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Top 10 PhD in Education Programs

Earning a PhD in any field is both time intensive and expensive. While the required time to earn a PhD is a given, paying for one is not! Fully funded PhD programs offer students a chance to focus on their studies without worrying about going into debt long (sometimes decades) after graduation. With the average cost of a PhD at nearly $100,000, potential PhD students should do everything possible to secure a spot in fully funded programs. Keep reading to learn about some of the top fully funded PhD programs in Education! 

Related: Top scholarships for teachers

First, exactly what is a “Doctorate of Philosophy” degree?

A PhD, which is the abbreviated form of “doctorate of philosophy,” is among the highest level degrees one can earn in the United States. Students earn a  PhD after the completion of a lengthy research and writing project known as a “dissertation.” While most students earn PhDs in the humanities or social sciences, they can earn a PhD in a variety of fields. 

Further reading: What is a PhD?

How we chose the fully funded PhD in Education programs on this list

All of the programs on the following list have stellar reputations in the education space. It is not surprising that the most reputable programs offer plentiful resources that are invaluable to PhD students. PhD students are able to fully focus on their studies in well stocked and up-to-date libraries. Students have access to the most distinguished education professors in their respective specialty fields. Upon graduation, students will have strong connections to help launch their own careers. 

All of the fully funded programs included offer full tuition coverage. Most offer living stipends and health insurance as well. Make sure that you read the details of exactly what to expect from each program. Students may be required to contribute to their education by becoming a graduate assistant or working in some capacity at the school they are enrolled in. 

Let’s take a look at some of the top fully-funded PhD in Education programs, which are in no particular order. 

Columbia University Teachers College PhD program in Education Policy 

Columbia University Teachers College PhD program in Education provides students with rigorous academic training and research opportunities. The program offers a range of specializations, including curriculum and teaching, educational leadership, higher education, international and comparative education, psychology in education, and special education.  

  • Location: New York City, New York
  • Focus of study: Curriculum and teaching, education policy and social analysis, health education, and cognitive studies in education.
  • What is included: Tuition coverage for the first, second, and third year

Harvard University PhD in Education

Harvard University offers a PhD program in Education through the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). The program offers students specializations in three concentrations: Culture, Institutions, and Society; Education Policy and Program Evaluation; and Human Development, Learning and Teaching.  

  • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Focus of study: Human development, instructional practice, institutions and society, learning and teaching, and policy analysis and evaluation
  • What is included: Full financial support for tuition, health insurance fees, and basic living expenses for a minimum of five years

Stanford PhD Program in Education

The Stanford Graduate School of Education PhD program in Education prepares scholars to advance knowledge about learning and education, with a focus on improving educational outcomes for all students. Academic areas students can focus on include curriculum studies and teacher education (CTE), developmental and psychological sciences (DAPS), social sciences, humanities, and interdisciplinary policy studies in education (SHIPS), and other cross-area specializations. 

  • Location: Stanford, California
  • Focus of study: Educational leadership, education policy analysis, learning and teaching, and quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • What is included: Full tuition aid, fellowship stipend, and assistantship salary

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign PhD program in Education

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a Ph.D. program in education that provides students with a strong foundation in educational theory, research methodologies, and practical applications. Students may specialize in a variety of different areas of study. These include educational policy, leadership and administration, curriculum and instruction, educational psychology, and human development. 

  • Location: Champaign, Illinois 
  • Focus of study: Curriculum and instruction, educational policy, educational psychology, higher education, learning sciences, and special education
  • What is included: Full tuition waiver, a partial fee waiver, and a stipend in the first five years of enrollment

University of Michigan PhD program in Educational Studies 

The University of Michigan offers a Ph.D. program in Education through its School of Education. Students have the opportunity to specialize in diverse fields such as educational psychology, curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, and policy. Additionally, the University of Michigan provides a vibrant intellectual community and a wide range of resources, including libraries, research centers, and partnerships with local schools and educational organizations. 

  • Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Focus of study: Cross-specialization concentration, educational foundations and policy, educational policy, leadership, and innovation, learning technologies, literacy, language, and culture, mathematics education, science education, and teaching and teacher education
  • What is included: Full tuition waiver, health insurance, and a generous stipend package 

University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education PhD program in Education

The University of Pennsylvania offers an interdisciplinary and prestigious Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in Education housed within the renowned Graduate School of Education (GSE). Students can choose one of the five programs available: 1) educational linguistics 2) human development & quantitative methods 3) literacy, culture, and international education 4) policy, organizations, leadership, and systems and 5) teaching, learning, and leadership. The GSE also has numerous research centers and institutes, providing opportunities for collaboration and engagement with experts. 

  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Focus of study: Educational technology, language and literacy, higher education, policy analysis, teacher education, and urban education
  • What is included: A full scholarship, a stipend, and student health insurance for the first four years of study

Vanderbilt University Ph.D. program in Learning, Teaching, and Diversity

Vanderbilt University offers a Ph.D. program in Learning, Teaching, and Diversity through its Peabody College. The program aims to place a strong emphasis on research and provides students with numerous opportunities for professional development and networking. The program offers four areas of specialization: language, literacy, and culture; justice and diversity in education; mathematics and science education; and learning and design. 

  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Focus of study: higher education, learning and instruction, language and literacy, educational policy, and more
  • What is included: Full tuition support, health insurance, and graduate assistantships that cover living expenses

The University of Texas at Austin College of Education PhD

Within the College of Education at UT Austin, the Curriculum and Instruction department includes a variety of PhD programs to choose from like bilingual education, cultural studies in education, early childhood education, language and literacy studies, learning technologies, social studies education, and more. Other departments in the college of education include: Curriculum and Instruction; Educational Leadership and Policy; Educational Psychology; Kinesiology and Health Education; and Special Education.

  • Location: Austin, Texas
  • Focus of study: Bilingual/Bicultural Education; Cultural Studies in Education; Early Childhood Education, Language and Literacy Studies; Learning Technologies; Physical Education Teacher Education; Social Studies Education; STEM Education; and Urban Teachers Program
  • What is included: Full tuition waiver, a stipend for living expenses, and health insurance for up to five years

New York University Steinhardt

The Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University offers many PhD programs in the field of education. Popular concentrations include learning sciences, literacy education, educational psychology, policy studies, and teaching and learning. A PhD in education from New York University offers students a variety of specializations with the added bonus of a fully funded program.  

  • Location: New York City, New York
  • Focus of study: Bilingual Education; Childhood Education; Early Childhood Education; Education and Jewish Studies; Educational Communication and Technology; and more
  • What is included: Tuition coverage for required course work, an annual stipend, and health insurance through the fifth year 

Washington University in St. Louis, PhD in Education

Washington University in St. Louis offers a Ph.D. in Education through its Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. PhD students may choose from two major strands of study; educational policy studies and educational psychology. Students in the Educational Policy Studies concentration focus on analysis of educational policy, address systemic inequities, and study qualitative, quantitative projects. The Educational Psychology program helps students in their focus on psychological research and theories relating to learning and motivation. 

  • Location: St. Louis, Missouri
  • Focus of study: Educational Policy Studies and Educational Psychology
  • What is included: Full tuition remission and a monthly stipend five to six years

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Frequently asked questions about fully funded PhD programs in education

How do I know which PhD program in education is right for me?

Does a fully funded PhD in education include housing?

Is there an age limit for earning a PhD in education?

Can I earn an online fully funded PhD program in education?