EPLS:7392Mixed Methods Research3
EDTL:7071Critical Discourse Analysis in Educational Research3
EDTL:7072Advanced Methods of Literacy Research: Qualitative Data Analysis and Reporting3
EDTL:7073Ethnographic Methods, Theories, and Texts3
RCE:7444Qualitative Research in the Multicultural Context3
Another comparable research methods course approved by advisor

Quantitative Methods

EPLS:5240Topics in Education (when topic is multilevel modeling)3
EPLS:6209Survey Research and Design3
POLI:7003Advanced Methodology4
PSQF:6246Design of Experiments4
SOC:7170Advanced Statistical Modeling of Data3
SOC:7180Structural Equation Modeling3
Another comparable research methods course approved by advisor

Concentration Area

The concentration area (18 s.h.) gives students the opportunity to develop expertise in one area. Students consult with their advisor to develop the concentration curriculum.

Graduate Electives

Students choose 24 s.h. of elective graduate coursework in consultation with their advisors. A student and their advisor may determine that some of the graduate elective work may be drawn from appropriate previous graduate coursework that complements other aspects of the student's doctoral program.

Comprehensive Examination

The Ph.D. comprehensive examination consists of a question written by the student in consultation with their advisor, and formally approved by the HESA faculty. Students are expected to construct a well-supported argument informed by knowledge of the theory, research, and practice that constitutes the field of higher education based on the substantive core and the student's concentration. The written examination is followed by an oral examination.

Dissertation

The dissertation is a major research study planned in collaboration with the student's advisor. Students must write a formal dissertation proposal and submit it for approval, first to their advisor and then to the members of their doctoral committee. Students and their advisors determine when the proposal is complete. Students must earn 12 s.h. of dissertation research credit. The doctoral program culminates with a final oral defense of the dissertation.

Students must be registered at the University of Iowa each fall and spring semester from the semester in which they complete their comprehensive examination through the semester in which they defend their dissertation and graduate.

Admission

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College. Each applicant must submit a personal statement, undergraduate and graduate grade-point averages, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a résumé or curriculum vita, and scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test (the GRE requirement has been suspended for the 2020-21 admissions cycle). The statement of purpose (one to three pages) should include professional and/or research interests, whether the applicant plans to enroll full- or part-time, and how the applicant's goals and experiences are consistent with the higher education and student affairs program's mission and values.

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit official test scores to verify English proficiency. Applicants can verify English proficiency by submitting official test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). For specific score requirements, see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College on the Graduate College website.

Early action application deadline is December 1; regular decision application deadline is April 15 for admission the following fall.

For more information on higher education and student affairs programs, see the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies.

The Doctor of Philosophy program in educational policy and leadership studies with a schools, culture, and society subprogram requires a minimum of 90 s.h. of graduate credit. Students must earn a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.00 in major coursework. The program develops students' ability to analyze the influence of social and historical factors that frame contemporary issues in education.

The Ph.D. in educational policy and leadership studies with a schools, culture, and society subprogram requires the following coursework.

Common Core Courses9
Disciplinary Foundation Courses12
Interdisciplinary Focus Courses12
Cognate Courses27
Research Tools18
Dissertation12
Total Hours90

Common Core

Students must complete all three courses in the common core (9 s.h.).

EPLS:5102History of American Education3
EPLS:5126Twentieth-Century Educational Movements3
EPLS:5130Sociology of Education3

Disciplinary Foundation

Students choose one of two disciplinary foundation areas: sociology or history. They complete 12 s.h. in the area by taking three courses offered by the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies (prefix EPLS) and one course offered by the corresponding department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: sociology (prefix SOC) or history (prefix HIST). The following lists provide examples of courses appropriate for the two disciplinary foundation areas.

Sociology

EPLS:5131Race, Class, and Gender Inequalities in Education3
EPLS:5134Education and the World of Work3
EPLS:5142Sociology of Higher Education3
EPLS:5210Education and Social Change3
EPLS:5240Topics in Education (when topic is sociology of education)3

History

EPLS:5123History of Ethnic/Minority Education3
EPLS:5240Topics in Education (when topic is history of education)3
EPLS:6220History of Higher Education3
EPLS:6237History of the Teaching Profession3
EPLS:6238Gender and Education in Historical Perspective3
EPLS:6239LGBTQ History in Education3

Interdisciplinary Focus

Students choose one of two interdisciplinary focus areas: diversity and equity, or policy contexts. They take four courses in that area (total of 12 s.h.) chosen from the corresponding list. At least two of the courses (6 s.h.) must be from outside their disciplinary foundation area (see "Disciplinary Foundation" above).

Diversity and Equity

EPLS:5123History of Ethnic/Minority Education3
EPLS:5154Education, Race, and Ethnicity3
EPLS:5157Ethics in Education3
EPLS:6237History of the Teaching Profession3
EPLS:6238Gender and Education in Historical Perspective3
EPLS:6239LGBTQ History in Education3
EPLS:6275Diversity and Equity in Higher Education3
One relevant course from another department, with advisor's approval

Policy Contexts

EPLS:5134Education and the World of Work3
EPLS:5157Ethics in Education3
EPLS:5210Education and Social Change3
EPLS:6225Higher Education Policy3
EPLS:6237History of the Teaching Profession3
EPLS:6270Policy and Politics3
One relevant course from another department, with advisor's approval

Cognate Courses

Students must complete at least 27 s.h. of additional graduate-level coursework in a field or fields that are relevant to their scholarly and professional goals. Students commonly complete some or all of the 27 s.h. with relevant graduate-level coursework from other University of Iowa programs or with approved transfer credit from other institutions. A student's advisor, in consultation with other faculty members in the program, determine which coursework to accept.

