Ph.D. in Education: Comparative and International Education Concentration

Our Comparative and International Education concentration will research education as a means of developing individuals, communities, nations, and the world, as well as the institutions that support educational improvement and the common good. With focus on migration issues, armed and social conflict, the undeveloped capabilities of marginalized groups, and the need for local/global development of human capacity, this team will work to answer questions such as:

  • How do the academic trajectories of 1st generation immigrants vary in relation to educational interventions in middle school? A secondary analysis of ELS: 2000—Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002.
  • How does public discourse about international students affect state and federal and institutional policies for international education?
  • How are U.S. higher education institutions responding to increasingly restrictive anti-migration policies and a growing wave of xenophobic activity?
  • How do ethnic relations mediate the implementation of mother-tongue instruction in three post-British colonial countries in Africa?
  • Does participation in a high school education abroad program lead to positive youth, racial, and intercultural identity development?
  • How do educational stakeholders in three systems use international large-scale assessments in education policy-making?
  • How does decision-making related to international schooling compare among the global middle classes in three countries?
  • How does the formal and informal teaching of civics vary in U.S. schools with more and less cosmopolitan-oriented student bodies?

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  • Prior Degree: Master’s degree in a field relevant to teaching and learning is required.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from every institution attended whether or not a degree was completed; graduate and undergraduate.
  • Recommendations: Three (3) letters of recommendation, with one preferred from a professor in the applicant’s Master’s degree program.
  • Statement of Purpose: An essay of 1200 words or less, through which the candidate clearly identifies the purpose in undertaking cross-disciplinary graduate study in teaching and learning that includes: (a) rationale for seeking a Ph.D. in Comparative and International Education; (b) articulation of academic objectives, personal research interests and how those align with what Washington, DC, GW as an institution, GSEHD as an education school offers, how the applicant feels they will benefit from training with the faculty in the program and across the university; and (c) how the applicant’s background and related qualifications prepared for this work and align with long-term goals.
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Writing Requirement: Candidates are required 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 evidence of the candidate’s research skills and engagement with scholarship.
  • Interview: Interviews may be required. Applicants should be prepared to discuss the alignment of their research interests with those of the program faculty.

Please note: The GRE is not required.

*Additional application requirements may exist for international applicants

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Applications are currently being accepted on a case-by-case basis. For more information about the next admissions cycle, contact the GSEHD Admissions Team at or 202-994-9283.

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Required courses in Educational Foundations (12 total credits)

SEHD 8200 Foundations of Education I
SEHD 8201 Foundations of Education II
SEHD 8100 Special Topics (taken twice for a total of 6 credits)

Comparative and International Education Concentration Requirements (24 credits)

SEHD 8100 Special Topics (Social Theory in Comparative and International Education)
SEHD 8100 Special Topics (Research in International/Intercultural Contexts)

18 additional 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.

Research Methods (12 credits)

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.

Dissertation (12 credits)

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.

Total = 60 Credits



Ali, Arshad Associate Professor, Educational Research
Engel, Laura Professor, International Education and International Affairs
Green, Colin Associate Professor, Curriculum and Pedagogy
Gresham, Doran Assistant Professor, Special Education and Disability Studies
Rotberg, Iris Research Professor, Education Policy
Streitwieser, Bernhard Associate Professor, International Education and International Affairs
Williams, James Professor, International Education and International Affairs

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Learn more about the Doctorate in Education: Comparative and International Education Concentration located on campus. Complete the form linked below or contact the GSEHD Admissions Team at 202-994-9283.

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