Policy and Organizational Studies PhD


Learn more about the Doctor of Philosophy in Policy and Organizational Studies.

About the Program

The PhD in Policy and Organizational Studies is designed to prepare students for research-oriented work in the academy or other settings within the fields of education policy or organizational development. This program is structured to highlight the interdisciplinary nature of the fields and to build on the unique characteristics of Temple University, including its status as a diverse urban institution that emphasizes user-inspired, social justice-oriented, and community-connected scholarship.

The 48-credit post-master's doctoral program includes rigorous study of the theoretical and methodological foundations of Policy and Organizational Studies research combined with a focus on three specialized facets of the policy and organizational fields: Adult and Organizational Development, Higher Education, and Urban Education. The PhD in Policy and Organizational Studies is designed to be completed in four years.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: Students may matriculate either full- or part-time. Most courses are offered in the evening to accommodate working professionals. The length of time to complete the doctoral degree program varies depending on the number of courses taken each term.

Areas of Specialization: The program offers three areas of concentration:

  • Adult and Organizational Development
  • Higher Education
  • Urban Education

Job Prospects: Graduates are prepared for research-focused careers in academia and other institutions.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Students may take up to, but not more than, 9 credits of graduate study in the program before being admitted to the program. The credits transfer into the program, if the student is admitted. Students completing non-matriculated courses before being admitted to the program are NOT guaranteed admission.

Financing Opportunities: Financial support opportunities may include assistantships, fellowships, scholarships, tuition remission, graduate student employment, and other financial aid such as grants, loans and federal work study.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: December 1

Applications are accepted for the Fall term only. Applicants should submit all required admissions documents by the application deadline to receive priority consideration for admission and financial support.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained to provide insight regarding the applicant's academic competence. References from college/university faculty are recommended.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A master’s degree in a related field, with some exceptions, is required for admission to the program. Students who have completed a master’s degree with at least 30 credits will be designated as admitted with master’s degree.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A bachelor's degree is required. A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is expected.

International applicants should also submit an official document that validates completion and conferral of a degree, diploma and/or certificate. While not required, international applicants are encouraged to submit transcript(s) to the World Education Services (WES) for evaluation.

Statement of Goals: Using autobiographical style, explain your interest in pursuing a doctoral degree in education. The statement should address the following questions:

  • How have your personal, academic and professional experiences shaped your research interests, and how might a doctoral program in Policy and Organizational Studies help you explore those interests?
  • What academic and professional goals would the program help you to achieve upon graduating?
  • How does the doctoral program at Temple fit your individual interests, needs and future goals – and which faculty member’s research best matches your own interests?

Standardized Test Scores:
GRE: Not required, but scores from the general test taken no more than 5 years prior to application may be submitted.

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 79
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 68

Resume: Current resume required.

Writing Sample: The academic writing sample should be a paper written for a class within the last five years. If a recent paper is not available, the applicant should compose an op-ed piece on an educational issue of their choosing. The op-ed should be 400 to 1,200 words in length and of the kind that might appear in The New York Times or Philadelphia Inquirer.

Other Requirement: Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts from all accredited institutions attended and/or from which credit was earned must be submitted.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 48

Required Courses:

Core Courses
EDUC 5262Introduction to Qualitative Research3
EDUC 8402Policy Analysis3
EDUC 8403Understanding Social Science3
EDUC 8404Quantitative Analysis, Part I3
EDUC 8405Quantitative Analysis, Part II3
or HIED 8262 Advanced Practice-Based Qualitative Research in Higher Education
EDUC 9987Teaching Apprenticeship3
EPSY 8627Introduction to Research Design and Methods3
Advanced Methods Elective3
Concentration Courses 118
Research Courses 26
Dissertation Proposal Design
Doctor of Education Dissertation
Total Credit Hours48

Adult and Organizational Development Concentration

AOD 8101Training and Organizational Development: Theory and Research3
EDAD 8775Understanding Organizational Dynamics in Educational Settings3
EDUC 9991Research Apprenticeship3
Select one from the following:3
Negotiating Conflict
Organizational Development
Negotiation Processes
Third-Party Conflict Intervention
Training Design and Delivery
Team Development
Select one from the following:3
Managing Human Resources
SOC 5341
Classical Social Theory
SOC 8351
Total Credit Hours18

Higher Education Concentration

EDUC 9991Research Apprenticeship3
HIED 8101Advanced Seminar on Higher Education Administration3
HIED 8102Higher Education Economics and Finance3
HIED 8103Equity in Higher Education Policy and Practice3
HIED 8104Seminar on Theory in Higher Education and Leadership3
Total Credit Hours18

Urban Education Concentration

EDUC 9991Research Apprenticeship3
URBE 5417The Urban Environment3
URBE 5501Urban Schools3
URBE 5565The Origins of Urban Education3
Theory Elective3
Total Credit Hours18

Culminating Events:
Comprehensive Examination:
Students are required to complete their comprehensive examination by the end of their second year of doctoral studies. The specific nature of the examination is determined by the concentration selected by the student, but all comprehensive examinations require students to demonstrate proficiency in theory, research methodology, and discipline-specific content.

Proposal with Oral Defense:
The dissertation proposal demonstrates the student's knowledge of and ability to conduct the proposed research. Minimally, the proposal should contain the context and background surrounding a particular research problem; a survey and review of the literature to a sufficient degree to provide the reader with enough information to understand why the research is being conducted; a detailed methodological plan for investigating the problem; and a proposed timeline for completing the dissertation. The Doctoral Advisory Committee must approve the student's proposal, which is presented at a formal proposal defense.

Dissertation with Oral Defense:
The doctoral dissertation is an original piece of scholarship that makes a significant contribution to the field of Policy and Organizational Studies. A successful dissertation will be publishable in a refereed journal.

The Doctoral Advisory Committee oversees all aspects of the student's dissertation from the proposal to the oral defense. It is composed of three members of the Graduate Faculty. A member of the Policy, Organizational and Leadership Studies faculty typically chairs the committee. At least one faculty member from outside the program must be on the committee. The student chooses their committee in consultation with the selected chair. A student may petition for a change of chairperson or member of the Doctoral Advisory Committee. This petition must be approved by the Department Chair and by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies. Complete details about the dissertation process are available in the College of Education and Human Development Dissertation Handbook, which is available from the Dean's office.

The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the student's dissertation and oral defense. It is composed of the three members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee plus one additional faculty member, i.e., an outside examiner. One member may be assigned by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies. The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the dissertation and the student's ability to defend it. The committee votes to pass or fail the dissertation. The outcome of the defense is determined by majority vote.

Students who are preparing to defend their dissertation must confirm a date and time with the Dissertation Examining Committee. Notification of the date and time must then be submitted on the appropriate College form to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies no less than 3 weeks prior to the oral defense. The announcement of the oral defense is sent by the Associate Dean to the Graduate School no less than 10 days prior to the defense. A copy of the announcement is also sent to each member of the Dissertation Examining Committee and is posted on the bulletin board in the Office of Student Services of the College of Education and Human Development.


Program Web Address:


Department Information:

POLS PhD Program

College of Education and Human Development

1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6091



Submission Address for Application Materials:


Department Contacts:


Office of Enrollment Management