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
    Co-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

    Associate Professor of Education
    Co-director, Urban Leadership PhD Program

    Research Interests

    International and comparative education; Economics of education; Teacher labor markets and teacher quality; Education policy in Latin America and the United States; Bilingual education policy and practice

  • William Pérez profile image

    William Pérez

    Associate Professor of Education

    Research Interests

    Immigrant youth, Minority access to education, Ethnic identity and development, Academic achievement

  • Carl Cohn profile image

    Carl Cohn

    Clinical Professor of Education

    Research Interests

    Education, Urban education, Education policy

  • Allen M. Omoto profile image

    Allen M. Omoto

    Interim Dean, School of Educational Studies
    Professor of Education & Psychology

    Research Interests

    Social psychology; Volunteerism and prosocial action; Environmental concerns; Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues; Civil engagement and civil society

  • 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 of Special 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

  • Philip Dreyer profile image

    Philip Dreyer

    Professor Emeritus of Education and Psychology

    Research Interests

    Developmental Psychology, Literacy

  • Jacob Adams profile image

    Jacob Adams

    Interim President
    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, Statistical analyses, Model building

Where You Can Find Our Alumni

Request information about the Urban Leadership program

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Edlyn Delano

Assistant Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-9785 (Direct)
T: 909-607-7811 (Central Admissions)

Rachel Camacho

Senior Assistant Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-9418 (Direct)
T: 909-607-7811 (Central Admissions)