Ph.D. in Higher Education Program

    Program Overview

    ATTENTION NEW APPLICANTS: The GRE is NO LONGER REQUIRED for applications to the Ph.D. in Higher Education program.

    The Ph.D. in Higher Education Program at Rutgers University offers a focused study of the complexities of colleges and universities, their missions, contexts, challenges, and successes. This interdisciplinary degree program brings together distinguished higher education scholars representing the Graduate School of Education (GSE), the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy (BSPPP), the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS), the School of Communication and Information (SCI), the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS), and the School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR). Affiliated faculty members are higher education experts in the fields of, for example, education, law, communication, organizational studies, public policy, and economics.

    The Ph.D. in Higher Education Program prepares higher education researchers who will take their scholarship, knowledge, and research skills into a range of higher education settings such as universities and colleges, state or federal governing and coordinating boards, independent research and policy organizations, and foundations.

     For more information about this program:

    Program Details

    Application Deadline

    Dec 15

    Entry Term(s)

    Fall

    Program Level

    Doctoral

    Program Type

    Degree

    Format

    On-Campus

    Credits

    72

  • What You’ll Learn

    Students who complete the Ph.D. in Higher Education Program can expect to gain a comprehensive understanding of higher education organizations; systems; governance; leadership; analysis and planning; research, assessment and evaluation; and communication. They will possess the ability to think critically about a wide range of the central theories on learning, and conduct original, rigorous research and interpret and evaluate findings from other research studies. Through completion of the coursework and mentorship from faculty, students will possess an understanding of current and developing trends and issues facing colleges and universities and be able to effectively negotiate the complexities of higher education in terms of institutional type, control, contexts, stakeholders, and constituencies.

    Learning Goals for Ph.D. in Higher Education Students

    The following learning outcomes inform the Ph.D. in Higher Education curriculum. Graduates of the Ph.D. in Higher Education program will:

    • Conduct original, rigorous research and interpret and evaluate findings from other research studies.
    • Be knowledgeable about higher education organizations; systems; governance; leadership; analysis and planning; research, assessment, and evaluation; and communication.
    • Understand current and developing trends and issues facing colleges and universities.
    • Understand and effectively negotiate the complexities of higher education in terms of institutional type, control, contexts, stakeholders, and constituencies.
    • Provide leadership, insight, and expertise at the institutional or related higher education settings in which they work.

    For more information about the courses in this program, please visit the course catalog and online schedule of classes.

  • Program Requirements
    • 72 Graduate Course Credits
      •      18 Credits – Higher Education Core Courses
      •     15 Credits – Additional Graduate Coursework*
      •     15 Credits – Research Core Courses**
      •     24 Credits – Dissertation Research

    *Selected in consultation with faculty advisor; Up to 3 credits may be used to complete an approved Field Experience; Coursework may be applied to earning one or more Graduate Certificates
    **Selected in consultation with faculty advisor

    • Qualifying Exam
      • The qualifying examination assesses students’ knowledge of the field of higher education including capacity to conduct original research in a specific area of inquiry. Each qualifying examination requires a faculty committee of three members, who provide feedback and indicate an overall level of achievement (pass, non-pass with revisions, or non-pass) both in writing and at an evaluation meeting with the student.
    • Dissertation 
      • Each candidate for the doctorate pursues, under faculty direction, an original investigation of a problem or problems in a field of concentration and presents the results of the investigation in a dissertation. This doctoral work is completed in 24 credits of coursework. Students are expected to complete a proposal that describes research questions and the methods used to study them. Then the student carries out the investigation to explore those questions.

    Ph.D. in Higher Education students will complete an approved program of study that includes, at minimum: the higher education core (18 credits), additional graduate coursework (15 credits), research core (15 credits), and independent research (24 credits). Students must pass qualifying examinations to advance to candidacy, and the dissertation must be approved by the candidate’s faculty committee. No more than 24 credits of coursework outside of the School of Graduate Studies may be applied toward the 72 minimum credits required for the Ph.D. in Higher Education.

  • Faculty

    Higher Education Program Faculty

    Ebelia Hernández, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology, GSE; Graduate Program Director, Ph.D. in Higher Education. Ph.D., Indiana.

