»Ph.D. in Education from Chapman University

The Ph.D. in education program is intended primarily for individuals seeking a career in higher education or in other research-oriented leadership fields. The program focuses on the formulation of new ways to think about issues and solve problems in the field of education. The doctorate in education offers a unique combination of four emphases: Cultural and Curricular Studies, Disability Studies, Leadership Studies and School Psychology.

Our Ph.D in education is characterized by five distinct, yet interwoven, components:

  1. The notion and practice of social justice
  2. Student collaboration supported by student cohorts
  3. Faculty mentorship of students
  4. A rigorous core of philosophy, foundations and methods of the respective emphasis area

+-Program at a Glance

  • Cohort model with entry each fall
  • Cohort of 18 students, 6 in each emphasis area
  • 4 emphasis areas:
    • Cultural and Curricular Studies
    • Disabilities Studies
    • School Psychology
    • Leadership Studies
  • A 57 unit program that can be completed full time or part time study
  • All classes are held in the late afternoons or evenings (no online classes)
  • Low student-to-faculty ratio, with close collaboration between students and doctoral faculty on publications, presentations, and grant proposals

+-Admissions Requirements

Acceptance into the program is based on an evaluation of the whole student, with no single criterion used to base an admission decision. There are no cut-off scores for the GRE or GPA. 

To be considered for admission, applicants must submit the following:

  1. Online graduate application to the Chapman University Ph.D. in education program.
  2. Supplemental application to the Chapman University Ph.D. in education program (through online application).
  3. Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts showing evidence of a master's degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
  4. Official Graduate Record Examination results in the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections.
  5. Three letters of recommendation, including two from graduate-level professors who can describe the academic potential of the applicant, and one from someone who can speak to the applicant's professionalism (e.g.,  a current employer or a current colleague). Letters from relatives will not be considered.
  6. A personal essay (minimum 2250 words) will be used to assess the applicant's writing skills, career commitment, leadership potential, research interests, and professional goals (uploaded through the online application). This essay should indicate the professors with whom the applicant wishes to study and the ways in which the applicant's research interests align with faculty expertise. The essay should be substantive enough for the faculty to determine the depth of the applicant's thinking and commitment to a rigorous program.

  7. A current resume showing relevant education and work experience (uploaded through the online application).

If you would like to attend an Information Session to find out more about the Ph.D. in Education program please register here, you will be sent a free parking permit for the event!

The Application period for the Fall 2014 cohort is now closed.

The application deadline for the Fall 2015 cohort is February 15, 2015.  For more information please contact the Laura Burns, Administrative Assistant to the Ph.D. Program, at (714) 628-7263 or by email at laburns@chapman.edu

+-Joint Admission into Ed.S. in School Psychology and Ph.D. in Education

Applicants may apply for regular admission to the Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology and the Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in School Psychology. If interested in this option, applicants must indicate their choice on the supplemental application for the Ed.S. in School Psychology Program. Applicants must complete the regular admission process for the Ed.S. Program, and have their files reviewed by the Director of the Ph.D. in Education Program. If approved by the School Psychology
faculty and the Director of the Ph.D. in Education Program, applicants will receive full admission to the Ed.S. Program and conditional acceptance to the Ph.D.in Education. To receive conditional acceptance to the Ph.D. Program, applicants must achieve regular admission to the Ed.S. Program. Applicants will be assigned an Ed.S. and doctoral advisor. After completion of 24 credits, including at least one 700-level doctoral class, students may apply for regular acceptance to the Ph.D. Program by completing a new graduate application (no fee is required). Applicants will be considered for regular acceptance if they have:
  • No outstanding incompletes.
  • Achieved a minimum 3.75 grade point average in program course work.
  • Earned an A- or its equivalent on the First Year Research Paper in the Ed.S.Program.
Applications will be reviewed by the Director of the Ph.D. in Education Program and the School Psychology Program Faculty. If students are approved by both the faculty and the Director, they will receive regular acceptance into the Ph.D. Program. Students who have not met the criteria may complete the Ed.S. Degree, even if they do not achieve regular acceptance into the Ph.D. Program

+-Program Director and Faculty

Director, Susan L. Gabel, Ph.D.

Dr. Susan L. Gabel earned her doctorate in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy & Social Analysis from Michigan State University in 1997. Susan’s areas of research include: global issues in disability studies, intellectual and developmental disability, and access and equity in postsecondary education. She is the co-editor of a book series with Peter Lang Publishers. Her articles have appeared in numerous peer reviewed journals and she has edited several books. Her current research focuses on access and equity to higher education for disabled students in the US and Flanders, the Flemish speaking part of Belgium. With colleagues in Flanders she is completing an action research study that explores the meaning of accessibility for people with intellectual disability, particularly as it applies to higher education, community inclusion, and political life. Her most recent article, “Discourse and the containment of disability in postsecondary education” (in review), illustrates the ways in which institutional culture attenuates the impact of disability on policy and practice.


+-Ph.D. Research Forums

At least once a year the Ph.D. in Education program brings in leading scholars in the academic field for a research forum open to our CES students and faculty to attend. It is a way for our students to interact with experts in the field as well as gain knowledge in moving forward with their research and possibly dissertation topics.

Past presentations:

January 25, 2014
Dr. Rodolfo D. Torres Latino Education: Economic Democracy
& Radical Possibilities In the Age of Inequality (pdf)
January 26, 2013*
Dr. Tyrone Howard Why Race and Culture Matters in Schools
April 23, 2012*
Dr. Michael Furlong What are the Essential Building Blocks of
Youth Psychological 
Well-being? (pdf)
November 18, 2011*
Dr. Beth Ferri Disability Life Writing and the Politics of Knowing
March, 18, 2011*
Dr. Jeffrey Duncan-Andrade Note to Educators: Hope Required
When Growing Roses in 
Concrete (pdf)

*Presentations that are available to view for free from the CES iTunes U site.

April 27, 2010 Dr. Stephen Krashen Language and Literacy: 4 Big Questions
September 14, 2009 Dr. Tom Skrtic Race, Class and Disability in the History of Educational Reform: Ideology, Institutions, and Utopia
March 9, 2009 Dr. Travis T. Threats Functioning, Disability and Cultures: A Global View
April 9, 2008 Dr. Kevin K. Kumashiro The Seduction of Common Sense: How the Right has Framed the Debate on America's Schools
November 8, 2007 Dr. Michele Foster Writing for and Publishing in Education Journals

+-Contact Us

Susan L. Gabel. Ph.D. 
Professor and Director of the Ph.D. in Education Program

Laura Burns, M.A.
Administrative Assistant

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Come to Inspire - Chapman University

Attend an Information Session

Find out more about the Ph.D. in Education program as well as other graduate programs offered in the CES. Register here for an information session and receive a free parking permit. If you do not have time to schedule a tour with the Admissions Office you can use the self-guided tour brochure (PDF) and campus map (PDF) to take a spin around our beautiful campus!

Support Ph.D. Student Scholarships!

The CES is proud to have the first research-based doctorate at Chapman University and Ph.D. Scholarships help attract the best and brightest doctorate candidates to our community. These candidates and their research will bring immeasurable value to Chapman in the years to come. If you are interested in helping with scholarships for our Ph.D. students please visit the Student Scholarships page for more information on how you can donate!