Doctoral Degree: Educational Policy and Leadership Specialization in International Education

The Specialization in International Education provides educators with the opportunity to study the role of education in the context of Asia, Africa, and Latin America and other developing areas. Students can develop focuses in such areas as youth labor and protection, education in fragile states, adult and community education, teacher education, international education policy, adult literacy, non-formal education, and gender issues in development. Students are expected to become aware of social justice issues in education and to understand participatory and popular education approaches to education. Students are expected to have developed an in-depth awareness of cultural differences; the ability to apply critical theory and pedagogy in both schools and communities in domestic and international settings; and practical skills in training, project development, research, and evaluation. Academic courses, a participatory community structure, and possibilities for involvement in applied projects and research activities combine to provide the curriculum of the specialization.  The doctoral specialization is closely linked with the Center for International Education which manages externally-funded grants and contracts. For more information, see http://www.umass.edu/cie.

Admissions Criteria

The International Education specialization in the Educational Policy and Leadership doctoral concentration leads to an Ed.D. degree. It is designed for professionals with extensive relevant international field experience (a minimum of two years, but often much more). Successful applicants will be able to demonstrate a professional commitment to working in education in developing countries, a commitment to issues of social justice, and career goals congruent with the program. For additional information regarding the admissions process, click here.

Program of Study

The Program of Study for the InternationalEducation Specialization of the Educational Policy and Leadership Doctoral Concentration comprises 42 credits plus a dissertation credits as follows:

Six (6) required Educational Policy and Leadership Concentration Core and research courses totaling 18 credits consisting of:

  • One (1) Educational Policy and Leadership Concentration Core course (taken in the first doctoral degree semester)
  • One (1) course in the Varieties of Social Thought Core Area
  • One (1) course in the Leadership and Management Core Area
  • Three (3) research methods courses

Two (2) courses in the International Education Specialization Core Area totaling 6 credits

Six (6) International Education Elective courses totaling 18 credits

With the required eighteen (18) dissertation credits, the total number of required credits is 60.

The required and elective courses that are eligible to fulfill the doctoral requirements can be found in the International Education Specialization section at the following link: Educational Policy and Leadership: Graduate Program Curriculum Outline

After admission, students work with their faculty guidance committeeto formulate an individualized study plan which balances academic work with relevant experience. This plan typically includes work at three interrelated levels: the theoretical, such as the study of the relationship between education and socio-economic or political change; the practical, where skills are developed in planning, curriculum and materials development, training and management, evaluation and research; and the contextual, which focuses on content areas such as literacy, health, or agriculture and the implications of different socio-cultural settings.

The specialization requires 42 credits beyond the Master’s degree and successful completion of a dissertation. Typically, four to six semesters are devoted to courses and study on campus. Four consecutive semesters in residence is expected of all students.  Course work is followed by a comprehensive examination, the form and content of which is related to the student’s program of study and is established in consultation with a faculty committee. After successful completion of the comprehensives, the candidate writes a dissertation proposal. When that is approved, the candidate may leave campus to conduct research, sometimes in the context of employment. An oral defense on campus is required upon completion of the dissertation.

Examples of recent dissertations include: (See for example)

  • Mitigating Negative Externalities Affecting Access and Equity of Education in Low-Resource Countries: A Study Exploring Social Marketing as a Potential Strategy for Planning School Food Programs in Malawi (2012)
  • Can Free Primary Education Achieve Universal Primary Education? A Study of the Intersections of Social Exclusion, Gender, and Education in Kenya (2012)
  • The Decolonization of Higher Education: An Analysis of Venezuela’s 2009 Ley Organica De Educacion (2011)
  • Exploring Teachers’ Believes Regarding the Concepts of Culture and Intercultural Communicative Competence in EFL Palestinian University Context: A Case Study (2011)
  • A Critical Analysis of Jamaica's Emerging Educational Policy Discourse in the Age of Globalization (2011)
  • Beyond School Inputs: An Assessment of the Effects of Program intervention on Learning Achievement - A Case Study (2011)
  • The Teacher Professional Development Program in Palestine: Changing Beliefs and Practices (2010)
  • Educational Research in Palestine: Epistemological and Cultural Challenges - A Case Study (2010)

Contact Information

Concentratioon Coordinator:  Cristine Smith (Associate Professor)

Associated Faculty

David R. Evans (Professor), Sangeeta Kamat (Associate Professor), Jacqueline Mosselson (Associate Professor), Bjorn H. Nordtveit (Associate Professor), Gretchen Rossman (Professor), Cristine Smith (Associate Professor).

Affiliated Faculty

Joseph B. Berger (Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Engagement), John Comings (Adjunct Professor), Ash Hartwell (Adjunct Professor), Sharon F. Rallis (Dwight W. Allen Distinguished Professor of Education Policy and Reform).