Texas Tech University

Educational Leadership Policy Ph.D.

Applications for the Fall 2025 cohort will open in October 2024.

About the Program
Join us - application information

About the Program

The Ph.D degree program in educational leadership policy prepares graduates to be critically engaged educational policymakers. Graduates will be able to use data-driven methods to craft, enact and evaluate policy with a focus on making educational systems more equitable for students and families.

Our program prepares students for leadership positions in a wide variety of settings at local, state, national and international levels. Those include school districts, universities, government agencies, nonprofits and policy think tanks.

Program at a glance:

  • Fully online
  • 63 credit hours
  • Interdisciplinary course of study
  • Theory-to-practice curriculum
  • Field-based internships
  • Flexibility to pursue in-depth research
  • Cohort approach

Students receive rigorous training in leadership, organizations, policy theory, research methods, policy implementation and advocacy. An interdisciplinary course of study provides a strong foundation for understanding the importance of policy in the context of educational systems, stakeholder relations and social change. Students also examine the impact of economic, political, sociological and historical factors on education policy.

The program seeks to bridge the divide between policy and practice.

Coursework involves the application of theory to real-world issues such as racial and economic disparities in student achievement or the role of school vouchers in education reform. Our faculty members all have practical experience in public education, ranging from school administrator to classroom teacher and counselor.

A cohort model allows students to move through the fully online program together and be part of a learning community. Using video conferencing, students regularly engage in a virtual classroom as if they were face-to-face.

Program Handbook

Join Us

Become a leader in your school, organization or community! Join a group of educators and professionals that seek to use policymaking to improve educational systems and make them fairer for students and families.

Applications should be submitted online via the online application portal on the Graduate School website. There, you will input biographical and contact information and submit required application materials. You can check the status of your application within the same portal.

Application Materials

Applications should include:

  • Educator personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Current resume/CV
  • Written response to prompt
  • GRE scores
  • Transcripts

There is a nonrefundable $75 fee for each application. Applicants should read the "Program Application" and "PhD Program Admissions" sections in the program handbook.

  • Due to ongoing accessibility concerns, the Graduate School has suspended GRE test score requirements for applications through at least Summer 2025. For more information, please contact the Graduate School.

Tuition & Fees

Use the Student Business Services Tuition Estimator to estimate your costs.


What is the admission timeline?

We recommend that for best consideration applicants submit their completed applications by January 15 for Fall admission. All Ph.D. applications will be reviewed after the deadline. Applications may be accepted and reviewed after this date if space is available until the cohort is filled. Once a cohort is filled, the admission committee may recommend a later start term for new qualified applicants. You can check the status of your application within the online application portal on the Graduate School website.

What is required for admission?

Please see the Program Handbook sections "Graduate School Application" and "PhD Program Admissions" for a complete list and explanation of the application requirements for the PhD in Educational Leadership Policy.

Do I need a master's degree for this program?

Applicants are strongly encourage to have a master's degree, but possible exceptions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

How much does it cost?

Use the Student Business Services Tuition Estimator to estimate your costs.

What program is used to facilitate online courses?

This program uses Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Students regularly engage in a virtual classroom using video conferencing as if they were face-to-face. Instructors can share content like videos and slide presentations or use virtual whiteboards to interact.

Can I pursue this program if I am living abroad?


How is the program structured?

The Educational Leadership Policy degree requires 51 hours of coursework and 12 hours of dissertation research for a minimum of 63 hours of total doctoral coursework. It uses a cohort approach to foster a learning community among students. The program is interdisciplinary, meaning it will integrate curriculum from different departments.

Can I enroll in this program while working?

Yes — this program can be completed while working full time. The coursework portion of the program lasts three years, with students taking two courses per semester, including the summer term. The dissertation phase begins after coursework ends and is designed to meet the students' schedules and availability.

Where do I apply?

Applications should be submitted online via the online application portal on the Graduate School website.

TechLEAD M.Ed. with Policy Concentration Ed.D. Ph.D.
Prepares working teachers interested in pursuing careers as principals in Texas Prepares graduates for non-certified employment positions or to continue to a doctoral degree Improves and enhances the skills of executive school leaders Prepares graduates to be critically engaged educational policymakers
Online delivery
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Online delivery
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Online delivery
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Online delivery
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Become a principal or other district leader Work in education, government, non-profits, advocacy groups, etc. Administrative leadership in educational institutions, e.g. school districts Focus on scholarly practice, research, or teaching at university level
Internship or field experience required Internship not required, but practical application recommended Internship or demonstration of proficiency in program evaluation Practical experiences in research and scholarly communication
Capstone Project Non-Thesis Dissertation Dissertation

Ready to Learn More?

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Meet the Doctoral Students

Meet the program's current doctoral students and learn more about people working towards a more equitable educational landscape.

ExpandED Virtual Brown Bag Talks

Watch all the talks on-demand, hosted by the Educational Leadership Policy faculty.


Jessica Gottlieb

Dr. Gottlieb's research focuses on how education policy is used to expand opportunity via access to high-quality learning experiences, and how policy can improve student outcomes in the educational system. Currently, Dr. Gottlieb examines these issues in the context of STEM education policy, teacher workforce policy, and policy design and formation. Dr. Gottlieb is a former classroom teacher in Los Angeles, CA.

Jessica Gottlieb, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Faculty Lead/Advisor

Alexander Wiseman

Dr. Wiseman is an expert at developing sustainable education policy based on large-scale assessment data to create equitable educational access and achievement. He also focuses on strategic planning, change management and classroom instruction. Wiseman is a former classroom teacher in both the U.S. and Asia.

Alexander Wiseman, Ph.D.

Jacob Kirksey

Dr. Kirksey's scholarship is broadly focused on issues at the nexus of education and other areas of public policy, including immigration policy, child and family policy, and workforce development. He has published extensively on topics related to student absenteeism and truancy, inclusion and special education, the ripple effects of immigration enforcement, and teacher labor markets.

Jacob Kirksey, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Rosa Chavez

Dr. Chavez's research centers around policy implementation and its interaction with teaching and learning for students from historically marginalized communities. Her recent work includes projects that look at teachers as institutional actors of policies in Texas and California, how Latine pre-service teachers engage in negotiating anti-Blackness within Latinidad identity, and how in-service teachers engage in culturally and linguistically responsive teaching in Dual Language programs.

Rosa Chavez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor


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