Educational Leadership, Research, & Policy, PhD

Educational Leadership, Research, & Policy

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Program Delivery

On Campus

Total Credits

60 Credits

About the Program

Student Research Showcase
Educational Leadership, Research, & Policy, PhD

The Educational Leadership, Research, & Policy doctoral program is designed to meet the professional and personal needs of educational leaders in school districts, higher education institutions, and non-governmental organizations through rigorous coursework.

Although this program is offered in the College of Education, it attracts candidates from various career fields such as the military, non-profit organizations, business, state agencies, the ministry, as well as P-20 educational organizations.

This innovative program combines challenging coursework with collaborative faculty-student research labs to prepare students for the successful completion of a dissertation and professional application of leadership, research, and policy skills and knowledge.

Focus of Study

The 3-year PhD program is designed for working professionals to:

  • Engage in scholarly inquiry and professional practice that promotes equity and inclusion
  • Synthesize diverse research perspectives in facilitating educational excellence
  • Lead others in continuous improvement by integrating the role of context, implementation, and outcomes
  • Communicate successfully through oral and written professional discourse

As an active participant in these programs, you will develop as a leader through an expanded self-knowledge and worldview. You will develop the competencies and strategies to lead others.

You will learn how to guide a professional team as you integrate recommendations from research with an assessment of the needs of an organization and create a plan for success.

You will explore the political and social implications of education and the educational requirements of contributing to a diverse, democratic, multicultural society. You will acquire the confidence necessary to ignite and inspire others.

Program Requirements

For details regarding program requirements, please refer to the program's Student Handbook.

Additional Resources:

Program Coursework

Admissions Details

A program cohort program begins each fall semester.

Early Admission PriorityJanuary 15
Final DeadlineMarch 15
Financial Aid PriorityMarch 1

Completion of an advanced degree (e.g. M.Ed., MBA, etc.) is required for admission to this program. If you are currently completing an advanced degree program and will complete your course of study before beginning coursework in the PhD program, you are eligible to apply.

Admission Process
  1. Complete the Graduate Application
    • Pay the $60.00 application fee
    • Upload your career goal statement.
    • Upload your curriculum vitae or professional résumé (include relevant paid work and volunteer experience where applicable).
    • Complete and upload the Tuition Classification form.
    • Three references - references must be from a former instructor, current supervisor, and a professional colleague, these references must be in a position to give feedback regarding your ability to be successful in the program.
      • Please notify your recommenders of the deadline, as we cannot accept recommendation materials after the deadline.
    • Complete a background check or provide unofficial copies of all professional educational/teaching licenses.
  2. Graduate Record Exam (Optional)
    • Submit scores of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) taken within the past five years
    • There are no cutoff scores for the GRE sub-tests or composite scores.
    • GRE scores will contribute to an index score, which will be considered in admissions decisions if submitted.
    • Please have official scores for the GRE sent directly to UCCS. The UCCS school code for the GRE is 4874.
    • The GRE department code is 3999.
  3. Official Transcripts: Transcripts can be emailed to or mailed to:
    • UCCS - ATTN: Admissions
      1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy, Colorado Springs, CO 80918
    • For other documents, if needed:
  4. Additional item for International Applicants
    • English proficiency must be demonstrated through providing evidence of an IELTS score of 6.5 or above, a TOEFL score of 550-(paper-based) or 80-(internet-based), a Duolingo score of 105 or above, or a Kaplan International Tools for English (KITE®) score of a minimum of 460.

Applicants with any post-secondary course work from an international higher education institution that is recognized by their country's Education Ministry must submit a course-by-course foreign degree evaluation by a member of NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services or World Education Services/WES (

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status in admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, its educational programs and activities.

Career Goal Statement

Please upload your career goals statement into your online application. Your statement should respond to the questions listed below in a narrative format. In other words, this statement should be in essay form, not in the form of individual answers for each question. Please limit your narrative to 1500 words.

  1. What are your reasons for applying to this program?
  2. What are your professional career goals? And how does this program align with your goals?
  3. Share a specific research idea you would like to pursue in this program.
  4. In what ways have your life experiences and work (e.g., in leadership, research, and policy) prepared you for doctoral studies?
  5. What do you bring to the program that will benefit your faculty and student colleagues?
  6. What personal strengths will enhance your ability to be successful in this program?
  7. What factors might limit your ability to complete this program?
  8. What are other factors that you believe are important for consideration in evaluating your application for doctoral studies?

Connect with Program Faculty

The selection of a university and a doctoral program of study is an important decision. Therefore, prospective students are encouraged to meet and consult with a department faculty advisor prior to the application process.

Students should schedule an appointment to discuss career goals and special circumstances with a member of the faculty by contacting the COE Student Resource Office at or 719-255-4996.

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