Overview: PhD Policy Studies in Urban Education

The PhD program in Policy Studies in Urban Education Program prepares students to conduct research on how educational institutions are organized, led, and improved, and on social and cultural contexts—particularly urban contexts—that influence these educational institutions.  Students engage in a focused yet flexible program of study that provides essential up-to-date knowledge, disciplinary and other theoretical perspectives, and research skills in one of two areas of concentration:  (a) educational organizations, leadership, and change; and (b) the social foundations of education.

This program prepares students for academic research and teaching positions in colleges and universities, and research and policy positions in various education-related organizations at the local, state, and national levels.  Students who are interested in opportunities to earn the Illinois Type 75 General Administration Certificate or the Illinois Superintendent Endorsement should refer to the Ed.D. in Urban School Leadership described later in the handbook.

Overview of Requirements (Fall 2013)

This PhD in Policy Studies in Urban Education requires a minimum of 100 semester hours beyond the baccalaureate degree and a minimum of 68 semester hours beyond the master’s degree.  The program requires successful completion of courses in one of two areas of concentration, a comprehensive written qualifying examination, annual reviews, a preliminary examination, and a doctoral dissertation.  In consultation with and with approval of a faculty program advisor, you will prepare and follow an individual plan of study suited to your personal and professional interests and goals.  This program’s requirements are as follows for students who enter the program with an earned master’s degree.

  • COE Doctoral Studies Core —12 hours
  • Methodology Requirement –– 12 hours
  • Policy Studies in Urban Education Program Core — 8 hours
  • Concentration-Specific Core Courses — 12-16 hours (minimum)
  • Elective Courses—8-12 hours (minimum)
  • Annual Reviews
  • Comprehensive Qualifying Examination
  • Preparation of a Dissertation Research Proposal
  • Preliminary Examination
  • Dissertation Research—12 hours (minimum)
  • Dissertation Defense

Students who enter with a bachelor’s degree but not a master’s degree must take additional hours of coursework equivalent to a master’s degree in research methods, policy, administration, leadership, and organization; social foundations coursework such as history, philosophy, sociology, and political science; or related fields such as gender studies, African-American studies, disability studies, or Latino studies.  Your plan of study is prepared in consultation with, and must be approved by, your faculty advisor.

Specific course requirements for each concentration within this program are listed below.  Following these lists are descriptions of elements of the program shared by both concentrations—annual reviews, the comprehensive qualifying examination, the dissertation proposal and preliminary examination, and the dissertation and dissertation defense.

Concentration in Educational Organization and Leadership

Doctoral Studies Core (12 hours)

All doctoral degrees in the College of Education require a core of courses that focuses on different types of research in educational settings, research design, and the analysis of educational data.  These core courses will help you develop the minimum skills needed to evaluate research literature and to begin your own independent research.  You are encouraged to take these core courses early in your program; however, you may take other courses in the program before completing this set of courses.

The requirements of the Doctoral Studies Core are:

  • ED 504—Urban Contexts and Educational Research (4 hours)
  • ED 505—Introduction to Educational Research: Paradigms and Processes (4 hours)
  • ED 506—Introduction to Educational Research: Designs and Analyses (4 hours)

Methodology Requirement (12 hours)

In addition to the Doctoral Studies Core above, you must take a minimum of three research methodology courses as described below.  Note also that you may choose or be encouraged by your faculty advisor to take additional courses in research methodology beyond these minimums in order to meet your personal scholarly and professional goals.

The Methodology Requirement includes:

  • ED 502—Essentials of Qualitative Inquiry in Education (4 hours)
  • ED 503/EPSY 503—Essentials of Quantitative Inquiry in Education (4 hours)
  • A third methodology course selected in consultation with your advisor (4 hours)

Policy Studies in Urban Education Core (8 hours)

To explore breadth in the field of Educational Policy Studies, all students, regardless of their concentration, enroll in three program core courses, totaling 8 semester hours.