    Stephanie Brescia, Assistant Professor of Practice, GSE. Ph.D., Rutgers

    Clark A. Chinn, Professor of Educational Psychology, GSE. Ph.D., Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)

    Cara Cuite, Assistant Extension Specialist in Human Ecology, SEBS. Ph.D., Rutgers

    Adrienne E. Eaton, Professor of Labor Studies and Employment Relations, SMLR. Ph.D., Wisconsin

    Nichole M. Garcia, Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology, GSE. Ph.D., California (Los Angeles)

    Marybeth Gasman, Distinguished Professor and Samuel DeWitt Proctor Endowed Chair in Education, GSE. Ph.D., Indiana

    Gary A. Gigliotti, Professor of Economics, SAS; Special Advisor Regarding Academic Assessment, Center for Teaching Advancement an Assessment Research. Ph.D., Columbia

    Benjamin Justice, Professor of Educational Theory, Policy and Administration, GSE. Ph.D., Stanford

    Susan E. Lawrence, Professor of Political Science, SAS; Vice Dean, Office of Undergraduate Education.  Ph.D., Johns Hopkins

    Barbara A. Lee, Distinguished Professor of Human Resource Management, SMLR. Ph.D., Ohio State, J.D., Georgetown

    Beth L. Leech, Professor of Political Science, SAS. Ph.D., Texas A&M

    Angela M. O’Donnell, Professor of Educational Psychology, GSE. Ph.D., Texas Christian

    Brent D. Ruben, Distinguished Professor of Communication, SC&I; Advisor for Strategy and Planning in the Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs; Senior University Fellow, Executive Director of the Center for Organizational Development and Leadership. Ph.D., Iowa

    Beth C. Rubin, Professor of Educational Theory, Policy, and Administration, GSE. Ph.D., California (Berkeley)

    Jorge Reina Schement, Distinguished Professor, SC&I. Ph.D., Stanford.

    Tobias Schulze-Cleven, Associate Professor of Labor Studies and Employment Relations, SMLR. Ph.D., California (Berkeley)

    Susan J. Schurman, Distinguished Professor of Labor Studies and Employment Relations, SMLR. Ph.D., Michigan

    Hana R. Shepherd, Associate Professor of Sociology, SAS. Ph.D., Princeton

    Saundra M. Tomlinson-Clarke, Professor of Educational Psychology, GSE; Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Office of the Chancellor-Provost. Ph.D., Florida State

    Carl E. Van Horn, Distinguished Professor of Public Policy, Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy; Director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. Ph.D., Ohio State

    Associate Members of the Program Faculty 

    Barbara Bender, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Support and Graduate Student Success, School of Graduate Studies. Ed.D., Teachers’ College, Columbia

    Andrea Conklin Bueschel, Senior Vice President for Administration and Chief of Staff to the President. Ph.D., Stanford

    Joan Collier, Director of Institutional Equity and Strategy Initiatives, Division of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement. Ph.D., Georgia

    Monica Devanas, Director of Faculty Development and Assessment Programs, Center for Teaching Advancement and Assessment Research. Ph.D., Rutgers

    Ralph A. Gigliotti, Assistant Vice President for Strategic Programs, Office of University Strategy; Director, Rutgers Center for Organizational Leadership. Ph.D., Rutgers

    Sanford M. Jaffee, Faculty Fellow (retired), Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. L.L.B., Harvard Law School

    Michael Klein, Rockefeller Institute Fellow. Ph.D., New York University

    Lawrence Nespoli, President (retired), New Jersey Council of County Colleges. D.Ed., Pennsylvania State

    Karen R. Stubaus, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Administration. Ph.D., Rutgers

    Michelle Van Noy, Associate Director and Assistant Research Professor of Education and Employment Research Center, SMLR. Ph.D., Columbia

    Dayna S. Weintraub, Director of Research and Assessment, Ph.D., California (Los Angeles)

    Affiliate Members of the Program Faculty

    Linda Stamato, Faculty Fellow Emeritus, Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. M.A., Rutgers

  • Careers and Outcomes

    The Ph.D. in Higher Education Program prepares higher education researchers who will take their scholarship, knowledge, and research skills into a range of higher education settings such as universities and colleges, state governing and coordinating boards, federal government, independent higher education organizations, consulting groups, not-for-profit organizations, and foundations. They are expected to provide leadership, insight, and expertise in the institutional or related higher education settings in which they work and go on to influence educational practice in the United States and abroad through original research efforts.

  • Admissions Requirements
    • Personal Statement
    • Academic Writing Sample
    • 3 Letters of Recommendation
      • At least 2 from full-time faculty members
    • Official Undergraduate Transcripts
    • Official Graduate Transcripts
      • Applicants with a baccalaureate degree and little to no higher education experience may be admitted in cases of extraordinary academic promise and demonstrated commitment to research and scholarship in higher education

    Preferred qualifications:

    •  Earned master’s degree in higher education or related area
    •  Strong undergraduate and graduate GPA
    •  3-5 years full-time experience in higher education setting(s)
    •  Higher education research and/or assessment experience

    For more information on this program’s admissions requirements, visit the Office of the Graduate and Professional Admissions website.

  • How to Apply
    1. Collect the materials required for admission
    2. Submit your application online at http://gradstudy.rutgers.edu/
    3. Submit supporting materials online
    4. Any supporting materials that cannot be submitted electronically should be mailed to Graduate Admissions’ New Brunswick office. Their mailing address can be found here: https://gradstudy.rutgers.edu/about/contact-us
  • Tuition & Financial Assistance

    Tuition

    For tuition and fees information please visit the tuition landing page.

