PhD in Public Policy

PhD in Public Policy with a Concentration in Educational Leadership and Policy

The Ph.D. in Public Policy with a Concentration in Educational Leadership and Policy is a partnership between the Policy, Planning and Management Program within the Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service and the Educational Leadership Program within the School of Education and Human Development under the College of Management and Human Service. It is a post-masters 45 credit hour cohort program designed for experienced educational leaders who are employed throughout the duration of the program. The program integrates courses in public policy, educational policy and leadership, and dissertation research.  Through the program, educational leaders develop the policy and research skills to influence educational policy and practice.

The public policy curriculum at the Muskie School prepares students to understand and analyze problems from diverse political, economic, and ethical perspectives; identify and implement innovative policy solutions and strategies; and lead, facilitate, and enhance civic discourse, public-private cooperation, and organizational and community development. A comprehensive examination focused on the public policy side will strengthen our students’ capabilities in melding their expertise in educational leadership with the theoretical and analytical tools and techniques of policy practitioners.

Core public policy courses in the Ph.D. are complemented with training in education leadership and policy provided by the USM School of Education and Human Development (SEHD). The concentration in educational leadership and policy encompasses a range of educational policy and leadership topics and issues. In addition, the program benefits from SEHD’s Center for Education Policy, Applied Research and Evaluation (CEPARE), which is also the home of the Maine Education Policy Research Institute (MEPRI).  Students have the opportunity to participate in the Center’s research and use that policy research as cases for learning.

EFFECTIVE FALL 2016

The Ph.D. in Public Policy with a Concentration in Educational Leadership and Policy is a collaborative program offered by the faculties of the Muskie School of Public Policy and the School of Education and Human Development. It is a 45 credit-hour cohort program is designed for experienced educational leaders who are employed throughout the duration of the program. The program integrates courses in public policy, educational policy and leadership, and dissertation research. After the second year of the program, students will complete a substantial part of a dissertation proposal that will be assessed to qualify them for continuation in the program. The partial proposal will include a problem statement, a stated hypothesis or research question, a theoretical base, and literature review.

Ph.D. in Public Policy with a Concentration in Educational Leadership and Policy
(45 credits)

Policy courses (12 credits):

  • PPM 610 Government, Democracy and Public Policy Making
  • PPM 611 Economics for Policy, Planning and Management
  • PPM 615 Organizational Theory, Management, and Leadership
  • PPM 620 Introduction to Policy Analysis

Educational Leadership and Research Courses (24 credits)

  • EDU 701 Foundations of Education Policy and Research (6 credits, 3 each semester)
  • EDU 702 Contemporary Issues in Educational Leadership and Implications for Policy
  • EDU 705 Data Collection and Analysis in Education Research (6 credits, 3 each semester)
  • EDU 706 Evidence-based Practice and Programs (6 credits)
  • EDU 708 Dissertation Proposal Seminar (3 credits)

Dissertation (9 credits)

  • EDU 799 Dissertation in Education (9 credits)

A comprehensive exam will be held at the end of spring 2018 or during summer 2018.

Course Descriptions

PPM 610 Governance, Democracy, and Public Policymaking

This course examines the relationship between the political process, public policymaking, and decision making. Topics include public policy formulation, adoption, implementation, and evaluation; the role of policy actors and stakeholders; effective policy communication; and the examination of contemporary public policy issues. Cr 3.

PPM 611 Economics for Policy, Planning and Management

This course introduces students to the basic concepts and analytical tools of microeconomics and demonstrates how these concepts are used in analyzing public policy problems and designing appropriate responses. The course assumes little or no familiarity with economics; students who have taken undergraduate courses in microeconomics will generally find the public policy focus of the course useful. Cr 3.

PPM 615 Organizational Theory, Management, and Leadership

This foundational course considers contemporary perspectives, issues and strategies regarding the management of public sector organizations, the importance of public service and provides a basic understanding of public management theory and the application of theory to governmental and other public and nonprofit sector institutions. Topics covered include a wide range of public management concerns including community governance and public participation, managing collective action, partnership and collaboration, strategy and innovation, nonprofit service delivery, leadership and trust. The course prepares students to become public and nonprofit managers and leaders of public and not-for-profit institutions who can enhance the capability of these institutions. The course presents a realistic view of effective management and leadership in government and nonprofit organizations and the ways in which these organizations work and interact, and focuses on the creation of social and public value, keeping in mind that economic and private value creation is often a part of public and non-profit management. Cr 3.

