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A cornerstone of strong communities are strong schools, and a cornerstone of strong schools are educational leaders who have the passion, commitment, and skills needed to promote educational equity and excellence among diverse groups of students. These are the educators CGU selects for our Urban Leadership (UL) program.

The School of Educational Studies’ UL program is specifically designed for experienced educators who want to assume leadership positions in California’s school districts, county offices of education, and community colleges. Alumni of the program have used their CGU experience to propel themselves into careers as superintendents, chief academic officers, community college presidents, and elected officials.

Because the UL program’s cohorts are comprised of working educators, the urban leadership seminars are intensely relevant as your fellow students articulate the trends and phenomena they are experiencing. Your faculty shape the dialogue by helping the group understand these issues in terms of organizational and change theory, historical context, and research. Out of this synergistic exchange comes a deep conceptual understanding and applicable insights to address current and yet-to-be-identified issues. This design model develops true scholar-practitioners.

Leading to a PhD, the UL program prepares you to be a school leader that deeply engages in problems of practice with an adaptive dynamical mindset. This type of perspective-taking develops your knowledge of theoretical frameworks and research skills needed to promote educational justice. In turn, you will accelerate your ability to work with diverse and multiple stakeholders, and foster strength and excellence in our schools and communities.

Program Highlights

Program at a Glance

72 units
(Up to 20 relevant units can be transferred in from an MA program)

4–6 years
Coursework is typically completed in 2-3 full academic years. Additional time is dedicated to completing program requirements, like the dissertation.

New cohorts start every two years in the fall. The next cohort starts in Fall 2025. Some students seek special permission to start earlier; these students start their program with elective courses.

PhD in Education


Featured Courses

Leading Through Sensemaking

Develops the skills to make decisions that improve outcomes for predisposed-to-failure populations of students by examining concepts such as GLOCAL approaches that have succeeded in bringing about sustainable change, as well as alternate theories of change that are currently missing in our approach to school reform.

Managing the Politics of Educational Organizations

Introduces current political events that affect funding, decision making, curricular requirements, mandates, and interest groups, focusing on leadership response abilities. Class will be led by experts in the field who have studied and engaged in the current political environment.

Current Issues Facing California’s Educational Leaders

Examines literature and articles focused on issues facing school leaders in California. The Friday evening Socratic dialogues are led by educational leaders who are currently working in the field.

Faculty & Research

Where You Can Find Our Alumni

Request information about the Urban Leadership program

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Gabriela Krupa

Associate Director of Admissions & Advancement
T: 909-753-6424

Carina Navarro

Assistant Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-0201