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School of Education - George Mason University

Upcoming Infosession

The PhD in Education program at George Mason University is designed to advance professional study to develop research-informed expertise in a selected field of professional education. With the guidance of faculty advisors, students select professional specialization areas of study to meet self-defined goals.

All of our professional specialization options are designed to develop outstanding educational researchers who have a deep understanding of the scientific, practice, and policy issues they study.

Primary Specializations



The PhD in Education is a program of advanced professional study that facilitates the development of scholarship and leadership in a selected field of education. This program of doctoral study emphasizes theory and research as well as breadth and depth of study. It seeks to develop knowledge and skills useful in educational contexts as well as the ability to analyze and address educational problems.

The program emphasizes the development of expertise in a broad professional specialization in addition to a narrow area of research focus. Students must demonstrate the following major competencies to be awarded a PhD in Education degree:

  1. Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing to a variety of professional stakeholders;
  2. Knowledge of significant theory, developments, and practices in one's professional specialization and a supporting area of study (i.e., secondary specialization);
  3. Ability to understand, utilize and interpret basic principles and methodologies of educational research design and data analysis;
  4. Ability to organize efforts to solve problems, advance knowledge, test theories, and adapt information to meet professional goals;
  5. Understanding of ethical practice in research.

Individual student programs of study will enable students to develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that support these competencies. Mastery of these competencies is demonstrated by successful completion of coursework, a comprehensive portfolio assessment, a dissertation, and an oral dissertation defense.

Why This Program?

The PhD in Education program provides advanced research training and professional study in your choice of 15 specialization areas, with coursework that focuses on both theory and practice. This highly regarded doctoral program has, for more than 20 years, prepared students for leadership roles as academicians, researchers, senior-level administrators, policymakers, and practitioners.

The PhD in Education program is notable for its individualized, interdisciplinary, and experiential approach. With the guidance of faculty advisors, students plan their own programs to meet self-defined goals. To accomplish these goals, students engage in a variety of intensive courses, independent studies, seminars, and internships of a highly practical nature. Success in the program requires a high degree of personal initiative, self-directed learning, and commitment to inquiry as a style of personal and professional growth.

How Can I Learn More?

Visit our Frequently Asked Questions and Answer Page

Frequently Asked Questions

Attend an Information Session

The PhD in Education Program periodically conducts information sessions to acquaint applicants with our program and the admissions process. Information sessions include an overview of the PhD in Education Program followed by breakout sessions with faculty who can answer questions about professional specialization areas. Scheduled sessions are listed at the top of this page.