• Seattle Pacific University

Doctor of Education (EdD)

  • 36–48 months to complete
  • $860/per credit
  • Low residency (remote, some on campus)
  • NWCCU accredited
  • Schedule informational appointment

Next start: March 29

Upcoming deadline: 8/15/2024

Develop your leadership skills and influence with an EdD in education

Become an influential leader in education with this flexible EdD program from Seattle Pacific. Specialize in executive leadership, digital education leadership, literacy, curriculum and instruction, or create a self-designed program. Most students earn an EdD and a certification or master’s degree in their specialization.

Take the next step in developing the expertise to meet your goals.

Program Overview

The school of education difference.

Seattle Pacific was founded more than 125 years ago, and the University has been preparing some of the most sought-after educators in the region for more than 90 years. Today, entrance to School of Education graduate programs is highly competitive. Faculty members — each teaching his or her own courses and each holding a doctorate — have worked to develop rigorous programs of quality.

The School of Education at Seattle Pacific University offers more than a dozen graduate programs. You can choose from two doctoral programs, seven master’s degree programs, and five certification programs, all of which focus on developing competence, character, leadership, and service in educators. While many students train to become teachers, others prepare for roles as school counselors, principals, superintendents, district office personnel, or professors in higher education. SPU’s reputation in P–12 education in Washington and across the country is strong, and students who complete our graduate degree and certificate programs enjoy a higher rate of employment than the state's average.

Why Seattle Pacific for your Doctor of Education (EdD)?

The Doctor of Education (EdD) encourages you to develop an expertise appropriate to your professional and academic goals. Areas of specialization include executive leadership, digital education leadership, literacy, curriculum and instruction, and a self-designed program. Earning certification as a superintendent, principal, or program administrator can be accomplished while working on the doctoral degree.

Expert, caring faculty have a desire to help students succeed. Faculty are known for mentoring their students during and following their educational programs. These professors model lifelong learning through scholarly activities of their own, publishing frequently, and presenting at professional conferences.

Seattle Pacific is a member of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) and of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. SPU certification programs are approved by the Washington state Professional Educator Standards Board. The School of Education is also a member of the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education, and has a chapter, Sigma Phi Upsilon, of Chi Sigma Iota, an international honor society that values academic and professional excellence in counseling.

Built on an character education foundation, the graduate programs at SPU offer first-class education through the lens of Christian faith and values. Students take ethics courses, and character issues are integrated throughout the curriculum.

Classes are smaller and students interact with professors and fellow students in a cooperative and reciprocal learning environment. Designed for full-time working educators, SPU doctoral programs offer classes online during the regular academic year (Autumn-Spring), with a two-week on-campus residency held each summer. 

School of Education graduates move on to purposeful careers in schools and district-level leadership throughout the country. When you obtain a graduate degree from SPU’s School of Education, you join a community of alumni who stay connected.

Related Doctoral Programs

  • PhD in Education

All doctoral students in the School of Education, regardless of their terminal degree, take the same foundation courses, including a Leadership Colloquium. These core classes are designed to develop leadership by focusing on knowledge applicable to all fields and levels of education. Students will then begin their individual course sequences and specializations, which culminate in comprehensive exams and a dissertation.

As an EdD student, you will be required to: pass two comprehensive exams, research and foundations; produce a professional educational theory paper; complete a dissertation and receive passing marks; and pass the oral defense of the dissertation.

Prerequisite coursework

Depending on your experience and background, you may be required to take the following classes as your elective credits:

  • EDU 6655 Human Development and Principles of Learning (3)
  • EDU 6524 Curriculum Design (3)
  • EDU 6526 Survey of Instructional Strategies (3)
  • EDU 6613 Standards-Based Assessment (3)
  • EDU 6975 Interpreting and Applying Educational Research I (3)
  • EDU 6976 Interpreting and Applying Educational Research (3)

Core Doctoral Faculty

Julia Antilia

Julie Antilla

Associate Professor of Educational Leadership PhD, UC Santa Barbara

Kristine Gritter

Kristine Gritter

Professor, Curriculum and Instruction; Chair, MEd Literacy, Language, and Equity PhD, Michigan State University

Nyaradzo Mvududu

Nyaradzo Mvududu

Dean EdD, Seattle Pacific University

David Wicks

David Wicks

Professor of Curriculum & Instruction EdD, Seattle Pacific University

Affiliated Doctoral Faculty

Scott	Beers

Scott Beers

Assistant Dean, Graduate Programs PhD, University of Washington

Tuition and fees for 2023–24

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application fee

See additional fee details .

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credits to complete

Financial aid

Before applying for aid, you must first be admitted to a graduate program. Make sure you:

  • Enroll in at least 3 credits (or half-time) toward a degree or eligible certificate each quarter.
  • Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year.

You may take advantage of scholarships and loans. SPU does not have a deadline for graduate financial aid, though earlier is always better than later! 

Learn more about the FAFSA and applying for financial help.

Learn more about scholarships, assistantships, and loans available to graduate students.

Application

Admission requirements.

A limited number of students are admitted to SPU’s EdD program each year. Applicants are required to hold a master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. It is preferred that candidates have prior K-12 school experience. Those without experience in a K-12 setting will be considered for program admission on a case-by-case basis.

A pplicants must submit the following items:

  • Application   and  $50 application  processing fee.
  • Official transcripts  documenting excellent undergraduate and graduate GPAs from an accredited institution where an academic degree was conferred. Include post-master’s degree graduate coursework. 
  • Note, to be considered official, transcripts must be received in a sealed envelope from the college or university. Transcripts may be delivered to Graduate Admissions as long as they remain in their original, unopened university envelope. Electronic transcripts received via eSCRIP-SAFE or Parchment Exchange are also acceptable.
  • If your degree is not from a US college or university, please arrange for your transcript to be evaluated by an accredited transcript-evaluation company, such as  FIS  or  WES . Have the report forwarded directly to Graduate Admissions.
  • Personal statement  expressing your professional plans, goals, and focus of study, as well as a rationale for pursuing an EdD. This should be no more than 500 words.
  • Four recent letters of recommendation , including two academic and two professional recommendations.
  • Résumé  documenting a minimum of three years of successful experience at the P–12 level or other similar educational setting.

Candidates who plan to seek Executive Leadership as their specialization must also submit:

  • Copy of Certificate —  Teaching Certificate, ** OR Copy of Educational Staff Associate (ESA) Certificate, OR Career Tech Educator (CTE) Certificate
  • Copy of Washington state administrator's certificate , if applicable
  • Site Agreement form

Following the submission of all of these items, your file will be reviewed by the core graduate faculty. You will be contacted regarding the status of your application, and to schedule an interview, within approximately two weeks.

All correspondence regarding the interview process will be carried out by email using the address you provide in the application. Please set your email filters accordingly.

APPLICATION DEADLINES

  • Autumn Quarter: August 15
  • Winter Quarter: November 15
  • Spring Quarter: February 15
  • Summer Session: May 15

APPLICATION AND ADMISSIONS QUESTIONS?

Contact Graduate Admissions at 800-601-0603 or  [email protected] .

Frequently asked questions

How selective is admission to the SPU School of Education graduate degree programs?

