Doctoral Program

Join a community of scholars.

Doctoral study in education at Washington University in St. Louis is aimed at strengthening and deepening the student's analytical understanding of education in both research and practice. Our doctoral program focuses on two major strands of study:

  • Social Contexts & Policy Studies
  • Applied Psychology of Learning & Motivation

Students working toward a PhD in education are expected to acquire an understanding of education as a complex social, cultural, and moral/political activity and as a field of study with rich literature bases and strong ties to disciplinary knowledge, classroom practice, and a variety of technologies.

Our faculty bring special interests and expertise to the examination of educational interactions in such sites as schools, families, and other cultural institutions. Students are expected to acquire theoretical and empirical expertise in an area of concentration even as they demonstrate their broader understanding of educational processes and problems. Finally, students are expected to acquire methodological competence in empirical inquiry and to pursue questions that are of interest and import for the student individually as well as a larger educational community. Graduates of the PhD program should be prepared to join the community of professional educators who contribute to our understanding of the complexity of education and to continue inquiring into educational processes and problems wherever they choose to work.

Application & Admission

Decisions regarding admission to the doctoral program are made once a year by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences in consultation with the Doctoral Admissions Committee of the Department of Education (comprised of Department's tenured and tenure track faculty). All students are admitted for the fall semester. In order to be considered for admission, an applicant must submit a complete dossier to Washington University no later than January 1.

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Graduate Certificate Program in Higher Education

The Graduate Certificate Program in Higher Education (GCPHE) is designed to provide an overview of historical and contemporary issues in higher education for those students who wish to gain a greater understanding of higher education research, policy, assessment and/or administrative practices. Current Washington University doctoral students who are interested in pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education may begin taking courses pursuant to the Certificate upon entry into the University. 

More about GCPHE

Doctoral Advisers