Graduate School of Education


Doctoral Degree Programs

The Graduate School of Education's doctoral program prepares the next generation of thought leaders and researchers in education. As a Ph.D. student, you can choose to specialize in one of the following areas: Education Policy Analysis and Leadership; Education, Society, and Culture; Educational Psychology; Higher Education Administration and Policy; School Psychology; or Special Education.

As a doctoral student, you'll work alongside cutting-edge faculty devising and conducting research that brings about positive change for students of all ages and abilities. You'll have opportunities to present research, co-author scholarly papers, and explore ideas with some of the most respected leaders in the field of education. Once you graduate with a doctorate, you’ll join a vibrant GSOE alumni network, and be prepared to enter a position in educational research, university teaching, local school leadership, or similar area.

Students Receive Multi-Year Fellowships
Student Travel Grants Awarded in 2018
Students Present at Professional Conferences

Ph.D. Areas of Specialization

  • Education Policy Analysis and Leadership

    The Education Policy Analysis and Leadership doctoral program prepares you for a career in guiding school policy towards equitable and effective solutions. As a student, you will learn to evaluate education policy and processes to determine if governmental and organizational policies are meeting the needs of students. You will also devise innovative, research-based solutions that provide a more satisfying and effective learning environment for students. You will study a rigorous curriculum under the guidance of instructors who are nationally recognized policy scholars in the fields of policy analysis and leadership.

    Curriculum Overview

    Meet the Faculty

  • Education, Society, and Culture

    The Education, Society, and Culture doctoral program provides you with knowledge you need to succeed in the expanding fields of educational researcher, university professor, or teacher-scholar. A federally-designated Hispanic-serving research university, UCR’s location, in the heart of inland Southern California, will provide you with rigorous methodological and conceptual tools to engage in research with diverse student populations, which fosters greater understanding of the 21st century’s growing K-16 challenges. You will work closely with distinguished professors on research projects exploring solutions to our nation’s most pressing educational challenges.

    Curriculum Overview

    Meet the Faculty

  • Educational Psychology

    Multiple career options are available to you when you earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology. Graduates of the program become educational researchers and university teachers. In addition, many take leadership positions with government agencies and private industry.

    UC’s Riverside campus in inland Southern California is ideally located for students to conduct research among the dynamic and ethnically diverse K-12 student populations in the region. As a Ph.D. student, you will collaborate with professors and other doctoral students on grant-funded research projects designed to enhance learning and the educational experience for students not only throughout California, but nationwide.

    Curriculum Overview

    Meet the Faculty

  • Higher Education Administration and Policy

    The Higher Education Administration and Policy doctoral program is ideal for those who want to engage in higher education policy research or have a deep desire to improve their administrative practice, this program is a rigorous immersion in theory and methodology that will provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to research and understand the complex challenges facing higher education administration and policymakers today. Among our students are faculty members, deans of community colleges, and administrators at state colleges and universities from throughout California. You will be a part of a small group of doctoral students who work closely in an almost apprentice-style relationship with faculty on funded research projects.

    Curriculum Overview

    Meet the Faculty

  • School Psychology

    Students in our American Psychological Association-accredited and National Association of School Psychologists-approved doctoral program benefit from our nationally recognized rigorous course of study and desirable location in the heart of the economically vibrant and demographically diverse Inland Empire. Our school psychologists are scientist-practitioners who contribute to the body of accumulated knowledge in the field while also addressing problems affecting K-12 pupils’ learning, behavior, and cognition.

    Students complete our program having earned their Ph.D. and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing credential in School Psychology. Graduates also have the opportunity to become Nationally Certified School Psychologists and licensed psychologists. Our graduates have in-demand skills and credentials that create ample opportunity for employment in either the public K-12 education sector or as faculty at postsecondary institutions in California and across the nation.

    Please note that this is traditional, full-time doctoral program. Students must complete a minimum of 3 full-time academic years of graduate study plus internship prior to receiving the Ph.D. At least 2 of the 3 years must be at UCR. The program is designed for completion of all program requirements, including internship and dissertation within 5 years, but about 30% take an additional year. Continuous enrollment is required.

    Curriculum Overview

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Students Admissions, Outcomes, and Data

    Meet the Faculty

  • Special Education

    The focal point of the Special Education doctoral program is clinical and applied research that adds to the knowledge base in understanding learning, behavioral, and cognitive difficulties, particularly as they manifest in development of interventions for children with learning disabilities and autism. The Graduate School of Education also houses the SEARCH Autism Center, where students can learn about assessment of autism in both clinic and school, be introduced to EEG and neuroscience for education, and pursue a research agenda under the guidance of faculty. Through your coursework and apprenticeship in any of our ongoing research projects and centers, you will learn how to conduct research using a variety of research methods, and design independent and collaborative studies in your area of specialization. A background in undergraduate or graduate-level special education studies and teacher certification are desirable, but not required. Candidates with background in special education and an ability to pursue the doctoral program full-time can reduce the time required to complete the degree, which is four years, on average.

    Curriculum Overview

    Meet the Faculty

Program Overview


Full-time study

In-person, seminar style classes

Main campus - Riverside

Most classes meet 4-7pm



Doctoral students are eligible to receive competitive fellowships:

Tuition remission

Health insurance

Researcher & teaching opportunities



Take advantage of research opportunities with award-winning faculty

Explore the array of research interests and centers

Student Spotlight

Emad Alussaif, Special Education Ph.D. Student

"My dream is to be a researcher, and GSOE's special education program is home to some of the world's top special education researchers. Faculty at GSOE provide us with the tools, methods, and knowledge that shape our way of thinking systematically and scientifically. The professors work closely with you, and are happy to help you anytime, no matter where you from are, what language you speak, or what type of help you seek. Here at GSOE, you are surrounded by the professionals who will take hold of your hand and help you achieve your goal."