PhD in Higher and Postsecondary Education

The PhD curriculum embraces issues of access and equity; state and federal policy; student development; workplace learning; and institutional development and assessment. The strength of our PhD program stems from the range of interests and expertise of our faculty in research, policy development and institutional leadership.

The curriculum includes an extensive and rigorous sequence of research courses that prepare students for the dissertation, which focuses on a question that requires the combined use of literature, and a research problem that is empirically investigated. The curriculum offers significant flexibility to ensure that students can construct an individualized program to support their research interests.

To be admitted to PhD candidacy, students prepare and defend a candidacy paper, which is an analytical synthesis of the research and related scholarly literature on a researchable problem of significant interest to higher and postsecondary education. The PhD dissertation will be an empirical study that results in the creation of new knowledge.

Although full-time study is recommended, we also consider applications for part-time PhD study.  Applicants are evaluated based on a number of factors, including their prior academic history; GRE scores; statements of interest, recommendations that speak to their academic potential, and an interview with program faculty.

For detailed information on how to apply to this program, including application requirements, deadlines, and instructions, see the Application Guide for the PhD in Higher and Postsecondary Education

Program Outline

The PhD program requires 54 points beyond the master's degree. Full-time students can generally complete the degree in three to five years.

We offer a competitive funding program for full-time PhD students that supports tuition and living expenses. See more information about the funding program or visit the Financial Aid website. A limited number of Graduate Assistantships are available to support full-time study. NYU scholarships are also a possibility. More details are available in our current PhD Advising Guide.

The Curriculum

The curriculum requirements for the Program include:

  • Integrating Pro-Seminar (3) E98.3009
  • Foundations of Education (6) (Chosen from six course options in two categories)
  • Higher Education Specialization (18-24) 15 points core doctoral seminar plus 3-9 points chosen in consultation with advisor
  • Research (18) 6 points quantitative and 6 points qualitative plus 6 points advanced in dissertation focus advanced/specialized research chosen to support dissertation methodology
  • Cross-Disciplinary Cognate (6-9) E95.2054, Organization Theory, plus six points chosen in consultation with advisor
  • Dissertation Proposal Preparation (3) E98.3015