    Financial Aid:

    While students are encouraged to apply for federal student aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), there are a number of other merit- and need-based support options, including loans and college work-study programs within and external to Rutgers. For more information, please visit the Office of Financial Aid website.

    Scholarships, Fellowships & Assistantships:

    Generous GSE alumni, friends, and community members have established and continue to donate to more than one dozen fellowships and scholarships to help deserving students reach their goals. These awards are granted on the basis of academic achievement and or financial need. While these awards are competitive, interested students are encouraged to apply for consideration and submit the required materials. Students must also submit a FAFSA application to be eligible.  

    To review all current awards and learn more about the donors that established them, please click here.

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    ABOUT THE PROGRAM 

    How many students are admitted every year? 

    Our program averages 6 students every year.  

    Do you offer a part-time program?  

    Yes, we accept part-time students. Part-time is defined as taking 6 credits per semester.   Most of our students attend part-time. 

    How long will it take to complete the program? 

    The program of study is individualized for each student, taking into account research interests, transferred coursework, and development of research methods. Therefore, there is no prescribed order that students must take courses, and the time to degree varies.   Recent graduates have averaged 5-6 years to complete their degree, both part-time and full-time students.   

    APPLICATION PROCESS 

    I am an international student.  Do I need to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores?  

    To determine if you need to submit these scores, and if so, the minimum scores required, please go to https://grad.rutgers.edu/admissions/international-students 

    How can I request a fee waiver for my application? 

    Graduate Admissions does not normally waive fees, but they may defer a fee under extraordinary circumstances. You can request a fee deferral by mailing a statement of need and supporting evidence of need, such as tax returns or a letter from a financial aid officer from your school. Send your request to: 

    Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
    Proctor Hall, Suite 308
    65 Davidson Road
    Piscataway, NJ 08854 U.S.A. 

    Where can I send my hardcopy application materials? 

     Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
    Proctor Hall, Suite 308
    65 Davidson Road
    Piscataway, NJ 08854 U.S.A. 

    Should I submit official or unofficial transcripts? 

    We accept unofficial transcripts to review your application for admission.  However, if you are admitted to the program, you must submit all official transcripts. 

    What is an acceptable writing sample? 

    The purpose of submitting a writing sample is for faculty to review your writing ability (organization, clarity of thought, grammar).  Ideally, your writing sample could be a paper written for a course, approximately 20 pages. Reports and white papers written for your job are acceptable.  The paper can be on any area of study.  It is not recommended to submit a coauthored paper. 

    Who can I contact if I have questions about the application or the Higher Ed program? 

    You may email Dr. Ebelia Hernandez , Graduate Program Director, your questions and request to set up a meeting at ebelia.hernandez@gse.rutgers.edu. 

    I have been out of school for a long time, and I may not have all the materials requested for the application.  What can I do? 

    It is understandable that several of our applicants have been out of school for a period of time and may have been working full-time in higher education.  While we request writing samples to be academic papers and two out of three letters of recommendation be from former professors, you may share in your personal statement your professional work and your choices to submit more letters from professional references and work product (reports and white papers) as your writing sample.  

    FUNDING 

    What funding do you offer?  Is this funding available for full- and/or part-time students? 

    There are some fellowships for full-time students in the Higher Education program.  Fellowships provide tuition remission, health care, and a stipend.  All applicants who apply for full-time enrollment are considered for these fellowships; admitted students are nominated for university-funded fellowships based on the competitiveness of their application and other criteria. Because we have limited funding, not all admitted students are offered fellowships.   

    There are some graduate assistantships available; admitted students will be notified of these opportunities to apply. Graduate assistantships provide tuition remission, health care, and a stipend and require 15 hours of work per week. 

    Unfortunately, we do not have fellowships available for part-time students.  TAships are not available for Higher Ed students at this time. 

    All students are encouraged to apply for GSE scholarships: https://gse.rutgers.edu/tuition/ 

    For continuing students, there are opportunities to apply for fellowships offered by various Rutgers research centers as well as small grants to cover travel and dissertation costs.   

    I am a Rutgers employee.  What tuition remission benefits are available to me?  How do I apply? 

    You can learn more about Rutgers tuition remission benefits, including eligibility and process for applying, at https://uhr.rutgers.edu/benefits/tuition-remission.  For additional help, you may email Dr. Matt Winkler, Assistant Dean for Advisement with your questions: matt.winkler@gse.rutgers.edu.   

    FACULTY 

    Who are the Higher Education faculty?  How can I learn about their areas of expertise? 

    Our program is interdisciplinary, which means that our faculty come from many schools at Rutgers – New Brunswick.  For a full list and links to their webpages, please go to 

    https://gse.rutgers.edu/degree/ph-d-in-higher-education-program/ 

Rutgers is an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues with Rutgers websites to accessibility@rutgers.edu or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier / Provide Feedback form.
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