May 29, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2023 - 2024 
Graduate Catalog 2023 - 2024

Urban Education, Ph.D.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Public Affairs and Education

College of Public Affairs and Education

Julka Hall 215
(216) 687-4697

Julia Phillips, Doctoral Program Director

Programs of Study

Urban Education: Administration
Urban Education: Adult, Continuing and Higher Education
Urban Education: Counseling Psychology
Urban Education: Learning and Development
Urban Education: Policy Studies
Urban Education: Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language


The Ph.D. in Urban Education program develops the leadership skills of advanced graduate students to prepare them to affect change in urban educational, mental health, and healthcare settings. It is one of the few education doctoral programs in the nation in which a special focus on urban education is infused across different specializations. The conceptual framework and primary focus of the program is preparing the urban educational leader to affect change in the educational environment. The five primary knowledge bases of the Ph.D. program are research skills, an urban perspective, the social context of urban education, the urban learner, and organizational change and development. Concepts from education, urban policy planning, law, economics, psychology, public administration, sociology, political science, and organizational development constitute the core content in the urban educational context that underpins study in the specialty areas. Graduates of the program conduct research and play leadership roles in the areas of instruction, counseling, administration, and policy making in:

  • Schools
  • Community colleges
  • Colleges and universities
  • Business and industry
  • Allied health organizations
  • Social and community agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Government

Doctoral students acquire academic knowledge, research, and technical skills through their close relationship with the faculty and with their doctoral student peer group. Special features of the Urban Education doctoral program include:

  • Cohort of candidates
  • Urban laboratory
  • Research emphasis
  • Interdisciplinary core
  • Emphasis on organizational change
  • Advanced study in an area of specialized educational practice

The program consists of:

  • Core seminars (18 credits)
  • Research methodology seminars (minimum of 13 credits)
  • Specialized area of study (minimum of 20 post-master’s credits)
  • Dissertation in the area of specialization (minimum of 10 credits)
  • Computer language requirement- EDU 715  (4 credits)

In the core seminars, a group of students remain intact as a continuously enrolled unit for two years of intensive study and discussion. The continuing intellectual association and support of this group meets the residency requirement of the doctoral program. The research methodology seminars provide quantitative and qualitative research skills essential to the creation of new knowledge and the solution of practical education problems. Courses in the specialized areas provide opportunities for advanced study of administration, counseling, teaching, and policy development in the urban context. The dissertation component follows a traditional model, adhering to the scholarship requirements of research for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Faculty Research and Publications

The faculty in the College of Public Affairs and Education has pursued a wide variety of research, in seven major areas:

  1. Equity issues, including race and ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic differences.
  2. Educational/developmental consequences for special needs/at risk children and youth populations frequently associated with urban environments and the development of educational programs that address these needs.
  3. Learning needs and programming for adults in contemporary, post-industrial urban life.
  4. The management, organizational development, and reform of educational institutions, especially urban public schools.
  5. Counseling and mental health issues of urban populations in the face of changing health care policy.
  6. The process of policy development, school reform, and implementation.
  7. School effectiveness research, including school, teacher, and community practices that impact students’ educational outcomes.

The faculty has been recognized for scholarly publications in more than eighty journals in the core and specialization areas. The Counseling Psychology Specialization is accredited by the American Psychological Association. Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC, 20002. Phone: 202.336.5979/Email: Web:

Current faculty information can be located on the Cleveland State University Faculty Profile page.

Financial Assistance

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available for students. Assistantships require five to twenty hours of service per week (see the section on Graduate Assistantships  in this Catalog). Depending on the type of assistantship, graduate assistants must enroll for six or nine graduate credits per semester. Applications for assistantships must be made directly to the Office of Doctoral Studies, College of Public Affairs and Education, Julka Hall 212.

Admission Information for Counseling Psychology Specialization


January 15th


The Doctoral Program in Urban Education seeks applications for the specialization in Counseling Psychology from individuals who have a master’s degree in counseling or clinical psychology or a closely related field, research experience, experience in an applied setting, a strong academic record, good communication skills, and strong letters of recommendation (including letters from graduate faculty). An undergraduate GPA of 2.85, and a graduate GPA of 3.5 are preferred. GRE scores are optional. Admission decisions also are influenced by space limitations, students’ evidence of commitment and interest in urban multicultural issues, aptitude for research, and a match between student interests and faculty expertise. Approximately five Counseling Psychology doctoral students will be admitted each year.


  • Graduate Application
  • Curriculum Vita
  • Personal Statement
  • Official copies of all academic transcripts
  • 3 Letters of recommendation (at least one must be from a faculty member from previous graduate work)
  • GRE scores are optional


A personal statement regarding your professional interests and goals should be included with your application. This statement should not exceed 3 pages single spaced. We are interested in knowing what attracted you to the field of counseling psychology and to doctoral program at Cleveland State University. Describe your experiences in applied settings (e. g., hotline experience, residential treatment staff, field placements) and your research experiences (e. g., assisting with a faculty member’s research, professional presentations, publications, or master’s thesis). Applicants should describe their experiences and skills with quantitative research methods and statistics in their personal statements. In addition, applicants should address the personal characteristics that will enable them to succeed in a doctoral program that requires a minimum of three courses in quantitative research and statistics. Please describe your goals for graduate study, as well as your goals for your professional career. Be specific in describing your interests in research and practice, particularly as they relate to diverse urban populations.


Applicants to the counseling psychology specialization must have a master’s degree in counseling or clinical psychology, or a closely related field. In addition, the following master’s level prerequisite courses or their equivalents are required and may be completed either prior to beginning doctoral study or concurrently with doctoral studies. Please refer to the section on course descriptions in this catalog.


