Online PhD in Education Policy

An online PhD in education policy is an intense scholarly study of how educational policy is determined and implemented. An online education policy PhD will prepare students to explore the moral and cultural influences on educational policy. Top online doctoral programs in education policy will also teach students how the educational purposes and processes are organized, and prepare them to evaluate, modify and implement policy as educational leaders. These programs take an average of four years to complete. Students will take coursework that establishes a deep understanding of educational structure, policy, and the governance that influences both. Students will also explore the role of social change in educational demands and developments. Once coursework has been completed, students will take a comprehensive examination and then begin work on their dissertations, which are advanced research projects that explore a contemporary and relevant topic related to education policy. The result of all of this effort is an online education policy doctorate and the skills necessary for increasing student achievement and decreasing educational challenges.

About Online PhD Programs in Education Policy

The curriculum of online doctoral programs in education policy is built with the goal of preparing students to become educational leaders with strong backgrounds in research, curriculum development, and social developments. These programs meet these goals by providing coursework, exams, and research projects that promote critical thinking. When students graduate from online PhD programs in education policy, they leave armed with the ability to promote positive change throughout schools and businesses. Though these programs do not require regular classroom attendance or laboratory work, education policy doctorate degrees online do require students to attend residential symposiums. Some may also require students to complete an internship or a research project at a local school or business as well. Despite these exceptions, all coursework required to earn an online doctorate in education policy is provided over the internet. An example of such coursework can be seen in Walden University's Doctor of Education in Policy, Leadership and Change, from which the below examples were taken.

Year One:

  • Principles of Social Change. In this introductory course, students will establish a foundational understanding on the theories behind education and how they are affected by changes and developments in the social sphere.
  • Social Change in Education. This course encourages learners to develop the skills and abilities necessary to promote positive social change in the realm of education.
  • The Learner Across the Lifespan. The learning process is affected by human development. In order to establish effective policy, educational leaders must have an understanding of the learner's growth and development over time, and what it means for instructional practice.

Year Two:

  • Learning and Instruction. A study of curriculum, design, and best instructional practices within education, this course prepares students to increase student success.
  • Assessment and Accountability in Education. This course grounds students in the ethical evaluation of student progress and achievement, as well as methods of assessing learning.
  • Leadership in a Global Society. Educational leaders must be aware not only of local influences on policy and educational developments, but also national and international influences as well. This course explores those influences and how they affect academic leaders.

Year Three:

  • Educational Organizations and Contexts. In this course, students explore organizational functionality and the complexity of educational systems.
  • Innovation and Change in Education. Students will study change management and methods for successfully employing positive change across an entire educational system
  • Governance and Policy of Education. In this course, online PhD education policy students study the governing forces behind the development of policy within education and examine contemporary research on effective leadership.

Comprehensive examinations follow the completion of coursework. These exams review all of the new knowledge, skills and abilities that online education policy PhD students have acquired. They cover educational systems theory, human development, the design and implementation of policy, and methods of evaluating programs and student achievement. Once students pass the comprehensive examination, they begin work on their dissertations, which are detailed, written research projects over a subject relevant to the field of education policy. Past education policy dissertations include The Development of an Instrument to Determine the Relevance and Validity of the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) Standards for Advanced Programs in Educational Leadership by Amy Dion Lackey and Teachers Leaving the Profession: The Influence of Violent Student Behavior on Teacher Attrition in Pennsylvania's Public Schools by Patricia R. McPherson. As education needs to be in a constant state of change in order to meet new demands and increase student achievement, new possible topics of research are constantly emerging.

Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Education Policy

Online PhD programs in education policy are a great choice for individuals that are dedicated to promoting positive change in the educational field. Individuals that desire to help run educational systems and use their knowledge to increase student achievement could also benefit from an online doctorate in education policy. Individuals that do not harbor an interest in human development, social change and the role of education on the local, national and international levels would most likely not benefit from online PhD degrees in education policy. Students enrolled in online doctorate programs in education policy have the benefit of completing coursework independently, from the comfort of their own homes, without disrupting their daily obligations. However, candidates must keep in mind that most online doctoral degrees in education policy require students to periodically visit the physical campus for a residency symposium. Candidates with careers may not have the time to fulfill that requirement, in which case night classes may be a better alternative to online classes. Candidates must also determine whether they have the ability to fulfill internships or visit schools for the completion of their research. If online education policy candidates are confident that they can fulfill these requirements, then online doctorate degrees in education policy are a venture that will pay off with job opportunities, high salaries, and grounding in the technology that is increasingly being included in education curricula.

Application & Admission Requirements

Education policy PhD programs online require candidates to have completed a Masters degree in a field related to education prior to enrollment. Students are expected to have maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average during their time as a Masters student, and will need to submit transcripts for verification. As these programs require the submission of resumes and curricula vitae, past experiences in the fields of education or administration are essential. Many online PhD education policy students have backgrounds in teaching, curriculum design, and even professional training. Applicants will often need to submit a statement of purpose as part of their application package, which will serve as an academic writing sample and a measure of student motivation. Finally, many programs request the submission of GRE scores in addition to other application materials.

Career Options & Job Market

Graduates that have an online PhD in education policy from an accredited institution have many career options available to them. As they are well-versed not only in research applications, but also in organizational structure, change and theory, graduates can extend their influences into schools, businesses, and even the government. Common career choices for graduates include school administrative positions, such as principal or assistant principal positions, which boast an excellent job outlook with high pay. Graduates also have the option of forging careers as professors of education, positions that have the best opportunities for PhD-holders and average an annual salary of $64,370. Graduates may also serve as executive directors on their states' Boards of Education or in other government positions. As graduates take coursework in organization theory and structure, they also have the option of training employees for companies or consulting with companies on the education procedures they employ. With so many career options open to graduates, it is clear that an online PhD in education policy sets a solid foundation for the future.

Where to Find Information

How to Get Funding

Education is a costly venture. Even though online PhD programs tend to be cheaper than their campus counterparts, the various fees quickly accumulate. For instance, Capella University charges $487 per credit hour for its management education PhD program. Capella University requires students to fulfill residency requirements, submit application fees, and buy books – the costs of which are not included in the price per credit hour. With all the fees associated with a graduate education, students need to be aware of the financial resources available to them. Below is a list of financial aid options for students enrolled in education graduate programs.

Essential Advice

  • Enhance your resume by obtaining diverse education experiences, whether through teaching or administration. This will make you a strong candidate for an education policy PhD online program.
  • Join a professional association to gain access to professional development opportunities that will also make your resume stand out.
  • Talking to professors about their research is a great way to get a sense of whether you will like working with them. Your relationship with your professors is important, so don't be afraid to ask questions.
  • Talk to current and former students to get an idea on how they feel about educational policy PhD programs. Their first-hand experience can benefit you.