This varies by program. Admission to some programs, such as the  Accelerated Master in Teaching Mathematics and Science  (AMTMS) and  Accelerated Master of Arts in Teaching  (AMAT), is very competitive. Admission to each of SPU's graduate programs in education is standards-based, and all applicants must meet all standards for admission.

Can I continue to work while enrolled in a graduate degree program in the SPU School of Education?

Yes, in most cases. Most of the graduate degree programs offered by the School of Education are part-time programs, with classes offered in a variety of worker-friendly venues. Education graduate courses are scheduled at SPU or off campus, in the evenings, occasionally on Saturdays, and during the summer.

The  Accelerated Master of Arts in Teaching  (AMAT) and  Accelerated Master in Teaching Mathematics and Science  (AMTMS) programs are exceptions. They are one-year full-time programs due to their full-time internships.

Is it possible to complete a graduate degree from SPU's School of Education online?

The School of Education offers several fully online programs, including the  AMAT-Online ,  AMTMS-Online , Digital Education Leadership , and Teacher Leadership  programs. Please review the program pages for eligibility requirements.

Is a graduate program at SPU more expensive than comparable education programs at other universities?

SPU's graduate tuition rates are competitive with other accredited universities in Washington.

How does a graduate degree or graduate certificate from SPU compare with a similar degree or certificate from other universities?

SPU's School of Education has been offering a wide range of fully accredited master's and doctoral degrees in addition to graduate certificates for more than 20 years. SPU's reputation in P–12 education in Washington and around the country is strong, and students who complete our graduate degree and certificate programs enjoy a higher rate of employment than the state's average.

Still have questions? Contact [email protected] , call 206-281-2091 (or 800-601-0603).

Andre Stout | EdD Graduate

Andre Stout

Deciding to pursue Seattle Pacific’s EdD program was a personal growth decision for me. I wanted to be the best person I could be, and I believe education was the avenue to fulfill my God-given leadership potential. I was raised as a Christian with a grandfather who was a southern Black preacher, so I know he is proud of my choice to obtain my doctorate from a faith-based institution. My dissertation focused on public school administration, and my plan is to start a consulting business to help other public-school leaders reach the goals they have for their schools. I fondly remember (and thank) the doctoral faculty and staff of this program. The relationship with my professors will be something that I will cherish forever. They helped me with understanding how to be a faith-based, ethical principal, and how to make it through challenging courses and my dissertation process, guiding me with gentle nudges that kept me motivated to complete the journey.

Sarah Zhou | EdD Graduate

Director of National Staff Professional Development, China

Sarah Zhou

I first learned about SPU when interpreting for an SPU professor at a workshop for Chinese public-school principals. That professor’s knowledge and humbleness left a great impression. Before coming to SPU, I was the academic principal of an experimental international school for Chinese students in China. After establishing the school and running it for four years, I had many questions about school administration and management, so in 2017 I decided to pause my career and pursue further education to become a better school administrator with Seattle Pacific’s EdD program. My passion is education in China. I help to equip Chinese teaching and supporting staff and support them to become professional international educators. My time in the EdD program further convinced me of the necessity and significance of building a robust teaching force. What I enjoyed most about the program were the discussions with professors and classmates in and outside the class, and the professors, who are knowledgeable and remarkably open-minded. I love that my intelligence and understanding has been constantly challenged and enriched by their insights. To me, SPU is like a family. The professors and fellow students were so kind. I felt welcomed into a family from the beginning of the program.

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

While Ph.D. programs in education are admitted exclusively to the Pullman campus, select academic programs afford some opportunity for students to access classes and/or advising on the WSU Spokane campus.

Mathematics and Science Education

The Ph.D. in Mathematics and Science Education is designed to develop scholars capable of making important contributions to the research base, professional context, and learning environments related to mathematics and science education. Areas of emphases can include student learning, teacher education, professional development, curriculum, and technology throughout the PK-16 grade spectrum.

Math/Science Program Brochure:

MATH01 MATH02

Requirements and application

Applicants hold an advanced degree in education, mathematics, science, technology, or other related fields. In addition, they must have a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and submit an online application to the Graduate School including a letter of in-tent, three letters of recommendation, a writing sample, and GRE scores that are less than seven years old.

In addition to familiarity with public school contexts and a rudimentary awareness of educational research, particularly in the context of mathematics or science education, incoming students are expected to have a strong foundation in mathematics or science. Preferably, applicants have been prepared and licensed to teach science/mathematics in public schools at the K-12 level.

We seek students who show a commitment to educational research in Mathematics and/or Science Education, who have familiarity with K-12 school contexts, and have a strong foundation in mathematics and/or science.

The Ph.D. is accessible to students across the statewide USE system on the Pullman, Spokane, Tri_Cities and Vancouver campuses. Applicants interested in Math/Science Ph.D. program in Spokane, must apply through the Pullman campus and indicate their intention to take classes in Spokane.

  • Application deadline for fall term is June 1, and for spring term is October 15.

Program Advantages

  • Students choose an individualized path of study .
  • Students are guided by faculty members .
  • The program is accessible in Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver.
  • Our program has a track-record of supporting a broad learning community .
  • All courses, advising, and weekly seminar are supported by a statewide teleconferencing system.

Additional information may be found on the Pullman web page, including program handbook, sample course syllabi and doctoral student web pages.

Mathematics and Science Education Overview

The program is designed to contain a blend of foundational courses, research courses, mathematics and science education courses, as well as research experiences. The Ph.D. candidate can determine an individualized focus on mathematics, science, or cross-disciplinary study.

Math and Science Education PhD Application Process

STEP 1: Students submit all department application materials (see below) to the Pullman Office of Graduate Studies:

Office of Graduate Studies College of Education Washington State University 70 Cleveland Hall PO Box 642114 Pullman, WA 99164-2114

  • Recommendation letter writers CANNOT be from WSU math/science education tenure-line faculty.
  • Student files with below minimum GRE scores will not be distributed for review.
  • Students will apply to the current PhD in Mathematics Education until the new PhD in Mathematics and Science Education is approved.

Application Materials Required:

  • Cover sheet with specific information such as name, contact info, degree seeking w/emphasis Science or Math
  • Letter of Interest a. Past experience in the field b. Future plans/goals
  • Current Resume
  • Transcripts
  • GRE (w/at least score of 400/140 Q, 280 VW)
  • Writing Sample (Master’s Thesis, published paper, other appropriate work)
  • Three Letters of Reference
  • Introductory Conversation (over phone or in person with at least one faculty member) a. Applicant has a chance to ask questions about program b. Faculty will ask about specific interests, goals, assistantships, etc.

For information about applying to Ph.D. programs, contact: [email protected]

Best Education Schools in Washington

Ranked in 2024

A teacher must first be a student, and graduate education program rankings can help

A teacher must first be a student, and graduate education program rankings can help you find the right classroom. With the U.S. News rankings of the top education schools, narrow your search by location, tuition, school size and test scores. Read the methodology »

For full rankings, GRE scores and student debt data, sign up for the U.S. News Education School Compass .

Here are the Best Education Schools in Washington

University of washington, city university of seattle, gonzaga university, seattle pacific university, seattle university, university of washington--tacoma, washington state university.

