School of Education - George Mason University

PhD in Education - Specialization: Multilingual/Multicultural Education

Multilingual/Multicultural PhD Specialization

The PhD in Education degree is specifically for professional practitioners in education, including those in public or private schools, community or government agencies, professional associations, and other education-related settings. Like other education doctorates, this degree program includes study and practice of educational and counseling research as well as study and application of theory and practice in the fields of education and counseling.

This program provides an advanced professional education designed to:

  • Improve knowledge and skills useful in current or planned educational and counseling roles, and
  • Improve the ability to analyze current social, economic, political, and ethical issues and concerns in their relationship to various educational and community situations and activities. The doctoral program is individualized, interdisciplinary, and experiential. Students, with the guidance of faculty advisers, 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.
Celebrating our Graduates!

Sarah L. Eqab

Sarah L. Eqab, PhD 2016

Title of Dissertation: “Long-Term English Learners’ Perceptions of Academic Challenges”
Current Position/Title/Location: Instructional Support, Office of ESOL Services, Fairfax County Public Schools & Mason Adjunct Professor

How did the Multilingual/Multicultural doctoral program help you achieve your goals?
"The sole reason that I decided to pursue my doctorate was to shed light on a student population that was consistently overlooked - long-term English Learners. As a teacher, I felt actual programmatic changes were needed to better meet the needs of these students and I took it upon myself to make that change happen. This doctoral program helped me to align my research interests with actionable outcomes. In addition, this program helped to connect me with individuals who share the same interest and passion to advocate for marginalized students in our public school system."

Jennifer K. Santiago

Jennifer K. Santiago, PhD 2018

Title of Dissertation: "Newcomer English Learners: How experiences shape student identity"
Current Position/Title/Location:_Director of Equity and Excellence, Falls Church City Public Schools

How did the Multilingual/Multicultural doctoral program help you achieve your goals?
"The most impactful aspect of the Multilingual/Multicultural doctoral program was my growth in learning. I transitioned from a well-intended, informed, good ESOL teacher to an expert in my field. No other learning experience has changed my frame of reference and developed my understandings like this program. Starting the PhD program gave me confidence to advocate stronger and push harder. Completing my PhD has allowed me to successfully transition into division leadership positions where I can affect change on a larger scale and support all students having positive experiences in order to develop a positive self-identity."

Program Structure

The program requires a minimum of 85 credits of study beyond the baccalaureate degree or a minimum of 55 credits beyond the master's degree. However, an individual's program typically requires 10 more credits depending on the person's goals, program requirements, and previous preparation. Students have five years to complete all course work and the portfolio reviews. Five additional years are allowed to complete the dissertation. Most students complete the entire program in five or six years.

Course Work

General Culture (3 credits)

  • EDUC 800: Ways of Knowing (3 credits) ( OR EFHP860. EFHP 860 is for Kinesiology concentration students only. Other students should select EDUC 800. Course should be taken 1st semester.)

Research Methods (15 credits)

Professional Specialization (18 credits)

Doctoral studies for the Multilingual/Multicultural Education/ESL specialization in the PhD in Education and Human Development program allows for flexible academic planning and research according to participants' interests, career goals, and learning format.

Secondary Specialization (18 credits)

Students have a number of options for secondary concentrations including concentrations within the School of Education, within other George Mason University departments, interdisciplinary concentrations, or using the master's degree as part of the secondary concentration requirements.

Dissertation (12 credits)


Students complete an educational portfolio as part of the requirement of the Ph.D. program. The portfolio is an organized, selective collection of documents designed to facilitate a student's academic and professional development, and to provide a basis for evaluation of degree progress. The portfolio represents the scope and depth of a student's goals, plans, and accomplishments in coursework, independent study, research, internships, and other advanced learning activities. The portfolio thus provides both a vehicle for self-reflection and a comprehensive record of a doctoral student's experiences and ongoing progress toward academic and professional goals.

Licensure Disclosure

This program has been identified by George Mason University as one that may lead to a career requiring professional licensure/certification. Federal regulations require Mason to disclose information as to whether this program meets/does not meet the educational requirements for licensure/certification in your state, or whether such a determination has not been made. Please consult our Licensure Disclosure Tool for the disclosure statement specific to your desired state/program combination.

George Mason University will verify completion of the requirements of a Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) state-approved preparation program at the graduate or undergraduate level. Such verification does not guarantee the issuance of a Virginia Collegiate Professional, Postgraduate Professional, or Pupil Personnel license from the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is solely the student's responsibility to comply with all requirements for licensure by the Commonwealth. Under Virginia law, a social security number is required for licensure.

Contact the Ph.D. Program for additional information.