Teacher Education and Higher Education

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Educational Studies, concentration in Higher Education

The PhD in Educational Studies with a concentration in higher education requires 60 semester hours and is intended for experienced administrators and qualified scholars. Graduates pursue careers as scholar-practitioners in areas such as student affairs, community college leadership, and general higher education administration.

Career Opportunities

Graduates develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for investigating, understanding, and shaping the dynamic relations among students, institutions of higher education, and society.

Program Contact

Dr. Dale Schunk
410 School of Education Building


All you need to know about the application process – click here to get started.

Example Careers

  • Scholar-practitioners in higher education and student affairs (i.e. Dean of Student Affairs, Vice President of Student Affairs, etc.)
  • Faculty in student affairs and/or higher education programs

Designed For

Experienced administrators (typically with at least 5 years of full-time experience) and qualified scholars who are interested in further developing their knowledge of higher education and student affairs. Students typically work full-time while pursuing the program part-time.

Research Interests

Faculty research interests include student development theories, college access for Latino immigrant students, race in higher education, college men and masculinities, qualitative methodology, social justice and diversity in higher education, college students in residence hall environments, and LGBTQ+ issues in higher education.

Program of Study

Total hours: 60 semester hours

Core courses (15 hours):

  • HED 745: Higher Education: Equity, Inclusion, and Learning (3)
  • HED 746: Organizational Theory in Higher Education(3)
  • HED 747: Advanced Student Development Theory (3)
  • HED 748: Law of Higher Education (3)
  • HED 749: Professional Seminar in Higher Education Research (3)

Additional Courses and Requirements:

  • Concentration Course Requirements (15 hours)
    • In consultation with the advisor, students will select a coherent set of concentration courses focusing on a specific problems of theory, policy, or practice in higher education.
  • Research Methods (18 hours)
    • ERM 780: Intermediate Statistical Methods in Education (3)
    • ERM 781: Design & Analysis of Educational Experiments (3)
    • HED 775: Directed Doctoral Research (3)
    • One course in qualitative or interpretive research methods (3)
    • One advanced course in research methods (3)
    • One elective research methods course (3)
  • Comprehensive Examination and Oral Examination
    • Upon completing the curriculum, and prior to beginning a doctoral dissertation, students must pass a qualifying examination in their major area of study before the student advances to HED 775 (proposal writing). The comprehensive examination is an opportunity for Ph.D. students to demonstrate their knowledge of the 5 core HED courses (responding to one prompt) and their potential for formulating a research study in their area of interest (responding to a second prompt). The comprehensive exam will be written over the span of 2 weeks as the student’s schedule allows. Following review by the faculty, the student will orally defend the written examination in a meeting with the approved doctoral committee. In effect, this examination process is intended to determine if a student is qualified to begin work on a doctoral dissertation.
  • Dissertation (12 hours)
    • Each candidate will complete an original research project and sit for the final defense of the dissertation.

Minimum Program Requirements

  • Completion of 60+ hours
  • One-year residency
  • Completion of program requirements
  • Comprehensive exam
  • Dissertation

Graduate Program infobutton

Gender Diversity Statement

The M.Ed. in Higher Education (Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education) program, in collaboration with LEARN’s Gender Diversity Working Group, is committed to affirming the lives of and promoting social justice for Trans and Non-Binary people. We have created a comprehensive toolkit to support gender diverse students, located here: go.uncg.edu/genderdiversitytoolkit

Our goal is for every student in the School of Education (SOE) to be able to focus on their studies and not on student debt. A variety of financial aid is available to our students, including scholarships based on academic merit and financial need. We invite you to explore the many scholarship opportunities offered in the School of Education.