Urban Education, Leadership, and Policy Studies EdD/PhD


The Department of Leadership in Education in the College of Education and Human Development at UMass Boston is seeking applicants for a non-tenure-track one-year position as a visiting assistant professor, to begin September 1, 2022.  Learn more about the position.

The admissions application deadline is March 1. See the Cost & Admission section below for more details

The mission of the Urban Education, Leadership, and Policy Studies Program is to develop dedicated, critical, and reflective leaders seeking to improve urban education through research and practice. While focusing on urban school issues, this program recognizes the interconnectedness of such issues on state, national, regional, and global scales. We prepare educational leaders who represent a variety of backgrounds, and support equity and diversity in all its forms, striving to contribute to the public good and a more socially just world. Through the course of their doctoral trajectory and culminating in a dissertation, students investigate issues of their choice that are relevant to their professional lives as leaders committed to educational change.

The program uses a cohort model and accepts students once a year, in the spring, to begin their studies in the summer.

Why Apply for UMass Boston's Urban Education, Leadership, and Policy Studies Program?

Through the course of study toward the EdD or PhD, the Urban Education program at the University of Massachusetts Boston offers a range of knowledge, skills, and experiences to students, enabling them to:


Admissions | The Program


1. May I arrange a meeting with the program director or faculty to discuss the program?

We welcome communication from applicants by phone, email, or face-to-face meetings. Prospective applicants may schedule meetings with any faculty during regular office hours, or email questions to the program director at francine.menashy@umb.edu

2. What are the requirements for admission to the program?

A personal statement, graduate transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and resume are required. The admissions committee will not consider incomplete files. Please follow the application instructions provided by Graduate Admissions.

3. What is the main criteria for admission?

Applicants must have at least three years of experience working in an urban education setting and a master’s degree. Additionally, the admissions committee places great importance on a candidate’s personal statement, résumé, and transcripts. They should show that the applicant has the desire and capability of succeeding in the Urban Education doctoral program. Applicants should demonstrate a sustained interest in the culture, structure, and operation of educational institutions, in new approaches to administration and policy development, and in the nature and purpose of learning and teaching. The personal statement must also demonstrate that the candidate would fit in well with the program’s strengths and has the capacity to apply analytic writing and research skills to various debates and controversies around urban schooling. The program seeks candidates with demonstrated commitment to urban education and urban populations. The résumé should outline the candidate’s accomplishments and work/leadership experience. The candidate’s graduate record and the letters of recommendation are also very important in determining admission.

4. How long should the personal statement be?

A personal statement of no more than four pages should be sufficient to explain the applicant’s academic background, motivation, and research interests.

5. Who should write the recommendation letter?

The admissions committee prefers letters from those in a position to assess the applicant’s experience in education and leadership as well as likelihood of academic success in graduate school.

6. Will the department consider incomplete applications?


7. Should the application be submitted to the department?

No. The complete application is to be sent to Graduate Admissions.

8. How and when will applicants receive notification of the decision?

Admitted students are typically notified by mail by the end of May.

9. How much time is allowed to consider an offer of admission?

Approximately four weeks from the receipt date of the decision letter is a reasonable time to consider an admission offer. We appreciate hearing from you as soon as possible, since your slot may then become available to another applicant.

10. Will I have a chance to talk to someone before I decide to accept an offer of admission?

Yes, we encourage visits, so that an informed decision can be made.

11. Can I defer my offer of admission?

In certain circumstances, admission may be deferred.

12. When will I receive information about registration?

New Student Orientation is held in late May or at the beginning of June. Information about registration will be provided then.

13. How much does the program cost, and is there financial aid available?

For a description of costs, visit the Bursar’s Office page. We do not handle financial aid at the department level. Visit the Cost & Aid website for information about financial aid. We do provide a limited number of part-time graduate assistantships that you may apply for if you are admitted to the program.

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The Program

1. What is the student body makeup in the Urban Education, Leadership, and Policy Studies Program?

The diverse student body includes teachers, coaches, principals, councilors, district administrators, consultants and state policy-makers from many nationalities and backgrounds. Students come from public and private schools, district offices, education partners, and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

2. How much contact do graduate students have with professors?

The relatively small department prides itself on the quality and extent of interaction between faculty and students.

3. Are there any particular areas around which students’ interests revolve?

Students’ interests vary, and we encourage students to pursue topics that they are passionate about and are relevant to their professional interests. While students work closely with faculty, it is uncommon for students to pursue the same research as faculty members. 

4. How long does it typically take to complete the Urban Education Doctoral Program?

The program is designed to be completed in four years; however, depending upon the student and his/her dissertation research, it may take longer. Most students graduate within 4-6 years.

5. I already have a master’s degree. Will this reduce my time to the PhD/EdD degree?

No. All students are required to have a master’s degree upon entering the program. Students who enter with graduate credits beyond the master’s level must still complete all program components. However, we will accept six transfer credits from graduate level courses taken beyond the master’s degree. 

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