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Attallah College of Educational Studies

Become a Scholar

» Ph.D. in Education from Chapman University

The Ph.D. in Education program is intended primarily for individuals seeking a career in higher education or in other research-oriented leadership fields. The program focuses on the formulation of new ways to think about issues and solve problems in the field of education. The Ph.D. in Education offers a unique combination of four emphases: Cultural and Curricular Studies, Disability Studies, Leadership Studies and School Psychology.

Our Ph.D in education is characterized by four distinct, yet interwoven, components:

  1. The notion and practice of social justice
  2. Student collaboration supported by student cohorts
  3. Faculty mentorship of students
  4. A rigorous core of philosophy, foundations and methods of the respective emphasis area 

Chapman's Ph.D. in Education program admits one new cohort each fall.

Fall 2020 Priority Application Deadline:
May 30, 2020

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Program at a Glance

  • Cohort model with entry each fall
  • Cohort of 14 students each year
  • 4 emphasis areas: A 57 unit program that can be completed full time or part time study
    • Cultural and Curricular Studies
    • Disability Studies
    • School Psychology
    • Leadership Studies
  • All classes are held in the late afternoons or evenings
  • Low student-to-faculty ratio, with close collaboration between students and doctoral faculty on publications, presentations, and grant proposals

Admissions Requirements

Acceptance into the program is based on an evaluation of the whole student, with no single criterion used to base an admission decision. There are no cut-off scores for the GRE or GPA. 

To be considered for admission, applicants must submit the following:

  1. Online graduate application to the Chapman University Ph.D. in Education program.
  2. Supplemental application to the Chapman University Ph.D. in Education program (through online application).
  3. Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts showing evidence of a master's degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
  4. Official Graduate Record Examination results in the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections.
  5. Two letters of recommendation to include one from graduate-level professors who can describe the academic potential of the applicant, and one from someone who can speak to the applicant's professionalism (e.g.,  a current employer or a current colleague). Letters from relatives will not be considered.
  6. A personal essay (minimum 2,250 words) will be used to assess the applicant's writing skills, career commitment, leadership potential, research interests, and professional goals (uploaded through the online application). This essay should indicate the professors with whom the applicant wishes to study and the ways in which the applicant's research interests align with faculty expertise. The essay should be substantive enough for the faculty to determine the depth of the applicant's thinking and commitment to a rigorous program.
  7. A current resume showing relevant education and work experience (uploaded through the online application).

Attend an Information Session to find out more about the Ph.D. in Education program!
Register for the next Information Session here

You will be sent a free parking permit for the event.

Program Video

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Chapman University located?

Chapman University is located in the City of Orange, California, near historic Old Towne Orange. Our beautiful campus is centrally located in Orange County, a short distance from the 5, 55, 22, and 91 freeways.

When are Ph.D. classes held?

All classes are held in the late afternoon and evenings, between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday. 

What is the cost of the program?

Tuition for the 2020–2021 academic year is $1,510/credit.
Tuition Details » 

How long does the program take to complete?

Program course completion takes three to four years if enrolled full time or four to five years if enrolled part time, both with intense summer work. Time to complete doctoral dissertations varies by candidate. See the Doctoral Handbook for details about the dissertation phases.

When is the application deadline?

Chapman admits one cohort per year (fall) to the Ph.D. in Education program. See the graduate admission webpage for all Attallah College application deadlines.

Where can I mail my supporting documents?

Chapman University
Office of Graduate Admission
One University Dr.
Orange, CA 92866

How do I submit my letters of recommendation?

Your letters of recommendation will be submitted electronically through the online application. On the left-hand side of the online application you will be asked to input the name and email address of your recommenders. They will receive an email with information on submitting your letter of recommendation electronically. We do not accept written letters of recommendation directly from the student.

How do I receive more information?

The Attallah College of Educational Studies offers monthly graduate information sessions. These sessions are great opportunities to obtain further information about the program and meet with the program coordinator.

To request further information about Chapman University's Graduate Programs, please complete the form at the link below so that the Office of Graduate Admission can send you more information about life as a Panther.
Request Information »

Transition from the Ed.S. in School Psychology to Ph.D. in Education- School Psychology Emphasis

Applicants to the Ed.S. in School Psychology program who are interested in the Ph.D. in Education may, with approval of the Program Coordinator, substitute 6 credits of doctoral level coursework for 6 credits of Ed.S. coursework.  Upon completion of the Ed.S. degree, students can apply for regular admission to the Ph.D. in Education program and, if admitted, will begin the program with 6 of the 48 credits needed for the Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in School Psychology. Please see the School Psychology Program Coordinator for more details.

Program Director and Faculty

Dawn Hunter, Ph.D.Dawn Hunter, Ph.D.
Program Director and Faculty

Dr. Dawn Hunter Professor and Director of the Ph.D. Program at Chapman University earned her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to her work at Chapman, Dr. Hunter worked for the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs in Washington, D.C. Dr. Hunter's experience also includes teaching high school students and adults with severe disabilities, designing and coordinating educational, vocational, residential and recreational programs for students with disabilities, and monitoring the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) at the federal level. 

Dr. Hunter has publications in the areas of inclusive schooling, building collaborative partnerships, positive behavioral support strategies for students with challenging behaviors, changing attitudes toward persons with disabilities, post secondary options for students with disabilities, vocational and leisure skills training, policy development, and systems change.



Attallah College is proud to have the first research-based doctorate at Chapman University and Ph.D. Scholarships help attract the best and brightest doctorate candidates to our community. These candidates and their research will bring immeasurable value to Chapman in the years to come. If you are interested in helping with scholarships for our Ph.D. students please visit the Student Scholarships page for more information on how you can donate!

Contact Us

Dawn Hunter, Ph.D.
Professor and Director of the Ph.D. in Education Program
(714) 744-7674

Leslie Fierro
Administrative Coordinator
(714) 628-7299

Information Sessions

To learn more about the Attallah College Ph.D. in Education program, please register for an Information Session. 

Need More Information?

For information on Financial Aid, tuition and fees, and more, please visit the pages below:

Financial Aid »

2020–2021 Tuition »

Doctoral Handbook »

Margaret Vento-Wilson ’19

“Chapman’s Ph.D. in Education program was far and away my first choice based on the backgrounds and expertise of the professors, the depth and complexity of the coursework, and the design of the program itself. I use the skills I gained in the program every single day in my work. The ready access to my instructors, their belief in me, their support of my work, and their expertise and compassion were all remarkable.”

- Margaret Vento-Wilson ’19