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Seattle , WA

  • # 23 in Best Education Schools  (tie)

$18,465 per year (in-state, full-time) TUITION AND FEES (DOCTORATE)

$34,233 per year (out-of-state, full-time) TUITION AND FEES (DOCTORATE)

643 ENROLLMENT (FULL-TIME)

The College of Education at University of Washington has an application deadline of Jan. 5. The application fee for the... Read More »

TUITION AND FEES (DOCTORATE)

$18,465 per year (in-state, full-time)

$34,233 per year (out-of-state, full-time)

ENROLLMENT (FULL-TIME)

Average gre verbal (doctorate).

  • Unranked in Best Education Schools

N/A TUITION AND FEES (DOCTORATE)

N/A ENROLLMENT (FULL-TIME)

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education phd programs in washington

Spokane , WA

education phd programs in washington

The College of Education at Seattle University has a rolling application deadline. The application fee for the... Read More »

education phd programs in washington

Pullman , WA

U.S. News Grad Compass

See expanded profiles for more than 2,000 programs. Unlock entering class stats including MCAT, GMAT and GRE scores for business, medicine, engineering, education and nursing programs.

EdDPrograms.org

Ed.D. Programs in Washington

UW-Seattle or UW-Tacoma? Public or private? Our guide to Washington doctorates in education will get you sorted. On top of a complete listing of Ed.D. programs, you'll find a rundown of online degrees, funding opportunities, and administrative certification options. There's even a giant career section, with links to job & wage data, educational leadership job boards, and important organizations (e.g. WASA).

Earning a Doctor of Education Degree in Washington

Washington doctoral programs in education are a study in contrasts. For example, you’ll notice that none of the universities in our school listings hold CAEP accreditation. On the other hand:

  • UW-Seattle’s College of Education has a top-flight national ranking and an international reputation. The university also has a fair amount of doctoral funding opportunities for Ed.D. students.
  • UW-Tacoma, WSU, and SeattleU have opted to take part in the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) , which puts an emphasis on applied learning.
  • CityU has made of point of developing 100% online Ed.D. programs .
  • And four Washington universities have Ed.D. programs that incorporate administrative certification preparation.

You can read all about ’em in our school listings , which also contain links to costs & curricula. Once you’ve made your choice, have a quick look at our career section . This will point you toward PreK-20 job & salary data, useful career resources (e.g. School Personnel Summary Reports), and state-specific job boards. You may even wish to join an educational leadership organization —AWSP and WASA are particularly active within the state—or sign up for conferences & leadership training programs .

Online Doctor of Education Programs in Washington

Online ed.d. providers in washington, city university of seattle, what to know about washington online ed.d. programs.

Washington universities have been slow to convert to distance learning. As far as we can determine, only City University of Seattle has decided to offer online doctoral programs in education. CityU is not CAEP-accredited, but it is regionally accredited. It’s also part of the National University System , a private non-profit system that has a reputation for catering to working professionals.

CityU’s short, 90-credit Online Doctor of Education in Leadership comes in three concentrations: Organizational Leadership, Higher Educational Leadership, or an area of specialized study. It’s pretty flexible—you can customize the specialized option to fit your goals (e.g. Inspired Teacher Leadership) and credit transfers are available. What’s more, mandatory residencies can be 100% online or completed in Seattle or San Diego. Keep in mind that CityU is private, so per credit tuition rates may be higher than public options.

Note: Our overview of online doctoral programs in education has a full set of online Ed.D. listings from every state.

Doctoral Education Funding in Washington

Internal scholarships, fellowships & awards.

For this list, we’ve pulled out sources of institutional aid (e.g. internal scholarships, research awards, etc.). If you have questions about external aid (e.g. federal & private loans), the Office of Financial Aid and the Graduate School are your best bets. Finally, we always recommend you talk to the Ed.D. program coordinator. Some “doctoral” awards may be limited to Ph.D. students or full-time students. Ask the coordinator how Ed.D. candidates are typically funded.

Seattle Pacific University

The School of Education (SOE) has lots of useful advice in its section on Financing Your Graduate Education . Internal funding options for Ed.D. students include SOE Scholarships and Graduate Assistantships (doctoral students are eligible). The Financing section also contains links to external awards.

Seattle University

The College of Education has a section on Admissions & Financial Aid , with info on tuition & fees, financial aid, and Education Scholarships . There are general scholarships and endowed awards for Educational Leadership (EDLR) programs. However, the EDLR doctorate program is not eligible for SeattleU employee tuition remission.

University of Washington-Seattle

Start with the College of Education (COE)’s section on Funding & Financial Aid , which includes links to external funding sources and UW’s:

  • College of Education Scholarships
  • Research, Teaching & Staff Assistantships
  • Community Partner Fellows Program
  • Travel & Research Support

Then visit the COE’s sub-section on Tuition & Financial Aid , since this contains ideas for general UW graduate funding. Examples include the Graduate School’s List of Fellowships (e.g. Latinx Scholars Graduate School Fellowship for master’s and doctoral students) and the UW Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowship & Awards Database .

University of Washington-Tacoma

The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership program website has a section on Tuition Rates & Financial Aid . UW-Tacoma notes that state tuition waivers are not accepted and the program does not offer graduate assistantships or specific scholarships at this time. However, UW-Tacoma’s Graduate Funding Information Service (GFIS) can help Ed.D. students explore funding opportunities.

Washington State University

The College of Education has a section devoted to Scholarships & Financial Aid , with info about WSU’s general scholarship application and details on Teacher Education Scholarships , including the Educational Leadership Scholarship Award. Doctoral students are eligible for Graduate Assistantships , but students may not hold other employment in or outside the university.

Note: If a university name is missing from the list, we didn’t find specific examples of Ed.D. funding beyond private & federal loans and external aid.

School Administration Certification Requirements in Washington

Administrator certificates.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) handles administrative certification for K-12 educators in Washington public schools. There are three types of administrator certificate in Washington:

  • Superintendent
  • Program Administrator

We cover the basic requirements for principal & superintendent certification below. Full certification procedures are outlined in the OSPI Administrator Certificate section.

Want to use your doctorate for certification? Washington’s Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) has a list of state-approved administrator preparation programs . When you compare that to our school listings , you’ll find that a number of Ed.D. programs fit the bill (e.g. SPU, SeattleU, UW-Seattle, and UW-Tacoma).

Note : OSPI has an entire section devoted to Out-of-State Applicants who wish to apply for a Washington administrator certificate.

Principal Certificate

To earn the Principal Certificate, you must:

  • Hold a master’s degree.
  • Complete a state-approved administrator preparation program .
  • Hold or have previously held a regular teacher, educational staff associate, or Initial/Continuing CTE Certificate.
  • Have three years of successful school-based instructional experience in an educational setting.

No testing is required for administrative certificates in Washington.

Initial Superintendent Certificate

To earn the Initial Superintendent Certificate, you must:

  • Hold a valid regular teaching, ESA, principal, or program administrator certificate.

Educational Leadership Jobs in Washington

Educational leadership career outlook.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compiles employment & salary data for elementary & secondary school education administrators and postsecondary education administrators in every state. One look at the job maps will tell you that Washington is doing pretty well.

Thanks to good K-12 schools and a healthy ecosystem of colleges & universities, Washington is often in the second employment bracket for both categories. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area has some of the highest employment levels for postsecondary administrators in the country.

