Skip to content Skip to navigation

Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies

Education is a joint venture. Government, business, schools, and civil society all contribute to the provision of education. The mission of the Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies (POLS) program is to equip our students with the knowledge, theory, and practical skills they need to bring about the change they want to see in education.

A group of people at a table discussing on their laptops.

The program

This nine-month, full-time residential program combines coursework and field work to prepare students for effective leadership in a wide range of education enterprises. Our cohort model emphasizes teamwork, understanding complex problems, and designing solutions. Students collaborate with faculty, peers, and field site hosts. The program awards a master of arts degree.

Learn more about program content

Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies at Stanford

Photo of Stanford campus

Why Stanford?

Stanford is known for its interdisciplinary approach to learning and problem solving, and POLS students have access to classes and faculty across the university. At the GSE, the POLS program situates students at the intersection of cutting-edge education research and practice in the field of education.

A student working on his laptop in a cafeteria.

Why you?

POLS students want to lead change to bring about more just and equitable education for all learners. They come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, and share a desire to learn in a collaborative environment and develop the skills they need to become more effective leaders.

Learn more about POLS students

The back of graduating students in their caps and gowns.

After you graduate

POLS does not prepare students for a particular role or job. Rather, it cultivates education leaders who go on to be change makers in a variety of roles and domains. POLS alumni work in schools, government, business, philanthropies, education technology, and more. Stanford offers strong career support to students and alumni, both through GSE EdCareers and Stanford Career Education.

Learn more about POLS alumni

Faculty affiliated with POLS

Lecturer
POLS Program Director
Associate Dean of Educational Affairs
Professor
Adjunct Professor
Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor

Our community

Photo of Savannah Strong, looking sideways at the camera, in a beautiful mountain setting
Savannah Strong, MA '22 Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies
Supporting all children in 'celebrating themselves'
Read this story
Photo of Jodi Anderson, Jr., smiling, in a cafe with his laptop
Jodi Anderson, Jr., '22, MA '22 Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies
Reimagining the résumé
Read this story
Thu Cung seated on a stone bench with lush greenery behind
Thu Cung, MA '22 Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies
Bridging policy to practice
Read this story

What you need to know

Admission requirements

To learn more about requirements for admission, please visit the Application Requirements page.

Financing your education

To learn more about the cost of the program and options for financial support, please visit Financing Your Master’s Degree on the admissions website.

Contact admissions

For admissions webinars and to connect with the admission office, see our  Connect and Visit page.

Back to the Top