PhD in Educational Leadership, Research, and Policy

Collage of photos showing students and staff members


The PhD program in Educational Leadership, Research, and Policy is designed to meet the professional and personal needs of educational leaders in school districts, higher education institutions, and non-governmental organizations through rigorous coursework. Although this program is offered in the College of Education, it attracts candidates from various career fields such as the military, non-profit organizations, business, state agencies, the ministry, as well as P-20 educational organizations. This innovative program combines challenging coursework with collaborative faculty-student research labs to prepare students for successful completion of a dissertation and professional application of leadership, research, and policy skills and knowledge.

The 3-year PhD program is designed for working professionals to:

  • Engage in scholarly inquiry and professional practice that promotes equity and inclusion
  • Synthesize diverse research perspectives in facilitating educational excellence
  • Lead others in continuous improvement through integrating the role of context, implementation, and outcomes
  • Communicate successfully through oral and written professional discourse

As an active participant in these programs you will develop as a leader through an expanded self- knowledge and world-view. You will develop the competencies and strategies to lead others. You will learn how to guide a professional team as you integrate recommendations from research with an assessment of the needs of an organization and create a plan for success. You will explore the political and social implications of education and the educational requirements of contributing to a diverse, democratic, multicultural society. You will acquire the confidence necessary to ignite and inspire others.

Warren Bennis has written that the primary goal of leadership is the creation of a human community held together by a common purpose. True leaders, he said, demonstrate a balance of competence, virtue, and vision. It is our mission to guide you in developing all three.

This cohort program begins each FALL semester:

  • Early admission priority deadline January 15;
  • Final deadline March 15
  • Financial Aid Priority filing date is March 1

Selection of a university and a doctoral program of study is an important decision. Therefore, prospective students are encouraged to meet and consult with a departmental faculty advisor prior to the application process. Students should schedule an appointment to discuss career goals and special circumstances with a member of the faculty by contacting  the COE Student Resource Office at or 719-255-4996.

To be considered for admission to the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Research, and Policy cohort program, prospective students must complete the following procedures:

Application for admission to the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Research & Policy program begins with completion of the online Graduate application found at: Apply Now! The online application and all additional required materials must be completed and uploaded into your application by the application deadline. The deadline also applies to having your transcripts, GRE scores, and recommendation materials in by the application deadline. The early admission priority deadline is January 15; the final deadline is March 15.

1. Within the online application, you will need to:

  • Pay the $60.00 application fee, International student application fee is $100.00
  • Upload your career goal statement
  • Upload your curriculum vitae or professional résumé
  • Complete and upload the Tuition Classification form
  • List the name, title/organization, and email of three references in the spaces provided in the online application (they will be emailed the Ph.D. recommendation forms/instructions). References must be from a former instructor, a current supervisor, and a professional colleague. These individuals must be in a position to give feedback regarding your ability to be successful in a doctoral program. *Please do not use current faculty from UCCS - College of Education Leadership recommender will not be accepted.

**PLEASE notify your recommenders of the deadline, as we cannot accept recommendation materials after the deadline.

2. Graduate Record Exam: In addition, submit scores of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) taken within the past five years. Scores from the Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical sub-tests are required. There are no cutoff scores for the GRE sub-tests or composite score. GRE scores will contribute to an index score, which will be considered in admissions decisions. Please have official scores for the GRE sent directly to UCCS. The UCCS school code for the GRE is 4874. The GRE department code is 3999. If we have not received your GRE scores by the application deadline, your application will not be complete and we will not be able to consider you for admission.


3. Official transcripts: Domestic students: Your final step will be to have one official transcript of all academic work ever completed to date, sent directly to the: Office of Admissions & Records University of Colorado Colorado Springs 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway Colorado Springs, CO 80918-3733

Additional items of note for International applicants: English Proficiency must demonstrated through providing evidence of an IELTS score of 6.5 or above, a TOEFL score of 550-(paper-based) or 80-(internet-based) or a Kaplan International Tools for English (KITE®) score of a minimum of 460. Students may make arrangements to take KITE® at the Global Engagement Office.


Global Engagement Office University of Colorado Colorado Springs Copper House 9202 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway Colorado Springs, CO 80918

USA Email: Phone: 1-719-255-5018

Applicants with any post-secondary course work from an international higher education institution that is recognized by their country's Education Ministry must submit a course-by-course foreign degree evaluation by member of NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services, or World Education Services/WES The University of Colorado Colorado Springs does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status in admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, its educational programs and activities.

CAREER GOALS STATEMENT FOR ONLINE APPLICATION Please upload your narrative into your online application. Your narrative should respond to the questions listed below. Please limit your narrative to 1500 words.

  1. What are your reasons for applying to this program?
  2. What are your professional career goals? And how does this program align with your goals?
  3. Share a specific research idea you would like to pursue in this program.
  4. In what ways have your life experiences and work (e.g., in leadership, research, and policy) prepared you for doctoral studies?
  5. What do you bring to the program that will benefit your faculty and student colleagues?
  6. What personal strengths will enhance your ability to be successful in this program?
  7. What factors might limit your ability to complete this program?
  8. What are other factors that you believe are important for consideration in evaluating your application for doctoral studies?