Admittedly, these are general statistics. You can learn more about Washington’s PreK-20 landscape by visiting the Education Research & Data Center (ERDC) , which tracks student data & trends in K-12 schools and higher education. The Data Dashboards and Publications can be quite revealing.

Trying to decide on a K-12 school district? OSPI’s section on Data & Reporting has links to Report Cards, Data Portal, and much more. In addition, OSPI’s School Apportionment and Financial Services (SAFS) has a section on Personnel Summary Reports , which contains plenty of reports on headcounts and salaries.

Preparing for an interview with a Washington university? The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) is tailored to students, but it’s a useful starting point. The Council of Presidents also publishes Research & Data on Washington’s network of public colleges & universities.

Educational Leadership Salaries

The BLS’s section on State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for Washington contains actual job numbers and annual mean wages for four types of educational administrator.

It probably won’t be a surprise to hear that Washington is often one of the top paying states in the country for K-12 education administrators , right up there with juggernauts like California and New York. As we mentioned, OSPI-SAFS’s Personnel Summary Reports contain wage data on Washington K-12 public school personnel. Consult the individual tables under School District Personnel Summary Profiles to view average salaries for administrators.

In contrast, Washington postsecondary education administrators don’t do as well in the national wage stakes. They’re often in the same lower bracket as Oregon. The state government publishes State Employee Salaries each year. You’ll find the names and salaries of public university and community college administrators in this list. Sort by agency (e.g. Eastern Washington University) and position (e.g. Director).

Educational Leadership Job Boards

Tried & true job sites will get you started (e.g. Indeed, LinkedIn, HigherEdJobs, etc.). But we wanted to direct you toward some local job boards that feature postings for WA administrators & educational leaders.

  • WASA’s Career Connection contains job openings for Washington superintendents, principals/assistant principals, central office positions, and other opportunities.
  • AWSP’s Job Search section contains all kinds of school administrator employment openings in Washington.
  • WASBO’s Career Center has openings for Washington school business officials.
  • WSSDA posts School District Superintendent Openings on its website; it also conducts Superintendent Searches .
  • WSPA lists HR Administrative Job Openings in public schools and districts.
  • Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW) provides links to Career Opportunities in its member colleges.

Educational Leadership Organizations in Washington

Educational leadership associations.

  • Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP) : AWSP represents principals, assistant principals, and principal interns in Washington.
  • Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) : WASA membership is open to all Washington educational administrators in central office, building management, and educational agency positions. Check out the Scholarship for Doctoral Students in Educational Administration .
  • Washington Association of School Business Officials (WASBO) : WASBO provides programs and services to promote best practices of school business management, professional growth, and the effective use of educational resources. It offers voluntary certification . Check out the Scholarship Program .
  • Washington Education Association (WEA) : WEA is the state’s teachers’ union. Active membership is open to public school employees, including teachers, support professionals, and higher education faculty. It’s an affiliate of the NEA.
  • Washington School Personnel Association (WSPA) : WSPA promotes professional growth in school personnel administration and effective HR practices and procedures in public, private, and post-secondary education. Check out the Washington Educator Career Fair .
  • Washington State Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (Washington State ASCD) : Washington State ASCD provides professional development, capacity building, and educational leadership solutions. It’s a state affiliate of the ASCD.
  • Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) : WSSDA is the state’s school board association. It offers services, resources, and support to school board members and school directors across Washington.

Note: Remember that state and national educator organizations often have funds and scholarships available for continuing education (e.g. Ed.D.). Check the website and ask about opportunities.

Educational Leadership Events in Washington

Educational leadership conferences.

  • AWSP Future School Leaders Day : This February event allows aspiring principals to engage in workshop sessions and explore options for taking their career to the next level.
  • AWSP/WASA Summer Conference : This popular conference for Washington principals and district-level administrators takes place over three days in late June/early July. Programming includes national-level keynote speakers and statewide practitioner concurrent sessions.
  • AWSP Women in Education Leading & Learning (WELL) Summit : This two-day summit in November aims to empower, connect, inspire, support, and develop women in educational leadership.
  • WASA Conferences : WASA’s many events include an Annual Winter Conference in January; a Spring Conference for Small Schools Leaders in March; a Women in Leadership Conference in May; a Superintendent Conference in May; an Incoming Superintendent Conference in July; a Fall Conference for superintendents & administrators in October; plus various joint conferences.
  • WASA/OSPI Special Education Conference : This two-day event in August is designed for educators who are responsible for supporting or administering special education programs.
  • WASBO Annual Conference : WASBO hosts a three-day conference in May for school business officials. Attendees can earn clock hours and CPE credits.
  • WSSDA Annual Conference : This four-day convention in November brings together school board directors, student board representatives, superintendents, and other education professionals.
  • WSSDA/AWSP/WASA Equity Conference : This one-day event in May aims to increase organizational leadership capacity by providing systemic strategies for equity and access. Attendees come from districts, ESDs, and state agencies.
  • WSSDA/WASA Legislative Conference : This joint conference allows school board members and superintendents to meet in Olympia and communicate their issues directly to state lawmakers while the Legislature is in session.

Educational Leadership Training

  • AWSP Principal Support : AWSP supports Washington principals through Leadership Coaching , New Principal Mentoring , and Professional Learning opportunities such as workshops and networking.
  • Leadership WSSDA : Leadership WSSDA is a professional development program for Washington school directors who wish to improve their expertise and leadership capacity within the educational system.
  • WASA Early Career Superintendent Academy : This program is tailored to Washington superintendents in the first three years of superintendency. It includes workshops, Zoom meetings, and WA state-approved clock hours.
  • WASA Mentor Academy : This program is intended for superintendents. It involves two full-day, face-to-face workshops.
  • WASA Special Education Director Academy : WASA has pulled on support from OSPI to create this academy for educators who have administrative responsibilities to Special Education. It includes workshops, Zoom meetings, and WA state-approved clock hours.
  • Washington State Leadership Academy (WSLA) : WSLA is a professional development program that’s designed to engage school administrators in transformative leadership practices and build effective educator teams. The WASA has a useful list of program benefits .

School Listings

7 Schools Found

School of Applied Leadership

Seattle, Washington

Online Doctor of Education in Leadership

Offered Online

  • Curriculum Info
  • How To Apply

Online Doctor of Education in Leadership - Adult Education and Online Learning

Online doctor of education in leadership - entrepreneurship, online doctor of education in leadership - global leadership, online doctor of education in leadership - higher educational leadership, online doctor of education in leadership - inspired teacher leadership, online doctor of education in leadership - non-profit leadership, online doctor of education in leadership - organizational leadership, online doctor of education in leadership - strategic innovation and decision making, gonzaga university.

School of Education

Spokane, Washington

Doctor of Educational Leadership

Doctor of educational leadership - educational leadership among indigenous peoples, doctor of educational leadership - leadership in catholic schools, doctor of educational leadership - pre-k-12 school leadership, edd - digital education leadership, edd - executive leadership, edd - school counseling, edd - self-designed, edd in curriculum and instruction, edd in literacy.

