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Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

*Ph.D. in Educational Leadership

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Campus: Blacksburg
Instructions: Residential/On Campus

Program Overview

In Educational Leadership program, we develop the skills of students ready to take on the challenges of educational leadership. The PhD option is available on the Blacksburg campus to students who wish to pursue university teaching or careers in policy related work. Only a few students are admitted into the Ph.D. option each year. The number of admissions is limited so that faculty may offer students the support and guidance they need.

faculty

Why choose this program?

  • The VT Educational Leadership Program is approved by the Virginia Board of Education. It is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the Educational Leadership Constituent Council. 
  • Since 2015, the program has been a member of the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA), a consortium of higher education institutions committed to the advancement of educational leadership.

What You'll Study

Doctoral students complete a minimum of 69 (for the Ph.D., 78) hours of research and coursework on a mostly part-time basis. Courses are conducted in the evening to fit the schedules of full-time educators, and the majority of courses are taught in-person or via blended learning.

Students complete all core coursework within six semesters, and graduate after a minimum of eight semesters, or approximately three years. Some students require additional semesters to complete their dissertation research, but most still graduate within three to four years of starting the program.

Course topics include advanced school law, advanced school finance, instructional leadership, governance and policy, facilities planning, theories of administration, and quantitative research methods. Each course touches upon relevant, contemporary issues in K-12 education, such as standardized testing, school safety, special education, school accreditation, diversity, educational politics, and educational reform.

Many of our graduates go on to work as local, state, national, or international educational administrators; university faculty; or educational researchers.

In keeping with the university’s land grant mission, we strive to meet the preparation needs of educational leaders in all regions of the Commonwealth. As the result of our efforts, between one-forth and one-third of all Virginia school superintendents are Virginia Tech Educational Leadership graduates. Alumni of our program also serve as school principals, central office administrators, university presidents, state department of education officials, members of state boards of education, researchers, university faculty, and administrators of various colleges and universities including Virginia Tech itself.

Through our partnership with local P-12 schools, the Educational Leadership Program contributes substantially to the quality of education in Virginia. Under Section 23-38.88.B.9 of the Code of Virginia, the University commits itself to “work actively and cooperatively with elementary and secondary school administrators, teachers, and students in public schools and school divisions to improve student achievement, upgrade the knowledge and skills of school administrators.”

Some students in the doctoral program receive financial support including a stipend and tuition. Assignments may be for full or half-time and be with the Program or with other programs in the School or University.

Learn more about other available funding opportunities

  • An appropriate masters-level degree from an accredited institution
  • At least a 3.3 GPA on one’s most recent two years of university coursework
  • Experience serving in a school leadership position
  • We require GRE scores only from Ph.D. applicants. Doctoral applicants are expected to have already earned the Virginia school administration and supervision endorsement or equivalent licensure and to already have some experience in P-12 administration. 

Learn more 

There is a discount for in-state K-12 teachers; use this application form in order to receive the reduced costs. Otherwise, as with on-campus students, we refer you to the VT Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid for information on financial assistance. Generally, distance learners may qualify for federal loans if they take 5 or more credit hours per semester.

Find out what loans are available as a graduate student and other opportunities.

Domestic Application
*Fall:  August 1
International Application
*Fall: April 1
*Deadline for early decision admission for Fall: February 1

Carol Cash
Program Leader
VT Richmond Center
2810 Parham Road,
Suite 300
Richmond, VA 23294
(804) 662-7288
ccash48@vt.edu

Wanda McAlexander
Program Support Technician
1750 Kraft Drive, Rm 2100
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-5106| wandamc@vt.edu

School of Education Academic Programs Support 

soeprograms@vt.edu

Questions?

Carol Cash
Program Leader
VT Richmond Center
2810 Parham Road,
Suite 300
Richmond, VA 23294
(804) 662-7288
ccash48@vt.edu

Wanda McAlexander
Program Support Technician
2004 VT CRC(0302)
1750 Kraft Drive, Rm 2100
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-5106
wandamc@vt.edu

Susan Li
Graduate Academic Program Assistant
Northern Virginia Center
7054 Haycock Rd.
Falls Church, VA 22043
703-538-8481
susanli@vt.edu

Faculty Experts in Educational Leadership