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Higher Education Administration

Higher Education Administration Program at KU

The Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration is an advanced post graduate degree whose main purpose is to prepare students to conduct independent research that contributes to the general and theoretical knowledge about higher education issues. The Ph.D. dissertation will be theoretically grounded and should make an original contribution to the literature.


The  Ph.D. course of study is designed to develop independent scholars. In addition to several core courses, Ph.D. students are expected to develop a 9 credit hour cognate in consultation with their advisory committee. The cognate should comprise a coherent set of courses outside of ELPS that are directly related to, and will support, the student’s research interests. Ph.D. students also will take 9 credit hours of electives and EDUC 800 Education as a Field of Study, a requirement of all Ph.D. students in the School of Education, and a minimum of 12 hours of research courses. See the Program Curriculum page for more information.


Each doctoral candidate must fulfill a residency requirement during which time the student is engaged in full-time academic study. Residency may be fulfilled in a number of ways and options for meeting this requirement are found in the  Ph.D. Residency Agreement (Word).

Comprehensive Examinations

Doctoral students are required to take a comprehensive examination, which consists of a written and oral portion. The comprehensive is taken after successful completion of most of the appropriate coursework, the research competencies, and minor, if applicable. Before taking comprehensive exams, PhD students must 1) submit a satisfactory literature review on a topic related to their dissertations and 2) must write and submit a conference proposal to an approved conference based on some research done during the program. Both the oral and written portions of the exam must be successfully completed before the student is allowed to begin work on the dissertation. Doctoral candidates are required, after passing the comprehensive oral examination, to be continuously enrolled in one or more hours of dissertation (or programmatically equivalent) coursework.


Doctoral coursework provides the foundation for understanding higher education problems, and the dissertation the opportunity to demonstrate research skills. The dissertation's purpose is to study one higher education problem in depth. A formal dissertation proposal will be prepared by each student and approved by a dissertation committee of at least three graduate faculty prior to the beginning of the dissertation research. Under the guidance of the dissertation committee, the student is expected to generate or clarify knowledge in a specialized field and contribute to resolving important problems or questions within the field of educational leadership. The field of inquiry and method of analysis are limited only by the availability of faculty to sponsor the project. A final oral examination on the dissertation is scheduled when the dissertation has been tentatively accepted by the committee.

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Graduate Teaching Assistantship

Graduate Teaching Assistant(s) needed to teach the following:

  • ELPS 301. Educational Technology in Elementary-Middle Education. 3 Hours.
  • ELPS 302. Educational Technology in Middle/Secondary Education. 3 Hours.
  • ELPS 250. Education and Society. 3 Hours. AE41/AE51.

Learn more & apply here. (pdf)