College of Education

Doctorate in Educational and Organizational Learning and Leadership

University of washington-seattle campus, doctor of education in curriculum and instruction - language, literacy, and culture, doctor of education in leadership for learning, doctor of education in leadership for learning - superintendent certificate, university of washington-tacoma campus.

Tacoma, Washington

Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership

Doctoral program in educational leadership - adult education, doctoral program in educational leadership - higher education, doctoral program in educational leadership - nursing education and healthcare leadership, doctoral program in educational leadership - p-12 educators/superintendent credential, doctoral program in educational leadership - public service.

Pullman, Washington

EdD in Educational Leadership - Administration

Edd in educational leadership - higher education leadership, edd in educational leadership - teacher leadership.

Graduate Degrees

education phd programs in washington

We lead the way in graduate degrees

Would it be easier to have just a few degrees and focus on those? Sure. But we’re not into merely doing what is easy. We’re into doing what is in your best interest. That means providing a variety of high-quality graduate-level degrees for you to choose from.

Cultural Studies & Social Thought in Education

Ph.D. in Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education degree is rigorous, flexible and individually tailored. It focuses on the problems of culture and power in education, both contemporary and historical.

Curriculum & Instruction

The M.A. and Ed.M. degree programs are designed for students with bachelor degrees who have an interest in deepening their knowledge in a specific content area (in or outside the College of Education), as well as educational research in curriculum and instruction.

Educational Leadership

Graduate studies at the masters and doctoral levels and administrator certification programs for the superintendent, residency principal, and residency program administrator certificates. The masters (M.A. and Ed.M.) and doctoral (Ed.D. and Ph.D.) degree programs offer specializations in K-12 educational leadership.

Educational Psychology

The college’s program in educational psychology includes two graduate degree programs: M.A. in Educational Psychology (thesis and non-thesis) and Ph.D. in Education Psychology. Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn and retain knowledge, primarily in educational settings like classrooms. This includes emotional, social, and cognitive learning processes. Areas of focus might include teaching, testing and assessment methods, psychometrics, classroom or learning environments, and learning, social, and behavioral problems that may impede learning, technology in learning.

Kinesiology

Kinesiology is the study of human movement. The Kinesiology graduate program was designed to provide advanced education in human movement and to provide foundational research skills that can be applied to its understanding. This includes two degree programs: M.S. in Kinesiology (thesis and non-thesis).

Language, Literacy and Technology

Two master’s degrees (M.A. and Ed.M.) combines two areas of focus, English Language Learners (ELL) and Literacy Education, and integrates education technology. The Ph.D. in Language, Literacy and Technology integrates the three focus areas and offers additional coursework in reading and writing, English language learning, and children’s literature.

Mathematics and Science Education

The Ph.D. in Mathematics and Science Education is designed to develop scholars capable of making important contributions to the research base, professional context, and learning environments related to mathematics and science education.

Special Education

The College of Education offers two master’s degrees (M.A. and Ed.M.) and a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in Special Education. The program emphasizes the generation, application, and translation of research that will enhance the field and improve those with disabilities.

Sport Management

WSU offers a comprehensive masters (M.A.) degrees (thesis and non-thesis) preparation in sport management, which prepares students for a variety of careers in the sport industry, including positions with professional sport organizations and events, university athletic departments, community and recreational sport agencies, amateur sports organizations, sport management firms, and sport media enterprises.

Master in Teaching (MIT)

WSU’s Master in Teaching degree is a high quality, intensive, practitioner-oriented, teacher preparation program designed for those with non-education bachelor degrees. It is designed to prepare students to become effective elementary or secondary education teachers.

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It’s a saying engrained at the George Washington University . It means always striving to do your best, helping others, and aiming to change the world. At the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD) , we’re focused on building scholar-practitioners who aim to connect practice with action. We’re here to elevate and amplify your voice, while giving you the tools to elevate and amplify others.

At GSEHD, you’ll find yourself amongst a diverse community of students who are committed to changing the lives of others through education, leadership, counseling, and policy. Our community of dedicated, lifelong learners define who we are today and what the nation and world can become.  

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Summer and Fall 2024 deadlines are quickly approaching. There's no application fee and the GRE isn't required for admission.

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Designing Digital Learning

Use these tips to create more engaging, interactive and immersive learning experiences

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Chat with our Admissions Director to learn more about how to apply, financial aid and more

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EdFix: A Podcast About the Promise and Practice of Education

Join Dean Michael Feuer and top experts in the field as they take on some of education's most complex issues.

Listen to the latest episode, ChatGPT and Beyond: Teaching in the AI Era, featuring Dr. Ryan Watkins

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Address diverse and critical concerns within the field of counseling. Our programs prepare students to become practitioners in an expansive range of specialties, including school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and career and workforce development.

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Teacher Preparation & Curriculum Design

The curricular and pedagogical tools used in our nation’s schools are the foundation for educational and societal transformation. We offer the highest level of training for individuals preparing for a career in K-12 teaching, as well as for professionals aiming to become specialists in curriculum design.

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Educational Leadership & Policy

Our programs in education policy, leadership, and administration equip alumni to solve problems, implement new policy, and drive change for good in ways that reform and transform communities worldwide. Students integrate theory with practice to become successful leaders in their fields.

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Human and Organizational Leadership & Learning

Advance your leadership skills to effectively lead change and sustainably manage organizations of all types. Students work closely with faculty to learn theoretical applications, new research, and best practices in order to facilitate organizational growth.

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Special Education & Disability Studies

Students in our special education programs are expertly trained to meet the diverse needs of youth with, or at-risk for, disabilities. Faculty offer mentorship to help students gain the knowledge and skills to make a lasting difference in schools and communities.

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PhD in Education - Research Emphasis

Scholars make a direct impact on society and confront the most complex issues in the field of education, including evolving technology, leadership, policy, and more. Take a multi-disciplinary approach while honing your skills in a specific concentration.

Confront Complex Issues

Make an impact on society and drive progress. Our graduate programs foster exceptional leadership skills, empowering educators, administrators, counselors, researchers, and more to make a difference in their respective disciplines.

Turn Passion into Practice and Possibility

At GSEHD, we build and use rigorous methods to investigate important questions. Our faculty and students leverage their interests, knowledge, and analytical skills to improve education and advance social progress.

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Better Lives for People with Disabilities

The Center for Rehabilitation Counseling Research and Education prepares professionals to work with people with disabilities to reach their employment goals and better integrate into society.

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AI in Education

As AI tools like ChatGPT are changing daily aspects of our lives, Educational Technology Leadership faculty are leading the way in guiding educators on how to incorporate these tools into the classroom, as well as discussing hot topics such as ethics and potential implications.

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Developing More Inclusive Organizations

The Humanistic Initiative , led by Dr. Shaista Khilji, fosters respect, dignity, compassion, and sustainability as the basis of leadership and organizations.

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Being a part of GSEHD has been one of the best decisions I have made. I now feel well prepared to serve the community while providing services to families and children in the DC area. Completing my education here has taught me to be independent, confident, and resilient. Thank you to GSEHD, my professors, peers, and family for your guidance and support!

