Educational Policy and Leadership Doctoral Program

Marquette's doctoral program in educational policy and leadership is designed to foster the development of scholar-practitioners. It asks students to inquire deeply into the process of teaching and learning and examine how the organization of schools shapes the process of teaching and learning.

In addition, Marquette's doctoral program asks students to acquire adjacent disciplinary strengths that provide contexts for considering what knowledge is of most worth, how forms of knowledge are socially distributed and what educational measures might help bring about a more just society. Students are expected to gain expertise in research that will enable them to contribute to the ways we think about education and develop technological and other practical skills that will enable them to implement strategies for change.

EDPL Doctoral Program Details

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of Marquette’s doctoral program in educational policy and leadership can expect to be able to:

  1. Evaluates major works in the field of education.
  2. Synthesizes the literature in a specialty area of education
  3. Makes an original contribution to research on education.

A Marquette doctoral student must complete a program of study prepared in consultation with his or her adviser and outlined on an approved Doctoral Program Planning form. The program must include a MINIMUM of 45 credit hours of course work beyond the master’s degree (at least 33 of which must be in the College of Education) and 12 credit hours of dissertation work. In addition, the doctoral student must pass a qualifying examination and submit and successfully defend an approved dissertation.

A doctoral program requires a supporting (minor) area of study, composed of 12 credit hours of work in or outside the College of Education. All doctoral students must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours of post-bachelor’s course work in research skills, which includes research methods, measurement, statistics and computer science.

With 12 additional credits and a research project that focuses on an aspect of school district leadership, it is possible to combine the doctoral degree with course work that leads to a Wisconsin District Administrator License. The student needs to work closely with his/her adviser upon admission to develop a program of study that will meet the doctoral and licensure requirements.

Here is one possible program of study:

Required Course Work

Courses for Educational Policy and Leadership Doctoral Program Seminars (9 credits)

  • EDPL 8955: Seminar I Social Contexts and Educational Policy (3 credits)
  • EDPL 8956: Seminar II Social Contexts and Educational Policy (3 credits)
  • EDPL 8960: Seminar III Canons and Conversations (3 credits)

Prerequisite: Completion of 33 doctoral credits or consent of adviser. The focus of this seminar will be on preparation of the qualifying paper and preparation for the oral defense. Grading will be S/U.

Foundations (12 credits)

At least 2 of the following foundations courses required, including EDPL 349.

  • EDPL 8730: History of Education in the United States
  • EDPL 8300: Classics in Philosophy of Education
  • EDPL 8330: Sociological Foundations of Education
  • EDPL 8450: Theories of Learning

Other suggested foundations courses (Courses not listed below may be approved with administrative consent)

  • EDPL 8260: Organizational Theory and Administration in Higher Education
  • EDPL 8700: Organizational Theory and Administration in K-12 Schools
  • EDPL 8020: Advanced Politics and Community Relations in Educational Organizations
  • EDPL 8880: Current Issues in Educational Policy and Leadership for the District Administrator
  • EDPL 8250: History of Higher Education in the United States
  • EDPL 8440: Foundations of Curriculum
  • EDPL 8953: Seminar: Analysis of Teaching  
  • EDPL 8870: Theory and Design of Curriculum
  • EDPL 8310: Contemporary Philosophies of Education and Psychology

Research (12-15 credits)*


  • EDPL 8710: Multiple Paradigms in Educational Research
  • EDPL 8715: Interpretive and Critical Research I
  • Quantitative research course*: COPS 8310: Intermediate Research and Statistics or PSYC 8101: Advanced Statistics and Design 1

And at least one of the following electives:

  • EDPL 8720: Interpretive and Critical Research II
  • COPS 8320: Measurement and Evaluation
  • PSYC 8102: Advanced Statistics and Design 2

* Departmental consent required. Student must have necessary background in statistics to meet prerequisites.

Elective sequence: (12 credits)

An elective sequence is an area of specialization consisting of four approved courses (at 200 level or higher) that hold together conceptually and can potentially support dissertation research. Students may take some of this course work at other institutions.

Recent doctoral students have elected to take courses in anthropology, history, psychology, sociology and education. In addition, students often elect to do one directed reading course (independent study) as part of the elective sequence.

Dissertation (12 hours required)
Total: 57-60 credits

EDPL Doctoral Admissions

All applicants for the doctoral program in education must meet Graduate School requirements (including the 3.0 GPA requirement) plus the following program requirements:

  1. Graduate Record Examination
  2. All academic transcripts — Evidence of strong undergraduate and graduate preparation
  3. Personal statement — A written statement articulating research interests and professional aspirations
  4. Writing sample — At least one example of scholarly writing
  5. Recommendations — A minimum of three recommendations that reflect qualifications for doctoral work
  6. Interview — An interview may be required after an initial evaluation of the applicant

The following must be submitted to Marquette's Graduate School by January 15:

  1. Completed Graduate School Application Form and fee
  2. Completed financial aid forms
  3. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate credits
  4. Application packet that includes personal statement, sample of writing and letters of recommendation
  5. GRE scores (sent from ETS)

Requests for admission to the doctoral program are considered once per year. Deadline for submission of materials is January 15. Applicants will be notified by March 15.

Application for admission should be made online at the Graduate School website.

Be sure to inform the individuals you choose for recommendations that filling out the online assessment is not enough. They must upload their letter online.