The Higher Education Program in coordination with the UNLV Boyd School of law offers a dual J.D./Ph.D. degree. The Doctor of Philosophy – Higher Education is grounded in the concept that successful higher educational leaders must be well-informed and context sensitive professionals who make theory based, research supported, and data driven decisions.
The primary objectives of the program are to:
1. Prepare students for administrative positions in community colleges, four year colleges, universities, and other public and private learning and policy environments;
2. Prepare individuals for faculty positions in higher education; and
3. Assist doctoral students in the development of skills in assessment and evaluation, research design, and quantitative and qualitative methodologies appropriate for leadership roles as faculty or administrators in higher and postsecondary education.
For more information about your program, including your graduate program handbook and learning outcomes, please visit the Degree Directory.
Plan Admission Requirements
Applications available on the UNLV Graduate College website.
Applicants to the J.D./Ph.D. program must submit formal applications for admission to both the William S. Boyd School of Law and to the Graduate College. Students must meet the requirements for admission to both programs. Admission requirements are the same as those stated under the regular J.D. and Higher Education Ph.D. programs. Current application deadlines are posted on the website.
A dual program candidate must complete the Graduate College, Law School and Higher Education Program admission processes in order to matriculate. Successful completion of the first year of law school is a precondition to commencement of work on the Ph.D. program and waives the Master’s Degree perquisite for entry to the program. A law school student may be admitted to the dual program by gaining admission to the Higher Education Ph.D. program after successful completion of the first year of law school with the consent of both programs.
Under the terms and conditions of the program the Law School has agreed to accept 9 credits of course work from the Higher Education Program toward the J.D. degree. The Higher Education Ph.D. Program has agreed to accept 18 credits of course work from the Law School toward the Ph.D. degree.
Students interested in the dual program should alert Graduate College admission personnel when commencing the admission process. Students interested in the Dual Degree Program should alert the Higher Education Ph.D. Admissions Coordinator so that consultation on the admissions process can be initiated.
Students can elect to specialize in any of three emphasis areas: higher education leadership, including university and community college leadership; higher education policy and planning; and student affairs leadership.
All domestic and international applicants must review and follow the Graduate College Admission and Registration Requirements.
Students are accepted into a degree program as described in the Graduate Catalog. The faculty and corresponding sub-disciplines and sub-plans within the described programs are subject to change at any time.
Total Credits Required: 134
Total Credits Required for the Doctor of Philosophy – Higher Education: 54
Required Core Courses – Credits: 15
EDH 703 - History of American Higher Education
EDH 710 - Finance and Budgeting in Higher Education
EDH 715 - Theory of Educational Organizations
EDH 738 - Public Policy in Higher and Post-Secondary Education
EDH 705 - HE Law-Doctoral
EDH 742 - Academic Governance in Higher Education
Required Research Courses – Credits: 12
EDH 707 - Designing & Critiquing Research In Education
EPY 716 - Evaluation Research Methods
EPY 722 - Inferential Statistics and Experimental Design
EPY 718 - Qualitative Research Methodologies
Research Elective Courses – Credits: 3
Select one of the following courses in consultation with your program of study chair.
EPY 719 - Advanced Qualitative Research
EPY 729 - Qualitative Case Study Research
EPY 732 - Multiple Regression and Path Analysis
EPY 733 - Multivariate Statistics
Specialization Courses – Credits: 9
Complete 9 credits from the following courses in consultation with your program of study chair.