Tatyana Suares (MA '20) Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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GSEHD in the News

Alumnus Patrick Martin Selected as Chief of Staff for Department of Defense Education Activity Europe East District

April 25, 2024

Alumna Mary Fisk Named Principal of Yokosuka Primary School (Japan)

April 22, 2024

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UW Medicine | Rehabilitation Medicine

PhD in Rehabilitation Science

The PhD Program in Rehabilitation Science prepares researchers, educators, and leaders in Rehabilitation Science to contribute to the development of rehabilitation practice, research, and policy. Rehabilitation Science is an interdisciplinary field that includes basic and applied research from health sciences, social sciences, engineering, and related fields. 

Commitment to diversity

The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine is committed to:

  • Cultivating diversity, equity, and inclusion; and fostering a climate of respect for patients and their families, as well as our students, trainees, faculty, and staff.
  • Recruitment, retention, and advancement of faculty, fellows, residents, students, and staff from groups under-represented in rehabilitation medicine in an inclusive and equitable environment.
  • Advocacy and outreach to underserved and marginalized populations to improve equity in healthcare outcomes.

Visit our Diversity page to learn more. 

Core Faculty

Mark Harniss, PhD

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Stefania Fatone , PhD, BPO(Hons)

Mary Beth Brown, PT, PhD

Mary Beth Brown , PT, PhD

Carolyn Baylor, PhD, CCC-SLP

Carolyn Baylor , PhD, CCC-SLP

Valerie E. Kelly, PT, PhD

Valerie E. Kelly , PT, PhD

Tracy Jirikowic, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Tracy Jirikowic , PhD, OTR/L FAOTA

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Tracy Mroz , PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Many additional faculty members within our department work with PhD students as supervisors, instructors, mentors, and collaborators. Our full faculty list is available here . 

Learning Objectives

Graduates of the PhD program will be expected to demonstrate competence relative to the following goals:

  • Understand Rehabilitation Science and biopsychosocial constructs of disability, and apply this information to develop excellence in research, education, service delivery, and policy development and interpretation.
  • Understand the unique role and contribution to Rehabilitation Science of entering disciplines (e.g., physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, prosthetics and orthotics, rehabilitation counseling, and other rehabilitation-related professions); as well as appreciating integration and synergy across these disciplines.
  • Engage in preparation as a teacher of rehabilitation science and in the student’s respective discipline.
  • Critically evaluate and synthesize research in Rehabilitation Science.
  • Understand research methods relevant to Rehabilitation Science.
  • Design and implement innovative research relevant to Rehabilitation Science.
  • Take a leadership role in team science.
  • Design and deliver scholarly presentations and facilitate effective discussions.
  • Disseminate research and other scholarly products/manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and other venues appropriate to the field of rehabilitation science.
  • Effectively design, implement and evaluate instruction related to a focused area of study and reflecting a Rehabilitation Science perspective.

The PhD in Rehabilitation Science curriculum is founded on a biopsychosocial framework and a commitment to interdisciplinary research and interprofessional practice. Though we expect each student's pathway to be highly individualized, all students will complete specific requirements:

  • A seven-quarter core course series (21 credits)
  • A seven-quarter professional development seminar series (7 credits)
  • Extensive coursework and/or independent study in research methods, including research ethics (minimum of 18 credits)
  • Coursework and practicum experiences in teaching (minimum of 5 credits)
  • Three cognates (areas of study) specific to the student’s individual interests and or goals (minimum of 6 credits each). Each cognate will include a series of courses and/or independent studies.

In addition to these requirements, the curriculum for each student will include 1) an early research experience, including participation in a mentor’s research culminating in the completion of a manuscript and scholarly presentation, 2) completion of the General Examination, and 3) successful defense of the Dissertation. 

Credit from other universities

Credits from other universities cannot be transferred to UW to count towards these requirements; however, some coursework pursued to fulfill these requirements can be adjusted to ensure students are moving beyond their current knowledge and skill set.

The PhD program admits a new cohort of students every other year on even-numbered years. The application deadline is January 15 of even-numbered years for entry into the program in September of that year. Potential applicants may reach out to  faculty  if they are interested in talking with faculty members to learn about their research. Applicants do not need to have identified a mentor prior to application. Matching students with mentors is completed as part of the application process.

All items are submitted online through the  UW Graduate School .

Please schedule and complete an informational meeting with a program representative well before the January 15 application deadline. (We recommend September, October, or November). This informational meeting does not have to be in person but must be completed for your application to be considered. Additional interviews with the PhD Program Core Faculty and/or potential mentors may be scheduled during the application review phase. Please email the program office to arrange a time:  [email protected].

Application requirements

Application requirements are:

  • CV or resume
  • Transcripts from all colleges attended (unofficial, and uploaded to Grad School application)
  • Professional license number, type, state of issue, expiration date (if applicable)
  • Three letters of reference
  • Interview(s) with program representative(s)
  • Why are you pursuing doctoral study in Rehabilitation Science?
  • Describe your short- and long-term career goals.
  • Describe your qualifications and readiness for doctoral study.
  • Describe an area in Rehabilitation Science on which you would like to focus.
  • Describe why you selected the PhD Program in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Washington and why you believe this specific program will help you meet your educational and career goals.

In addition to online materials submitted to the UW Graduate School, the PhD Program may request a copy of official transcripts.

Eligibility criteria

Prospective students typically have backgrounds in occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, rehabilitation counseling, prosthetics & orthotics, medicine, nursing, engineering, or other fields related to Rehabilitation Science.

In addition, all applicants will be required to have outstanding academic records and, in most cases, documentation of clinical expertise and leadership. Factors considered in admission to this degree are:

  • Previous background, including work experience (preferred) and licensure and/or certification to practice (as appropriate) in occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, rehabilitation counseling, prosthetics and orthotics, medicine, nursing, engineering, or other field related to rehabilitation science. Applicants with bachelor's, master's, and clinical doctoral degrees will be considered.
  • Undergraduate and/or graduate minimum GPA of 3.0 in their field of study.
  • Letters of reference from both academic and clinical settings (as appropriate).
  • Evidence of certification and licensure to practice (if applicable)

Selection process

The PhD Administrative Core Faculty reviews all applications to the PhD Program in Rehabilitation Science and considers potential mentors for the applicants. Selection decisions weigh the strength of an application and the availability of an appropriate program mentor.

Applications received by the application deadline are given first consideration.  If there is space available in the program after this initial round, applications received after the deadline may be considered.

Program Costs

Resident and non-resident tuition for the PhD Program in Rehabilitation Science are based on Tier I  Graduate Tuition & Fees  for the Seattle campus, available from the University of Washington Office of Planning & Budgeting. 

In addition to living expenses, other expenses associated with doctoral study may include books, computer hardware and software, transportation, costs related to conducting dissertation research, and dissertation preparation.

Although we cannot guarantee financial assistance in the form of graduate student appointments to all students, we make every effort to find financial support within the Department’s ongoing teaching and research activities, training grants, and other funding opportunities.  We will also facilitate funding support and graduate student appointments through other campus departments when available and appropriate. Please talk with the program representatives about common funding options.

Please review the information on Fellowships and Assistantships provided on the  Graduate School website .

Additional resources for financial assistance include:

  • UW Office of Student Financial Aid
  • Grants and Funding Information Service  (GFIS): Offers help in searching for outside funding through databases and workshops.

Thanks to generous donors, the following funds are also available to assist PhD students.

