Doctor of Philosophy

Social Justice Education

Interrupt cycles of inequality and become a scholar-activist through this doctoral program designed to prepare you to lead in matters of social justice.

We’ve designed our Ph.D. in Social Justice Education Program for individuals interested in serving as scholar-activists and leaders in education. Our program promotes social diversity while naming, interrogating and challenging oppression, exploitation and marginalization within education at the local, state, national and international levels.

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Application Deadline:

December 1, 2018

Applications are due December 1. Completed applications for consideration for funding and assistantships are due December 1.

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Our Ph.D. in Social Justice Education Emphasizes:


  • Social justice teacher education
  • Multicultural education and literacy
  • Scholar activism


  • Racial identity development and emotions
  • Equity in STEM
  • Critical theory and public engagement


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

Program Details

Students in the Social Justice Education Ph.D. program engage in coursework, research studies and practical experiences that will prepare them to promote social diversity while naming, interrogating, and challenging oppression, exploitation, and marginalization within education at the local, state, national, and international levels. Students benefit from collaborating with program faculty who are nationally recognized scholars actively engaged in social justice research.

Course descriptions can be found in the university course catalog.

Core Courses ( 9 credit hours)

  • ECI 500 – Theory to Practice in Teaching Diverse Populations
  • ECI 507 – Social Justice in Education
  • ECI 807 – Advanced Seminar in Multicultural Education

Electives (15 credit hours)

Courses are to be chosen within social justice education, as well as other programs throughout the department, college and university. Students are encouraged to take special topics courses within social justice education when offered.

Research Methods (15 credit hours)

  • ED 700 – Intro to Research Design (Does not count towards 15 hours)
  • ED 710 – Applied Quantitative Methods in Education I
  • ED 711 – Applied Quantitative Methods in Education II
  • ED 730 – Intro to Qual Research in Education
  • ED 731 – Advanced Qualitative Research and Data Analysis in Education
  • ED 750 – Mixed Methods Research in Education
  • ED 795 – Special Topics in Education Research (Can take multiple sections)
  • Other courses

College Core (6 credit hours)

  • Diversity & Equity Scholar Leader Course
  • Leadership & Change Scholar Leader Course

Department Core (6 credit hours)

  • Teacher Education
  • Learning Sciences

Dissertation Research  (9 credit hours)

TOTAL: 60 credit hours

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 social justice education along with a description of previous work that has been undertaken in this realm. If relevant, please include a description of the target Social Justice Education faculty 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
  • Official GRE scores from within the last 5 years*

* Preferred scores are at or above the mean for doctoral students in the department within the curriculum and instruction program areas. However, GRE scores provide only one piece of information used by the admissions committee in making its recommendation.

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.

Jessica T. DeCuir-Gunby

DeLeon Gray
Associate Professor

Michelle Falter
Assistant Professor

Micha Jeffries
Teaching Assistant Professor

Joanna Koch
Teaching Assistant Professor

Crystal Chen Lee
Assistant Professor

Patricia Marshall

Linda McCabe-Smith
Teaching Associate Professor

Jamie Pearson
Assistant Professor

Social Justice Education is rooted in the belief that schools have the potential and the responsibility to interrupt cycles of inequality.

What We Believe

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Jessica T. DeCuir-Gunby
Jessica T. DeCuir-Gunby