The development of thriving inner-city schools is a major educational challenge that requires innovative, high-quality leadership. The Urban Leadership program is an innovative cohort program designed to meet the needs of urban K–16 educational leaders.

The Urban Leadership program seeks experienced classroom teachers, policy makers, and working professionals interested in promoting accountability and social justice in education. Our approach is built on the guiding principles that bringing about systemic change in education requires effective urban education leaders and that creating successful urban schools necessitates a redefinition of K–16 schools as organizations. Educational leaders in urban communities must have the capacity to integrate natural, human, and social assets in those populations. We believe that enhancing these communities with successful schools and community colleges increases the vitality of larger society.

Program Highlights
  • Students are encouraged to bridge their real-life work experience to their academic studies. Each cohort is a carefully selected group of educators and administrators who have a demonstrated potential for leadership in education or in a related field.
  • To accommodate the busy schedules of educational leaders, our courses are taught on Friday evenings and Saturdays during the first year. In year two, students join the wider PhD group in courses offered on weekdays at 4:00 and 7:00 p.m.
  • Curricular offerings include the development of knowledge, skills, and strategies for leaders in urban settings; discussion-rich seminars that introduce students to the literature related to urban education; and research projects connecting their academic study to real-world workplace experiences.

Program at a Glance

72 units

5–7 years

Claremont, CA | Los Angeles, CA


PhD in Education

Featured Courses

EDUC 684
Strategic Management of Human Capital in High-Performing School Districts

Examines on the challenges of human resource management in urban school systems.

EDUC 441
Breaking the Cycle of Predictability

Examines the current situation of populations of students who have been historically unsuccessful in our schools and factors that have contributed to this cycle of predictability.

EDUC 603
Educational Leadership

Examines the theoretical foundations of organizational leadership and the practical applications of leading schools in the 21st century.

Faculty & Research

  • Kyo Yamashiro profile image

    Kyo Yamashiro

    Associate Professor of Education
    Director, Urban Leadership Program

    Research Interests

    Education policy and politics, Measuring school and classroom climate, Accountability and school quality, Choice and charter school reforms, Research use for improvement, College readiness, Organizational leadership, Complexity science

  • Tom Luschei profile image

    Tom Luschei

    Professor of Education

    Research Interests

    International and comparative education; Economics of education; Teacher quality and teacher policy; Education policy across the Americas; Bilingual education policy and practice

  • Carl Cohn profile image

    Carl Cohn

    Clinical Professor of Education
    Professor Emeritus

    Research Interests

    Education, Urban education, Education policy

  • Deborah Faye Carter profile image

    Deborah Faye Carter

    Associate Professor of Higher Education

    Research Interests

    Education, Higher education, Race and gender in education, Mentoring

  • 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

  • Mary Simpson Poplin profile image

    Mary Simpson Poplin

    Professor of Education

    Research Interests

    Education, Effective teachers, K–12 Education

  • Jacob Adams profile image

    Jacob Adams

    Professor of Education

    Research Interests

    Education policy, finance, governance

  • 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

  • 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; Immigrant experience

  • Susan J. Paik profile image

    Susan J. Paik

    Associate Professor of Education

    Research Interests

    Educational productivity; Learning and achievement; Talent and leadership development; Urban and international studies; Underserved students; Family-school-community partnerships; Research methods and evaluation

  • Linda Perkins profile image

    Linda Perkins

    Associate University Professor
    Director, Applied Women’s Studies

    Research Interests

    Women and African-American higher education

  • Lucrecia Santibañez profile image

    Lucrecia Santibañez

    Associate Professor of Education

    Research Interests

    Economics of education, English language learners, Teacher policy in developing countries, Teacher labor markets

Where You Can Find Our Alumni

Request information about the Urban Leadership program

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Heidi Martinez

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)