PhD Program

Our Mission

Our Ph.D. in education program supports graduate students in becoming creative scholars who engage in research focused on the educational needs of youth from linguistic and cultural groups that have historically not been served well in the nation’s public schools. Our program grounds students in interdisciplinary theory and research methodologies, and the courses and research apprenticeships critically examine practices in K-12 classrooms and/or in other organizations and institutions shaping the social contexts of schooling for low-income, racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse communities. 

Our internationally prominent research faculty draw on perspectives and methods from the humanistic social sciences such as anthropology, psychology, and sociology, as well as philosophy, linguistics, the learning sciences, and cultural historical activity theory. Our goal is to provide a research apprenticeship through our doctoral program that examines learning and teaching within the multiple contexts of everyday life, from classrooms, schools, and institutions of all sorts, to diverse families and communities.

Where Can a PhD in Education Take You?

Graduates of our program will be qualified to teach and to conduct research in tenure-track positions in university and college settings ranging from research intensive universities to regional universities and liberal arts colleges. Graduates will also be qualified for scholarly work in non-university based institutions that focus on teacher professional development, curriculum development, and related areas of educational research and development. Further, graduates will be qualified for scholarly work in governmental agencies, or policy and advocacy organizations.

Alumni of our program are making impactful contributions in many places in California, the United States, and internationally. Our PhD graduates hold faculty appointments at the University of San Francisco, several of the California State Universities, University of Hawaii Manoa, the University of Maine, Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon and Colgate University in New York - to name a few! They direct educational programs at museums, work as research fellows in national think tanks, and provide leadership in school districts and professional organizations.

Types of Research Projects

The diversity of doctoral student dissertation studies or research projects is reflected in the diversity of the department faculty’s research agendas as they intersect with the creativity of our cohorts of students. Each student develops an individualized integrated program of study under the direction of a Faculty Academic Advisor that includes the advanced coursework in our core program seminars and research apprenticeships, as well as advanced course work in other departments. Programs of study include teaching assistantships and independent study organized to develop deep expertise in a focal area of research. Our program embraces an apprenticeship model so that students develop expertise through active participation in impactful research.

Our Faculty

Each member of the internationally prominent Education Department faculty has an ongoing research program (see more here), and many also have working relationships and collaborative research projects both with faculty members in other departments and with community and school partners. As appropriate to each doctoral student’s program of study, students in the program also establish study and research connections with faculty members from other departments who will serve on the student’s qualifying exam and dissertation committees.


See Also