How can we develop schools that are more responsive to diverse communities? The CGU/SDSU joint PhD program in Education prepares you to contribute to the knowledge base that supports creation of educational programs and systems that are democratic and effective.

The mission of the Joint PhD program in Education offered by San Diego State University and Claremont Graduate University is to develop scholars committed to research on democratic schooling, social justice, and equal educational outcomes for all students, as well as the improvement of educational systems serving diverse communities. The PhD is awarded on the basis of the candidate’s achievement in these areas:

    • Understanding of diversity and its implications for education
    • Analysis and development of educational policy
    • Expertise in systemic organizational change
    • Application of theory and research-based knowledge to the transformation of communities
    • Use of effective educational practices, including tools available through technology
    • Contribution to the knowledge base in education

The student demonstrates these capabilities through coursework, qualifying exams, and completion of a dissertation under the supervision of a committee composed of faculty from both universities. Students complete a minimum of 24 units at San Diego State University and 24 units at Claremont Graduate University.

The program has been in existence since 1978, established under the leadership of Tomas Arciniega and Peggy Hawley at SDSU and Paul Albrecht, then dean of faculty at CGU. Since 1981, more than 190 education professionals have earned PhDs through the program, which offers the benefits of a large, comprehensive public university and a small private university within a transdisciplinary learning environment. Graduates are currently employed as school principals, superintendents and program directors, college and university faculty and administrators, educational specialists in private and public agencies, and consultants to schools and businesses.

Program Highlights
  • Both CGU and SDSU offer a broad range of doctoral seminars and other graduate courses in education and related fields. In consultation with faculty advisors from the two universities, students develop an individualized program of study appropriate to their particular interests and designed to support their development.
  • Faculty at SDSU and CGU bring diverse research and teaching interests to the study of democratic schooling, social justice, and diversity in education, with expertise in such areas as public policy, organizational theory and leadership, curriculum and instruction, bilingual and cross-cultural education, educational technology, and more.
  • Although full-time study is encouraged, most students in the program are working professionals. Full-time students can expect to complete the program in as little as three years; part-time study significantly extends the time for degree completion.
  • All applicants must have completed a master’s degree program prior to admission and reside in, or commit to relocating to, San Diego or Imperial counties.
  • Fall and spring classes at both schools are offered in the late afternoon and evening. A variety of courses are also available during the summer at CGU. Students are required to integrate their SDSU and CGU coursework.

Program at a Glance

72 units

3–5 years

Claremont, CA | San Diego, CA


SDSU College of Education

PhD in Education

Featured Courses

EDUC 426
Social Capital, Cultural Capital & Educational Opportunity

Focuses on the impact of cultural and social capital on educational trajectories, the procedural knowledge families have at their disposal, and the connections that they develop with key institutional agents.

EDUC 459
Historical Foundations in Higher Education

Explores major trends in American higher education from colonial times to the present in political, social, and economic contexts within which American higher education has evolved.

EDUC 581
Education of Immigrant Youth

Studies the current status of immigrant students in elementary and secondary schools in the United States and the unique challenges they place on educators and school administrators.

ED 820
Advanced Educational Statistics (SDSU)

Covers theory and practice of statistical inference for research in education, including probability and sampling theory, data collection and organization, computer applications in educational research, and more.

ED 804
English Learner Education (SDSU)

Analyzes existing models of English learner education designed to meet diverse linguistic and cultural needs of students in current sociopolitical contexts.

ED 806
Ethnically Diverse Learners (SDSU)

Explores national, state, and school policy directed at providing the minority learner with equal educational opportunity.

Areas of Concentration


Faculty & Research

  • Jacob Adams profile image

    Jacob Adams

    Professor of Education

    Research Interests

    Education policy; finance; governance

  • Deborah Faye Carter profile image

    Deborah Faye Carter

    Associate Professor of Higher Education

    Research Interests

    Higher education; transition to college; college student outcomes; access to college; race in education; mentoring, equity, and diverse learning environments in STEM

  • Carl Cohn profile image

    Carl Cohn

    Clinical Professor of Education
    Professor Emeritus

    Research Interests

    Education, Urban education, Education policy

  • David Drew profile image

    David Drew

    Professor of Education
    Joseph B. Platt Chair in the Management of Technology

    Research Interests

    STEM education, data science, model building, technology development and management

  • DeLacy Ganley profile image

    DeLacy Ganley

    Dean, School of Educational Studies
    Professor of Education

    Research Interests

    Culturally relevant education; resiliency and achievement of marginalized populations; intersection of families, community, and school; language acquisition; social capital theory; systems theory

  • Tom Luschei profile image

    Tom Luschei

    Professor of Education

    Research Interests

    International and Comparative Education; Economics of Education; Teacher Quality, Teacher Policy, and Teacher Distribution; Education Policy across the Americas; Bilingual Education Policy and Practice

  • Dina C. Maramba profile image

    Dina C. Maramba

    Associate Professor of Education

    Research Interests

    Equity and diversity issues in higher education; theory and practice in student affairs; college student development; access and retention; first-generation college students; Asian American and Pacific Islander populations; minority serving institutions

  • Susan J. Paik profile image

    Susan J. Paik

    Professor of Education

    Research Interests

    Educational productivity; talent and leader development; giftedness and creativity; learning and achievement; psychosocial and environmental factors; urban and international studies; underserved students; Asian Americans and education; family-school-community partnerships; research methods, design, and evaluation

  • Linda Perkins profile image

    Linda Perkins

    Associate University Professor
    Director, Applied Gender Studies

    Research Interests

    Women and African-American higher education, history and contemporary issues on women in higher education, especially Black women, global gender issues.

  • Mary Simpson Poplin profile image

    Mary Simpson Poplin

    Professor of Education

    Research Interests

    Highly effective teachers in Los Angeles area; effective teaching methods; students, schools and poverty; differences between Judeo Christian and secular thought; Mother Teresa (worked with her in 1996)

  • Deborah Deutsch Smith profile image

    Deborah Deutsch Smith

    Professor Emerita of Education
    Director of IRIS

    Research Interests

    Special education, Special education faculty, Disability policy, Learning disabilities, Cross-cultural and inclusive education

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Heidi Kellam

Assistant Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-8982 (Direct)
T: 909-607-7811 (Central Admissions)

Aliana Guzman

Assistant Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-0769 (Direct)
T: 909-607-7811 (Central Admissions)