Doctor of Philosophy in Education and Social Change

The Bellarmine University Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education offers the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Education and Social Change focusing on the development of highly skilled professionals who will act as change agents in improving the education of children and adults coming from high poverty circumstances. The degree prepares graduates to work as leaders in a wide range of education-related vocations including not-for-profit agencies, family advocacy, higher education, learning and teaching research, social policy, and leadership in public/private school venues or environments. The Ph.D. in Education and Social Change is not a certification or endorsement program for public school educators, but rather helps graduates attain advanced knowledge in such areas as quantitative and qualitative research practices, assets and challenges of children living in high poverty predicaments, development and diffusion of innovative education solutions, change management, and depth of knowledge in a chosen area of study related to improving learning for all citizens. At the heart of the new Ph.D. program is a commitment to improve learning and social justice for some of the world’s most challenged children and adults.

The Ph.D. in Education and Social Change is an affordable 60-hour, cohort-based program attracting students because of its social justice paradigm rooted in the Catholic tradition and research-driven structure. Courses are delivered over a three-year period on selected weekends (Friday evening/all day Saturday). In the course of study, students work in teams alongside top scholars to seek, replicate, develop and explore research based innovations for improving learning for the under-privileged. Most candidates complete their dissertation and graduate within a four-year timeframe.

For those serving in education-related fields outside of P-12 schools, the ideal candidate will usually hold the equivalent of an undergraduate and graduate degree in their fields more broadly based related to the education enterprise and social justice (e.g., communications, nonprofit leadership, education policy, etc.). Areas of concentration within the Bellarmine University Ph.D. include Literacy Education, Educational Leadership, Superintendent Focus, and Higher Education Administration. An Individualized Plan option is also possible for persons wishing to have a more customized experience to suit clearly identified career goals. 


Tuition and Fees

The 2016-2017 academic year tuition is $800 per credit hour plus $45 per course fee.

Financial Assistance
Degree seeking students are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by visiting The Bellarmine School code is 001954. By completing the FAFSA, you may be eligible for student loans. Individuals working for the Archdiocese of Louisville are encouraged to contact the central office for information on the Professional Educators Incentive Program (PEIP) to see if funding is available.

Contact Information

Jordan Wiehebrink, Graduate Admission Officer
502.272.8245 or

Office of Graduate Admission
502.272.7200 or 1.800.274.4723 x7200

Upcoming Information Session

Graduate & Second Degree Programs Information Session
Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. at Bellarmine University, Amelia Brown Frazier Convocation Hall

Information will be available on all graduate and second degree programs. Click here for a listing of our programs.

To RSVP, contact the Office of Graduate Admission at 502.272.7200 or email now