COE: PhD: Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
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Advance the Study of Educational Leadership

There is a need today for strong leaders in educational organizations and institutions. A doctoral degree provides you with strong theoretical and conceptual underpinnings that support your work in your organization and provide you with the research knowledge and skills needed to begin your own scholarly work within a university setting. Graduate students seeking the doctoral degree in Education with a concentration in Education Administration are those interested in PreK-12 leadership. Earning the Doctor of Education (Ed.D) or the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) allows the student to seek certification for leadership positions such as superintendent, assistant superintendent, directors or consultants in the areas of administration, curriculum and or professional development. Some graduates with the Ed.D or the Ph.D. in Educational Administration have been able to secure positions of leadership in other fields as well.

Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)

Student Support Specialist:

Alexandra Gresick

203 Education Administration Building (EAB)
p: (314) 516-5107

Deadline to Apply:
December 1st
The requirements below detail multiple emphases in this program. Keywords have been highlighted to draw your attention to this particular emphasis.

Admission and General Requirements

In addition to meeting the application and admissions requirements of the Graduate School, students must submit: 

  • Three letters of recommendation (at least two from individuals with earned doctorates, preferably prior instructors). 
  • An original essay. 
  • A professional resume. 
  • Evidence of above-average academic records. A GPA of 3.5 or higher is preferred.
  • GRE scores. Quantitative and verbal scores at or above the 50th percentile are preferred. An analytical writing score of 4.0 or higher is preferred.

Admission is competitive, and a favorable vote of an admission interview committee, composed of faculty in the emphasis area, is required.

Degree Program

  • Coursework: A minimum of 60 credit hours is required beyond the Master’s degree, including 6 hours of dissertation research. A minimum of 42 of these hours must be completed in residence. For students who have not completed a Master’s degree, a minimum of 90 hours, postbaccalaureate, is required, including 6 hours of dissertation research (the Graduate School’s residency requirement applies). Students in the Counseling emphasis area complete the following requirements: a minimum 90 hours, postbaccalaureate, including 12 hours of dissertation research (the Graduate School’s residency requirement applies).
  • Dissertation: All students must defend orally a written dissertation proposal to their dissertation committee. A dissertation embodying the results of original research must be accepted by the dissertation committee and the Graduate School.

Admission Application

To ensure time for review and decision, applicants should submit the Graduate School application, college transcripts, and any program-specific materials (e.g. supplemental application, letters of recommendation, etc.) well in advance of the December 1st deadline. Please note that unofficial transcripts can be uploaded with the Graduate School application to expedite admissions decisions; however, official transcripts must be received directly from all prior institutions attended before regular admission to any program will be granted. In addition, applicants are urged to request transcripts and letters or recommendation two weeks before completing the online application. Consideration of applications cannot be undertaken until all materials are available.

Degree Requirements

Students in the Teaching-Learning Processes, educational leadership and policy studies, and Educational Psychology emphasis areas complete the following requirements.

1. Research Methods15-18
Students in the Teaching –Learning Processes, educational leadership and policy studies, and Educational Psychology emphasis areas should complete the following research methods courses (or equivalent).
ED REM 6735
Statistical Analysis for Education Research (Prerequisite)
ED REM 6750
Advanced Research Design in Education
Plus any three methods courses from the following:
ED REM 7771
Quantitative Research Methods I
ED REM 7772
Quantitative Research Methods II
ED REM 7781
Qualitative Methods in Educational Research I
ED REM 7782
Qualitative Methods in Educational Research II
This sequence totals 15 hours of methods courses. Remaining hours can be completed with other ED REM courses numbered 6000 or higher or research courses in another curriculum.
2. Program Area of Study to Develop Discipline Knowledge (as determined by student, advisor, and program)24-26
3. Core courses 10-14
EDUC 7490Directed Readings in the Education Research Literature1-3
EDUC 7050The Research Process I: Framing Research Questions in Education Research3
EDUC 7605Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Educational Practice2
EDUC 7625Building Socially Just and Ethical Educational Communities3
Electives2-4
4. Dissertation Proposal Writing
EDUC 7950Preparation for Writing the Dissertation Proposal1-3
5. Dissertation
EDUC 7999Dissertation Research6
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Patricia G. Boyer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Patricia G. Boyer is Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Division of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia, an M.A. in College Student Personnel Services from the University of Northern Iowa, and a B.S. in Chemistr...
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Matthew D. Davis, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Matthew D. Davis, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Foundations in the Department of Educational Services and Professional Programs at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Dr. Davis earned an interdisciplinary Ph.D., (curriculum & instruction, educational administration, history, and public affairs) at The University of Texas at Austin in 2000. His principal ...
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Vanessa Garry, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Vanessa Garry is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the College of Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), St. Louis, Missouri and holds K-12 principal and superintendent certification. She earned her Ph.D. and Ed.S. degrees in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the UMSL. Dr. Garry teaches graduate s...
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James Shuls, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

James V. Shuls earned his Ph.D. in education policy from the University of Arkansas. His work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including: Phi Delta Kappan, Social Science Quarterly, The Rural Educator, Educational Policy, Education Economics, and the Journal of School Choice: International Research and Reform.
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Shawn Woodhouse, Ph.D.
Associate Dean

Shawn Woodhouse is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education Administration in the Division of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies for the College of Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. A Gus T. Ridgel Fellow, Dr. Woodhouse completed her Ph.D. at the University of Missouri-Columbia in Higher and Adult Education.