  • EDPS 510 — Introduction to Doctoral Education in Policy Studies (4 hrs)
  • EDPS 511 — Introduction to Academic Writing in Educational Policy Studies (2 hrs)
  • EDPS 592 — Professional Career Training in Education Policy Studies (2 hours)

EOL Concentration-Specific Core Courses (12 hours)

The concentration in Educational Organization and Leadership requires a core of field-specific courses that serve as a foundation for further study in the program and for investigation of specific problems in the leadership and administration of educational organizations and in educational improvement.  These core courses focus on the contexts of urban education, education policy processes, organization theory, and administrative and leadership theory:

  • EDPS 571—The Education Policy Process (4 hours)
  • EDPS 579—Organization Theory in Education (4 hours)
  • EDPS 589—Administrative and Leadership Theory in Education (4 hours)

Elective Courses (12 hours minimum)

You are required to take three elective courses within the College of Education chosen in consultation with your advisor.  Elective courses should be chosen to meet one or more of three criteria: (1) expand your breadth of study; (2) deepen your depth of study; or (3) enrich your study of research methodology.  You may draw on almost any course offered through the Policy Studies Department and may draw on courses offered by other departments to develop specialized expertise.  You may focus your work on elementary and secondary education or higher education.  Examples of courses you may choose include but are not limited to:

  • EDPS 453 — Topics in Educational Policy Studies (4 hours)
  • EDPS 501 — Education Finance and Budgeting (4 hours)
  • EDPS 568 — Education and the Law (4 hours)
  • EDPS 570 — Historical and Philosophical Analysis of Educational Policy (4 hours)
  • EDPS 574 —The Impact of College on Students (4 hours)
  • EDPS 575 — Higher Education Organization and Administration (4 hours)
  • EDPS 576 — History of Higher Education (4 hours)
  • EDPS 577 — American Academic Profession (4 hours)
  • EDPS 578 — Political Theory and Education Policy (4 hours)
  • EDPS 581 — Collective Bargaining in Education (4 hours)
  • EDPS 582 — Cultural Pluralism and Education Policy (4 hours)
  • EDPS 594 — Special Topics in Education Policy (4 hours, up to 8 hours)
  • CI 532 — Staff Development and School Improvement (4 hours)
  • CI 574 — Foundations of Curriculum Studies (4 hours)
  • ED 543 — Research on Teaching (4 hours)
  • EPSY 560 — Educational Program Evaluation (4 hours)

Concentration in Social Foundations of Education

Doctoral Studies Core (12 hours)

All doctoral degrees in the College of Education require a core of courses that focuses on different types of research in educational settings, research design, and the analysis of educational data.  These core courses will help you develop the minimum skills needed to evaluate research literature and to begin your own independent research.  You are encouraged to take these core courses early in your program; however, you may take other courses in the program before completing this set of courses.

The requirements of the Doctoral Studies Core are:

  • ED 504—Urban Contexts and Educational Research (4 hours)
  • ED 505—Introduction to Educational Research: Paradigms and Processes (4 hours)
  • ED 506—Introduction to Educational Research: Designs and Analyses (4 hours)

Methodology Requirement (12 hours)

In addition to the Doctoral Studies Core above, you must take a minimum of three research methodology courses as described below.  Note also that you may choose or be encouraged by your faculty advisor to take additional courses in research methodology beyond these minimums in order to meet your personal scholarly and professional goals.

The Methodology Requirement includes:

  • ED 502—Essentials of Qualitative Inquiry in Education (4 hours)
  • ED 503/EPSY 503—Essentials of Quantitative Inquiry in Education (4 hours)
  • A third methodology course selected in consultation with your advisor (4 hours)

Policy Studies in Urban Education Core (8 hours)

To explore breadth in the field of Educational Policy Studies, all students, regardless of their concentration, enroll in three program core courses, totaling 8 semester hours.

  • EDPS 510 — Introduction to Doctoral Education in Policy Studies (4 hrs)
  • EDPS 511 — Introduction to Academic Writing in Educational Policy Studies (2 hrs)
  • EDPS 592 — Professional Career Training in Education Policy Studies (2 hours)

Social Foundations in Education Concentration-Specific Core Courses (16 hours)

The concentration in Social Foundations of Education requires a core of field-specific courses that serve as a foundation for further study in the program and for investigation of specific problems on which you may focus your research.  These core courses focus on different contexts of urban education and provide an introduction to the academic disciplines and fields of study that undergird study of the social foundations of education.  The core courses include:

