This research seeks to understand the experience of agency among those being prepared to be teacher educators and education scholars. It investigates how doctoral students negotiate their agency when they discover a difference between the promise and reality of their doctoral training. This critical, hermeneutic phenomenological case study was designed to answer these questions: 1) What fosters and/or inhibits agency among students in the urban education doctoral program at UNC Charlotte? And, 2) how do students negotiate issues of power within this program as it pertains to their agency?Participant selection was purposeful and based on convenience. The researcher conducted in-depth interviews with 17 advanced or recently graduated UNC Charlotte urban education doctoral students. Findings suggest that a doctoral student's disposition and prior experiences foster agency. This relationship appears strongest when the student's disposition was critical and prior experiences included operating within a variety of organizational structures within the field of education. Current relationships with people in positions of power and the traditional bureaucracy that pervade the UNC Charlotte urban education program inhibited doctoral student agency. However, this negative effect was weakened if the student's identity negotiations entered the agency-negotiating process. Finally, doctoral students who were able to find space and/or create space within the structure of the doctoral program experienced greater satisfaction with their graduate experiences. Parallels are drawn between the experience of agency within the urban education doctoral program and the experience of students in urban K-12 classrooms. The importance of the mediating role of the teacher/professor in facilitating student agency is discussed. Recommendations are proposed for the future development of urban education doctoral programs and for the preparation of urban classroom teachers.