PhD/MPP: Education Policy/Public Policy

For students who do not yet have a master's degree in public policy or a related field, this dual degree program provides strong research skills and an applied policy focus. Graduates are prepared to take positions in academia as postdoctoral fellows or university faculty, or as education researchers in research organizations.

The University of Virginia Curry School of Education and Human Development and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy offer a dual degree program that leads to the completion of a PhD in Education Policy and MPP degrees in five to six years. There are a number of complementaries between Curry’s PhD program and Batten’s MPP program. They both seek high quality students with a commitment to improving policy outcomes, and there is extensive overlap in the coursework in both programs. The goal of a dual PhD in Education Policy/MPP program is to leverage the comparative advantage of both schools toward these mutual interests.

Dual degree students take courses at both schools for their first two years and immediately begin working on research projects. Following completion of the MPP at the end of the second year, students finish out course work in the PhD program and complete a dissertation typically within a total of 4-5 years. The dual degree provides a very strong foundation in public policy and applied research in Education Policy. A separate application into the MPP program is required.

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  • EdPolicyWorks | The Center on Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness

    EdPolicyWorks (also known as the Center on Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness) is a joint collaboration between the Curry School of Education and Human Development and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, bringing together researchers from across the University of Virginia and the state to focus on important questions of educational policy and implications for the workforce.

Program Details

  • Admissions to PhD/MPP Program

    A student who wishes to be admitted into the dual degree program must apply to each school separately and be admitted to both the Curry School and the Batten School through the normal admissions processes of each school. The fact that the student is a candidate for the dual program is not considered at this stage. 

    Students who have been admitted to both schools and who wish to undertake the dual program should notify the registrar of each school and apply to the faculty advisors for permission to do so. Admission requires approval of both the Curry and Batten faculty advisors.

    Application to one school may be made either prior to entrance to or while a first-year student at the other. No students will be admitted to the dual program after completing the first year of either Curry or Batten.

    Financial aid is available and will be coordinated by the two schools. Financial aid is not guaranteed and is subject to individual school and University availability and regulations.

  • Curriculum

    Unique to the MPP-PhD, and unlike Batten’s other joint degree programs, at the conclusion of the two years of study primarily in the Batten School, students will receive their MPP degree. At the conclusion of the fifth or sixth year of the program, students who have completed at least 72 credits in the Curry School will receive the PhD in Education degree. The MPP-PhD candidate is obligated to take, as part of these credits, all of the required curriculum in both graduate public policy and education. The remaining credits will be elective credits and can be chosen from the respective public policy and education curricula after consultation with the program committee.

  • Change of Status

    At any point in the program, the student may terminate plans for a dual degree and continue toward a single degree at either school. The student must then satisfy the normal requirements of the school elected, which may include credit for some of the work done in the other school, as determined by the appropriate officials of the school in question.

  • Grading Standards

    Students are required to meet the session and cumulative grading standards of each school independently to remain in good standing.

  • Administration of the Program

    The program is administered by a Program Committee composed of one member each from the Batten and Curry faculties, as designated by the schools’ respective Deans. The responsibilities of the Program Committee extend to admission to the joint program, coordination of curricula for the students involved, resolution of any problems that may arise, reconciliation of course and examination conflicts, and promotion of dual offerings by the two schools where feasible. The Deans from each school will also appoint a faculty advisor to the program who may or may not also serve as the school representative to the Program Committee. The faculty advisor for this program is James Wyckoff.

    Students who have been admitted independently to both schools and who wish to undertake the dual program should notify the registrar of both schools and apply to the Program Committee for permission to do so. Entrance to the MPP-PhD in Education program will not be guaranteed by virtue of acceptance at both schools, but will be judged according to criteria, which is the responsibility of the Program Committee. 

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at