Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Graduate Programs

The Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies offers a broad range of graduate professional programs in educational leadership and policy. For complete program information, contact the department.

Graduate programs in educational leadership and policy studies promote the professional and intellectual development of practitioners, teachers, and scholars in this field at all levels of education. The department offers Master of Science in Education degrees in educational administration (K-12), social and cultural studies in education, higher education, and educational technology, as well as Ed.D. and Ph.D. degrees in educational leadership and policy studies with concentrations in educational administration, social and cultural studies in education, educational technology, higher education, and policy studies.

Note: Prospective and current students should obtain the current degree requirements from the department.

Graduate Admission to the School of Education

Graduate programs in education are open to students with acceptable baccalaureate and graduate degrees whose academic records indicate that they can do successful work at the graduate level. Regular admission requires a grade-point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Individual departments may require additional information and may have more stringent admission and retention requirements.

Some departments may offer special provisional admission categories to students who may not qualify under traditional admission criteria. Departments that offer provisional admission require a grade-point average of at least 2.5.  Applicants must provide evidence of ability to work successfully at the graduate level, including experience in and commitment to the profession. Exceptions to established policies must be sought individually by petition to the Graduate Division of the School of Education.

See Admission in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog for more information.

Each department in the School of Education sets its own application deadlines.  Prospective graduate students should contact their departments for more information.


Graduate Admission

Applicants for all programs must submit the following materials:

  1. Graduate application.
  2. 1 official transcript from each degree-granting collegiate institution attended.
  3. Original Graduate Record Examination general test scores for all doctoral applicants (Ed.D. and Ph.D.). The GRE is not required for master’s applicants in educational administration, higher education, social and cultural studies in education, or educational technology.
  4. Statement of purpose/relevance of degree to career aspirations.
  5. 3 letters of recommendation evaluating the applicant’s capacity for rigorous graduate study and qualifications for leadership positions in education and related fields.
  6. A vita or resume.

Individual program concentrations may require additional application materials. Please consult the appropriate program advisor. The following application deadlines apply:

Educational Administration

SummerMaster’s and doctoral applicantsApril 1

Higher Education

FallMaster’s applicants seeking internshipsJan. 11
FallMaster’s applicants seeking Housing internships only or already employed in higher educationMar. 6
FallDoctoral applicantsJuly 1
SpringDoctoral applicantsNov. 1
SummerDoctoral applicantsMar. 1

Social and Cultural Studies in Education

FallMaster’s and doctoral applicantsJuly 1
SpringMaster’s and doctoral applicantsNov. 1
SummerMaster’s and doctoral applicantsApril 1

Educational Technology

FallMaster’s and doctoral applicantsJune 1
SpringMaster’s and doctoral applicantsNov. 1
SummerMaster’s and doctoral applicantsApr. 1

Policy Studies

FallDoctoral applicantsJuly 1
SpringDoctoral applicantsNov. 1
SummerDoctoral applicantsApril 1

Submit your graduate application online. Supporting materials, such as the résumé, statement of purpose, writing sample, and letters of reference may be uploaded to the application. Original transcripts from degree-granting institutions and official test scores should be sent directly to the department:

The University of Kansas
Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Joseph R. Pearson Hall
1122 W. Campus Road, Room 421
Lawrence, KS 66045-3101


Ph.D. Degree Programs

The Ph.D. prepares scholars for roles as professors, policy makers, or researchers who are qualified to contribute theoretically grounded, original research. All doctoral students must complete a program that provides a broad understanding of educational leadership and policy as well as a concentration in educational administration, higher education, social and cultural studies in education, or policy studies, or a focus in educational technology.

All Ph.D. students must complete a minimum of 36 hours in the major/concentration (e.g. higher education, social and cultural studies in education), 12 hours of research, EDUC 800, and complete a dissertation.  Additionally, Ph.D. students are required to complete a Responsible Conduct of Research component and a college teaching requirement.

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.

A general description of each concentration is given here. Request the appropriate program brochure or visit the department's website for specific information on courses and requirements for each area.

Educational Administration

The educational administration concentration prepares teachers and administrators for school district leadership roles. Studies stress fundamental fields of knowledge and educational policy development necessary for effective leadership of school districts. Students pursuing this concentration must take course work in the summer.

Social and Cultural Studies in Education

The social and cultural studies in education area features a broad examination of educational theory and its practical application on local, national, and international levels. Emphasis is placed on social, philosophical, historical, comparative, and interdisciplinary inquiry into the relationship between human aspirations and the aims and methods of education. Courses of study are flexible and reflect the particular needs and aspirations of each student.

Higher Education

The concentration in higher education provides current and prospective college or university staff members and administrators with theoretical and practical knowledge of higher education as a complex human activity. The Ph.D. program includes required and elective courses in the concentration, in a cognate area.

Policy Studies

The education policy studies concentration features a multidisciplinary approach to policy analysis. Students prepare for roles as researchers, policy analysts, higher education faculty, and educational leaders through individualized programs. Each student takes courses from 2 or more of the other doctoral concentrations in the department and, depending on interest, other relevant courses in social sciences.

Educational Technology

The Ph.D. with a focus in educational technology advances research, theory, and practice in the design, development, and application of information technology in education. The focus includes required and elective course work in educational policy, educational technology, the School of Education core, research, and a cognate. Program graduates typically assume leadership positions as faculty in higher education, researchers or directors of educational technology in schools, and in corporate and governmental settings.