Do you work in the educational policy arena and want expert knowledge and tools to effect change? Are you an educator who wants to understand the policies that shape your life? Are you getting a graduate degree that would benefit from a focus area in education policy?

Through an interdisciplinary partnership among education, law and public policy scholars, our education policy graduate certificate serves to develop critical leaders, policymakers and scholars who demonstrate excellence in implementing and analyzing policy. This program equips students with the expertise to tackle challenging policy questions such as higher education costs and access, public schooling and the rise of the charter school movement, and teacher recruitment/retention.

This certificate is available for non-degree-seeking graduate students (a stand-alone certificate) and for students currently enrolled in graduate degree programs at MU (as a degree-dependent certificate). Upon approval from one’s program/adviser, students may apply the 12 hours of credit earned for this certificate to a degree program.

Participating Faculty Members

  • Emily Crawford, Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis (ELPA); faculty affiliate in Truman School of Public Affairs (Truman), director of education policy graduate certificate
  • Bradley Curs, ELPA, faculty affiliate in Truman
  • Sarah Diem, ELPA, faculty affiliate in Truman
  • Lisa Dorner, ELPA

Learning Objectives

This certificate will provide students with:

  • Knowledge that they can apply to the study of education policy within their major discipline or their work in policy settings;
  • Skills in analyzing education policy issues, i.e., understanding differing values, political and economic arguments, costs/benefits, and policy processes;
  • Conceptual tools to use in understanding and resolving issues faced in educational policy development and implementation.


After acceptance, students will attend an advising meeting to obtain approval for their initial plan of study.

Students are required to take 12 credit hours in three areas — foundations, knowledge/concepts, and skills — and develop a portfolio. The chosen course work must satisfy these requirements:

  • Two of the courses must be from ELPA.
  • One course must be from outside students’ home department or emphasis area.
  • All courses must be taken at the University of Missouri.
  • There are prerequisites for some of the course options; it is the students’ responsibility to take prerequisites prior to enrolling.


Students choose one of the following:

  • PUB_AF 8170: Public Policy Processes and Strategies
  • ED_LPA 9402: Educational Policy Analysis (for doctoral students)


Students choose one to two of the following:

  • ED_LPA 9451: Higher Education Finance
  • ED_LPA 9457: Higher Education Policy
  • ED_LPA 9458: Sociology of Education
  • ED_LPA 9462: History of U.S. Education Policy
  • ED_LPA 9463: Politics of Education
  • LAW 5526: Education Reform Law

The certificate director may approve one relevant seminar, topics, or practicum course by reviewing syllabi as necessary.


Students choose one to two of the following:

  • ED_LPA 8955: Discourse Analysis in Education
  • ED_LPA 9465: Policy Analysis Using Large Databases
  • PUB_AF 8190: Economic Analysis for Public Policy
  • PUB_AF 8420: Public Program Evaluation
  • PUB_AF 7430: Public Policy Analysis
  • ESC_PS 8690: Educational Planning and Evaluation


After completing their courses, students must present the Education Policy Graduate Certificate Committee with a portfolio. For the first two components (policy and concept papers), we expect that students will submit papers that they complete in their courses:

  1. Policy process or policy analysis paper demonstrating an understanding of the core tenets of the political process (likely from the foundations or a skills course)
  2. Concept paper demonstrating deep understanding of education policy issues (likely from a knowledge/concept course)
  3. Reflection (two- to three-page double-spaced paper that explains the learning that occurred over taking these certificate courses)

Upon completion of all certificate requirements, students will submit their portfolio and a completion of certificate form to Completion of the certificate will be reviewed twice annually: Oct. 1 and March 1.


For non-degree-seeking students not currently enrolled at MU:

  1. Apply as a non-degree-seeking student through the online graduate studies application.
  2. As part of this application, you will be directed to complete the education policy certificate application/initial plan of study.

For current students:

  1. Current students of any graduate degree program should discuss their application for this certificate with their advisers.
  2. Students must then submit an application/initial plan of study and submit it directly to with “Education Policy Graduate Certificate Application” in the subject line.


Students may submit application materials at any time to

However, the Education Policy Graduate Certificate Committee will review materials only twice annually: Oct. 1 and March 1.

They will arrange meetings with new certificate students in late October and late March each year.


Please email or call 573-882-8221 with questions.