  • EDPS 505—Social Theory in Education Foundations (4 hours)

Plus three courses from among the following:

  • EDPS 500 — City Schools: Education in the Urban Environment (4 hours)
  • EDPS 502 — Advanced Foundational Studies in Philosophy of Education (4 hours)
  • EDPS 503 — History and Historiography in Education (4 hours)
  • EDPS 555 — Political Economy of Urban Education (4 hours)
  • EDPS 563 — Politics of Gender, Sexuality, & Education (4 hours)
  • EDPS 565 — Globalization & Education (4 hours)
  • EDPS 566 — Cultural Studies in Education (4 hours)
  • EDPS 567 — Economics of Education (4 hours)
  • EDPS 570 — Historical and Philosophical Analysis of Education Policy (4 hours)
  • EDPS 571 —The Education Policy Process (4 hours)
  • EDPS 572 — Sociology of Education (4 hours)
  • EDPS 582 — Cultural Pluralism and Education Policy (4 hours)
  • EDPS 583 — Women in Education (4 hours)
  • EDPS 588 — Critical Race Theory: Race and Racism in Education (4 hours)
  • EDPS 594 — Special Topics in Eduation Policy (1-4 hours, advisor approval)

Elective Courses (8 hours minimum)

You are required to take two elective courses within the College of Education to form a specialized area of study within the general area of social foundations of education.  Such courses may be in areas such as the history of education, sociology of education, philosophy of education, economics and politics of education, cultural studies in education, and so forth, and should be selected in consultation with your academic advisor.

Elements Shared by Both Concentrations

Annual Reviews

To monitor your progress effectively and to provide a vehicle through which you and your faculty advisors can reflect on your progress in a structured way, you are required to prepare and submit a formal review of progress each year.  Annual reviews are organized according to a program-wide template.  Your progress is reported to and discussed by the department faculty.  One element on which you are assessed is your engagement in professional activities in the scholarly community beyond coursework required by the program.  For this reason, you are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities for professional growth such as colloquia, conferences, and preparation of papers for publication.

Comprehensive Qualifying Examination

Near the end or upon completion of your coursework, you must successfully complete a written comprehensive qualifying exam before proceeding to the dissertation stage of the program.  This examination will help you organize and focus ideas toward dissertation proposal development and research.  The exam is individually designed for you by your program advisor and program faculty members, who constitute a comprehensive examination committee.  Together, the committee members compose and approve the questions for the exam.  Questions will address your general knowledge of the field of concentration, your specialized knowledge within that field, and your use of research methods appropriate to research in that field.

Preparing a Dissertation Proposal

A dissertation of independent, original research is required to complete the program.  The dissertation may be developed substantively from the many possibilities related to your area of specialization and from a variety of research traditions.  The process of writing a dissertation proposal is challenging, yet it provides unprecedented opportunities for creative, rewarding work.  Students often find that the best approach is to draw on their studies and to avail themselves of the advice and support of faculty advisors and fellow students in the program whenever possible.

In preparing your proposal for dissertation research, you should select a faculty member from the Educational Policy Studies Department to serve as your dissertation advisor and as chair of your preliminary examination and dissertation committees.  You should work with your chair to identify and recruit other faculty members to serve on your preliminary examination committee and on your dissertation committee (see below).  When you and your committee chairperson agree that your dissertation proposal is ready for review and approval, you are to work with your chair to distribute it to members of your preliminary examination committee and schedule your preliminary exam.  You should distribute your proposal to your committee members for review at least three weeks before the scheduled exam date.  It is also strongly recommended that you include in your proposal a draft of your IRB application.  As a rule, you should not submit your application to the IRB before the preliminary examination is completed because most committees make recommendations for changing research designs and protocols during the exam.  See Section V for information about IRB procedures and requirements.

The Preliminary Examination

The preliminary examination is taken after you have successfully completed all your coursework, your written comprehensive qualifying examination, and your dissertation proposal.  In this Ph.D. program, the preliminary examination is a hearing on your dissertation proposal and the means by which you receive committee approval to conduct your dissertation research.  While the preliminary examination is typically an oral hearing, preliminary examination committees may require that you respond in writing to questions and/or make revisions in your dissertation proposal as a condition of approval.  Passing the preliminary examination constitutes formal admission to candidacy for the Ph.D.

