» Ph.D. in Education Emphases

The Attallah College Ph.D. in Education program offers a unique combination of four emphases:

  • Cultural and Curricular Studies
  • Disability Studies
  • Leadership Studies
  • School Psychology

Cultural and Curricular Studies (CCS)

The Cultural and Curricular Studies (CCS) emphasis prepares students who are seeking careers in teaching and research-oriented institutions in ethically, culturally, and politically relevant ways. Our graduates have found positions as school principals, university professors, community organizers, and administrators in higher education.

CCS provides candidates with opportunities to develop deeper understandings of social inequities, equipping them with the skills and knowledge to advance reform in diverse local and international communities. This emphasis is committed to familiarizing students with leading trends in educational theory, curriculum design, policy analysis, and philosophy. Honoring the histories, values, and practices of different and overlapping social and cultural groups, the program prepares graduates to understand, critique, and transform cultural practices within a variety of educational settings.

The CCS emphasis is dedicated to racial, cultural, gender, religious, ability, and sexual diversity among students and faculty. Students will engage with recent developments in critical pedagogy, ethnic studies and bilingualism, critical race theory, feminist theories, ecopedagogy, decolonizing theories and practices, and policy formation. In collaboration with faculty, each student will have the opportunity to select a specific area for critical analysis and reflection. Specialization areas are based upon faculty research and interests and include global studies, LBGTQIA identities, culturally responsive methodologies, ecopedagogy, and ethical and just communities. Depending on the availability of faculty, students may also have the opportunity to participate in deeper studies through the Paulo Freire Democratic Project.

The Cultural and Curricular Studies emphasis requires 57 credits composed of (1) foundations and philosophy, (2) inquiry courses, (3) emphasis core courses and electives, (4) and the dissertation.

Disability Studies (DS)

This emphasis explores disability as a social construct and investigates new ways to think about, educate, and support people who learn differently. Consequently, this emphasis examines disability as a social, linguistic, physiological, cultural, economic, historical, and political phenomenon. Challenging past and even current paradigms requires a deep and rigorous understanding of the literature in disability, special education, general education, and related areas. Graduates will become faculty members in colleges or universities or take leadership positions in the field. They will think critically, act collaboratively, be effectual with various methods of inquiry, and be ethical and exemplary in their service of improving the lives of people with disabilities.
The Disability Studies emphasis requires 57 credits composed of (1) foundations and philosophy, (2) inquiry courses, (3) emphasis core courses and electives, (4) and the dissertation.

Leadership Studies (LS)

This emphasis prepares students to seek careers in pre-K through 12, higher education, other research-oriented leadership positions and positions of leadership applied to many different settings. The program focuses on new ways to think about leadership issues and how to find and solve problems locally, globally and virtually. Students will study ways to create, build and sustain responsible change within individuals, communities, networks and organizations. These students will see themselves as life-long learners, moral agents and engaged citizens who value self-awareness, inclusive, and diverse communities and who build and sustain broad-based leadership capacity. These students will utilize an interdisciplinary perspective and multiple research methodologies when studying topics in leadership and sustainable change.
The Leadership Studies emphasis requires 57 units composed of (1) foundations and philosophy, (2) inquiry courses, (3) emphasis core courses and electives, (4) and the dissertation.

School Psychology (SP)

This emphasis prepares students to become teachers and researchers at college and universities and leaders in school psychology at state, national, and international levels. The program is accredited through the International School Psychology Association (ISPA). The program is an institutional member of the Council of Directors of School Psychology Programs, an organization of doctoral programs in school psychology. Following guidelines recommended by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), the emphasis extends and expands specialist’s or master's level education in school psychology through in-depth exploration of research, theories, and practices that lead to positive outcomes for all students.

Doctoral preparation will focus on using data effectively to make decisions and evaluate outcomes, developing systems that meet the needs of all students, enhancing cognitive and academic skills, and enhancing the development of wellness, mental health, and life competencies. In addition, NASP guidelines require 1,500 clock hours of supervised internship.  Students may choose from the following:

  • Clinical internship (necessary if you plan to pursue licensure as a psychologist)
  • School-based internship
  • Leadership and policy internship
  • Higher education teaching internship

The School Psychology emphasis requires 48 units composed of (1) foundations and philosophy, (2) inquiry courses, (3) emphasis core courses and electives, (4) and the dissertation.

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Alumni Spotlights

Kim Dieu PhD Student with emphasis in School Psychology

“The Chapman Ph.D. Program with an emphasis in School Psychology has allowed me to develop personally and professionally. Its faculty has helped instill in me ethical values aimed at nourishing collaborative relationships with school staff and families."
— Kim Dieu '18



Charlotte Eversen PhD Student with emphasis in Culture Curricular Studies
“I appreciate that my education at Chapman encouraged and celebrated the pursuit of authentic scholarship. I am especially thankful that in the course of my doctoral studies, faculty challenged both my known and unknown assumptions regarding social justice and my role as a societal change activist."
— Charlotte Eversen '16

Student Spotlight

Sherilyn Kile, Ph.D. student
“The flexibility and format of the Chapman Ph.D. in Education program allows working professionals to expand their educational pursuits. Because of the cohort model, students from various academic disciplines are offered a unique opportunity to engage in cross-disciplinary, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary scholarly activities. Most of all, my favorite parts of the program include easy access to distinguished faculty and staff. Everyone at Chapman not only challenges you academically but encourages you to turn those challenges into opportunities for growth and self-transformation.”
— Sherilyn Kile, Ph.D. student