Ph.D. in Education - Education Policy
With an emphasis on student-faculty mentoring and applied learning, our Education Policy Ph.D. program prepares graduates to directly impact educational policy through careers in academia or research organizations. This is a research-based, full-time program that is offered in Charlottesville only.
Policymakers at the federal, state and local levels are actively exploring strategies to improve educational outcomes for all students. Increasingly, these strategies include dramatic changes in the way schools are organized, in who teaches and how these teachers are prepared, and in how schools are held accountable for student outcomes. Unfortunately, there is little good evidence on which to base many of these important policy decisions. This has led to a growing need for careful, experimental and quasi-experimental and descriptive research to inform key education policy issues. Stay up to date with the Education Policy community by subscribing to our quarterly newsletter.
“The close mentorship and early immersion into research opportunities drew me to the Education Policy PhD program. The alumni I spoke to before deciding all underscored how well the faculty supported them as scholars and on the job market. To date, I've gotten involved in two research projects and I've enjoyed facetime with both faculty members and academics giving virtual talks amid the pandemic.”– Todd Hall, Education Policy Ph.D. student
The Curry program in Education Policy provides students with preparation that draws on a theoretical foundation and employs appropriate methods to offer evidence on important education policy questions. The program is organized on four conceptual components:
- Strong preparation in methods that permit causal inference
- A grounding in a social science discipline
- An understanding of the working of schools
- Working knowledge of the existing educational policy landscape and literature
While coursework is important to student preparation, a close mentoring relationship with faculty is crucial to the design of the program. Students work closely with faculty on research projects to examine the impact of a variety of educational policies on student outcomes. Graduates are prepared to take positions in academia or research organizations. Should prospective students wish to engage with our community, we hold regularly scheduled Internal Policy Labs throughout the academic year where students and faculty present their work to receive constructive feedback. Please email EdPolicyWorks@virginia.edu if you wish to attend one of these sessions to get a feel for our work and our community.
In addition to earning a Ph.D. in Education, many students pursue the MPP through UVA’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.
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Our Success Is Your Success
Best Grad School for Education Policy — U.S. News & World Report 2020
Application decisions will be released by February 15th.
Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required materials are submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be read and may be cancelled if left incomplete. Materials should be tracked using the checklist in the application.
The program faculty aims to provide financial support to all of its trainees so that they may focus their attention fully on their training experiences. A typical funding package includes (a) a minimum of $18,000 for 9 months in a combination of wages and stipends, (b) tuition and all mandatory fees, and (c) funds to cover student health insurance costs. Although the faculty cannot guarantee financial support, we work closely with students to identify means for funding that match their interests and goals. All applicants are automatically considered for funding. Possible sources include:
1. Research Assistantships
Applicants are automatically considered for research assistantships funded through faculty grants or the EDLF Department. A typical package through the Curry School provides tuition, health insurance, and a biweekly wages in return for 20 hours of weekly work.
2. IES-VEST Fellowships
In 2020, Curry was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences to fund the Virginia Education Science Training (VEST) program to train future leaders in education research. A limited number of fellowships are available each year and application is very competitive. All applicants to the Educational Policy PhD program are automatically considered for VEST Fellowships.
3. Federal Need-Based Financial Aid
To apply for need-based financial aid, applicants should submit: 1) Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to the U.S. Department of Education by February 1 and 2) University of Virginia Financial Aid Application (UFAA) form to the UVA Office of Student Financial Services by February 1. Please also see Curry’s Financial Aid page.
4. Additional Sources
Students are encouraged to apply for funding from other sources. A few options are listed below. If you are already receiving IES-VEST or UVA support, please contact your advisor to discuss the specifics of the grant you are applying for and how that would work with your current funding.
- Jacob K. Javits Fellowships Program (stipend of up to $30K/year)
- American Educational Research Association Minority Fellowship Program in Education Research ($25K for dissertation research)
- Spencer Foundation Fellowships ($25K for dissertation research)
- Curry Foundation Scholarships (ranging from a few hundred dollars to 10K)
5. Optional Monthly Payment Plan
If you will be paying for your tuition or part of your tuition yourself, please see information about billing and setting up monthly tuition payments on the Student Accounts website and contact Student Financial Services to discuss your payment options.
Graduates are prepared to take positions in academia as postdoctoral fellows or university faculty, or as education researchers in research organizations. Check out our recent Alum Placements here.
The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.