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Education Policy and Equity, Ph.D.

The Ph.D. in education policy and equity (EPE) is an in-residence, interdisciplinary doctoral degree program at Saint Louis University focused on advanced training in education and social science research methods where students learn to evaluate educational practices and analyze issues in education policy from a social justice perspective. 

Students take core courses in educational policy, history and practice; interdisciplinary electives in economics, sociology, political science and law; and advanced-level quantitative and qualitative research courses at SLU. As a result, students develop a specialization and conduct research that combines education policy questions with equity frameworks.

Program Highlights

Defining features of SLU's education policy and equity Ph.D. program include methodological rigor, opportunities for firsthand experiences in schools, student-faculty research collaboration and commitment to the goal of creating a more equitable system of education for all students.

Curriculum Overview

SLU's Ph.D. in education policy and equity offers flexibility for students to select courses that align with their individual interests and to specialize while meeting the specific requirements of the degree. This flexibility allows students from varied backgrounds to develop research that arises from their experiences and reflects their strengths. Through seminar-style instruction, students engage in collaborative problem-solving and discussion across ideological and policy differences—both key skills for education policy professionals. 

Students in SLU's education policy and equity Ph.D. program develop a solid theoretical foundation along with an ability to conceptualize problems through different disciplinary perspectives and apply advanced research techniques to the study of issues in education policy. At the same time, they gain familiarity with the processes by which education policies are created and implemented, and how they influence various populations.

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

Students in the education policy and equity Ph.D. program have the opportunity to conduct research that can inform policy and influence students and schools.

Together with faculty members from SLU's School of Education, students:

  • Collaborate with local schools, districts and educational partners to conduct original research that reflects a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods.
  • Support school and community leaders in making data-driven decisions by gathering and analyzing educational data, conducting program evaluations and disseminating evidence.
  • Publish research findings in academic journals and conference proceedings, as well as through the PRiME Center at SLU, a policy research center within SLU's School of Education that serves as a resource for state lawmakers, educators, administrators and other leaders who make critical policy decisions for K-12 education in the state of Missouri.


SLU's education policy and equity Ph.D. program prepares students for careers in academia, public service and the nonprofit sector. Graduates are trained as scholars with the research skills and content knowledge required for jobs such as university faculty in education policy or related programs; researchers at university research centers; researchers at think tanks and foundations; and directors of research departments in local, state and federal education agencies.

Admission Requirements

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  • Transcript(s)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE or other applicable graduate entry exam scores
  • Résumé
  • Professional goal statement

Requirements for International Students

Along with the general admission requirements above, the following must be provided by prospective international students:

  • Demonstration of English Language Proficiency.
  • Proof of financial support that must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University.
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University.
  • Academic records, in English translation, for postsecondary studies outside the United States. These must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Please note that application deadlines for this program differ for international students.

Review Process

A committee reviews each application holistically.

Application Deadlines

Domestic students should apply for the fall semester by June 15, for the spring semester by Nov. 1, and for the summer semester by April 1.
International students should apply by May 1 for the fall semester, Oct. 1 for the spring semester, and Feb. 1 for the summer semester.


Tuition Cost Per Credit
Graduate Tuition $1,370

Additional charges may apply. Other resources are listed below:

Net Price Calculator

Information on Tuition and Fees

Miscellaneous Fees

Information on Summer Tuition

Scholarships and Financial Aid

For priority consideration for graduate assistantships, apply by Jan. 15. 

For more information, visit the Office of Student Financial Services

  1. Graduates will be able to evaluate issues in education policy and their impact on educational outcomes for students, with an emphasis on marginalized groups.
  2. Graduates will be able to design and execute policy research that extends the knowledge base in education policy and equity.
  3. Graduates will be able to evaluate competing theoretical frameworks that are employed in the design of education policy research.
  4. Graduates will be able to identify forms of inequity (racial, gender, class, ability, etc.) in education policy and the effect of inequity on student outcomes.
  5. Graduates will be able to apply research tools and methods to analyze educational problems.

