Doctor of Philosophy


Offered on USF's Tampa campus

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Educational Leadership is designed for individuals who intend to build an academic career focused on conducting research and analysis in the multidisciplinary field of educational leadership and policy studies, or who wish to build an administrative career focused on innovative and inquiry-based leadership.

The program prepares individuals for careers in:

  • K-12 education systems
  • Research universities and teaching colleges
  • Private, nonprofit, state, federal, or international educational agencies

Students in the program work alongside distinguished faculty with expertise in multiple fields including: ethical leadership, curriculum and pedagogy, politics of education, education law, organizational theory, equitable education reform, school accountability and choice policies, and anti-oppressive education. The program is designed to provide students exposure to research and academic discourses in organizational leadership, curriculum leadership, and policy leadership in education. In addition, students will gain knowledge in research methodologies and a specialized cognate area of study.

Students in this program will design an individualized program of study that reflects their specific research interests. We prepare students to conduct and apply high-quality research to practice, write and present scholarly papers at professional conferences, and submit research articles for publication. 

Initial advising, from inquiry about the program through the first year of coursework, is provided by the program coordinator, Zorka Karanxha, PhD. By the completion of the second year of study, students should select a major professor who will assist them with planning their remaining course of study. By the end of the third year, students should assemble an advisory committee consisting of the major professor and at least three other members. This committee guides the student through the dissertation process, including the qualifying examination, dissertation proposal, and dissertation defense.

Note: The PhD program is not an initial certification or licensure program. Students seeking Florida Level 1 Educational Leadership Certification should visit the M.Ed. program or consult with the program coordinator to a complete a modified program with additional coursework from the Education Leadership Praxis and Field Experience Requirements (15 credits) in the M.Ed. Program in addition to the PhD plan's requirements.