PhD Education and Training Funds

With deep appreciation to the generosity of donors, the PhD in Rehabilitation Science Education and Training Funds provide support for an array of PhD student-centered needs including travel to conferences, publication fees, research expenses, and related costs. 

  • Kartin Fund:  This fund was named in honor of Deborah Kartin, PT, PhD.  Dr. Kartin, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, was the inaugural Director of the University of Washington PhD Program in Rehabilitation Science.
  • Wang/Robinson Fund:   The Wang/Robinson endowed fund was initiated by Leilei Wang, PhD, MD, and Lawrence R. Robinson, MD. Dr. Wang, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, and Dr. Robinson, Professor, and the Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine when the PhD Program in Rehabilitation Science was established, all co-founded this endowed fund to support students in the PhD Program in Rehabilitation Science.
  • Anderson Fund:   The Anderson endowed fund was established by Marjorie E. Anderson, PhD, Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Washington.  Dr. Anderson served as Director of Rehabilitation Research, Vice-Chair of the Department, and twice as interim Chair, and endowed this fund to support students in the PhD Program in Rehabilitation Science.
  • McEwen Fund:  Established through the generous support of the McEwen Family, this fund helps support PhD students with a research focus on pediatric physical therapy.

Meet our current students

Students Completing their Dissertations:

Hoda farhadi .

Discipline:  Physical Therapy

Mentor:   Sujata Pradhan, PT, PhD

Sarah Thomas

Orli shulein.

Discipline:  Speech-Language Pathology

Mentor:   Jeanne Hoffman, PhD 

Originally From:  New York

Research Interests:  Exploring the biopsychosocial factors influencing early concussion recovery, including perceived injustice, stress, and patient-provider communication. Clinically, she specializes in high-level cognitive-communication treatment of adults with persistent post-concussive symptoms.

2020 Cohort

Reham a. abuatiq.

Mentor:   Heather Feldner, PT, PhD  

Originally From:  Amman Jordan

Research Interests:  Pediatric physical therapy, enhancing the involvement and inclusion of disabled children in society, exploring the psychological impact of gross motor disabilities on children.

Jennifer “Niffer” Brodsky

Mentor:  Val Kelly, PT, PhD

Originally From:  Bourbonnais, IL

Research Interests:  The potential use of technology to improve access to care and provide supplement guided exercise programming to underserved populations. She is specifically curious about the prevention of decline in physical function and secondary health conditions in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders after the transition from pediatric to adult medical care.

Mentor:   Carolyn Baylor, PhD, CCC-SLP and T racy Mroz, PhD, OTR/L

Originally From:  New Orleans, Louisiana

Research Interests:  Her research interests relate to investigating the characteristics, outcomes, and value of speech-language pathology utilizing health services research methods. She is also interested in understanding the impact of policy and health economics on clinical practice especially in long-term care and for people living with dementia.

Claire Child

Mentor:   Beth Brown, PT, PhD  

Originally From:  San Diego, CA

Research Interests:  Claire Child is originally from San Diego, CA but has lived in multiple states across the US, practicing as a physical therapist in large academic medical centers and specializing in critical care rehabilitation and heart and lung transplantation. Her research interests are in exercise optimization for individuals with advanced cardiovascular and pulmonary conditions and the use of technology and behavioral change strategies to augment physical activity in at-risk populations. Claire previously received a Doctor of Physical Therapy from the MGH Institute of Health Professions and a Masters of Public Health in Health Care Policy and Management from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is an ABPTS board-certified clinical specialist in cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy (CCS) since 2014.

Rich Henderson

Mentor:   Chet Moritz, PhD  

Originally From:  McKinney, TX

Research Interests: My research interests center around developing and testing neuroprosthetic devices to restore and improve movement following a stroke or spinal cord injury. By integrating advanced technology into neurorehabilitation treatment paradigms, I believe we can promote independence and enhance the quality of life for individuals living with paralysis.

Rachael Rosen

Discipline:  Prosthetics and Orthotics

Mentor:   Brian Hafner, PhD 

Originally From:  Redmond, Washington

Research Interests:  Evaluating health and mobility outcomes related to prosthetic & orthotic interventions; utilizing big data to improve health equity, reducing disparities, and addressing social determinants of health in people who have or are at risk for amputation. Outside of academia, you can find her hiking to her favorite Alpine Lakes, cultivating her urban garden, skiing, or stand-up paddleboarding.

Alissa Smith

Discipline:  Speech-Language Pathology

Mentor:  Carolyn Baylor, PhD, CCC-SLP

Research Interests: Cognitive-communication disorders and cognitive change associated with post-intensive care syndrome.

Melody (Bishan) Yang

Discipline:  Occupational Therapy

Mentor:   Danbi Lee, OTD, PhD  

Originally From:  Guangdong, China

Research Interests:  Aging populations including 1) improving the quality of life for people who have disabilities, especially the aging populations; 2) contributing to social and health services for older adults; and 3) assisting older adults in achieving active aging and aging in place.

2022 Cohort

Adam babitts.

Mentor:   Sean Rundell, PT, DPT, PhD  

Originally From:   New Jersey, Maryland, and then Southern California prior to settling down in Washington

Research Interests: My research focus is on prognostic indicators for low back pain with a more specific focus on psychological determinants.  I would like to understand the roles a patient’s perceptions and personality traits play in reaching their goals.

Tyler Barrett

Discipline:  Clinical Counseling

Mentor:   Mark Jensen, PhD  

Originally From:   Ames, IA

Research Interests:   Tyler's research focuses on psychosocial interventions for chronic pain, and the effect of such interventions beyond pain. He is currently exploring how psychological self-conception and adaptation can aid in chronic pain management and rehabilitation.

Adrià Robert Gonzalez

Discipline:  Physical Therapy / Occupational Therapy

Mentor:   Chet Moritz, PhD 

Originally From: I'm Catalan, from Malgrat de Mar a small town in the coast north of Barcelona.

Research Interests: My research interest is in upper extremity rehabilitation for people with diverse neurological conditions such as stroke and spinal cord injury. 

Originally From:   Petersburg, IL

Research Interests:   My general research interests are related to neurological rehabilitation. More specifically, I am interested in cognitive changes that occur with acute neurological injuries such as stroke, and how those cognitive changes impact participation and quality of life for people after stroke.

Molly Gries

Mentor:   Sujata Pradhan, PT, PhD 

Originally From:   Chicago, IL

Research Interests:  My research focuses on measurement of gait and balance changes with aging and pathology.

If you would like to support our students, please visit our Donate page.

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The UW Graduate School supports interdisciplinary activities as part of its core mission to champion innovation and excellence in graduate education.

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  • BA, Food Systems, Nutrition, and Health
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  • MS, Nutritional Sciences
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  • MPH in Public Health Genetics
  • MS in Genetic Epidemiology
  • PhD in Public Health Genetics

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10 facts about today’s college graduates

A San Jose State University graduate prepares for commencement ceremonies with his family in December 2021.

Having a bachelor’s degree remains an important advantage in many sectors of the U.S. labor market. College graduates generally out-earn those who have not attended college, and they are more likely to be employed in the first place. At the same time, many Americans say they cannot afford to get a four-year degree – or that they just don’t want to.

