Doctorate in Education

New Ph.D. in Education

At the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD), we recognize that our progress as individuals and communities, nationally and globally, must embrace an understanding of education as both a field of practice and a field of study. This Ph.D. program will concentrate on innovative solutions to critical national and global problems in which education and human development play a significant role but which require theoretical and methodological tools from multiple disciplines.

Unique in comparison to peer institutions, students will be selected for GSEHD's Ph.D. in education based on a commitment to the exploration, research, analysis, and problem solving of a compelling key challenge of our time. From the first day of admission to the program, students will be part of a Cross-Disciplinary Research Team of faculty and peers. Over four years of intensive study, as part of a team, students will test and create theories, pursue research, and build knowledge to pioneer ground-breaking, integrated solutions to urgent issues.

The Ph.D. Cross-disciplinary Research Teams (CRT) build on our faculty’s intellectual strengths, research interests, and professional success while also drawing upon the community of colleagues across GW. In working with their CRT, doctoral students will be encouraged to take an expansive approach to solving problems by integrating perspectives from the fields of education, philosophy, economics, sociology, anthropology, psychology, neuroscience, health, and law.

Washington, D.C., offers a unique environment for discovery, scholarship, and meaningful contribution to national and global policy and practice. As members of a CRT, graduates will be positioned to inform, inspire, and influence debate and decision making from local school districts to the federal government, from national research foundations to global institutions including the World Bank Group. We anticipate the inaugural CRTs to begin in fall 2017. Selection for the program is competitive and based on past achievements and fit to the goals and mission of the program. Along with other application materials, interested applicants must submit a statement of purpose articulating a cross-disciplinary education research topic, a rationale supporting the study of that topic, and how it fits within the selected CRT. The topic for the first CRT has been selected and will explore education and inequality at a local, national, and global scale.


Admission Requirements


Master’s degree in a field relevant to the proposed cross-disciplinary graduate study.


Official transcripts from every institution attended whether or not a degree was completed; graduate and undergraduate.

Standardized Test Scores

Official GRE Test scores not older than five years. International students must also submit TOEFL scores not older than two years. TOEFL score minimum for admission is 100 on the Internet-based or 600 paper-based; IELTS of 7.0. The institutional code is 5246.

Recommendations Required

Three (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.

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.

Curriculum Vitae

Current curriculum vitae.

Writing Requirement (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.


Interview by faculty to include a scholarly discussion of how the candidate’s work will fit with the proposed topic of the Cross-Disciplinary Research Team.


  • This program is no longer accepting applications for Fall 2017. Check back soon for information on deadlines for Fall 2018.
  • Application Deadline: January 15, 2017 to qualify for tuition aid. Only applications completed by January 31, 2017 will be considered for interview.
  • Applicant interviews: February
  • Applicant admissions decisions: Early March

Admitted students will be assigned an advising committee consisting of a primary and secondary advisor. Students will work with their primary advisor prior to the first semester to specify classes to be taken in the first academic year.


Required courses in Educational Foundations (12 credits)

SEHD 8100 Experimental Course/ Foundations of Education I and II (taken twice; 3 credits each time)
SEHD 8100 Experimental Course/Pro-Seminar (taken twice: 3 credits each time)

Research methods (12 credits)

EDUC 8120Group Comparison Designs and Analyses (3 credits)
EDUC 8122Qualitative Research Methods (3 credits)

6 credits from the following:
EDUC 8130Survey Research Methods (3 credits)
EDUC 8131Case Study Research Methods (3 credits)
EDUC 8140Ethnographic Research Methods (3 credits)
EDUC 8142Phenomenological Research Methods (3 credits)
EDUC 8144Discourse Analysis (3 credits)
EDUC 8170Educational Measurement (3 credits)
EDUC 8171Predictive Designs and Analyses (3 credits)
EDUC 8172Multivariate Analysis (3 credits)
EDUC 8173Structural Equation Modeling (3 credits)
SEHD 8100 Experimental Course/(Advanced research method) (3 credits)

Cross-disciplinary concentration (24 credits)

Graduate-level courses determined in consultation with the advisor at the time of admission. Course selections are determined by the focus of the cross-disciplinary research team and the specific interests of the student.

Dissertation research (12 credits)

SEHD 8999 Dissertation Research

The successful completion of:
Second-year research project
Comprehensive examination
Oral dissertation proposal defense
Dissertation oral defense

Education and Inequality
Schooling offers the opportunity for social and economic mobility. Education also can maintain and harden social stratification. The inaugural Cross Disciplinary Research Team (CRT) will study the intersection of access and identity as two key areas informing consideration of education and inequality. Multiple research problems are being considered and will be refined with the input of the inaugural cohort of doctoral students. Areas of questioning include gender, citizen, disability, ethnic, racial, and conflict related identity as they intersect with access to K-12, higher education and social services. The CRT agenda may include questions such as:
  • How does exposure to positive psychology based interventions in K-12 settings affect post-secondary enrollment and success for students with disabilities? What defines resilience and how is it measured?
  • What is the experience and impact of stereotyping on student performance?
  • What policies and structures facilitate higher education retention, performance and completion for marginalized populations?
  • How do higher education systems react to unanticipated streams of migrants seeking access? Are there differences in the experience of first and second generation immigrants?
  • How is immigration influencing adolescent perspectives on global civic and political views?
  • What is the relationship between adolescent national identity and perspectives on gender and racial inequality?
When inequality is present, social and economic differences often harden identities causing conflict and unrest. Join our CRT and search for ways to create opportunities for learning, civic education, economic advancement and social mobility.
Transformation Begins Here

Learn more about the Doctorate in Education program located on campus (202-994-3023).