PhD in Education

Typical Length Varies

Delivery Campus-Based

Nationally Accredited

The COE (College of Education) PhD offers a track in Global & International Education through the Department of Educational Foundations. This track is designed to prepare individuals in range of leadership, academic, policy, and research positions to meaningfully incorporate global perspectives into their professional practice. This PhD track is relevant for those who occupy or aspire to the following positions: classroom teacher, school leader, school system administrator, higher education practitioner, study abroad facilitator, community leader, education analyst or researcher, university faculty, and professionals working in non-profit or non-governmental organizations. 

This unique PhD track examines how the interaction of global and local forces related to culture, technology, economics, and politics affect education policy and practice in a multitude of ways from early childhood education through advanced graduate studies. As the interaction and effects of global-local forces continue to manifest and to evolve, the insights gained are not only essential for professionals across every level of education but also across geographic regions, from the United States to the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Globalization presents challenges and opportunities by making the world more interconnected, by facilitating the dissemination of ideas and knowledge, by encouraging the movement of peoples, by creating new political bodies that develop and disseminate education policies at the supranational level, and by placing new pressures on local communities and national economic systems—all of which has major implications for education.

A key feature of this PhD track is that it goes beyond a focus on understanding these dimensions of globalization to also provide program participants with tools, frameworks, lessons, and strategies that can be adapted to numerous educational and organizational contexts. There are valuable resources embedded in this program that can help you improve your practice—and the practices of your organization—whether you are a classroom teacher, a school leader, a higher education professional, a school system administrator, or any of the other professional positions mentioned above. The courses in this program focus on topical issues that are common to all educational systems and are appropriate for education professionals in diverse geographical locations. As indicated by the course titles further below, the courses focus on, among other things, how to analyze the effects of globalization on education policy and the curriculum; drawing lessons from the policies and practical responses of a range of countries; critically understanding multiculturalism and diversity; grappling with the meaning of international development and the role of education therein; analyzing education from a “systems” perspective that emphasizes the interaction, complexity, and dialectical feedback loops that characterize the relationship between system components and the system as a whole; and examining the strategies and responses of teachers, principals, higher education professionals, and communities when it comes to how they “internationalize” their curricula, leadership, and programmatic activities.

Finally, it should be noted that students–through coursework and in their own research–are encouraged to think critically about what it means to apply a “global” lens. We ask: How is the global defined? Whose global? What voices or perspectives are omitted or silenced through contemporary rhetoric around globalization and “global education policy”? How are globalization and “the global” being challenged? What roles do international organizations play in the politics of educational change? How are certain interests or worldviews benefitted over others through the discourse and activity that make up the field of global education policy? What would an equitable and just “global education” look like? And, how can education respond to the rising tide of nationalism, fascism, racism, and xenophobia that seems to be challenging the supposed advances and achievements of globalization? If these questions motivate you, you are invited to join us as we explore answers to them. 

Because this program focuses on policy dynamics, educational practices, and organizational strategies at the intersection of the global and local forces that shape the contemporary world, it is ideal for students and professionals working in a range of institutional contexts. Students who complete this doctoral program are poised to respond to the challenges and opportunities generated by globalization–and, indeed, by the contemporary backlash to this phenomenon. As such, and as noted above, our graduates not only go on to assume positions as faculty and researchers but also as organizational leaders, higher education professionals, community advocates, school administrators, study abroad professionals, educational specialists working with school systems (e.g., the Hawaii Department of Education), teacher leaders, and experts with NGOs and international organizations.

Please click here to access the recording of an information session detailing our degree programs.

See here and here for profiles of some of our current doctoral students.

Virtual Information Sessions
Join us for sessions on 10/16/23, 11/13/23, 1/22/24, or 2/19/24 at 3-4pm. A recording will be posted for those who missed the session!
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Who should consider this program

This program is appropriate for individuals who seek to pursue impactful careers in academia, educational leadership, and research. If you have questions about your suitability for this program, we welcome your inquiry. Reach out to the program contact listed below.