Research Tools

Students must take at least 18 s.h. in research methods.

Basic Research Methods

Both of these:
EPLS:6206Research Process and Design3
EPLS:7373Qualitative Research Design and Methods3
With approval, students may substitute a course above for one of the following:
EDTL:7070Qualitative Research Methods in Teaching and Learning3
PSQF:7331Seminar: Educational Psychology I - Current Topics (when topic is qualitative educational research methods)3
RCE:7338Essentials of Qualitative Inquiry3

Intermediate Statistics and Linear Regression

Both of these:
PSQF:6242Selected Applications of Statistics3
EPLS:6370Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis3

Advanced and/or Specialized Research Methods

Students consult with their advisor to choose two courses from either list appropriate to their dissertation design.

Qualitative or Non-Quantitative Courses

EPLS:5240Topics in Education (when topic is historical methodology in education or analysis of philosophical argumentation)3
EPLS:7392Mixed Methods Research3
EDTL:7071Critical Discourse Analysis in Educational Research3
EDTL:7072Advanced Methods of Literacy Research: Qualitative Data Analysis and Reporting3
EDTL:7073Ethnographic Methods, Theories, and Texts3
EDTL:7751Advanced Qualitative Data Analysis3
PSQF:6265Program Evaluation3
RCE:7444Qualitative Research in the Multicultural Context3
Other comparable research methods courses approved by student's advisor and schools, culture, and society program

Quantitative Courses

EPLS:5240Topics in Education (when topic is multilevel modeling)3
EPLS:6209Survey Research and Design3
EPLS:6370Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis3
POLI:7003Advanced Methodology4
PSQF:6249Factor Analysis and Structural Equation Models3
SOC:5160Research Design and Methods3
SOC:7170Advanced Statistical Modeling of Data3
SOC:7180Structural Equation Modeling3
Other comparable research methods courses approved by student's advisor and schools, culture, and society program

Students who want to enroll in an advanced/specialized course not listed above, and wish to receive credit toward their program requirements, must obtain prior approval from their advisor and from the schools, culture, and society program.

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination consists of two take-home exams, each with a maximum of 15 pages. The first exam covers the student's disciplinary foundation (history or sociology), and the second covers the student's interdisciplinary focus area (diversity and equity or policy contexts) and the common core (history or sociology, not including the disciplinary focus).

Dissertation

After completing the comprehensive examination, students write a formal dissertation prospectus and submit it for approval first to their dissertation advisor and then to the members of their dissertation committee. The dissertation prospectus must be formally approved by the dissertation advisor and the dissertation committee before a student may begin dissertation research.

Students must earn 12 s.h. of dissertation research credit. The dissertation process culminates with a final oral defense of the dissertation. Students must register at the University of Iowa each fall and spring semester until the dissertation is successfully defended and the Ph.D. is awarded.

Admission

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College. A personal interview with one or more members of the program's faculty is recommended. Undergraduate and/or graduate emphases in education, sociology, and the humanities (philosophy, history, and so forth) provide good background for graduate study of schools, culture, and society, although other emphases also may be useful.

Applicants must submit a personal statement explaining their professional goals, experiences, and research plans; undergraduate and graduate grade-point averages; undergraduate and graduate transcripts; three letters of recommendation; and scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test (the GRE requirement has been suspended for the 2020-21 admissions cycle). 

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit official test scores to verify English proficiency. Applicants can verify English proficiency by submitting official test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). For specific score requirements, see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College on the Graduate College website.

Admission is for fall semester entry. Application deadline is January 15 for admission the following fall.

For more information on schools, culture, and society programs, see the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans represent one way to complete a program of study. Actual course selection and sequence will vary and should be discussed with an academic advisor. For additional sample plans, see MyUI.

Educational Policy and Leadership Studies, Ph.D.

Higher Education and Student Affairs Subprogram

Plan of Study Grid (Manual)
Academic Career
Any SemesterHours
90 s.h. of graduate level coursework must be completed; graduate transfer credits allowed upon approval. More information is included in the General Catalog and on department website. a  
Distribute between years 1-4 with advisor approval; work with academic advisor to determine sequence.  
EPLS:6216 Finance in Higher Education b 3
EPLS:6220 History of Higher Education b 3
EPLS:6224 Organizational Theory and Administrative Behavior b 3
EPLS:6273 College Students b 3
EPLS:6275 Diversity and Equity in Higher Education b 3
EPLS:6311 Seminar: Research Topic in Education b 3
EPLS:6206 Research Process and Design c 3
EPLS:7373 Qualitative Research Design and Methods c 3
PSQF:6243
Intermediate Statistical Methods d
or Selected Applications of Statistics
3 - 4
PSQF:6244
Correlation and Regression d
or Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis
3 - 4
Advanced/Specialized Research Methods Course e, f 3 - 4
Advanced/Specialized Research Methods Course e, f 3 - 4
Concentration Area Course g 3
Concentration Area Course g 3
Concentration Area Course g 3
Concentration Area Course g 3
Concentration Area Course g 3
Concentration Area Course g 3
Graduate Elective h 3
Graduate Elective h 3
Graduate Elective h 3
Graduate Elective h 3
Graduate Elective h 3
Graduate Elective h 3
Graduate Elective h 3
Graduate Elective h 3
 Hours78-82
Third Year
Any Semester
Comprehensive Exam i  
 Hours0
Fourth Year
Any Semester
Final Exam (Dissertation Defense) j  
 Hours0
Fall
EPLS:7493 Ph.D. Thesis k arr.
 Hours0
Spring
EPLS:7493 Ph.D. Thesis k arr.
 Hours0
 Total Hours78-82