The Leadership and Education Policy concentration prepares Ph.D. students for academic and administrative positions in higher education, and leadership or research positions in schools, government agencies, think tanks, business, and non-profit organizations.

Program Coursework and Requirements

The program requires 12 credits in the LEP concentration, 15 credits in the LLEP core, 9 credits in research, and 15 credits of dissertation work. In addition, students are encouraged to take electives in consultation with their advisor. Students also must satisfy General Examination requirements after at least 75% of coursework has been completed. Finally, students must successfully defend a dissertation proposal and final dissertation to obtain their degree.


LLEP Core Courses (15 credits)

  • EDLR 5201 — Influences on Adult Learning
  • EDLR 5204 — Organizational Learning
  • EDLR 6313 — Educational Policy and Politics
  • EDLR 6467 — Social Justice Leadership, Equity, and Change
  • EDLR 6050 — Proposal/Prospectus Development

Leadership and Education Policy Concentration Courses (12 credits minimum)

  • EDLR 6314 — Legal Issues in Organizational Management
  • EDLR 6464 — Seminar: Leadership and School Organizations
  • EDLR 6322 — Economics of Education and School Finance
  • EDLR 6323 — History of K-12 Education Reforms

Research Courses (9 credits minimum, with at least 3 credits in either quantitative or qualitative)

Can be used to meet Graduate School 6-credit minimum Related Area requirement

  • EDCI 6000 — Qualitative Methods of Educational Research
  • EDLR 6052 — Qualitative Methods of Educational Research II
  • EDCI 6005 — Advanced Methods of Qualitative Research
  • EPSY 5605 — Quantitative Methods in Research I
  • EPSY 5607 — Quantitative Methods in Research II
  • Other research courses as appropriate, such as EPSY 5610, EPSY 5613, EPSY 5621

Graduate School Required Doctoral Dissertation Research (15 credits minimum)

  • GRAD 6950 — Doctoral Dissertation Research

General Examination

The Graduate School requires that students successfully pass a General Examination. The exam for students in the LEP program concentration may take one of two forms:

  1. a four-part General Examination Themes Paper to which students will respond in writing, up to 25 pages in length or
  2. a Qualifying Paper of publishable format and quality.


Dissertations may be completed in one of two formats with the supervision and approval of the student’s Advisory Committee. Option 1 follows a “traditional” chapter format. Option 2 consists of scholarly articles (i.e., manuscripts of publishable or submit-able quality) with brief introductory and concluding chapters.

LEP faculty. [Links to LEP faculty page.]


The Leadership and Education Policy Concentration in the Learning, Leadership, and Education Policy (LLEP) Ph.D. prepares individuals to:

  • Develop an understanding of multiple dimensions of leadership, as well as conditions enabling leadership for change
  • Apply a range of policy frameworks to better understand how education policy is created, implemented, and evaluated
  • Critically examine important questions in the field using rigorous research methodologies
  • Construct theoretical models based on sound empirical research to guide practice and policy
  • Apply lenses of social justice and organizational change to work in and with complex organizations

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of funding opportunities are there?

Applicants interested in funding opportunities should indicate so in the appropriate section of the Graduate School application. Two options are generally available: competitive university-wide fellowships offered by the Graduate School and graduate assistantships provided on a funding-available basis. If provided, graduate assistantships are designed to provide experience directly relevant to their advisor’s research. Income from assistantships may aid a student over the course of their studies; however, it is important for students to appreciate that assistantships, if provided, are not guaranteed. Summer funding may not be available or may be dispersed late into the summer. According to the graduate school, “The holder of a full assistantship devotes one-half of available time to studies and one-half (approximately 20 hours per week) to assistantship duties, while the holder of a half assistantship ordinarily devotes three-quarters of available time to studies and one-quarter (approximately 10 hours per week) to assistantship duties.” Students with assistantships have a lower academic credit minimum (6 credits per semester versus 9 for unfunded) to accommodate their assistantship project. We encourage prospective applicants to review the Graduate School information on tuition and fees, and financing options.

What important notes should students consider?

We strongly encourage filling out your FAFSA as early in the application process as possible – even if you have not sent in applications for admission. The FAFSA application is a generic application. Do not forget to send FAFSA results to the school. Students with graduate assistantships should be aware that school fees are not covered by a tuition waiver (but can be covered by student loans). The current rates for school fees are available via the Bursar’s Office (typically amount to about $1,000). These are due prior to class registration.

The Office of Financial Aid typically offers loan money to both funded and unfunded students. This is based on anticipated needs for rent and other living expenses (more information available through The Office of Financial Aid). The Office of Financial Aid will determine the amount you are eligible to receive (on average, funded students are offered under $10,000 each semester, which is split between subsidized and unsubsidized student loans).

The Graduate Student Senate also offers short-term, interest-free loans in case of an emergency to graduate students performing coursework on the Storrs campus (in addition to students in the Public Policy or Marine Sciences programs). To qualify for the loan, students must also be in good financial standing with the university. Additional information on these interest-free loan opportunities, including supplementary criteria, can be found online.

The Graduate School also offers a list of internal and external funding opportunities available for students.

Where can I get information about financial aid?

We strongly encourage filling out your FAFSA as early in the application process as possible – even if you have not sent in applications. Do not forget to send FAFSA results to the university.

How do I apply for a graduate assistantship?

There is no formal application process for graduate assistantships in the LEP Program. Indicate your interest in a position on your application. A limited number of assistantships are available through the department. It is advisable to work with your prospective advisor to pursue assistantship opportunities that may be available.

What types of assistantships are available?

Most graduate assistantships involve research. There are also some opportunities for teaching. That experience is outlined and managed by the faculty member. It is advisable to contact those offices and work with your prospective advisor to pursue assistantship opportunities.

What are the financial benefits of an assistantship?

In recognition of these assistantships' support, the tuition and a portion of health care (but not fees) are provided by the grant/contract funding agency or through the University.

Please visit the Graduate School's dedicated GA Resources page for more information.

Outside Employment

The Residence Requirement of the University of Connecticut requires that a student devote “full-time effort to studies, without undue distraction caused by outside employment”. In addition, funded students may not work outside of their assistantship without prior approval from their advisor. According to this policy, your advisory committee may record and report a “description of the nature, extent, and period(s) of outside employment” to the graduate school as part of your Plan of Study. Please discuss your plans with your advisor in advance. We recommend that students inquire about loan programs available through Financial Aid to offset costs of attendance if necessary.

Where are recent graduates of the program working?

Graduates typically seek positions in academia or research organizations. For instance, recent graduates have taken faculty positions at such institutions as Montclair State University; other graduates are working at government agencies, such as senior analyst at the Texas Education Agency.

How is the LEP Ph.D. program different from the department’s Ed.D. program?

The Leadership & Education Policy Ph.D. concentration is distinct from the Educational Leadership Department’s Ed.D. in several ways. Our LEP Ph.D.:

  • is designed for students interested in becoming researchers or working in academic settings
  • caters to full-time students who often can work on campus in graduate assistantships (depending on available funding)
  • emphasizes courses in research methods (many advanced courses are required or recommended)

The Ed.D.:

  • is designed for practitioners and accommodates full-time professionals
  • places an emphasis on a student’s problem of practice
  • a capstone research project is completed instead of a dissertation
  • is cohort-based

Contact Us

Reach out to Casey Cobb, LEP Coordinator, for more information.