PPM 620 Introduction to Policy Analysis

The first part of the course covers the theoretical and conceptual frameworks that guide policy analysis, including neoclassical microeconomics and its extensions and political economic theories of distributive justice, public choice, and government failure. The second part of the course covers the steps of policy analysis process (problem identification and definition, specification of policy solutions, and the evaluation and comparison of the solutions) and the various data collection and analytic techniques used at each step. Real-life examples and case studies are used throughout to provide concrete illustrations of the components of policy analysis. The course will enable students to critically evaluate policies, policy analyses, and the policy analysis process itself. Cr 3.

EDU 701 Foundations of Education Policy and Research

This six hour, two-semester course follows PPM 707.  It focuses on selected educational reform policies from historical, social, and political perspectives and the research designs that are appropriate for studying them empirically. Students will engage in careful readings and critical analyses of primary, empirical, and peer-reviewed studies of educational reform policy formation and implementation, and they will examine appropriate designs for doctoral research along these lines. The reform policies that will be considered will reflect recurring issues and the dilemmas they pose for educational leaders. These include, but are not limited to: multiple and conflicting educational aims and purposes, upgrading the teaching profession (preparation, recruitment, retention, development), evaluating student achievement and teaching effectiveness, reducing inequalities in student opportunities and outcomes, and the interplay between corporate and non-corporate models of schooling. The following research designs will be emphasized: qualitative and mixed methods case studies, interview studies, content analyses, survey research, correlation studies, experimental studies, and ex-post /causal comparative studies. As part of the course, students will be introduced to doctoral faculty and their areas of research. Prerequisites: Acceptance into the Ph.D. program and successful completion of PPM 707. Cr 6 (three each semester).

EDU 702: Contemporary Issues in Education Policy and Leadership

This course builds on EDU 701 and examines the role of the local, state, and federal government in creating educational policy to address contemporary education-related issues, and the impacts and challenges they pose for leadership in the context of federal, state, and local environments. As a group and individually, students will engage in careful readings and critical analyses of position papers, primary, empirical, and peer-reviewed studies that deal with current issues in educational policy drawn from various topics and from diverse political paradigms. Prerequisites: Successful completion of EDU 701. Cr 3.

EDU 705 Data Collection and Analysis in Education Research

This six hour, two-semester course follows EDU 701.  This course focuses on mixed methods for conducting research in education policy and leadership.  The course’s emphasis is on the quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis that are appropriate for studying issues in the fields of education policy and leadership.  Students will develop research questions and appropriate data collection and analysis methods for studying these questions.  The following research designs will be emphasized: qualitative and mixed methods case studies, interview studies, survey research, correlation studies, experimental studies, and ex-post /causal comparative studies.  Prerequisites: Acceptance into the Ph.D. program and successful completion of EDU 701. Cr 6 (three each semester).

EDU 706 Evidence Based Analysis: Policy, Programs, and Accountability Systems

This course focuses on conducting evidence-based reviews and analyses of the design, implementation, and impacts of current international, national, and state education policy, policy initiatives, and education reforms. Using the frameworks articulated by researchers and policy analysts such as Canon, Rushcamp & Freeman (1990), Spillane (1996), Hill (2001), students will analyze approaches countries, states, and school districts take in implementing education policy. Phase I of the course will focus on an analysis of educational reform efforts in American states as well as comparisons of US national efforts with those of other countries. Review of international assessment systems and educational commentary will be examined in light of reform efforts. Phase II of the course will focus on using evidence from Phase I to construct accountability systems for monitoring and assessing the impacts of reform efforts both nationally and in Maine. Students will examine state and local policy implementation, develop accountability systems, and present their reports to state policy makers.  Prerequisites: Successful completion of EDU 701. Cr 6, three each semester.

EDU 708 Dissertation Proposal Seminar

This course is designed to lead students through the process of completing a dissertation proposal. At the end of the course, students will have completed a dissertation proposal that includes: a problem statement, complete research review, a research question, hypotheses, if appropriate and a methodology section. The course will address each of the proposal components in a recursive fashion, developing, sharing, and refining of content. Students will be expected to work closely with their dissertation chair in finalizing the proposal. Successful completion and dissertation committee approval of the proposal are prerequisites for continuation toward the dissertation. Prerequisites: Successful completion of EDU 706 and EDU 707. Cr 3.

