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Educational Leadership, Culture, and Curriculum, Ph.D.

Miami offers an integrated approach to educational leadership that embraces new worlds of education so that leaders are prepared to meet the needs of diverse student populations and communities through an array of educational institutions and programs.

The nature of education today defies the neat borders and boundaries that have historically characterized many education doctoral programs. Educational policy and politics are centered on changing the status quo as schools increasingly work collaboratively with families, non-profits, and civil society organizations. Activism and entrepreneurship are taking on new forms in the ever-shifting world of education. Thus, we offer an integrated approach that embraces these new worlds of education so that leaders are prepared to meet the needs of diverse student populations and communities through an array of educational institutions and programs. 

Contact Us

Érica Fernández, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
(513) 529-6851


The guiding mission of our doctoral program is to prepare educational leaders and scholars who are attuned to culture-based leadership and who are critically aware, politically and ethically discerning, and policy fluent. Our Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership with a focus in Leadership, Culture, and Curriculum integrates the fields of educational administration, leadership, and curriculum with an emphasis on educational equity.

The program is flexible enough to allow room for students to build expertise in their areas of interest, or to complete the requirements for an administrative license. We approach leadership from a cultural perspective that seeks to prepare leaders for various educational institutions.

Our core classes employ culture-based theories to examine the interplay and struggles of various groups within societies. We ask students to understand both how schools as organizations are presently constructed, as well as to deeply understand how education for the purpose of social justice might require fundamental shifts in thinking about students, families, neighborhoods, and nations. 

Guiding Principles

  1. Leadership is an intellectual, moral, and craft practice situated in the cultural, political, and social contexts of institutions and societies.
  2. Educational leadership is both positional and non-positional in form; it is a process of power-sharing rather than power-imposing which works toward collaboration, emancipation, and empowerment.
  3. Educators make a commitment to community. The building and development of diverse, inclusive communities is never assumed and should be continuously nurtured, interrogated, and supported.
  4. Educational leaders understand and navigate the present environment in order to work towards transforming organizations and the individuals within them to become more democratic and socially just.


We believe that a doctoral program in educational leadership that starts with questions of culture is far better equipped to help its graduates work for more socially just educational institutions and spaces. Grounding our efforts in cultural theories helps to explain the differentials of wealth and status that strongly shape educational outcomes in our society. Moreover, it enables educational leaders to more easily frame questions of democratic purpose and moral value within the educational contexts in which they are working. The seven principles orienting our department’s work root the Educational Leadership doctoral program curriculum within a substantive ethical vision of schooling appropriate for a diverse democratic society.

Course Requirements

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Describe and interpret the foundations of democratic education
  • Explain and assess the social-cultural context of schooling. including contemporary educational policy and reform.
  • Connect issues of power, diversity, and equity to social justice education.
  • Integrate dimensions of leadership, culture, and curriculum through comprehensive exams or key benchmark assessments.
  • Design, propose, and write an independent research or inquiry project.

Application Process

Candidates must apply and be accepted by Miami University's Graduate School and the Department of Educational Leadership. The Graduate School requires an applicant to have a minimum cumulative undergraduate degree G.P.A. of 2.75. Applicants must have also earned a master's degree.

All applications are due January 9, 2024.

Submit an electronic Graduate School application, including:

  • Transcripts from your undergraduate degree and your graduate degree in addition to any other college or university at which you have done graduate work
  • Personal Statement
  • CV/Resume
  • Include a short writing sample. This can be an assignment written in a former masters/undergraduate degree program or a writing sample from a blog/online forum. Another possible option is to include a detailed lesson plan or a community action-oriented project that details a connection to the EDL Principles. 
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • A $50 non-refundable application fee

Apply Today