PhD in Education
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.
- Early Childhood Education/Early Childhood Special Education
- Education Leadership
- Education Policy
- Educational Psychology
- Higher Education
- International Education
- International Education/Education Leadership (special cohort)
- Learning Technologies Design Research
- Literacy(ies), Culture, and Reading
- Mathematics Education Leadership
- Multilingual/Multicultural Education
- Research Methodology
- Science Education Research
- Special Education
- Teaching and Teacher Education
- Interdisciplinary Specialization (individualized program of study)
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:
- Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing to a variety of professional stakeholders;
- Knowledge of significant theory, developments, and practices in one's professional specialization and a supporting area of study (i.e., secondary specialization);
- Ability to understand, utilize and interpret basic principles and methodologies of educational research design and data analysis;
- Ability to organize efforts to solve problems, advance knowledge, test theories, and adapt information to meet professional goals;
- 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
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.
(1) General Culture
- EDUC 800: Ways of Knowing (3 credits)
(2) Educational Research (15 credits)
- EDRS 810: Problems and Methods in Education Research (3 credits)
- EDRS 811: Quantitative Methods in Educational Research (3 credits)
- EDRS 812: Qualitative Methods in Educational Research (3 credits)
Choose TWO advanced research methods courses from the following options:
- EDRS 818: Critical Discourse Analysis in Education Research (3 credits)
- EDRS 820: Evaluation Methods for Educational Programs and Curricula (3 credits)
- EDRS 821: Advanced Applications of Quantitative Methods (3 credits)
- EDRS 822: Advanced Applications of Qualitative Methods (3 credits)
- EDRS 823: Advanced Research Methods in Single Subject/Case Design (3 credits)
- EDRS 824: Mixed Methods Research: Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches (3 credits)
- EDRS 825: Advanced Research Methods in Self-Study of Professional Practice (3 credits)
- EDRS 826: Qualitative Case Study Methods (3 credits)
- EDRS 827: Introduction to Measurement and Survey Development (3 credits)
- EDRS 828: Item Response Theory (3 credits)
- EDRS 830: Hierarchical Linear Modeling (3 credits)
- EDRS 831: Structural Equation Modeling (3 credits)
- EDRS 832: Document Analysis and Archival Research (3 credits)
- EDRS 833: Participatory Action Research (3 credits)
- EDRS 836: Narrative Inquiry (3 credits)
- EDRS 850: Grounded Theory (3 credits)
- EDRS 897: Special Topics in Research Methods (3 credits)
(3) Specialization Coursework (36 credits minimum)
Primary Specialization (18-24 credits)
Through seminars, courses, internships, and independent studies, students acquire the knowledge and technical skills requisite to a chosen educational professional specialization. For a description of specialization course options, see specialization pages.
Secondary Specialization (12-18 credits)
Students are required to have a secondary specialization in addition to a primary professional specialization. The secondary emphasis area of study provides an opportunity for advanced, intensive, and purposeful study in a particular specialty or a coherent interdisciplinary field of study. For a description of specialization course options, see specialization pages.
Note: Students in the Kinesiology concentration follow a prescribed program of study.
(4) Doctoral Dissertation (12 credits minimum)
(classes starting in August)
Priority Funding Deadline*: December 1
Regular Admission Deadline: February 15
* Applications must be received by this date for full consideration for merit-based funding packages.
For more information and to apply, visit the admissions website.
Application Form and Fee:
- Submitted application form and $75 application fee. Application fees are non-refundable.
Resume or Curriculum Vita:
- The resume, or curriculum vita, should reflect experiences and accomplishments foundational for a PhD in Education Program. It should be free of grammatical errors.
- The goals statement should be 750-1000 words and describe the academic and career goals that a PhD will enable you to attain.
- We recommend applicants are specific in describing their past experiences related to the intended professional specialization as well as personal and professional aspirations.
- Applicants should address their intended primary professional specialization or concentration within the PhD program. If there are specific faculty members within that specialization that the applicant is interested in studying with, this should be mentioned as well (this is not required).
- Students can upload their unofficial transcripts for application review. Please refer to the Office of Graduate Admissions for specific requirements.
GRE (Graduate Record Exam) scores:
- Scores must be from an examination taken within the last five years. Official test scores must be received by Mason by the application deadline.
Three Letters of Recommendation:
- Recommendations should be professional or academic in nature.
- Applicants should follow the instructions included within the online application to submit the recommendation form directly to their recommender. Mason does not accept paper recommendations.
Students with International Education Credentials:
- Additional requirements might be required. Please see the International Graduate Requirements for additional information.
Supplemental Materials (optional):
- Supplemental materials might include writing samples of previous research reports, including published works.
- A description of evidence of aptitude to successfully complete required statistics coursework, including non-degree coursework taken prior to admittance into the PhD in Education Program.
All required materials must be in the admissions office by the admission deadline to ensure proper processing. If you are missing parts of the required application materials, your application is incomplete and will not be considered. There is a short grace period for Official GRE Scores to arrive from ETS for applicants who have taken the exam prior to the admissions deadline.
Applicants must have conferred a master’s degree prior to beginning coursework in the PhD program. Three years of relevant work experience may be required for specific professional specializations. Applicants must have a minimum 3.00 GPA on a 4.00 scale in baccalaureate study. The GPA requirement may be higher for some graduate programs. The university, at its discretion, may, in evaluating the meeting of this requirement, additionally consider the difficulty of the baccalaureate degree, relevant work experience, any/or other evidence of ability to succeed in graduate study.
The Ph.D. in Education admissions committee conducts a holistic review of all components of each candidate's application, which includes GRE scores, GPA, fit with the program faculty research, publications, goal statement, relevant work experience and educational background or other evidence provided that supports the candidate’s qualifications. In addition, an interview with program faculty is required for admission.
|TUITION CLASSIFICATION||COST PER CREDIT|
(includes MSF*; discounted from $1,624.25)
|VA Resident and PK-12 VA Educator enrolled in a CEHD graduate program**||$603.25
|CEHD Course Fee||$25.00 - $84.00|
|Total Cost for Virginia Residents per Credit||$734.70 - $793.70|
|Total Cost for Non-Virginia Residents per Credit||$934.70 - $993.70|
|Total cost for VA Resident and PK-12 VA Educator enrolled in a CEHD graduate program*||$628.25 - $687.25|
|Graduate New Student Fee
(non-refundable, one-time fee)
Please Note: Refer to the Students Accounts Office website for more information on tuition and fees. Internship courses will incur a higher course fee to fund on-site assistance involving intensive clinical training/supervision.
*Mandatory Student Fee (MSF): $150.25
**VA state residents who are eligible must apply for the 15% PreK-16 VA Educators Discount in order to take advantage of the lower tuition. Eligible students receive 15% off the total tuition and mandatory student fee.
For information on loans and scholarships, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid.
For information regarding grants, tuition waivers, and other merit aid, visit the PhD in Education funding page.
Also, many school districts offer tuition reimbursement options. Speak to your employer for more information.
At the time of admission, students in the PhD in Education Program are provided with an initial point of contact from their specialization to serve as a temporary advisor. After no more than two semesters of coursework, students select a chair for their Program Advisory Committee to assist them in forming a program advisory committee.
Program Advisory Committee
The first committee, the Program Advisory Committee, advises the student through the development of a program of study, completion of all pre-dissertation coursework, and defense of the Comprehensive Portfolio Assessment required to advance to candidacy.
Doctoral Dissertation Committee
A second committee, the Doctoral Dissertation Committee, advises the student in the preparation, submission and defense of the PhD in Education dissertation