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Doctorate in Higher Education

Program Code: PH6276

Ohio University is the only institution in southeastern Ohio that offers a doctoral program in Higher Education. Its faculty includes internationally recognized scholars who can deliver up-to-date knowledge about Higher Education with the academic rigor that is demanded in Ph.D. studies.

Graduates of the program serve in faculty and cabinet-level administrative positions in colleges and universities. In addition, this degree serves a limited number of students who wish to develop research skills about Higher Education, regardless of their career ambitions.

All students learn about the history and contexts of Higher Education, leadership, organizational needs, the learning environment, and research concepts and methods.

The Athens curriculum offers greater flexibility for the selection of courses than the weekend program, which must be highly structured to meet the needs of the executive cohort.

For Fall 2022, the Higher Education and Student Affairs program is accepting applications for:

  • Executive Ph.D. Cohort Program - Deadline to apply is July 1.
  • On-Campus PhD. Program (full-time or part-time) - Priority consideration for Graduate Assistantships is January 1. Final deadline is March 15.
    • NOTE: Ohio University employees interested in applying for either doctoral program must submit an application by March 15.
Cohort photo 2


Ohio University has offered the only doctoral program in higher education and student affairs in southeast Ohio for fifty years. The weekend, the executive program provides a rich alternative to our traditional on-campus program, which is distinctive in its own right for the varied curriculum and opportunities to collaborate with faculty and engage in research projects. The executive program is well known for innovative programming. Since 1982, this weekend program has enriched the skills and knowledge of students while they have continued to work as full-time administrators and faculty in colleges and universities throughout Ohio and adjacent states. Leaders from 22 different Ohio colleges and universities have enrolled in our last three weekend groups, and many of them have joined the roster of presidents, provosts, vice presidents, other key administrators, and faculty who now serve more than 100 universities and colleges in 29 states, and in 16 nations.

Over the course of a 15-week semester, students are expected to meet for 5 and 7 weekends face-to-face. One of the strengths of the weekend executive program has been the development of communities of scholars who meet regularly during the course of studies. Each cohort continues the tradition of building upon the experience, knowledge, and strengths of students by providing rich face-to-face and technology-mediated interactions.

"I chose the [OHIO] Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration for several reasons. The curriculum provides a comprehensive foundation while also challenging us to think beyond our own experiences, and [OHIO] makes it easy for working students by taking care of course scheduling, registration, and other processes. But for me, it is the strength of a cohort program that sold me. Knowing that you have a built-in support system of fellow students that you can lean on is invaluable." - Rebecca Butler- VP of Enrollment Management and Student Services at Columbus State Community College



The conventional Ph.D. program is offered through weekday and evening classes on the Athens campus of Ohio University. The conventional program may be pursued on a part-time or full-time basis.

In addition to the required coursework, students must successfully complete comprehensive examinations administered at or near the completion of coursework. After successful completion of comprehensive examinations, students must author and defend a dissertation on a research topic of personal interest and selection.

The nature of doctoral studies is demanding and intensive, requiring close mentoring by individual faculty.

Some research and administrative graduate appointments are available to full-time, on-campus doctoral students. Please inquire about availability at hesa@ohio.edu.



Admissions offers are tendered only for the fall term of each academic year. For fullest consideration, application materials should be received in the Ohio University Graduate Studies office by March 15 (for the on-campus program) or July 1 (for the executive program) preceding the Fall term of interest. Again, OHIO employees must apply by March 15 for either program.

Required materials include:

  1. Completed application form
  2. Graduate Record Examination is NOT required.
  3. Official transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended for bachelor's and master's education.
  4. 3 letters of recommendation that describe the academic skills and professional potential of the applicant.
  5. An autobiographic essay (2-3 pages, double-spaced) will be used to assess the applicant’s writing skills, career commitment, leadership potential, and professional goals. At the top of your essay, please indicate whether you are applying to the Executive Ph.D. Cohort or On-Campus program.
  6. A personal interview with a faculty member in March (phone/video meeting) for March 15 applications and rolling monthly thereafter.
  7. If you are interested in applying for a graduate assistant position, you will need to include a résumé and cover letter (Priority Application date for GA positions is January 11). The positions and how to apply are available at http://www.ohio.edu/studentaffairs/gas_positions.cfm.

Curricular REQUIREMENTS (min 60 credit hours)

  1. Higher Education Core Requirements - 24 Hours
    • EDHE 6885 History and Philosophy of American Higher Education
    • EDHE 6890 Legal Issues in Higher Education
    • EDHE 7210 Diversity in American Higher Education
    • EDHE 7790 Finance and Budgeting in Higher Education
    • EDHE 7850 Organization and Governance of Higher Education
    • EDHE 7860 Leadership and Change Management in Higher Education
    • EDHE 7880 Policy Perspectives in Higher Education
    • EDCP 7250 - Advanced College Student Development Theories and Research
  2. Electives - 6 Hours
    • Students will complete at least two (2) courses greater than 5000-level courses. Sample Electives include:
      • EDHE 7390 The American Community College
      • EDHE 7780 Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
      • EDHE 7830 Institutional Research and Planning in Higher Education
      • EDHE 8210 Critical Race Theory in Higher Education
      • EDHE 7820 Effective Curriculum Development and Teaching Practices in Higher Education
  3. Field Experience - 3 Hours
    • EDHE 7920 Practicum in Higher Education Administration and Leadership 
  4. Scholarly Tools - 16 Hours
    • EDRE 7200 Educational Statistics
    • EDRE 7500 Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods in Education
    • EDRE 7330 Research Design in Education
    • EDHE 7890 Advanced Resources and Applications for Higher Education Problems
  5. Dissertation Hours - 12 Hours
    * or similar course as approved by the committee

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For further information, contact:

Higher Education and Student Affairs 
McCracken Hall 432