peabody graduate admissions viewbook

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Information for potential graduate-level applicants to Vanderbilt University's Peabody College of education and human development.


  • Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.

    John Dewey

  • Why Peabody? There are many answers to that question, as you will see in the pages ahead. Because Peabodys faculty, immersed in funded research, always remains accessible and supportive. Because the innovative work of our specialized research centers immeasurably enriches the academic experience. Because the values of community, public good, and knowledge are present in everything we do. Because we focus on student success, providing you not only with a diploma but a powerful CV. Because were different in the way we make a difference.

    Discover Vanderbilt Universitys Peabody College of education and human development. We welcome your questions and will work with you to find the right answers.


    Camilla P. BenbowPatricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development

    At Peabody you will enter learning. You will become a skilled researcher right from

    the beginning and an agent of change in the world around you. Your lifes work will

    help ensure that others live lives of purpose and dignity.

    The Peabody Difference

  • What is the

    Peabody Difference? There is a community orientation that goes way back to the early role of Peabody, and our programs are at the center of that. Were looking at the public good. That comes through with the kinds of projects we do, the kind of research our students do, and how the world benefits.

    Maury Nation, assistant professor of human and organizational development

  • Degree Programs

    More to Learn

    For a comprehensive discussion of the five departments that comprise Peabody, visit Admissions and Programs at

    Human and Organizational Development

    M.Ed.: Community Development Action Human Development Counseling

    Ph.D.: Community Research and Action

    Leadership, Policy, and Organizations

    M.Ed.:Higher Education Administration Human Resource Development International Education Policy and Management Organizational Leadership School Administration

    M.P.P.: Education PolicyEd.D.: Educational Leadership and Policy

    Higher Education Leadership and PolicyPh.D.: Leadership and Policy Studies

    Psychology and Human Development

    M.Ed.:Child StudiesPh.D.: Psychological Sciences (with the

    Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Science)

    Special Education

    M.Ed.:Special EducationPh.D.: Special Education

    Teaching and Learning

    M.Ed.:Curriculum and Instructional Leadership Early Childhood Education Elementary Education English Education English Language Learners Mathematics Education Reading Education Science Education Secondary Education

    Ed.D.: Early Childhood LeadershipPh.D.: Learning, Teaching, and Diversity

  • Domains of KnowledgeOur degree programs reside within five departments. These departments

    form an interdisciplinary nexus of knowledge where any question can lead

    to many answers.

    All of our masters and doctoral programs are housed within one of five departments. There is much intersection and exchange among these departments, creating an interdisciplinary nexus of knowledge where any question can be approached from multiple perspectives.

    Human and Organizational Development. This department comprises a group of interdisciplinary programs that share a focus on organizations and the people who constitute them. Graduates who receive an advanced degree through this department are qualified to pursue a career as a public health administrator, a school or community counselor, a nonprofit manager, a program planner or evaluator for public or private organizations concerned with community transformation, or a community-based action-researcher for university-level faculty jobs and/or professional research positions in the public sector.

    Leadership, Policy, and Organizations. The graduate programs within this department focus on human learning, with connections to social, financial, and political capital; organizational dynamics; leadership; instruction; curriculum; and decision analyses. Degrees earned within this department may lead to a career at a college or university, such as a faculty member, a university president or dean, a vice president for academic affairs or institutional advancement, or a director of alumni relations, student affairs, or development. Graduates may also pursue careers as superintendents, principals, executive directors of nonprofit organizations, directors of human resources, organizational consultants, or corporate trainers.

    More to Learn

    To learn more about the innovative developments and important research happening at Peabody, visit our News section at

  • Psychology and Human Development. This department offers studies that increase the understanding of basic psychological functioning in family, school, and other social contexts that influence development. The doctoral programs prepare graduates for careers in faculty, research, and clinical/therapeutic settings. The masters program in Child Studies enables graduates to pursue careers in a variety of settings, including community-based programs for children and adolescents, child and family advocacy, school programs focusing on typically and atypically developing children, childrens museums, or nonprofit agencies and corporations with child or family-focused programs.

    Special Education. Ranked five years running as the number one special education program in the nation by U.S.News & World Report, this department is at the vanguard of special education practice, teacher preparation, and research. A strong research emphasis characterizes the department, particularly at the doctoral level. Seventy-five percent of doctoral graduates take research and faculty positions with major universities. Other doctoral graduates fill key policy positions at the federal, state, and local levels. Masters degree students are highly recruited to fill teaching and other human service positions, and many seek further graduate study.

    Teaching and Learning. This departments programs focus on how learning develops in a diverse array of environments. For students seeking a career as a scholar in a college or university setting, the doctoral program in Learning, Teaching, and Diversity offers plentiful opportunities for research and publication. Highly qualified and experienced early childhood professionals who seek advanced training can now enroll in the nations first doctoral program (Ed.D.) in Early Childhood Leadership. For practicing teachers or others with an interest in education looking to deepen their knowledge or strengthen their credentials, this department offers the masters degree in nine major fields of study.

  • The majors afford not only tremendous opportunities to acquire knowledge, but also to obtain applied practice while supporting the surroundingcommunities.

    Kathleen Lane, assistant professor of special education

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  • A Model Education

    Working with Peabody professor Rich Lehrer proved a turning point for Nina Knapp, a former Wisconsin elementary school teacher. Rich showed us how to teach mathematics in a way Id never seen before, says Nina. Through professional development and independent study with Professor Lehrer at UW-Madison and later Peabody College, she learned to help students consider measurement and geometry as a means to structure space and reason mathematically. Numbers served as a basis for argument rather than merely operational competence, says Nina. Its an incredibly powerful way to learn.

    At Peabody, Nina joined the research team of Professor Lehrer and colleague Leona Schauble. This year they funded my own study, says Nina. Im looking at the way a group of elementary teachers changes their mathematics instruction in relation to reform curriculum and increased testing pressure. Nina was drawn to Peabody because of its distinctive apprenticeship model, which ensures research opportunities early in the graduate experience. Doctoral students get such attention here, she says. My understanding, misunderstanding, and voice are acknowledged at Peabody.

    For more information on Peabody Colleges Development, Learning, and Diversity program, visit Nina Knapp is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in Learning, Teaching, and Diversity.


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    J ason Huff, a third-year doctoral student in Leadership and Policy

    Studies, taught social studies

    at a high school in Seattle

    before coming to Peabody.

    Here hes focusing on how to

    develop different measures

    and instruments to evaluate

    principal training programs.

    Knowledge Makers We make a differencein the community, the nation, and the world.

    Donna Ford, Betts Professor of Education and Human Development,

    has created the Vanderbilt

    University Achievement Gap

    Project with senior lecturer

    Gilman Whiting. This project

    aims to raise consciousness

    regarding the disparity in

    academic achievement between

    minority students and their

    white peers. t

    Peabody has changed the way

    I look at policy, says Huff.

    My instinct now is to refer to

    the available research. Is there

    really empirical evidence to

    back up ideas?

    As long as Im aroun