Educational Culture, Policy and Society, PhD

Our doctoral program in educational culture, policy and society is for you if you are interested in the links between educational institutions (P–16+) and broader social, cultural, political and economic forces and consequences. We examine the roles of social forces such as race, class, gender, (im)migration and economic restructuring in shaping differential trajectories and outcomes for varying learning communities. We also engage multidisciplinary perspectives in reimagining the possibilities of schooling and education to nurture more inclusive and just societies. Our program emphasizes three main areas: (1) institutions, policies and practices that facilitate or limit individuals' well-being, and social and economic equity; (2) sociological, anthropological and comparative modes of inquiry, in order to examine the interplay among policy, practice, discourse and educational reforms; and (3) cross-national comparisons of educational policies, practices and outcomes central to policymakers and school leaders around the world. Students are trained in multiple theoretical and methodological traditions to conduct critical educational research across a wide range of settings.

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Why Educational Culture, Policy and Society (ECPS) at UB?

The features of our program include:

  • learning how to conceptualize, conduct, analyze and communicate scholarly research 
  • opportunity to pursue research design certificates as part of your coursework, including certificates in applied statistical analysis, international education data analysis and qualitative research methods
  • providing professional development workshops to enhance your research capabilities and facilitate transition from coursework to dissertation and the job market
  • receiving individualized attention from a core group of highly accomplished research-focused faculty members
  • researching underserved populations (related to gender, national origin, race/ethnicity, second language and socioeconomic status) in educational and social environments nationally and cross-nationally
  • valuing mixed methods research (quantitative and qualitative) in the service of broad-based research projects, with you gaining in-depth expertise in one methodology and fluency in the other methodology

Program Overview

Academic credential granted Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Credits required for completion 72
Time to completion 4 to 5+ years
Course delivery On campus
  • Colleges/Universities — as administrators and staff at programs such as Upward Bound, Educational Opportunity Program and McNair Scholars
  • Colleges/Universities — as faculty/scholars of educational policy studies, global studies and related areas
  • International development or human service agencies — as analysts, program officers or administrators
  • Ministries of education — as policy makers and analysts
  • Schools — as teachers or administrators
Application deadline Jan. 1

To fulfill our ECPS program goals, we have designed the program requirements below.

The first experiential block is comprised of substantive courses designed to introduce students to relevant bodies of scholarly literature.

The second experiential block is comprised of courses in research methods. Students learn the methods, quantitative and qualitative, which scholars use to actually produce research in the field.

The third experiential block is comprised of courses specifically designed to further strengthen academic writing.

For the fourth experiential block, ECPS offers a Professional Development Brown Bag series for Graduate Students.

The fifth experiential block is related to the preliminary examination, dissertation proposal and the dissertation itself.

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University Computing Standards

You are required to have daily access to a reliable broadband connection and a computer that meets university computing standards. You are also expected to have basic computer competency before beginning your coursework.