Program Contact

Dr. Tamara Young
Associate Professor
Program Area of Study Coordinator

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Program: Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development (ELPHD)

Program Area of Study: Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis

in Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development (ELPHD)
Delivery Method: On Campus

The Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development program area of study in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis (EEPA) focuses on understanding and improving policies that shape the most pressing problems in education. Inspired by NC State’s mission as a land-grant institution, our program faculty and students undertake research that addresses complex questions, reflects bold thought and results in educational policies that support effective schooling for all students.

Important Dates
December 1, 2021
Complete applications for consideration for funding and assistantships are due December 1.

Information Sessions
Our next information session is on Monday, May 10th, 2021, at 5:30 pm
via Zoom (online video conference). Please RSVP. Dr. Young will follow up with you after you complete the RSVP.

Program Overview

The Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development program area of study in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis (EEPA) is a multidisciplinary program of study whereby students and faculty examine educational problems from different traditions, including economics, political science, sociology, history and organizational studies. Additionally, students are required to take coursework in advanced research methods which allows them to develop strong data analysis skills and conduct rigorous policy research that advances knowledge and practice.

This program area of study utilizes a mentorship model that emphasizes research collaboration with faculty. Faculty work closely with students to foster reflection, planning and development. In addition to providing guidance, support and encouragement to students as they navigate the program, faculty assist students with developing their methodological skills and establishing their program of research. Students also have access to a dynamic, vibrant and collaborative community of peers that supports their intellectual, social and professional development.

In consultation with their academic advisory committee, students develop a tailored program of study and professional development plan. Students are encouraged to create a challenging and meaningful learning experience that emphasizes developing and applying disciplinary knowledge and a comprehensive methodological skill set to carryout innovative and high impact research.

Our renowned faculty are engaged in groundbreaking research that draws on different disciplines and utilizes rigorous methods to understand the greatest challenges in education. Faculty are experts in school choice, school desegregation, ethics and equity, implementation of reforms, principal and teacher effectiveness, leadership in high need schools, early childhood education, and the politics of education.

Students who apply to this program seek to evaluate and improve educational policy and have a passion for research. This program is ideal for students who want to make an impact, collaborate with faculty and community partners in research projects that involve field studies or large scale data analysis and aspire to become the next generation of researchers, policy analysts and faculty who focus on the study of P-12 education policy.

Program Features

  • We offer a tailored program of study that supports students’ research interests and professional goals.
  • We have a core faculty with active research related to issues of diversity, equity and effectiveness.
  • We provide rigorous training in research methods.
  • We cultivate a collegial environment that promotes collaboration in teaching, research and practice among faculty, students and community partners.
  • We are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion—in the disciplinary traditions that shape our curriculum and research, in the demographic composition of our community of scholars, in student experiences in our program, in the nation’s schools and communities and in state and federal educational policies.
  • We are located in Raleigh, which is a leading urban center in The Research Triangle. The Research Triangle is home to top research universities, the largest Research Park in the country that has both long-established leading companies and innovative start-ups, three cities with vibrant downtown areas, extensive outdoor spaces and year-round cultural events. Additionally, because we are located in the state capital of North Carolina, we have extensive opportunities for partnerships with local districts, state agencies and non-profits.


Degree Requirements

Requirements for completion of the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development (ELPHD) with a program area of study in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis (EEPA) are subject to the policies of the University of North Carolina system and of North Carolina State University. Please consult the relevant section of the Graduate School’s website for questions about policies and degree requirements for the Ph.D. degree programs.

All doctoral degrees in the College of Education require a minimum of 72 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. Upon the recommendation of the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee, a maximum of 12 hours of relevant graduate credit from the master’s degree may be applied toward the 72 credit hour minimum. In addition to completing required coursework, doctoral students must demonstrate their ability to undertake scholarly research by writing a dissertation reporting the results of an original investigation, by passing a series of written and oral preliminary examinations in the field of specialization and related areas of knowledge and by successfully defending the dissertation.


Doctoral Curriculum (revised for Fall 2019 and after cohorts):

All doctoral students in the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development program area of study in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis are required to complete

  • two college-wide Scholar-Leader courses,
  • two ELPHD core courses,
  • four courses in the qualitative and quantitative research sequence,
  • an advanced research course–which is selected in consultation with the student’s advisor/chair
  • a research practicum (independent study or dependent study under the supervision of a faculty member that may involve collaboration with a local educational agency, The Friday Institute, College of Education faculty member, local non-profit, etc.) and
  • Courses in the specialization core (Courses selected to complete the specialization core vary depending upon a student’s scholarly interests, background, and career goals. Specialization core courses must be selected in consultation with the advisor).

The courses listed below and the accompanying credit hours should be considered the minimum requirements for the degree. On the recommendation of members of the student’s advisory committee, required classes may be supplemented by additional coursework. Students should be mindful of time limits associated with achieving candidacy and completing the degree.

Research Core (15 credit hours)

ED 710 Quantitative Research

ED 711 Quantitative Research-Advanced

ED 730 Qualitative Research

ED 731 Qualitative Research-Advanced or advisor approved ED 7XX advanced methods in a specific type of qualitative research (phenomenology, case studies, action research, etc.)

