Ph.D. in Education - Education and Inequality Concentration

Seeking Equity for All Learners

Become a change agent and search for ways to create opportunities for understanding, disrupting, and dismantling systems of oppression that have adversely and disproportionately affected the lives of marginalized, minoritized (im)migrant and BIPOC student populations.

The Education and Inequality Concentration will study how power, race, place, identity, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability and citizenship affect access to education and social services. We focus on understanding the intersections of communities, families, schools, service providers, and children as part of the larger society and world in which they exist.





Personalized Mentorship
You will be paired with one of our leading faculty mentors with experience in cross disciplinary studies and your selected area of study to guide you in your research development.


Hands-On Experiential Learning
Take part in our larger inclusive cross-disciplinary team as well as a more focused research project. You’ll bring your experience in education to the design, development, data collection, and analyses of a research project.


Principles of Research
Gain a deeper understanding of the responsible conduct of research with human subjects, research ethics, and how to consider the social impact of the work.




The GW Advantage

As a Carnegie R1 institution (very high research activity), the George Washington University is home to world-class faculty that are leading cutting-edge research, along with diverse labs, cross-collaborative initiatives between schools and local organizations, and unparalleled educational and employment opportunities.

Benefit by examining education reform in the policymaking capital of the world, plus gain a wealth of hands-on experiential learning opportunities at nearby diverse school settings. 






 Program at a Glance


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education, Education and Inequality Concentration

course delivery:

Main Campus

Program entry:



The following requirements must be fulfilled: 60 credits, including 36 credits in core courses, and 24 credits in the concentration, successful completion of a second-year research project, successful completion of the comprehensive examination; oral defense of both the dissertation proposal and the dissertation.
Core Courses:  
SEHD 8200 Foundations of Education I  
SEHD 8201 Foundations of Education II  
SEHD 8100 Special Topics (taken twice for a total of 6 credits)  
Research Methods:  
12 credits of doctoral-level research methods coursework, selected in consultation with advisor. At least one course must be in quantitative research methods and one in qualitative research methods.  
SEHD 8999 Dissertation Research (taken for at least 12 credits)  
Additional Requirements:  
Successful completion of second-year research project.  
Successful completion of the comprehensive examination.  
Oral defense of both the dissertation proposal and the dissertation.  
Education and Inequality Concentration Requirements:  
24 credits in graduate-level courses determined in consultation with the advisor. Course selections are determined by the focus of the concentration and the specific interests of the student.  



 Example Research Topics

Example topics that students and faculty in the Education and Inequality PhD concentration may explore include:

Communities, Youth and Schools
  • How do students experience systems of privilege and oppression differently as they move between their institutions and home communities and how does navigating these different spaces impact their learning and development?
  • How does the history and practices of white supremacy and settler colonialism continue to find resonance in the lives and schooling experiences of students in the United States?
  • How do families, communities and schools contribute to the identity development and socialization of minoritized children, adolescents and young adults?
  • How do queer students and faculty navigate heteronormative academic spaces?
Higher Education
  • What policies and structures facilitate higher education retention, performance and completion for marginalized, minoritized, (im)migrant, and/or BIPOC student populations?
  • How do student affairs practitioners develop an anti-oppressive praxis to counteract systems of oppression that have been historically embedded within institutions of higher education?
(Dis)Ability & Capability
What are the experiences of individuals identified with (dis)abilities in educational spaces? How do socio-political constructions of (dis)ability and normative ideologies influence the educational and developmental experiences of individuals identified by others (or self-identified) as being (dis)abled ? How do hierarchies of capability interact with race, class, and/or gender over the course of an individual’s educational and developmental experiences?
Global Difference and Belonging
How do schools and educational programs influence adolescent national and racial identity, and perspectives of belonging? How do indigenous and subaltern peoples as well as members of other marginalized groups (minoritized communities, working children, children-affected by conflict) experience and make sense of the education system of the majority, in countries outside the US?
Educational Policy and Leadership
How have educational institutions (k-20) responded to the ongoing national protests against racial violence? How do the projects of policing, militarism, and carcerality structure the learning and teaching experiences of teachers, families, and students in and out of the United States? How might narratives of leadership practice inform mechanisms to counter hegemonic systems, policies and unjust practices in schools and/or educational institutions?
  • How can anti-oppressive pedagogies inform how we teach and learn, how we make choices regarding teaching and learning enactments of inclusion and exclusion, of marginalized and minoritized people and communities in education?
  • What is the experience and impact of stereotyping on student performance?
Inner-Lives in Educational Spaces
What is the subjective experience and inner meaning of racialization, gendering, and other forms of social normalization for particular students, teachers, and community members? How might practices of self-analysis, self-reflexivity, and subjective reconstruction (e.g., autobiography, psychoanalysis, and aesthetic creation and perception) inform educational projects committed to understanding and dismantling systems of oppression?




