Leadership and Policy Studies (Ph.D.)

Examine education policy and problems through an interdisciplinary lens that incorporates economics, political science, sociology, and international and comparative education.


Designed for those who intend to build an academic career focused on studying education and policy as researchers, professors, and policy analysts, gaining the knowledge and methodological tools to conduct cutting-edge research on the pressing educational issues of the day. 

Program Overview

At the heart of the program is the mentor-apprentice model, in which students work on research projects alongside a collection of esteemed faculty. As a doctoral student, you will be matched with an LPO faculty member whose research interests align with your own, and you will design an individualized program of study that reflects your specific interests and background. The program offers two concentrations: Educational Leadership and Policy and Higher Education Leadership and Policy. 

Program Facts

Admissions Coordinator: Rosie Moody
Admission Term: Fall
Credit Hours: 72
Application Deadline: December 1

Program Curriculum

Our program relies on a cohort-based model, in which students take most of their classes in the first two years together, allowing for a supportive, collaborative learning experience. All students take a 3-semester quantitative methodological sequence, at least one qualitative methods course, a course in causal research, and disciplinary courses in the history, politics, economics, and sociology of education. All students take a year-long course practicum course in their first year that allows them to begin conducting quantitative research from the very beginning of their time in graduate school. In addition, students take seminar courses with department faculty in their areas of expertise and can take full advantage of the breadth of courses available throughout Peabody College and Vanderbilt University.


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