Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education and Social Change

Chair or Program Director: 

Robert B. Cooter, Jr., Ed.D., Dean
Bellarmine Office Building 326, Phone 502.272.8076,

John Sizemore, M.Ed., Interim Chair of Advanced Graduate Education Programs
Bellarmine Office Building 320, Phone 502.272.7982,


Jean Green, Placement Director
Bellarmine Office Building 332, Phone 502.452.8191,


Anne B. Bucalos, Ed.D.; Sarah Bush, M.Ed.; Kathleen Cooter, Ph.D.; Christy McGee, Ed.D.; Theresa Magpuri-Lavell, Ed.D.; Corrie Orthober, PhD.; David Paige, Ed.D.; Lauren Pohl, M.A.; Belinda Richardson, Ed.D.; Kevin Thomas, Ph.D.; Chris Walsh, Ed.D.; Carl Williams, MAT; Dottie Willis, Ed.D.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Education and Social Change is a 60 credit hour program aimed at the development of highly skilled professionals who will act as “change agents” in improving the education of children living in poverty circumstances. The degree prepares graduates to work as leaders in a wide range of education-related vocations including not-for-profit agencies, family advocacy, learning and teaching research, social policy, leadership in public/private school venues or environments, and higher education. This cohort-based Ph.D. program is designed for working professionals and meets on selected weekends each term (Friday evenings 5:30-10pm/Saturday 8:30am-4pm). Coursework is accomplished in three years (two courses per term), and the dissertation is typically completed in the fourth year. The Ph.D. in Education and Social Change is not a certification or endorsement program for public school educators, but rather helps graduates attain advanced knowledge in such areas as quantitative and qualitative research practices, assets and challenges of children living in high poverty predicaments, development and diffusion of innovative education solutions, change management, and depth of knowledge in a chosen area of study related to improving learning for all citizens.

Requirements for Admission

Required of all applicants (including those from professions who work in venues related to educating the poor):

  • A minimum grade point average of 3.5 in all graduate coursework completed at the time of application.
  • An earned baccalaureate and masters degree in education (M.A., M.S.) or fields directly relevant to education.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • A resume.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required for all Ph.D. programs.
  • Students for whom English is a second language must submit an official score report of TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).
  • Submission of two essays, no more than 1000 words each, addressing the following questions:
    1. What new knowledge and skills do you expect to acquire from the Ph.D. in Education & Social Change Program?
    2. In what ways might you serve as a change agent in your career as a graduate of this program?
  • A formal interview with our doctoral program faculty.

Applicants actively involved in public, private, and parochial education must have the following:

  • Successful Teaching Experience; 5 years or more full time experience as the teacher of record in a P-12 setting must have either been achieved, or will be achieved by Year 2 of the program.
  • Must hold an entry-level degree (BA, BS, MAT) in education, and a master’s degree and/or substantial advanced coursework in a field such as: Reading/Literacy, Special Education, Mathematics Education or Science Education.

Applicants holding a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree:

  • Students holding an MAT degree, but who have not completed substantial advanced coursework beyond the MAT, may have required preparatory coursework before full admission into the PhD program.

For application information contact the  Office of Graduate Admission at 1.800.274.4723 x 8258, 502.272.7200, or  

Degree Requirements

Course Listing