 Apply Now

The Education and Inequality concentration is not currently accepting applications. For more information, contact the GSEHD Admissions Team at or 202-994-9283.

To be considered for admission, applicants must submit the online application form as well as the following required supporting documents. There is no application fee.

  • Prerequisite: Master's Degree in a field relevant to the proposed cross-disciplinary graduate study
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Transcripts from all previously attended colleges or universities
  • Statement of Purpose: An essay of less than 1200 words, in which the candidate states his/her purpose in undertaking cross-disciplinary graduate study including: (a) rationale for seeking a Ph.D. in the specified cross-disciplinary research focus; (b) articulation of personal research interests; and (c) how his/her background and related qualifications have prepared him/her for this work and will align with long term goals. Please list your specified concentration at the top of your statement of purpose.
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation, with one preferred from a professor in the applicant’s Master’s degree program. Letters will document potential for analytical thinking, research skills/experiences, scholarly writing capabilities, and capacity to explore cross-disciplinary/complex issues.
  • Interview with Faculty: Interviews will include a presentation by the applicant of her/his work, and the skills and knowledge that make them prepared to undertake PhD study.
  • Writing Sample (Optional): Candidates are encouraged to submit a current writing sample. The sample should reflect the candidate’s abilities to articulate complex ideas and to utilize evidence in support of his/her arguments. The writing sample should also provide an example of the candidate’s research skills, as well as her/his engagement with scholarship in pursuing his/her research interests.

Please note: The GRE is not required.

*Additional application requirements may exist for international applicants.

The Education and Inequality concentration is not currently accepting applications. For more information, contact the GSEHD Admissions Team at or 202-994-9283.



 Tuition & Financial Aid

We know embarking upon graduate school is a big decision - due in part to the costs of attending. At GW, we understand the time and thought behind making graduate school work for you. Please take a moment to learn more about the options and opportunities available to help fund your graduate education.

Learn more about scholarships, grants & financial aid  

Graduate tuition is charged per credit hour, unless otherwise noted. Rates vary by program and location.

The tuition rate for the PhD in Education - Education and Inequality Concentration program is $1,905 per credit hour. This program requires 60 credits.

Please note: Additional fees may apply for international students, late fees, etc. Current tuition rates may be updated during the year.

*Summer 2024, Fall 2024 and Spring 2025

View the current fee chart    

Scholarships are available to eligible admitted students. Review eligibility requirements and learn more about funding your education >


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Silos are isolating, but our PhD program encourages you to look outside your discipline and understand how other perspectives inform your base of knowledge.




Education and Inequality (PhD) Faculty

Dr. Arshad Ali

Associate Professor, Educational Research

(202) 994‑0272
Dr. Jihae Cha

Assistant Professor, International Education and International Affairs

Dr. Laura Engel

Professor, International Education and International Affairs

(202) 994-0623
Dr. Doran Gresham

Assistant Professor, Special Education and Disability Studies

(202) 994-1509
Dr. Lionel C. Howard

Academic Dean; Associate Professor, Educational Research

(202) 994-4959
Dr. Christine Nganga

Associate Professor, Educational Administration

(202) 994-0957
Dr. Maggie Parker

Associate Professor, Counseling and Human Development

(202) 994-8108
Dr. Harvey Charles Peters

Assistant Professor, Counseling and Human Development

Dr. Sarah M. Ray

Assistant Professor, Human and Organizational Learning

Dr. Beth Tuckwiller

Department Chair and Associate Professor, Special Education and Disability Studies

(202) 994-9860
Dr. James Williams

Professor, International Education and International Affairs

Dr. Dwayne Kwaysee Wright

Assistant Professor, Higher Education Administration; Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives



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