SLU's Ph.D. in education policy and equity is a 66-credit (54 credits of coursework plus 12 credits of dissertation research) degree program beyond the bachelor’s degree. As such, we may accept students into the Ph.D. in education policy and equity directly from bachelor’s programs.

For students admitted with master’s degrees, we follow SLU’s advanced standing policy and allow students to petition for advanced standing.

EDR 5000General Research Methods for Education3
EDR 5100Intro to Inferential Stats: Ed3
EDR 5400Qualitative Research in Education3
EDR 6100 Intermediate Applied Statistics for Education3
EDR 6350Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs3
EDR 6400Advanced Qual Research for Ed3
EDR 6700Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks in Education Research3
EDF 5600Foundations of Urban Education3
EDF 6650Seminar: History of American Education3
EPE 5050Proseminar on Ed Research3
EPE 5250Contemporary Issues in Education Policy3
SOC 5850Policy Evaluation and Assessment3
SOC 6250Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy3
Content Electives9
Select 9 credits from the below list of Content Electives.
Advanced Research Electives6
Select 6 credits from the below list of Advanced Research Electives.
Dissertation Research12
EDR 6990
Dissertation Research
Total Credits66

Content Electives

Select 9 credits of the following:

LAW 8720Education Law2
EDF 6050Multicultural Issues in Public Service3
EDF 6600Education in American Culture3
EDF 6870Seminar: Current Educational Problems3
EDH 5250History of American Higher Education3
EDH 5400Law and Higher Education3
EDI 5601Language & Culture3
EDI 5650Racial Literacy and Antiracist Praxis3
EDI 5900Developing and Implementing a Culturally Responsive Curriculum through Instruction and Assessment3
EDL 6140The Politics of Education2-3
EDL 6200Ethics of Ed Leadership3
EDL 6300Advanced School Law2,3
EPE 6250Economics of Education3
SOC 6200Urban Social and Political Theory3
SOC 6225Urban Community Development3
POLS 5171Law, Policy, Society3
POLS 6310Policy Process3
ASTD 5020Frontiers & Borderlands: Contact & Conquest in the American Imagination3
ASTD 6020American Political Thought3

Research Electives

Select 6 credits of the following:

BST 6100Causal Inference3
ECON 6050Econometrics I3
EDR 6500Multilevel Regression Models3
EDR 6600Designing Mixed Methods Research3
EPE 6650Applied Research and Reporting3
PSY 5090Psychometric Theory3
SOC 5530Urban Ethnography3
SOC 5800Survey Design & Sampling3

Non-Course Requirements

  • Students must pass doctoral comprehensive exams (including both oral and written components) upon completion of all required and elective courses. 
  • Students must pass an oral defense of a dissertation proposal representing a critical examination of a problem in the field of 
education policy.
  • Students must pass a public presentation and defense of their dissertation.

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
EDR 5000 General Research Methods for Education 3
EDR 5100 Intro to Inferential Stats: Ed 3
SOC 5850 Policy Evaluation and Assessment 3
EDR 5400 Qualitative Research in Education 3
EDR 6100 Intermediate Applied Statistics for Education 3
EPE 5250 Contemporary Issues in Education Policy 3
SOC 6250 Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy 3
Year Two
EDF 6650 Seminar: History of American Education 3
EPE 5050 Proseminar on Ed Research 3
EDR 6400 Advanced Qual Research for Ed 3
EDF 5600 Foundations of Urban Education 3
Research or Content Elective 3
Research or Content Elective 3
Year Three
EDR 6350 Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs 3
Research or Content Elective 3
Research or Content Elective 3
EPE 6650 Applied Research and Reporting 3
EDR 6700 Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks in Education Research 3
EPE 6950 Special Study for Written Comprehensive Exams (Please register in your advisor's section number.) 0
Year Four
EDR 6990 Dissertation Research 6
EDR 6990 Dissertation Research 6
 Total Credits66

Apply for Admission

For additional admission questions, please contact:
Saint Louis University School of Education