Educational Policy and Leadership Doctoral Program

The EDPL doctoral program develops educational scholar-practitioners, researchers, and leaders who possess the commitment, perspective, and skills to implement strategies for greater equity in a variety of educational settings. Students inquire deeply into the foundational knowledge of education, exploring how the organization of schools, institutions of higher education, and society shape educational processes. Students gain theoretical knowledge in specific disciplinary/topical concentrations, enabling them to further examine educational practice in a chosen context.  Finally, students acquire expertise in research methods which equip them to advance and enact educational knowledge. The program supports EDPL PhD graduates to work actively to create a more just society. 

EDPL Doctoral Program Details

A Marquette doctoral student must complete a 57-credit program of study prepared in consultation with his or her adviser and outlined on an approved Doctoral Program Planning Form. The program must include an earned master’s degree of 30 credit hours, minimum, an additional 45 credit hours of course work (typically, of which, at least 30 must be in the College of Education), and 12 credit hours of dissertation course work. A maximum of 15 credit hours (earned in the completion of the master’s degree, possibly in combination with doctoral electives transferred in from other units/institutions) may potentially be applied to the doctoral program requirements. Acceptance of these credits, on a case-by-case basis, is contingent on the approval of the adviser and the director of graduate studies based on a comparable level of rigor as Marquette courses and benefit to the student’s program.

Required Course Work

Foundation Courses (15 credits)

EDPL 8955 Seminar Social Contexts and Educational Policy 1
EDPL 8956 Seminar Social Contexts and Educational Policy 2
EDPL 8730 History of Education in the United States
EDPL 8330Sociological Foundations of Education


Foundation Elective course (choose one)
EDPL 8700 Organizational Theory and Administration in K-12 Schools
EDPL 8250 History of Higher Education in the United States
EDPL 8440 Application of Learning Theories in Curriculum and Instruction
EDPL 8310 Contemporary Philosophies of Education
EDPL 8870 Curriculum Leadership
EDPL 8712 Politics and Community Relations in Educational Organizations
EDPL 8300 Classics in the Philosophy of Education
EDPL 8860 Instructional Leadership

Research Courses (12 credits)

EDPL 8710 Multiple Paradigms in Educational Research
EDPL 8715 Interpretive and Critical Research in Education 1
Intermediate Statistics
EDPL 8720 Interpretive and Critical Research in Education 2 (or 2nd Quantitative Methods)

Electives (chosen from areas of focus below, 18 credits)

Recommended electives by areas of K-12/ higher education concentrations below

Dissertation Course work (12 credits)

EDPL 8999 Doctoral Dissertation

Recommended Electives

K-12/ higher education leadership 

EDPL 8700 Organizational Theory and Administration in K-12 Schools (recommended)
EDPL 8712 Politics and Community Relations in Educational Organizations (recommended)
EDPL 6140 Diversity, Identity and the Student Affairs Professional
EDPL 6200 Student Development in Higher Education
EDPL 8250 History of Higher Education in the United States
EDPL 8310 Contemporary Philosophies of Education
EDPL 8800 American Law and the Educational Organization
EDPL 8860 Instructional Leadership
EDPL 8870 Curriculum Leadership

K-12/ higher education teaching and learning

EDPL 8450 Theories of Learning Applied to Instruction (recommended)
EDPL 8870 Curriculum Leadership (recommended)
EDPL 6200 Student Development in Higher Education
EDPL 6140 Diversity, Identity and the Student Affairs Professional
EDPL 6140 Diversity, Identity and the Student Affairs Professional
EDPL 6200 Student Development in Higher Education
EDPL 8310 Contemporary Philosophies of Education
EDPL 8440 Application of Learning Theories in Curriculum and Instruction
EDPL 8800 American Law and the Educational Organization
EDPL 8860 Instructional Leadership

K-12/ higher education policy analysis 

POSC 5281 Urban Public Policy (recommended)
POSC 6954 Research Seminar in American Politics (recommended)
EDPL 8260 Organizational Theory and Administration in Higher Education
EDPL 8310 Contemporary Philosophies of Education
COPS 8320 Measurement and Evaluation
EDPL 8700 Organizational Theory and Administration in K-12 Schools
EDPL 8712 Politics and Community Relations in Educational Organizations
EDPL 8800 American Law and the Educational Organization

Students may also create a customized set of electives with the approval of their adviser. Please see the Doctoral Program Planning Form for more details.

A doctoral student must pass all three parts of a written and oral qualifying exam prior to the advancement to candidacy. DQE Component 1: Critical Analysis and DQE Component 2: Foundations of Research are completed during coursework. DQE Component 3: Proposal, both written and oral defense, is taken after the completion of course work. A student’s DQE Component 3 committee and the dissertation committee (typically the same members) and should include at least two faculty from the EDPL Department. The remaining members may be from outside the department with no more than one coming from outside the university. Students should select all committee members in consultation with their adviser. 

The doctoral dissertation must represent an original research contribution and show high attainment and clear ability to do independent research. Students must successfully defend both their dissertation proposal and the final dissertation.

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

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 submitted 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.