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School of Education - George Mason University

The PhD in Education with a specialization in international education is individualized, interdisciplinary, and experiential.  Students plan their own programs to meet self-defined goals with the guidance and support of faculty advisors.  International education courses can be applied to primary or secondary specialization areas.

If you have questions about this specialization, please contact the specialization representative, April Mattix Foster.

About the Specialization

The International Education Specialization is designed to help you develop the skills needed to be an effective educator in a global society. You will explore concepts and theories of education systems around the world, including the cultural and historical bases of these systems and the spread of educational trends across the globe. 

What Will You Learn?

The specialization features coursework and applied internships.

  • Focus on social justice and equity 
  • Designed for policymakers and practitioners  
  • Interdisciplinary curriculum combines core study in international education with coursework in economic, social, and political development, conflict resolution, institutional development, language and culture, and history.  
  • All courses are taught by highly qualified graduate faculty with expertise in international education, research, and development.

How Will You Learn?

Your advisor will guide your doctoral experience by supplementing course work with professional experiences, including:

  • Attending and/or presenting at professional conferences
  • Independent study
  • Teaching and/or co-teaching
  • Writing, editing, and reviewing for scholarly journals

Where Can This Specialization Take You?

Graduates of this specialization hold professional positions such as:

  • Academic faculty at post-secondary institutions
  • Consultants with private companies, education and research think tanks, and non-government organizations

Specialization Courses

Each student prepares an individual program of study in consultation with their Program Advisory Committee. The following courses can be taken as part of a student’s primary or secondary specialization coursework:

See additional coursework required as part of the PhD in Education degree.

Our Graduates

Mainlehwon Vonhm, PhD 2021  

  • Dissertation Title: “A Family Tree Can Bend, But It Can Never Be Broken”: Teachers Affected by Civil War Understanding of Social Cohesion in Post-Conflict Liberia 
  • Dissertation Chair: Dr. Supriya Baily 
  • Employment on Graduation: Founder, Center for Peace Education (CPE) 

Rebecca Eisenberg, PhD 2022 

  • Dissertation Title: Intercultural Competence in Secondary Education: An Examination of Practice 
  • Dissertation Chair: Dr. April Mattix Foster 
  • Employment on Graduation: Social Studies Teacher and Department Chair, Portland Public Schools (OR) 

Heba Elsherbeeny, PhD 2022 

  • Dissertation Title: Examining Elementary Students' Development of Intercultural Competence through Self-Regulatory Prompts  
  • Dissertation Chair: Dr. Anastasia Kitsantas 
  • Employment on Graduation: Co-Founder, Medina Montessori 

Kelley E. Webb, PhD 2022 

  • Dissertation Title: World Language Teachers' Understandings and Integration of Intercultural Competence: "More Than..." Language and Beyond  
  • Dissertation Chair: Dr. Rebecca Fox 
  • Employment on Graduation: ESOL Curriculum Specialist & Welcome Center Liaison, Hanover County Public Schools (VA) 

Woomee Kim, PhD 2022 

  • Dissertation Title: Perceived Impact of Global Online Teacher Professional Development for English as a Foreign Language Educators of Young Learners 
  • Dissertation Chair: Dr. Joan Shin 

Peng Zhang, PhD 2022 

  • Dissertation Title: Examining the Moderating Role of Home Culture Connectedness in Chinese International Students’ Acculturation in U.S. Universities  
  • Dissertation Chair: Dr. April Mattix Foster 
  • Employment on Graduation: Coordinator, Global Academic Partnerships, Missouri State University 

Ahmed Atef, PhD 2021  

  • Dissertation Title: Leading Work-Based Learning Programs: How Administrators and Teachers Support Learning for Exceptional Female Immigrant High School Students- A Case Study 
  • Dissertation Chair: Dr. Supriya Baily 

Melissa Hauber, PhD 2021  

  • Dissertation Title: “We Must Not Stop Now”: Advocacy Ethnography with Syrian Refugees in Turkish Higher Education 
  • Dissertation Chairs: Dr. Meagan Call-Cummings & Dr. Rebecca Fox 
  • Employment on Graduation: Assistant Professor, University of Missouri 

Gina Amenta, PhD 2020 

  • Dissertation Title: Intercultural Competence in Elementary Educators in a Diverse School Setting 
  • Dissertation Chair: Dr. Beverly Shaklee 
  • Employment on Graduation: Instructional Coach, Fairfax County Public Schools 

Shannon Merriweather, PhD 2018 

  • Dissertation Title: Neighborhood Identity Examined through a Lens of Poverty: An Exploration of One Community 
  • Dissertation Chair: Dr. Beverly Shaklee 
  • Employment on Graduation: Equity Specialist, Fairfax County Public Schools