Leaders in education policy smile together

Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership, (Ph.D.) - Education Policy and Leadership Specialization

This program leads to a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership with a specialization in Education Policy and Leadership. The Education Policy and Leadership specialization is designed to prepare students in careers as education policy makers, policy analysts, curriculum specialists, advocates for children and youth, and for leadership positions in a variety of education-related organizations. The specialization situates the study of education in the broader social context and brings an array of discipline-based perspectives and research methodologies to the examination of education issues, policies and practices. The curriculum capitalizes on diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives, drawn from the social sciences and humanities, integrates formal coursework with a variety of more individualized internship and enrichment experiences, and provides opportunities for students to carry out research that contributes to the development of more equitable and effective educational institutions. Students are encouraged to include in their program of study relevant courses in other specializations and in other programs outside the department. Graduates have the theoretical breadth and depth required to investigate compelling educational problems, to create and critique policy and practice alternatives, and to generate knowledge that informs action.

For information about applying to the Ph.D. program with a specialization in Education Policy and Leadership Studies, please visit:  https://gradschool.umd.edu/education/tlpl. We accept both full-time and part-time doctoral students.


Please refer to the Guide to Applying for instructions on how to apply for graduate admission. If you have questions or concerns, we ask you to first review our list of  Frequently Asked Questions.  International applicants should visit the International admissions webpage for additional information.


INFORMATION SESSION about our Ph.D. and M.A. programs will be held on October 13, 2023, by zoom. 

For questions related to the admissions process, prospective students may contact  tlpl-admissions@umd.edu.

For academic advising on the Ph.D. with a specialization in Education Policy Studies, please contact Dr. David Blazar at dblazar@umd.edu


Financial assistance for graduate study is generally divided into two categories: 

  • Merit-Based Assistance Need-Based Assistance  
    • Fellowships and Scholarships Loans  
    • Graduate Assistantships 

For more details about the various types of financial assistance offered by the campus please visit the Office of Student Financial Aid 

There are also a number of fellowships and scholarships offered through the College of Education, the University, and through external sources which may provide tuition support and/or living allowance. Students must apply for these awards on their own, but the links that follow provide valuable information on searching for fellowships and scholarships. 

For more information concerning fellowships and scholarships, please visit: 

The College of Education Scholarships webpage

The University's Scholarships webpage

Graduate School Student Fellowship and Awards webpage

The doctoral curriculum typically requires at least three years of graduate study beyond the master’s degree.   Most students admitted to the doctoral program already have a master’s degree. If a student does not have a master’s degree, an advisor develops an individualized plan that aligns master’s level and doctoral level coursework for the student. 

Students are expected to integrate into the campus scholarly community and to be available on a full-time basis.

Integrated Department Core:  All new TLPL Ph.D. students join a two-course sequence (6 semester hours), TLPL 794: Foundations of Educational Inquiry I ("Core I")
TLPL 795: Foundations of Educational Inquiry II ("Core II"). This course sequence allows students from all the department specializations (e.g., Education Policy and Leadership, Language, Literacy and Social Inquiry, Mathematics and Science Education, Minority and Urban Education, Teacher Education and Professional Development, and Technology, Learning and Leadership) to interact with and learn from one another.

Specialization Core:  Educational Policy students take a two-course sequence (6 semester hours) on the role of education in a democratic society and on law, equity and diversity in education. Students, in consultation with their advisor, select an additional 24 semester hours (typically eight courses). These courses generally take the form of doctoral seminars taught by program faculty but may include doctoral-level courses from other departments in the college and the university

Intermediate and Advanced Methods:  Students are required to take at least 12 credit hours of research methods courses, including one qualitative and one quantitative methods course. Students may take research methods courses in TLPL, Human Development and Quantitative Methods (HDQM), or other academic departments.

Specialization in Education Policy and Leadership Course Framework

Specialization Credits (minimum 30 cr):

Specialization Core:  (6 cr)
All students complete two three-credit core courses:

  • TLPL 788 G: Education (Schooling), Society, and Democracy
  • TLPL 767: Law, Equity, and Diversity in Education

Electives:  (24 cr)
Students work with their advisor to develop a program of study that includes a minimum of 9 credits of discipline-based coursework and 15 credits of additional related coursework. For example,  a program for a student interested in education policy might include  the following:

      Sample discipline-based electives (9 cr):

  • TLPL 683: Educational Sociology
  • TLPL 687: Politics of Education
  • TLPL 670: Economics of Education

      Sample other electives (15 cr):

  • TLPL 770: Black and Latino Education: History and Policy
  • TLPL 671: Education Policy Analysis I
  • TLPL 862: Race, Class, and Social Justice: A Policy Seminar in Curriculum Theory and Development

Additional Course offerings in Education Policy & Leadership Specialization

  • TLPL 681: History of Education in the United States
  • TLPL 682: Philosophy of Education
  • TLPL 683: Educational Sociology
  • TLPL 687: Politics of Education
  • TLPL 670: Economics of Education
  • TLPL 671: Education Policy Analysis I
  • TLPL 673: Federal Education Policy
  • TLPL 693: Principles of Curriculum Development
  • TLPL 761: History of Curriculum Theory and Development
  • TLPL 767: Law, Equity, and Diversity in Education
  • TLPL 862: Race, Class, and Social Justice: A Seminar in Curriculum Theory and Development

Graduate Education Program Requirements

If you have any questions about out admissions process, please contact Graduate Coordinator Kay Moon at kmoon@umd.edu.

If you have any questions about the program, specifically, please contact Dr. Jing Liu at jliu28@umd.edu.

Deadlines vary by degree and program.  Please refer to the Graduate School's application information.


Graduate students in the College of Education are responsible for meeting University and the Graduate School policy, and for meeting Program requirements.  See the Graduate Catalog and Graduate Policies governing graduate education at the University of Maryland. The schedule adjustment policy is available from the Office of the Registrar and provides information on adding and dropping courses, penalties, and refund schedules.


Graduate students are required to submit various forms at specific points in the program and as part of the degree clearance process.  Please refer to Steps Toward Graduation to determine the steps and forms that are required.  Necessary forms are available on the Graduate Studies Forms Student Services website.


Students should consult the Program Handbook for specific requirements.