Educational Leadership

The UMass Amherst program in educational leadership is ideal for students who want to transform preK-12 education, influencing policy and practices in a wide range of educational contexts and settings.

This program is committed to social justice, with a focus on equity, inclusion, and diversity. Students examine whose voices dominate in education and whose voices are missing and build skills necessary to address the needs of groups that encounter discriminatory treatment. The program takes a multi-disciplinary approach, with students drawing on sociology, psychology, business, and other fields outside of education.


Recognizing the centrality of policy in education practice, the educational leadership Ph.D. program gives current and aspiring leaders, policy analysts, and scholars the opportunity to critically examine and synthesize research, theories, practices, and policies, and conduct rigorous research that contributes to improving education.

Our doctoral students take courses with students in higher education and international education, helping them expand their perspectives beyond education in the U.S. In doing so, they gain insight regarding leadership, organizational change and school reform, policies and politics, curriculum development, instructional improvement, and evaluation in both domestic and international contexts. Students also have the opportunity to work with the Center for Educational Policy, which manages externally funded grants and contracts.

Students enter the program with a master’s degree as well as experience related to preK-12 education. They work closely with their advisor to plan a course of study that meets their learning needs, fits within the parameters of their existing personal and professional lives, and prepares them to complete rigorous dissertation research and successfully compete in the job market.