Forming a Preliminary Examination Committee

When you are ready to plan for your preliminary examination, you must find a faculty member to chair your preliminary examination committee.  Your faculty program advisor can help you with this task.  Your program advisor may serve as your committee chair or you may identify another faculty member whose interests and expertise may align more closely with your program of study and dissertation research.  You are to work with your committee chair to identify and recruit at least four other members to serve on your examination committee.  At least three members, including your chair, must be UIC faculty who are full members of the Graduate College.  Tenured or tenure-track faculty are usually full members of the Graduate College; clinical and visiting faculty generally are not.  At least two committee members must be tenured faculty in the College of Education faculty (i.e., associate professors or full professors).  Also, at least two members must be from the Educational Policy Studies Department.  The Graduate College does not require that the preliminary examination committee include a member from outside the department.  However, since the Graduate College does require that your dissertation committee have a member from outside the program (see Section IV), you may want to ask an outside member to be on your preliminary examination committee as well.

In order to formally constitute your preliminary examination committee, you must submit to the Graduate College a Committee Recommendation Form.  This form may be obtained from the Graduate College’s website.    At the same time, you should ask the Office of Student Services (3145 ETMSW) for a degree checklist.  A list of the courses taken is available through the my.UIC portal. You must return the completed degree checklist with the signed Committee Recommendation Form to the Office of Student Services.  The completed form must be signed by your committee chairperson and submitted to the Office of Student Services at least three weeks before the date of your examination.  Before submitting this form, you must be sure that the faculty members you identify to serve on your committee have agreed to serve.  If you want to include on your committee a member who is not on the faculty at UIC or is not a member of the UIC Graduate College, you must receive approval from the Graduate College.  This approval process is initiated when you submit your Committee Recommendation Form to the Office of Student Services.  A copy of this person’s full current curriculum vitae must be submitted with the Committee Recommendation Form.

Dissertation Research (EDPS 599, 12 hours minimum)

After passing the oral portion of the preliminary examination and receiving approval from the IRB, you may begin you dissertation research.  You must register for a minimum of 12 hours of dissertation credit during the time that you conduct and write up your study.  After you have registered for the minimum of 12 hours of dissertation credit and after you have passed both written and oral portions of the preliminary examination, you may petition the Graduate College to be permitted to register for 0 (zero) hours of dissertation credit.  If permission is granted, you may continue to register for 0 hours if you continue to make satisfactory progress and are within the time limits for completion of the degree.  Note that even if you are eligible and successfully petition the Graduate College to register for 0 hours, you still must register for 0 hours each semester until you have successfully defended the dissertation (although you do not need to register for 0 credits for the summer session unless the defense will be held during the summer).

The Graduate College makes an exception to the above registration requirement if the defense will occur during the late registration period for a term; in those cases, a doctoral defense will be allowed without student registration in that term.  This is assuming that you were registered the previous term, or the previous spring term in the instance of a fall defense (which should be the case since, as stated above, continuous registration is required).  The late registration period is the official first ten days of any fall or spring semester and the first five days of the summer term.  If you defend after the 10th day (5th in summer) you must be registered.

If you hold a fellowship, assistantship and/or tuition waiver, and do not resign from it, then registration is mandatory for the number of hours required to hold the award or assistantship.  If you hold a student visa, you probably do not have to register if you leave the country by the 10th day (5th in summer), although this should be verified with Office of International Services.

This (late period registration defense) exception does not affect the registration requirement to take the Preliminary Examination, or the general requirement of continuous registration from Preliminary Examination to defense.  Failure to register continuously may result in being administratively dropped from the program.  You should refer to Section IV for important additional information about constituting a dissertation committee and conducting dissertation research.

Dissertation Defense

When you near the end of your dissertation research, you should begin to plan your dissertation defense with your dissertation committee chair.  See Section IV for specific information about organizing and scheduling your dissertation defense and filing all the paperwork required before the defense can be conducted.

According to Graduate College regulations, at least one year must pass between completing the oral portion of the preliminary examination and the dissertation defense.  If you fail to complete all program requirements, including the dissertation defense, within five years of passing the oral portion of the preliminary examination you must retake the preliminary examination.