Common Careers

This PhD program can lead to a wide variety of leadership, academic, and research positions in the government, private, and non-profit sector.

Graduates with the PhD degree are expected to be able to analyze, research, and implement alternatives in educational thought, policy and practice related to the social and ethical problems faced by schools and other educational agencies at the state, national and international levels.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have graduated, or will graduate, from a UHM recognized, accredited, master’s degree program prior to beginning the PhD, Education: Global & International Education program.

The GRE is Optional, but not required for admission to this program. Scores may be submitted as supplementary documentation if desired.

A transcript from each post-secondary institution attended.

A written statement of objectives as part of your application.

Your resumé or CV.

A sample of scholarly writing as part of your application.

Three (3) letters of recommendation

Applicants who are not native English speakers may need to take the TOEFL or IELTS (Academic) tests. For more information view the Graduate Division website.

International students that have been admitted are required to submit a copy of their Identification documents (i.e. Passport or Identification Card)

International applicants need to show proof of sufficient funding to cover all educational and living expenses

How to Apply
Application Deadlines
Starting Semester dEADLINE
Regular Fall Admission February 1st
International Students Fall Admission January 15th

How to Apply
Tuition & Funding

Graduate Assistantships (GAs) are available to EDEF graduate students pursuing full time master’s or doctoral work. GA receives a 100% tuition exemption, a stipend, and health benefits. Effective August 1, 2023 (Mānoa), the stipend for a GA hired at Step 10 ($20,472 for 9 months and $23,952 for 11 months).

A GA is a renewable, part-time academic appointment. In addition to carrying out their assignments in their unit of hire, GAs also have roles as professionals, albeit of an apprentice nature, in the university community. While EDEF cannot guarantee a GA for each student upon admission. Students who wish to receive a GA are typically able to do so.

Tuition for the Graduate General & Post-Baccalaureate Unclassified program for the Fall 2023 semester:

  • $1,101/credit – Resident ($650 tuition + $451 fees)
  • $1,853/credit – Non-resident ($1,402 tuition + $451 fees)

Note: 8 credits is full time, most courses are 3 credits

There are many resources available to help graduate students pay for college, including College of Education scholarships. There are also several scholarships listed generally through the STAR website (please note that this is only accessible to students with a valid UH ID number – must be admitted as a student prior to looking for scholarships on this site) and the Financial Support section of the Graduate Division website. For more information on financial aid and additional resources, please visit the UH Manoa Financial Aid Office (

It should also be noted that many full-time students are able to find graduate assistant positions across the university. These positions come with tuition remission, a stipend, and health insurance.

Delivery Format

Courses are offered primarily in the fall and spring semesters. Most courses are offered in the evenings, usually from 4:30 to 7 P.M.  Some courses are offered online. It is also possible to take courses during the summer months.


Minimum credits required = 40 credits

College PhD Core (9 credits)

  • Multiple Perspectives on Educational Research
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods

Global & International Required Courses (15 credits)

  • Intro to Comparative/International Ed
  • Globalization in Education
  • International Development Education
  • Seminar on the Social and Contexts of Education
  • Advanced Research Methods (dissertation stage)

Global & International Education Electives (6 – 12 credits; select two – four courses)

  • Education and the World Order
  • Topics in Comparative Education
  • Seminar in Comparative/International Education
  • Seminar in Global Education
  • Leadership and Governance in Education
  • Foundations of Curriculum
  • Cultural Diversity in Education

Cognate, Area Studies, or Other EDEF Courses (6 credits – select two courses, unless 12 credits in Electives)

  • Philosophy of Education
  • History of Education
  • Politics of Education
  • Higher Education
  • Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Southeast Asia Studies, etc.
  • Disciplinary Studies (History, Philosophy, Sociology, Political Science, etc.)

College of Education PhD Internship (3 credits; select one)

  • Field Internship (International Location)
  • College Teaching

Additional Coursework

  • Dissertation Credits = 1 credit minimum
Advising & Faculty
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Alexander Means

Associate Professor

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