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 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:

    Higher Education Program Faculty

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

    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

    Richard L. Edwards, University Professor and Chancellor Emeritus. Ph.D., SUNY Albany

    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

    Florence A. Hamrick, Professor of Educational Psychology, GSE. Ph.D., Indiana

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

    Jerome J. Kukor, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences, SEBS. Ph.D., Michigan

    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

    Catherine A. Lugg, Professor Emeritus of Educational Theory, Policy and Administration, GSE. Ph.D., Pennsylvania State

    Richard L. McCormick, Distinguished Professor of History and Education; President Emeritus. Ph.D., Yale

    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

    Robert Heffernan, Vice President for Institutional Research, Planning, and Decision Support, Office of Institutional Research and Academic Planning. Ph.D., New York University

    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

    Victoria Porterfield-Gregorio. Director of the Center for Discovery Innovation and Development, Children’s Specialized Hospital. Ph.D., Rutgers

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

    Michelle Van Noy, Associate Director and Assistnt 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)

    Melissa E. Wooten, Senior Director of Educational Equity, Division of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement. Ph.D., Michigan

    Affiliate Members of the Program Faculty

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

    Program Details

    Application Deadline

    Dec 15

    Entry Term(s)


    Program Level


    Program Type






  • 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.

    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

    Upon successful completion of 18 credits of Core coursework, 3 credits of Research coursework, 6 credits of Additional Graduate Coursework, and examination designed by the Ph.D. in Higher Education faculty, a master’s degree in Higher Education may be earned. The master’s degree option is available only to Ph.D. in Higher Education students.

    *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 (exceptional, high pass, pass, unsatisfactory) 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.

  • 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 and GRE scores*
    •  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
    3. Submit supporting materials online or by mail to the Graduate Admissions Office:

    Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions
    Rutgers. The State University of New Jersey
    56 Bevier Rd, ASB Annex I
    Piscataway, NJ 08854, U.S.A.

    Download the complete guide on how to apply for the Ph.D. in Higher Education Program at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education.

  • Tuition & Financial Assistance


    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.

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 or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier / Provide Feedback form.
Scroll to Top