ED/ELP Research Methods Elective

College-Wide Scholar Leader Courses (6 credit hours)

ED 795 Scholar Leader: Diversity and Equity in Schools and Communities

ED 795 Scholar Leader: Systemic Change in Education and Society

Core Scholar Leader (6 credit hours)

ELP 892 Research Projects in Educational Leadership and Program Evaluation

ELP Approved Elective

Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis Specialization (18-30 credit hours)

Courses are selected in consultation with advisor.

Sample courses include:

ELP 728 – School Law

ELP 729 – Education Finance

ELP 735 – Policy Research in Education

ELP 751 – Politics of Education

ELP 780 – Evaluation Theory & Practice in Education

ELP 795 – Implementation Research and Evaluation

Students can also enroll in courses in other programs and departments.

Dissertation (9 credit hours minimum)


Writing the dissertation requires a major commitment of time and effort on both the part of the doctoral student and the faculty advisor. Students must register for at least 3 semester hours per semester for (ELP 891, 895 or 899).

Join the Pack

Admissions Requirements

All application materials must be submitted through the Graduate School’s online application site (see Apply Now link at the top of this page) and include a non-refundable processing fee.

Applications must include:

  • Official GRE scores

Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the requirement for GRE scores is being waived for applicants for 2021-2022 (Spring 2021, Summer 2021, Fall 2021).

  • Personal statement

Why do you want to pursue a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development program area of study in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis? Why is our specific program a good fit for you? What about your academic and professional background makes you an exceptional applicant for this PhD program? What are your research interests? What larger questions are you trying to answer?  Which professors’ interests and research activity best align with your research interests? To answer this last question, applicants should closely review faculty profiles and recent publications.  If applicable, include a brief history of past or current research activities? (750 words maximum)

  • Professional resume or CV
  • Transcripts

Transcripts should be from all institutions attended. Applicants currently attending, or who have previously attended NC State, are not required to provide an NC State transcript.

  • Recommendations

Three professional/academic recommendations from people who can speak to applicant’s potential for graduate study

  • TOEFL or IELTS scores, where appropriate (more information for international students can be found at the Graduate School’s admissions webpage)

Additional Information

Information Sessions

Our next information session is on Monday, May 10th, 2021, at 5:30 pm via Zoom (online video conference). Please RSVP. Dr. Young will follow up with you after you complete the RSVP.

Visiting Campus

Experience the vibrant campus community of NC State first-hand by scheduling a visit. If you visit during the academic school year, prospective students will have the opportunity to meet with at least one program faculty member, learn about our research activities, meet with graduate students and attend a class. Details about parking can be found at NC State Transportation website.

To view NC State’s interactive map and get directions to Poe Hall, go to .

Select North Campus. Select SAS Parking Lot (SAS Address: 2311 Katharine Stinson Dr., Raleigh, NC, 27607). Once in the parking lot, take the left set of stairs. Once you ascend the stairs, you will be facing Poe Hall.

For walking directions to Poe Hall, enter 2310 Katherine Stinson Dr., Raleigh, NC, 27607.

More information about accessibility and campus walk times are available on the NCSU transportation website.

Open House

The Graduate School and College of Education sponsor an open house for prospective students each fall. The College of Education’s Student Services list upcoming events.  Faculty and students within the program area of study will be available to answer questions. Please let us know if you plan on attending (contact Dr. Tamara Young, A more detailed information session about EEPA is offered each fall and spring semester. The next information session is May 7th at 5:30pm. Please RSVP.


When are applications due?

Applications are due on December 1st. Only applications with all of the required components are reviewed.

What scholarships or fellowships are available?

Select students are awarded department-sponsored graduate student assistantships. Students who receive the assistantships are typically eligible for the Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP), which provides tuition and health insurance in addition to the stipend funded by the assistantship. All applicants are considered by program faculty for nomination for departmental, college and university fellowships. Some students have also been funded by faculty research grants and assistantships with other units on campus. Review our tuition and fees information and see how establishing residency in North Carolina can significantly reduce your expenses. Apply to become an NC resident for tuition purposes or review information on and procedures for becoming a North Carolina resident.

How is my application evaluated?

Program faculty undertake a holistic review of applicant’s materials. Broadly, our review involves an evaluation of the applicant’s potential for graduate work. Program faculty consider your GRE score, academic record (coursework, GPA and GPA in your junior and senior years), professional experience and accomplishments, match between your professional goals and research interests and program’s mission and curriculum and letters of recommendation. In the personal statement, students should identify which professors’ interests and research activity best align with your research interests and career goals.

Where can I find additional resources for international students?

For more information about international student admissions, read The Graduate School Handbook’s (section 2.4). Also, visit the Office of International Services (OIS), which assists students with immigration regulations and University policies and procedures. OIS also sponsors social and networking opportunities.

Whom shall I contact for additional information?

For general information about the program area of study, please email the program area of study coordinator, Tamara Young, PhD. For assistance with the application process, please contact The Graduate School. If you have been admitted into the program and have questions, please contact your initial academic advisor or Graduate Student Services Coordinator, Ann VanElsue.

Our Faculty

Jenn Ayscue
Assistant Professor

Lisa Bass
Associate Professor

Tim Drake
Assistant Professor

Anna Egalite
Associate Professor
University Faculty Scholar

Bonnie Fusarelli
Professor, NC State University Faculty Scholar
Director of NC State’s Leadership Academies

Lance Fusarelli
Director of Graduate Programs

Peter Hessling
Assistant Teaching Professor

Michael Little
Assistant Professor

Lam Pham
Assistant Professor

Tamara Young
Associate Professor, EEPA Program Coordinator