College of Education and Human Development

Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development

Comparative and international development education PhD

in Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development

This Comparative and International Development Education (CIDE) track program prepares you to conduct research and provide sophisticated consultation into how schools and educational systems across the world reflect varied cultural, economic, and political contexts, and how forces like globalization, internationalization, and intercultural and educational exchanges influence individual and community learning and experiences.

Your contributions to research will help policymakers, scholars, and school systems all over the world to understand more deeply how education can aid in the creation of equitable and just communities through the design of policies and programs that support authentic learning and development.

A unique feature of this program is its cohort approach to doctoral education. Students in both the on-campus program and in the blended Leadership in Intercultural and International Education (LIIE) cohort form life-long professional relationships with their peers through common courses designed to build community and establish supportive networks. Although the curriculum allows students to select many of their own classes, our graduates consistently note the beneficial nature of the common core courses for their professional development.

    Doctoral students in Comparative and International Development Education gain the capacity to:

    • Articulate and analyze historical and contemporary challenges in education across international and intercultural contexts.
    • Design meaningful, relevant research projects; collect, analyze, and interpret qualitative and quantitative data; and provide clear and actionable insights for policymakers and practitioners.
    • Develop and teach courses in comparative, international, and intercultural education; research methods; and allied fields (e.g., applied linguistics, inclusive education, leadership, and teacher education).
    • Become faculty members in top internationally-oriented academic programs across the nation and globe who apply theory to practice and use practice to build theory in addressing some of our most challenging educational issues and problems.
    • Become leaders in international development, international education, and intercultural education institutions who use their expertise to improve policy, school organization, classroom practices, and formal and informal learning in international and intercultural contexts.

    Here are some career paths taken by recent PhD alumni:

    • Professor in the areas of education, education policy, and sociology
    • Associate provost for international programs
    • Chief of party, US Agency for International Development
    • Fellow in the Center for Universal Education at The Brookings Institution
    • Grants manager at The Ford Foundation
      • Reconceptualizing Social Capital Theory: Life Stories of Kazakhstani Youth from Rural or Lower Socioeconomic Backgrounds
      • The Influence of Intercultural Sensitivity on the Adaptive Leadership of US Army Civil Affairs Officers Serving in International Post-Conflict Contexts
      • Claiming Space: Older Adult Students’ Lived Experience and Sense of Belonging on an Age-Friendly University Campus
      • Aspirational Meaning Making: A Qualitative Case Study of Education for Global Citizenship in U.S. Higher Education
      • Intergenerational Identity, Poverty, and Maternal Voices of Color in a Breathing World Wrestling with Whiteness: Complexities and Contexts of White Educator Identities
      • Contending Purposes of Pre-Kindergarten: A Comparative Case Study of Early Childhood Education Policy in Minnesota
        Predicting Fundraising Performance in International Schools
      • Kneading our daughters: Pedagogies of nation-building and girls’ schooling in (post)colonial Bahrain
      • “Stories as Theories”: Illuminating Human Rights Education Through the Narratives of Human Rights Educators
      • (Dis)Covering Routes: Affective Turnover and Black American Teachers’ Transnational Migration to the United Arab Emirates
      • Teach Me Too: The Educational Realities of Children with Disabilities in Morocco
      • Higher Education Participation Inequities for Giay and Hmong Vietnamese Thirty Years after Doi Moi 
      • International Internships: A Stepping Stone to Employment?
      • Imagining and Navigating the Future: Educational Aspirations and Agency of Economically Disadvantaged Ethiopian Secondary School Students
      • Chinese National Applicants’ Perceptions of the Fairness of Undergraduate Admission Methods Used by U.S. Higher Education Institutions

      About our students

      Quote from Obafemi Ogunleye

      In thinking of what it will take to develop African countries for the 21st century and beyond, the most effective solution, I see, is quality education. Specifically, quality higher education is key due to its ability to produce a pool of working professionals while supporting the development of growing industries. My role as a scholar is to observe and critically analyze how institutions might benefit, or be harmed, by the effects of an increasingly globalized higher education system.

      Obafemi Ogunleye


      72 credits (48 coursework / 24 thesis) completed in 3-5 years for full time students. 

      Departmental core (16 credits)

      Professional socialization seminar

      • OLPD 8011—Doctoral Research Seminar I (1 cr) [Take Fall term of first year]

      Research courses

      • OLPD 8015—Inquiry Strategies in Educational and Organizational Research (3 cr) [Take Spring term of first year]
      • Quantitative methods course (3 cr inside or outside of department; with approval of advisor)
      • Qualitative methods course (3 cr inside or outside of department; with approval of advisor)
      • Additional methods course (6 cr; with approval of advisor)

      Program core

      Includes the OLPD 8121 series, specialization courses for one of the two CIDE specializations, and CIDE electives; courses not specifically listed below should have advisor approval.

      Doctoral seminars in CIDE

      Take 9 credits; 3 credits in each of 3 semesters starting in the spring term of the first year.