EDU 799 Dissertation in Education

This course is designed to lead students through the process of completing a dissertation. At the end of the course, students will have completed a dissertation that includes: a problem statement and research questions, a review of research, data collection and analysis, findings and implications. The course will address each of the components in a dissertation in a recursive fashion, developing, sharing, and refining of content. Students will be expected to work closely with their dissertation chair and other committee members in finalizing the dissertation. Students must register for a total of nine dissertation credits to graduate. Successful completion of the dissertation and oral presentation to the dissertation committee and their approval are prerequisites for completing the Ph.D. (9 credits required). Prerequisites: Successful completion of EDU 708. Variable credit of 1-6 for a total of 9 credits.

 

The Ph.D. in Public Policy with a Concentration in Educational Leadership and Policy admits students on a three-year cohort cycle. We are currently not accepting admission applications until a call goes out in 2019.

FOR FALL 2019 COHORT

Admission Deadline: TBD for spring 2019
The application and all supporting materials must meet the deadline including GRE test results. 

Minimum Requirements:

Minimum Requirements: Candidates should have a master's degree in public policy, education, or a related field with a minimum GPA of 3.25. Applicants who do not have a 3.25 overall GPA must enclose a letter asking for special consideration, in which they provide evidence of an ability to complete doctoral studies successfully. Without such a letter, applicants who fail to meet eligibility requirements may be automatically denied.

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required. See below for details.

Application Submission Address:

  • Candidates should submit all application materials to the Application Processing Center, University of Maine System, P.O. Box 412, Bangor, ME 04402-0412. Electronic transcripts and other application materials can be emailed to: edocs@maine.edu

Application must include:

  • A submitted online graduate admission application;
  • The application fee of $65.00;
  • Test scores from the GRE (see below);
  • Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine system. A transcript is official when it comes directly from the institution. If an applicant is submitting an official transcript, it must be in a sealed envelope from the institution indicating that it is an official document. If the envelope has been opened prior to arriving at the Office of Graduate Admissions, it is no longer considered an official transcript;
  • Two letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant's knowledge of current scholarship, capacity to connect theory and practice in posing and solving educational problems, achievement of excellence in educational practice, and demonstrated capability and motivation to engage in doctoral study. References should be from individuals who are qualified, through direct experience with your academic or professional work.  One of these individuals should be your supervisor.  Your supervisor and the other person writing a letter of reference on your behalf should comment on your qualities and experience as an educational leader and/or your ability to undertake doctoral level graduate study. Recommendations are submitted using our online application form. You will need to provide the name and email address for each of your recommenders during the application process. Once you submit your application, an email will be automatically generated to your recommenders directing them to fill out the electronic letter of recommendation;
  • Essay (see below);
  • Certification of finances (international students only);
  • Submission of official TOEFL or IELTS scores (if English is not first language);
  • Current resume.

Special Essay Question

In addition to the general requirements of the program, candidates for the Ph.D. in Public Policy with a Concentration in Educational Leadership and Policy should address the following questions. Both essay questions are required.

The essay questions are as follows:

1. Describe your professional background and goals. How does the Ph.D. in Public Policy: Concentration in Educational Leadership and Policy fit with these and what makes you a good candidate for this program? (500 words)

2. Identify an education policy and describe it. What research evidence is there related to the policy’s impact, and how might you design further research to investigate the policy’s impact? (750 words)

If you submit your essays separate from your online application, please be sure that your name is clearly stated on the document.

Testing Requirement

The GRE is required. Applicants must have earned a score of either 1,000 points or above (for tests taken before 9/1/2011) or 300 or above (for tests taken on or after 9/1/2011) on the combined Verbal and Quantitative subtests of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE must be taken within the last five years.

Applicants who did not score 300 combined on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE must enclose a letter asking for special consideration, in which they provide evidence of an ability to complete doctoral studies successfully. Without such a letter, applicants who fail to meet eligibility requirements may be automatically denied.

If English is not your language you must submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores. You must have earned a score of at least 550 on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), 79 or higher on the Internet-based test, or 213 on the computer-based test, or an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher for students whose native language is not English.