Degree: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Program: Teacher Education and Learning Sciences

Program Area of Study: Educational Equity

Delivery Method: On Campus

The Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Learning Sciences: Educational Equity program area of study (EE PAS) is designed for individuals interested in issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in K-12 and higher education. Graduates of the EE PAS will be prepared to assume academic careers as university faculty members (e.g., Professors of Teacher Education, Educational Leadership, or Multicultural Education) and/or administrators (e.g., Associate Dean for Diversity; Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity and Equal Opportunity). Graduates may choose to complete program experiences that will prepare them as scholars, advocates and activists, educators, and diversity trainers within business and industry, community organizations, educational and/or government institutions.

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Our Ph.D. in This Program Area of Study Addresses:


  • Educational equity and access
  • Multicultural education and literacy


  • Equity in STEM
  • Public engagement


  • Ethical/moral dimensions of school leadership
  • Diversity and equity in schools and communities

Program Details

The primary aim of the EE PAS is to provide graduate-level training to persons interested in being leaders who will transform educational institutions and their communities by addressing and reducing inequity. Education and training in the EE PAS is rooted in the assumption that equal opportunity is not available to all because of prejudice, discrimination, and systematic injustice. Research and analyses show that public policies, programs, and institutional practices generate inequitable outcomes in schools and that educational organizations have the responsibility and potential to focus on strategies and solutions for an equitable future. The goal of education, training, and professional development in the EE PAS is to celebrate and advance diversity and inclusion while naming, interrogating, and challenging oppression, exploitation, and marginalization within education at the local, state, national, and international levels. The program courses, research, and other activities will focus on issues of privilege and power relating to social identity groups (e.g., race/ethnicity, language, gender, sexuality, class, religion, ability, political viewpoints, etc.) in a range of educational contexts including universities, K-12 schools, business and industry, and community agencies/institutions. Furthermore, students will learn analysis, evaluation, and implementation of policies, programs, and practices to promote educational equity.

Faculty research interests in the PAS are broad and include: equity and diversity across the disciplines (e.g. literacy, stem, history); race/ethnicity; gender & sexuality; disability; diversity & leadership; community engagement; immigration; and language learning and acquisition.

The Graduate School outlines basic requirements for admission.

  • Current resumé
  • Personal statement detailing background and experiences with goals and commitment to doctoral studies. Include why you are interested in educational equity along with a description of previous work that has been undertaken in this realm. If relevant, please include a description of the faculty member with whom you hope to engage.
  • Three reference letters detailing relationship to applicant and discussing your work ethic/potential as a doctoral student.
  • 3.0 grade point average or higher at the master’s level
  • Completed application to the NC State Graduate School
  • Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related health, economic, and social challenges, GRE test scores are waived for applicants applying for all graduate programs in the College of Education for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. Read more about this decision.

The EE degree can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis.  The purpose of the core courses is to give students a common foundation in educational equity while the elective courses enable students to specialize within a particular equity and/or subject area. The core courses include:

ECI 507/707 Social Justice in Education–Provides a basic introduction to the principles of social justice education and its centrality in progressive policies and practices that address educational disparities. The goal is for students to develop strategies that lead to successfully incorporating the social justice approach in their scholarly and professional endeavors.

ECI 709 Educational Equity: Role of Policy and Law—Surveys K-12 and higher education policy and law as it pertains to issues of equity and diversity. This multidisciplinary course draws from education, social science, and law. 

ECI 709 Critical Theory and Public Engagement— This course examines foundational theories and complexities of equity, oppression, and diversity in educational settings. It focuses on how to develop critical consciousness and partner with multiple stakeholders to transform communities through critical engagement and democratizing education. The course requires a deep study and application of critical theory in public spaces, movements, community organizations, and educational institutions.

ECI 850 Internship in Curriculum & Instruction—Allows for supervised opportunities for advanced professional development and explorations of equity-related topics in schools and community agencies. 

EE Core Courses (12 hours)–theory, training/management, practicum/internship

  • ECI 507/707 Social Justice in Education
  • ECI 709 Educational Equity: Role of Policy and Law
  • ECI 709 Critical Theory and Public Engagement
  • ECI 850 Internship in Curriculum & Instruction

EE Electives (12 hours)

Courses are to be chosen within EE, as well as other programs throughout the department, college and university. Students are encouraged to take special topics courses within EE, when offered, in consultation with your advisory committee.

Research Methods (15 hours)

  •       ED 700 Intro to Research Design  (*Doesn’t count towards 15 hours.*)
  •       ED 710 Applied Quant Methods in Education I
  •       ED 711 Applied Quant Methods in Education II
  •       ED 730 Intro to Qual Research in Education
  •       ED 731 Adv Qual Research and Data Analysis in Education
  •       ED 750 Mixed Methods Research in Education
  •       ED 795 Special Topics in Education Research (* Can take multiple sections.*)

College Core (6 hours)

  •       ED 755 Diversity & Equity Scholar Leader Course
  •       ED 756 Leadership & Change Scholar Leader Course

Department Core (6 hours)

  •     ECI 709 Teacher Education
  •     ECI 709 Learning Sciences

Dissertation Research  (9 hours)

ECI 895 Dissertation Research

TOTAL: 60 Hours

Review the Estimated Cost of Attendance associated with this doctoral degree for the upcoming semester tuition and fees. Note that tuition and fees are subject to change.

Funding is available through hourly work, assistantships, and fellowships. Please see Financing Graduate Education for more information.

Christy Byrd
Assistant Professor, Program Coordinator

Jessica T. DeCuir-Gunby, PhD

Michelle Falter
Assistant Professor

DeLeon Gray
Associate Professor

Micha Jeffries
Assistant Teaching Professor

Joanna Koch
Assistant Teaching Professor

Crystal Chen Lee
Assistant Professor

Patricia Marshall

Linda McCabe-Smith
Associate Teaching Professor

Amato Nocera
Assistant Professor

Jamie Pearson
Assistant Professor