      • OLPD 8121-section 002—Doctoral Seminar: CIDE I (3 cr)
      • OLPD 8121-section 003—Doctoral Seminar: CIDE II (3 cr)
      • OLPD 8121-section 004—Doctoral Seminar: CIDE III (3 cr)

      Additional coursework (12 or more credits)

      Minimum of 12 credits required. These credits can be used to meet the requirement that a minimum of 12 credits be taken outside the CIDE track or for a minor. Courses not specifically listed should have advisor approval.


      Take at least 5 credits from the following list. Any specialization core course not being used as core class can become an elective.

      • OLPD 5044—Introduction to the Economics of Education (3 cr)
      • OLPD 5056—Case Studies for Policy Research (3 cr)
      • OLPD 5061—Ethnographic Research Methods (3 cr)
      • OLPD 5080—Special Topics [various]
      • OLPD 5107—Gender, Education, and International Development (3 cr)
      • OLPD 5128—Anthropology of Education (3 cr)
      • OLPD 8022—Education and Globalization: Anthropological Perspectives (3 cr)
      • OLPD 8087—Seminar [various topics]
      • OLPD 8102-Dynamics of Intercultural Communication (3 cr)
      • OLPD 8104—Innovative Systems Thinking in Education and Culture (3 cr)
      • OLPD 8302—Educational Policy Perspectives (3 cr)

      Specialization courses

      Take 6 credits in a specialization; at least one course must be at 8xxx level.

      Specialization: Comparative and International Development Education

      • OLPD 5103—Comparative Education (3 cr)
      • OLPD 5104—Strategies for International Development of Education Systems (3 cr)
      • OLPD 5121—Educational Reform in International Context (3 cr)
      • OLPD 5702-Global Higher Edcuation (3 cr)
      • OLPD 8101—International Education and Development (3 cr)
      • OLPD 8103—Comparative Education (3 cr)

      Specialization: Intercultural/international education

      • OLPD 5048—Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Leadership (3 cr)
      • OLPD 5124—Critical Issues in International Education and Educational Exchange (3 cr)
      • OLPD 5132—Intercultural Education and Training: Theory and Application (3 cr)
      • OLPD 8102-Dynamics of Intercultural Communication (3 cr)
      • OLPD 8087—Seminar [various topics]

      Thesis credits (24 credits)

      All Ph.D. students are required to register for 24 semester thesis credits after completing the preliminary oral exam. The 24 credits must be taken over two or more terms.

      • OLPD 8888—Thesis Credits: Doctoral

      How to apply

        Admission Deadline

        December 1 for a Fall semester start. Fall semester start only.

        Applicants may only apply to one OLPD track.

        Applications are not complete until ALL required materials and fees have been received. If anything is missing, your application may not be considered until the next review date the following year. It is strongly recommended to apply at least two weeks before any submission deadlines.

        Applications are processed by the Graduate School. A decision for admission notice will be emailed to you once your application is carefully reviewed by the department's admission committee and your transcripts and any credentials (test reports, diploma copies, etc.) are authenticated by Graduate School officials.

        Admission Requirements

        Degree: Master's degree or equivalent

        GPA: Undergraduate 3.0; Graduate 3.5

        Note: Applicants should not submit GRE scores, as they will not be considered in the review process.

        TOEFL/IELTS Scores (Not required for U.S. students):

        • TOEFL: Internet based = 79 or above
          (21 writing/19 reading)
        • IELTS = 6.5

        Online application and instructions

        Tuition and funding

        Tuition information: CEHD | OneStop

        Financial aid: CEHD | OneStop


        If a graduate student in an OLPD program has become inactive they must follow the readmission procedures.

        Whether you seek reactivation after accidentally being discontinued this term or want to return after a long absence these are the steps needed to re-apply.

        1. Complete the proper online readmission application.

          If you have been away from the program less than five years use the Express Readmission Application and email it to All others must submit the Online Application for Readmission
        2. Once received, the department will forward your application to the appropriate admissions committee. Readmission decisions are normally determined by the program’s admissions committee, not any one individual faculty member.

          Readmission is never guaranteed. Decisions for readmission are based on a review of previous progress toward degree completion, the proposed timeline for completion, the availability of faculty resources, and/or any additional application materials they may request from you. Individual programs/tracks reserve the right to readmit students under the current graduate program requirements, rules, and guidelines. They may also request an applicant to provide additional information prior to making a decision.
        3. Once the committee makes their recommendation, the department’s DGS will sign off on the decision and forward the result to the central Graduate Admissions Office for processing. Once processed, you will be notified of the decision.

        Individual department programs and tracks reserve the right to require readmitted students to retake coursework if they deem it appropriate. Readmitted students are also required to abide by current time-to-degree policies as determined by the University, which may differ from the policy in place when they first started the degree program.

        Individuals seeking readmission to the Ph.D., Ed.D., and M.A. program tracks in the former EDPA, WHRE, and WCFE majors can only reapply to the appropriate program track under the Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD) major name.


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