Here are key facts about American college graduates.

This Pew Research Center analysis about U.S. college graduates relies on data from sources including the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Student Clearinghouse and the Federal Reserve Bank, as well as surveys conducted by the Center.

Everyone who took the Pew Research Center surveys cited is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about  the ATP’s methodology .

Nearly four-in-ten Americans ages 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree, a share that has grown over the last decade. As of 2021, 37.9% of adults in this age group held a bachelor’s degree, including 14.3% who also obtained a graduate or professional degree, according to data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. That share is up 7.5 percentage points from 30.4% in 2011.

An additional 10.5% had an associate degree in 2021. About four-in-ten Americans ages 25 and older had a high school diploma with no further education (25.3%) or completed some college but didn’t have a degree (14.9%).

In a reversal, women are now more likely than men to graduate from college, according to the Current Population Survey . In 2021, 39% of women ages 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or more education, compared with 37% of men in the same age range. The gap in college completion is even wider among adults ages 25 to 34: 46% of women in this age group have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 36% of men.

A line graph showing that women in the U.S. are outpacing men in college graduation

In an October 2021 Pew Research Center survey of Americans without a degree, 34% of men said a major reason why they have not received a four-year college degree is that they just didn’t want to. Only one-in-four women said the same. Men were also more likely to say a major reason they didn’t have a four-year degree is that they didn’t need more education for the job or career they wanted (26% of men said this vs. 20% of women).

A chart showing that about a third of men who haven't completed four years of college say they 'just didn't want to' get a degree

Women (44%) were more likely than men (39%) to say not being able to afford college was a major reason they don’t have a bachelor’s degree. Men and women were about equally likely to say a major impediment was needing to work to help support their family.

A line graph showing that since 2000, the share of Americans with a bachelor's degree has increased across all races and ethnicities

There are racial and ethnic differences in college graduation patterns, as well as in the reasons for not completing a degree. Among adults ages 25 and older, 61% of Asian Americans have a bachelor’s degree or more education, along with 42% of White adults, 28% of Black adults and 21% of Hispanic adults, according to 2021 Current Population Survey data. The share of bachelor’s degree holders in each group has increased since 2010. That year, 52% of Asian Americans had a four-year degree or more, compared with a third of White adults, 20% of Black adults and 14% of Hispanic adults.

The October 2021 Center survey found that among adults without a bachelor’s degree, Hispanic adults (52%) were more likely than those who are White (39%) or Black (41%) to say a major reason they didn’t graduate from a four-year college is that they couldn’t afford it. Hispanic and Black adults were more likely than their White counterparts to say needing to work to support their family was a major reason.

While a third of White adults said not wanting to go to school was a major reason they didn’t complete a four-year degree, smaller shares of Black (22%) and Hispanic (23%) adults said the same. White adults were also more likely to cite not needing more education for the job or career they wanted. (There weren’t enough Asian adults without a bachelor’s degree in the sample to analyze separately.)

A bar chart showing that only about 62% of college students finish their program within six years

Only 62% of students who start a degree or certificate program finish their program within six years, according to the most recent data from the  National Student Clearinghouse , a nonprofit verification and research organization that tracked first-time college students who enrolled in fall 2015 with the intent of pursuing a degree or certificate. The degree completion rate for this group was highest among students who started at four-year, private, nonprofit schools (78.3%), and lowest among those who started at two-year public institutions (42.2%).

Business is the most commonly held bachelor’s degree, followed by health professions.  According to the  National Center for Education Statistics , about a fifth (19%) of the roughly 2 million bachelor’s degrees conferred in 2019-20 were in business. Health professions and related programs were the second most-popular field, making up 12.6% of degrees conferred that year. Business has been the single most common major since 1980-81; before that, education led the way.

The  least  common bachelor’s degrees in 2019-20 were in military technologies and applied sciences (1,156 degrees conferred in 2019-20), library science (118), and precision production (39).

There is a growing earnings gap between young college graduates and their counterparts without degrees. In 2021, full-time workers ages 22 to 27 who held a bachelor’s degree, but no further education, made a median annual wage of $52,000, compared with $30,000 for full-time workers of the same age with a high school diploma and no degree, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This gap has widened over time. Young bachelor’s degree holders earned a median annual wage of $48,481 in 1990, compared with $35,257 for full-time workers ages 22 to 27 with a high school diploma.

The unemployment rate is lower for college graduates than for workers without a bachelor’s degree, and that gap widened as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In February 2020, just before the COVID-19 outbreak began in the U.S., only 1.9% of college graduates ages 25 and older were unemployed, compared with 3.1% of workers who completed some college but not a four-year degree, and 3.7% of workers with only a high school diploma. By June 2020, after the pandemic hit, 6.8% of college grads, 10.8% of workers with some college, and 12.2% of high school grads were unemployed.

By March 2022, the unemployment rate had nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels for college graduates (2%) while dropping to 3% among those with some college education but no four-year degree, and 4% among those with only a high school diploma.

A line graph showing that underemployed recent college grads are becoming less likely to work in 'good non-college jobs'

Recent college graduates are more likely than graduates overall to be underemployed – that is, working in jobs that typically do not require a college degree, according to an analysis of Census Bureau and BLS data by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York . As of December 2021, 41% of college graduates ages 22 to 27 were underemployed, compared with 34% among all college graduates. The underemployment rates for recent college grads rose in 2020 as the COVID-19 outbreak strained the job market, but have since returned to pre-pandemic levels.

As of the end of 2021, only 34% of underemployed graduates ages 22 to 27 worked what the Fed defines as “good non-college jobs” – those paying at least $45,000 a year – down from around half in the 1990s. The share of underemployed graduates ages 22 to 27 in low-wage jobs – those earning less than $25,000 annually – rose from about 9% in 1990 to 11% last year.

A chart showing that among household heads with at least a bachelor's degree, those with a college-educated parent are typically wealthier and have greater incomes

When it comes to income and wealth accumulation, first-generation college graduates lag substantially behind those with college-educated parents, according to a May 2021 Pew Research Center analysis . Households headed by a first-generation college graduate – that is, someone who has completed at least a bachelor’s degree but does not have a parent with a college degree – had a median annual income of $99,600 in 2019, compared with $135,800 for households headed by those with at least one parent who graduated from college. The median wealth of households headed by first-generation college graduates ($152,000) also trailed that of households headed by someone with a parent who graduated from college ($244,500). The higher household income of the latter facilitates saving and wealth accumulation.

The gap also reflects differences in how individuals finance their education. Second-generation college graduates tend to come from  more affluent families , while first-generation college graduates are more likely to incur education debt than those with a college-educated parent.

Most Americans with college degrees see value in their experience. In the Center’s October 2021 survey , majorities of graduates said their college education was extremely or very useful when it came to helping them grow personally and intellectually (79%), opening doors to job opportunities (70%) and developing specific skills and knowledge that could be used in the workplace (65%).

Younger college graduates were less likely than older ones to see value in their college education. For example, only a third of college graduates younger than 50 said their college experience was extremely useful in helping them develop skills and knowledge that could be used in the workplace. Among college graduates ages 50 and older, 45% said this.

  • Higher Education

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Katherine Schaeffer is a research analyst at Pew Research Center

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