School of Education - George Mason University

The PhD specialization with an international as well as education leadership focus recruits students biannually.

Our third cohort will begin during Summer 2022 with classes beginning face to face in the Summer. Applications for this program will be accepted starting September 2021. If you need more information or would like to receive an update when we are accepting applications, please send an email to

The International Education/Education Leadership (IEEL) PhD specialization is a unique opportunity for international school professionals to complete a PhD in a specialized cohort program that includes online and summer face-to-face classes.

The focus for this joint specialization is on teacher leaders, early administrators, and others interested in international schools both locally and globally. Courses are designed to help aspiring leaders in the international school community earn a PhD. Students will engage in doctoral studies at one of the highest-ranking research institutions in the United States of America.

Participation in the IEEL program specializations will ensure that your coursework is complete over three years (three summers and six semesters). Once students advance to candidacy they have four years to complete their doctoral dissertation. Applicants should have a minimum of 3 years of teaching and/or leadership experience in educational settings, or equivalent leadership experience.

Course Work

General Culture (3 credits)

Research Methods (15 credits)

International Education & Education Leadership Specialization Courses (36 credits)

International Education (IE) courses include:

Education Leadership (EL) courses include:

Internship and Independent Study

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.

Time to Degree

For both full-time and part-time students enrolled in doctoral programs, whether entry is post-baccalaureate or post-master's, the total time to degree will not exceed nine (9) calendar years from the time of first enrollment in the program as a doctoral student. Doctoral students are expected to progress steadily toward their degree and to advance to candidacy within no more than six (6) years.

Students who do not meet published time limits because of compelling circumstances beyond their control may request an exception to this policy by petitioning their dean for a single extension of one calendar year prior to the expiration of the time limit.

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 PhD Program for additional information.