PhD in Higher Education

Admission to the PhD in Higher Education

In addition to admission requirements of the College of Graduate Studies, admission to the doctoral program requires the following:

  • A master’s degree from an accredited college or university

  • A minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale for all previous graduate academic work

  • Previous academic work necessary to successfully complete a doctoral program in the area of study

  • A statement of purpose indicating your commitment to pursuing a career in the field of higher education, and a description of your potential research topic for dissertation study

  • A sample graduate paper (or essay, article, etc.) demonstrating conceptualization and writing skills

  • Two letters of reference, including at least one from a faculty member who can speak to your ability to conduct research and to write at the graduate level

  • Current employment in a higher education environment and at least three years of work experience in higher education

What to Submit with Your Application

  • Official transcripts from all institutions of higher education

  • Statement of purpose

  • Writing sample

  • Two letters of recommendation 

  • Resume or curriculum vitae

Requirements for the PhD in Higher Education

For the Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education degree, students must complete the following program requirements:

  • A minimum of 60 semester hours of approved doctoral level (7000/8000 level) course work

  • A minimum of 24 semester hours of higher education specialization

  • A minimum of 6 semester hours focusing on diversity, equity, and social justice

  • A minimum of 15 semester hours of assessment, evaluation, and research tools 

  • A written comprehensive (major) examination

  • An oral comprehensive examination after passing written examination

  • A minimum of 15 semester hours of dissertation research

  • An oral presentation and defense of a dissertation research proposal

  • An oral presentation and defense of the completed dissertation research in a public forum

  • A written document of the completed dissertation research in approved style and format

All coursework and requirements of the doctoral degree must be taken within a seven-year period immediately preceding the date the degree is awarded.

Other Program Requirements 

Coursework Phase

  • A doctoral program committee is required before the completion of 18 credit hours. The doctoral program committee has a minimum of three members who are selected from the membership of the graduate faculty of the University. The doctoral program committee is responsible for assisting the student in the development of a plan of study and assuring competence by overseeing the comprehensive written examination and the comprehensive oral examination.

Dissertation Research Phase

  • A doctoral dissertation committee is required immediately after the completion of the required coursework, comprehensive written examination, and comprehensive oral examination. The dissertation committee has a minimum of four graduate faculty members including one who is not in the discipline major. The dissertation committee is responsible for guiding dissertation research and approving the dissertation research proposal and the completed dissertation research, both the written dissertation and oral dissertation defense. Student must work closely with the committee throughout the dissertation process. 

  • All research must be approved by the Institutional Research Board before beginning any phase of the research study. Student must complete IRB training as defined by the University's Human Research Protection Program.

  • A public defense of the dissertation is required.

  • The final written dissertation must be approved by the dissertation committee and formatted according the guidelines of the college and the College of Graduate Study. Electronic submission of the dissertation to OhioLINK ​is mandatory.

Guide for Developing a Plan of Study

Below is a guide for developing a Plan of Study for the PhD in Higher Education. Students should work with their faculty advisor to identify specific courses to fulfill program requirements.

Higher Education Specialization
Select the following: 24
Foundational Seminar in Higher Education
Historical Foundations of Higher Education
Models of University Organization and Governance
Higher Education Law and Policy
Research and Assessment of Student Outcomes in Higher Education
Economics and Financing of Higher Education
Research Perspectives on Student Development
Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice in Global Context
HED 7900Diversity Leadership in Higher Education3
HED 8120International Education3
Assessment, Evaluation, and Research
RESM 7110Quantitative Methods I3
HED 8930Doctoral Research Seminar In Higher Education3
HED 8910Introduction to Interpretive Inquiry3
Select two of the following:6
Qualitative Research I: Introduction And Basic Methods
Structural Equation Modeling
Nonparametric Statistics
Measurement I
Applied Measurement Research
Methods Of Survey Research
Program Evaluation
Methods of Normative Theory Construction
Methods of Conceptual Analysis and Textual Interpretation
Advanced Seminar
Advanced Seminar In Historiography Hied
Dissertation Hours
Select 15 credits of the following:15
Total Hours60
  • PhD graduates in Higher Education will demonstrate: 1. ability to read, understand, and critically evaluate research in higher education;
  • 2. knowledge of the conceptual and theoretical bases in the higher education areas of a) institutional organization and b) student learning and development;
  • 3. ability to address issues of educational diversity, equity, and social justice from a global perspective, and promote socially just policies and practices;
  • 4. understanding and critical evaluation of current issues and trends in higher education;
  • 5. ability to apply qualitative, quantitative, and/or mixed methods research in higher education;
  • 6. skills in academic writing, thinking, critical analysis, and ability to construct and communicate knowledge in higher education;
  • 7. skills in self-directed learning, self-reflection, and self-assessment;
  • 8. ability to successfully defend a dissertation research.