PhD in Public Policy


The PhD 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. 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.