Skip to navigation menu

Skip to main content

Ph.D in Education Leadership Program
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University
Program Description

Site Navigation

Program Description

The Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership is fortuitously housed in the Department of Organization and Leadership at Teachers College and draws upon the strengths of a world-class faculty in Adult Development, Education Leadership and Organizational and Social Psychology. Our Education Leadership Ph.D. program has two lines of inquiry and research -- or simply put, two distinct tracks:

* Leadership for Adult Development (LAD)
* Leadership and Organizational Development (LOD) 

Both tracks are aimed at preparing future university professors to conduct research and to teach leadership at the graduate school level. While students in both tracks will enroll in core (required) quantitative and qualitative research methods courses together, they will take methodological and substantive courses independently in order to best support their development as university scholars.

Regardless of track, our Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership is highly selective and designed for full-time graduate students (two to three are admitted each year). It is a requirement of the Ph.D. program that you be enrolled full-time for at least two years. Both tracks in our Ph.D. program are for individuals who desire deep educational experiences, excellence in theory, research and teaching, and intensive mentoring and who are preparing to assume the responsibilities of the professorship at leading research universities. Through coursework, research, assistant teaching, research assistantships, faculty mentoring, and close working relationships with faculty members and fellow graduate students, doctoral students are provided with advanced training in the theory, research methods, and applications of adult development and social-organizational psychology. Thus, students gain critical knowledge and skills that encompass both research and teaching.

More information about the Leadership for Adult Development (LAD) track:

* The LAD track has an adult development focus, namely to support individual and group growth through the theoretical and research lenses of adult development and adult learning.
* Students in the LAD track will be expected to engage in research that is primarily qualitative in nature.
* A unique aspect of the LAD track is an intensive experience of understanding and learning how to support adult development and adult learning at the individual and group level, a deep understanding of what is needed to shape organizational contexts to support this, and an experience of learning from doing so to enhance your university practices.

More information about the Leadership and Organizational Development (LOD) track:

* The LOD track emphasizes a theoretical and research focus on the leadership of groups, institutions and organizations from an organizational and social psychology perspective.
* Students in the LOD track will engage in research that is primarily quantitative (e.g., large scale data sets, survey research and developmental assessments exploring leadership in the context of groups, institutions and organizations).
* A unique aspect of the LOD track is a wide breadth of coverage including human resource management, organizational behavior, organizational change, leadership, conflict and negotiation, coaching, diversity, motivation, power and authority, group processes, and organizational dynamics.

Some unique aspects of the Education Leadership Ph.D. program overall include:

* The integration of adult development, social and organizational psychology
* A theoretical research and applied focus on understanding multiple levels of organizational functioning from individuals to groups to organizations as a whole, and the dynamic interaction among these levels
* An emphasis on both qualitative and quantitative research methods to address organizational and individual issues
* Opportunities to engage in basic research, applied research, and graduate level teaching
* Faculty trained in a broad array of disciplines including leadership theory and practice, adult development, social psychology, organizational behavior and group dynamics
* Opportunities to present at national conferences and to co-author with faculty

In summary, our Ph.D. programs in both tracks are very high-level research programs designed to prepare those who aspire to become university faculty (academics) to teach and conduct research in Education Leadership (preparing leaders) in universities. Our program is for individuals who are very clear that they are committed to a career as a university faculty member who will prepare the next generation of educational leaders.

Prospective Students