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Prepare to conduct research as a faculty member, researcher, government employee, or policy scholar. You’ll work with faculty with a range of interests and expertise to examine issues of access and equity, state and federal policy development, workplace learning, and institutional leadership, development, and assessment. Full-time PhD students are eligible for our competitive funding package.

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Degree Details

Official Degree Title

PhD in Higher Education

Full-time or Part-time

Admissions is alternate years only.
The next application deadline is December 1, 2022 for a start date of September 2023.

Our curriculum includes an extensive and rigorous sequence of research courses that will prepare you 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 you can construct an individualized program to support your research interests.

To be admitted to PhD candidacy, you will 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. Your PhD dissertation will be an empirical study that results in the creation of new knowledge.

Our doctoral students come from a broad range of backgrounds. Some students have extensive previous experience as higher education administrators and some have held teaching positions within universities. Others have had significant experience in higher education policy. The program takes advantage of the wide range of backgrounds of our students to create a vibrant educational experience, embracing important contemporary issues shaping culture and practice in higher education. 
Before applying, we encourage you to speak with faculty via a campus visit. If you cannot make a campus visit, please arrange a telephone appointment with a faculty member who shares a mutual research interest with you. To arrange a visit or a phone appointment, please contact

Funding for Full-Time PhD Students

NYU Steinhardt offers a competitive funding package for PhD students who study full time. Learn more about Steinhardt's funding opportunities.

Eligible and qualified Higher and Postsecondary Education applicants may also be nominated to receive a multi-year fellowship from NYU's Institute of Education Sciences-funded Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training program (IES-PIRT).  NYU's IES-PIRT Program is committed to strengthening the pipeline of skilled researchers prepared to conduct rigorous and relevant education research. IES-PIRT intends to recruit students from groups underrepresented in education sciences, including scholars of color, students from low-income families, immigrant origin students, and individuals with disabilities. Qualified incoming PhD students may apply for a 4-year fellowship that includes a generous stipend, tuition coverage, and other benefits. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. To be considered for the fellowship, IES-PIRT strongly recommends that applicants signal their interest in the IES-PIRT fellowship in their application and check the expression of interest box in Steinhardt's application portal. When reviewing applications, the IES-PIRT committee is looking for a) a clear record of interest and/or commitment to research on causal questions in education science relevant to the U.S. context, b) demonstrated aptitude for and interest in quantitative methods and data science, as demonstrated by high grades in advanced math, quantitative methods, or statistics coursework in college and/or graduate school, and c) clear evidence of interest in developing research skills and knowledge in areas of education science. Learn more about IES-PIRT or contact for more information. 

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