This program leads to a PhD 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:


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.

For questions about the application process, or to check on the completion of your application please contact: 

Joy Jones, Coordinator of Graduate Studies email: or phone: (301) 405-3118.

For questions related to the admissions process, prospective students may contact the TLPL Graduate Studies Coordinator Ms. Joy Jones at (301) 405-3118 or

For academic advising on the PhD with a specialization in Education Policy Studies, please contact Dr. Betty Malen at

The faculty advisor assigned at the time of admissions to the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership (TLPL) provides academic advisement for graduate students.  For TLPL advising information, please contact Joy Jones, Coordinator of Graduate Studies:  email: or phone: (301) 405-3118. 


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, and  

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 PhD students join a two-course sequence (6 semester hours) in foundations of inquiry. This course 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:  EDPS students take a two-course sequence (6 semester hours) on the role of education in a democratic society and on law, equity and 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 also 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):

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

      EDPS 788A:  Education, Society & Critical Perspectives on Democratic Institutions
      EDPS 752:  Law, Equity & Diversity

Electives:  (24 credits)
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):

      EDPS 613 Sociology of Education
      EDPS 614 Politics of Education
      EDPS 615 Economics of Education

      Sample other electives (15):

       EDCI 786 Black and Latino Education: History and Policy
       EDPS 620 Education Policy Analysis
       EDPS 788F Education Policy & the Politics of Reform
       EDPS 788J Social Analysis of Urban Education
       EDPS 837 Race, Class & Social Justice

Additional Course offerings in Education Policy & Leadership Specialization

  • EDPS 611 History of Education
  • EDPS 612 Philosophy of Education
  • EDPS 613 Sociology of Education
  • EDPS 614 Politics of Education
  • EDPS 615 Economics of Education
  • EDPS 620 Education Policy Analysis
  • EDPS 624 Policy Evaluation
  • EDPS 625 Federal Education Policy
  • EDPS 635 Principles of Curriculum Development
  • EDPS 732 History of Curriculum Theory and Development
  • EDPS 742 Indicators, Productivity, and Accountability 
  • EDPS 751 Law, Equity and Diversity
  • EDPS 788F Politics of Urban School Reform
  • EDPS 788z Contested Control: School Choice, Localism and Centralization
  • EDPS 788 Cost AnalysesEDPS 837 Race, Class & Social Justice: A Seminar in Curriculum Theory & Development

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Hobson’s online application’s helpdesk for any technical issues.

For questions related to the admissions process, prospective students may contact the TLPL Admissions Coordinator Ms. Joy Jones at (301) 405-3118 or

For Program specific questions, prospective students may contact Dr. Betty Malen at


Deadlines vary by degree and program. Please visit the TLPL Admissions Deadlines page for more information.


Graduate students in the College of Education are responsible for meeting University and the Graduate School policy, and for meeting Program requirements. The Graduate Catalog is the official listing of 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.


The Graduate Student Life Handbook provides information on academics, campus resources, finances, health, job opportunities, and information on how to get involved as a graduate student. 


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.