Applications will be reviewed by the Counseling Psychology Core Faculty who will select the top candidates to invite to campus for an interview. Invitations for interviews will be made by February 1st of each year. Interviews will be conducted by 4-5 counseling psychology core faculty members who will then make recommendations for admission, and then submit to the doctoral studies committee of the College of Public Affairs and Education for final approval.

Offers of Admission will be made by March 15th of each year.

Students must accept or decline offers in writing by April 15th of each year.

Admission Information for Other Specializations

The Doctoral Program admits a class of twenty students each year that proceeds as a cohort. Applicants must submit:

  1. A completed admission application form
  2. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended
  3. Official GRE test scores
  4. A current curriculum vita
  5. A statement of goals and objectives
  6. Two letters of recommendation. At least one should be from a college professor familiar with the applicant’s graduate-level academic ability.

Based on completed applications, a pool of candidates is invited to participate in further screening through an interview process with three members of the graduate faculty. To be invited for an interview, the applicant must have a minimum master’s grade-point average of 3.25 and meet three of the following five criteria:

  1. A minimum combined score of 297 (GRE Revised) on the quantitative and verbal sections of the GRE within the past 5 years;
  2. A minimum rating of 4.0 in the analytical writing section of the GRE;
  3. Demonstrated research experience through a thesis or research project at the master’s level or an authored publication in a refereed research journal;
  4. Successful completion of at least two graduate research courses with a grade of B or better, prior to admission to the doctoral program
  5. Sustained professional experience (a minimum of three years) and success with urban economic, social, political, and/or educational issues as evidenced by the candidate’s portfolio and/or references. This can include evidence of extensive and successful leadership, policy or pedagogy innovations, teaching, or therapeutic performance. Applicants may submit additional supporting materials to document urban experience.

If a candidate who meets three of the above five criteria has a combined score below 297 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE, the committee may recommend, upon acceptance, additional course work prior to beginning the doctoral program.

The application deadline for priority admissions is the first Monday in February.  Application materials for any remaining slots will be accepted through March 15. Submit application materials online.

The Doctoral Studies Committee makes an admission recommendation based on the applicant’s ability to meet the screening criteria stated above and the results of the interview. The admission action and supporting materials are transmitted to the applicant.

Apply Now:

Degree Requirements

Each student prepares a program of study with a faculty advisor. Components are as follows:


(20 credits minimum)

Requirements for specializations are listed under their heading below.

Total Credit Hours

(65 credits minimum)

Comprehensive Examinations

Prior to scheduling a dissertation prospectus hearing, students must demonstrate successful performance on written comprehensive examinations. The examinations are to be taken following the completion of the core and research seminars/courses, and after the completion of at least fifteen credit hours in the area of specialization.

Students who fail to attain the required level of competence on the comprehensive examinations may retake them, but only after completing additional preparatory course work and/or study. The core and research examinations are administered in August and February.

Advancement to Candidacy and Exit Requirements

All candidates must complete a dissertation (10 credits minimum) that adds to the research knowledge about urban education. The student begins prospectus development no later than the third year of the program in concert with the Dissertation Advisor. A committee comprised of the advisor and two additional faculty members is named when the student has successfully completed all comprehensive examinations. The process includes the following steps:

  1. Prospectus/Specialization Hearing. When the candidate completes a dissertation prospectus to the advisor’s satisfaction, the Dissertation Committee conducts an oral examination on the prospectus and the area of specialization. Students are advanced to candidacy upon successful completion of the prospectus defense.
  2. When the candidate has completed the dissertation, a final oral examination is held before the Dissertation Committee. Acceptance of the dissertation and recommendation for conferring the Ph.D. degree is contingent upon majority Committee approval. If the candidate is not initially successful, the oral examination may be repeated once after appropriate revision of the dissertation.

School Administration

The School Administration specialization requires as a prerequisite a master’s degree in administration and leads to a state license for various administrative positions.

Adult, Continuing and Higher Education

The Adult, Continuing and Higher Education specialization accepts applicants from a broader range of master’s study and prepares them for administrative roles in higher education and adult education, including human resource development and community agencies.


Electives (at least 3 credits)

Students choose, in consultation with advisors, at least three additional credit hours in the areas of adult learning and development, human resource development, planning/budgeting, leadership, and professional ethics.

Counseling Psychology

Counseling Psychology requires prior Master’s study in counseling, psychology, or a closely related field. This specialization trains counseling psychologists who have the requisite knowledge base and therapeutic skills for entry into the practice of professional psychology and competent practice within a multicultural diverse urban society, and will contribute to and/or apply the scientific knowledge base of psychology using skills in research methods. This curriculum meets academic prerequisites for eligibility for licensing as a psychologist in the State of Ohio.

Learning and Development

The Learning and Development specialization accepts applicants interested in the improvement of instruction through understanding individual differences in learners and learning environments with an emerging emphasis on technology. Graduates pursue teaching and instructional leadership roles in K-12, teacher, higher education, and adult education settings.


At least nine additional credit hours approved by the advisor.

Students in the Learning and Development track may also specialize in a specific curricular area.

Policy Studies

Policy Studies accepts applicants with a broader range of master’s-level study and prepares them for policy-leadership and school-reform roles in a variety of educational settings.

Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language

The Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language specialization accepts applicants who are fluent in both Mandarin Chinese and English, and prepares them to teach and support teachers whose specialty is or will be teaching Chinese to students with a first language other than Chinese, and/or decision-makers charged with administration of such a program. Applicants must hold a Master’s degree or higher in order to apply for admission; teaching certification in the field of Chinese is recommended but not required. This specialization includes required coursework delivered at a distance by Chinese institutions of higher education.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Public Affairs and Education