Ph.D. in Education: Education and Inequality Concentration

The Education and Inequality Concentration will study the intersection of power, race, place, and identity as key areas informing consideration of education and inequality. Areas of inquiry include race, gender, sexuality, citizenship, (dis)ability, and power as these concepts relate to identity and intersect with access to K-20 education, out-of-school learning, 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. Example topics that students and faculty in the Education and Inequality Cross-Disciplinary Team 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?
  • Pedagogy
    • 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 to the program 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.



  • Degree: Master’s degree in a field relevant to the proposed cross-disciplinary graduate study.
  • 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. 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. Please list your specified concentration at the top of your statement of purpose.
  • 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: 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.

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.


Required courses in Educational Foundations (12 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)

Education and Inequality Concentration Requirements (24 credits)

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.

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
Cha, Jihae Assistant Professor, International Education and International Affairs
Engel, Laura Professor, International Education and International Affairs
Gresham, Doran Assistant Professor, Special Education and Disability Studies
Howard, Lionel C. Academic Dean; Associate Professor, Educational Research
Nganga, Christine Associate Professor, Educational Administration
Parker, Maggie Assistant Professor, Counseling and Human Development
Peters, Harvey Charles Assistant Professor, Counseling and Human Development
Ray, Sarah M. Assistant Professor, Human and Organizational Learning
Tuckwiller, Beth Department Chair and Associate Professor, Special Education and Disability Studies
Williams, James Professor, International Education and International Affairs
Wright, Dwayne Kwaysee Assistant Professor, Higher Education Administration; Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

Request Information

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

Request Information