EDH 607 - Leadership Development Seminar
EDH 609 - Leading Diverse Organizations
EDH 618 - Facilities Management and Campus Planning
EDH 719 - Institutional Advancement
EDH 624 - Readings in Student Personnel Issues
EDH 706 - Current Issues in Higher Ed
EDH 708 - The American Community College
EDH 732 - Readings in Administration of Higher Education
EDH 733 - The Professorate
EDH 737 - Ethical Dimensions of Higher Education Leadership
EDH 739 - Organization Change & Innovation in Higher Education
EDH 740 - Comparative and International Higher Education
EDH 742 - Academic Governance in Higher Education
EDH 745 - Institutional Planning in Higher Education
EDH 750 - Special Topics in Higher Education
EDH 780 - Seminar: Teaching in Higher Education
EDH 791 - Doctoral Independent Study
Prospectus Course – Credits: 3
EDH 796 - Dissertation Proposal Preparation
Dissertation – Credits: 12
EDH 799 - Dissertation
Total Credits Required for the Juris Doctor: 80
Required Courses – Credits: 44
Directed Electives – Credits: 9
Free Electives – Credits: 27
- Students must be admitted to both the J.D. and Ph.D. programs with graduate standing. The candidates must successfully complete the 80 credit hours of Law course work and 54 credit hours of the Ph.D. required course work.
- William S. Boyd School of Law cannot award credit for any class taken before matriculation. J.D./Ph.D. candidates are required to enroll at the Boyd School of Law and complete one year of study before taking any Ph.D. courses.
- Students without a background in statistics may take EPY 721 Descriptive/Inferential Statistics, but the course will not count as credits toward the doctoral program.
- In consultation with his/her advisor, a student will organize a dissertation committee of at least three departmental members and one law school representative. In addition, a fifth member from outside the department, known as the Graduate College Representative, must be appointed. The Dual Degree Program Coordinator will sit on all dissertation committees. Please see Graduate College policy for committee appointment guidelines.
- Students in the J.D./Ph.D. program must remain in good standing in both J.D. and Ph.D. programs.
- The doctoral comprehensive examination consists of two parts: A core examination and an individualized examination. Part I: Core examination:
- The core examination is offered twice a year (usually September and February). Students should take this examination as early in their programs as possible. Students are eligible to the Comprehensive Examinations if they have passed all core courses with a “B-” or better. No student with anything less than a “B-” in any core course will be allowed to take the Comprehensive Examination. A core course may be repeated, allowing the student an opportunity to earn a “B-” or better.
- To be eligible to sit for this examination, students must have completed the required core courses, the required research courses, and the methodology course.
- Each section of the comprehensive examination is taken over a two week period.
- Section One: Covers research design. It draws heavily on the research core courses. Students are encouraged to integrate information from other methods courses into their answers. Information about this question is provided to students prior to the examination.
- Section Two: Affords student the opportunity to integrate basic historical, organizational, financial/economic, policy, and legal perspectives into a discussion of one or more current issues. Faculty members will meet with students prior to distributing this question to talk about specific, appropriate issues that may be addressed in this section of the exam.
- The evaluation rubric is available for download from the department website. Students who do not pass a section of the comprehensive exams meet with their current advisor to discuss options and potential remedies.
- The purpose of the individualized examination is to help students fill in gaps in their knowledge base and to help them move forward into the dissertation stage of the program.
- All students are required to engage in an internship experience. Each internship is an individually designed, semester-long experience that can be repeated for credit for up to a maximum of 6 hours. Ordinarily, the internship is completed after the student has successfully passed the core comprehensive examination. There are three types of internships for doctoral students: Administrative, Teaching, and Research.
- Administrative internships enable students to apply theory to practice. Internship placements are available in a variety of professional settings including UNLV, the Community College of Southern Nevada, Nevada State College, the Nevada System of Higher Education administrative departments, as well as in neighboring institutions of higher education and government policy and business environments. These are challenging experiences in which students are expected to make meaningful contributions that advance the goals of the host site.
- Teaching internships are done under the aegis of a faculty member. Doctoral teaching assistants may team with a faculty member in a Master’s course or teach undergraduate courses.
- Research internships are usually done with the student’s doctoral chair. These internships allow students to team with a faculty member on a research-based project, which may entail design, data collection, analysis, or writing.
- Students must complete the residency requirement. Residency requirements are met following the completion of 42 credit hours, the comprehensive examinations, and by completing these outcomes:
- Completion of remaining course work, including research courses and electives.
- Combination of doctoral internships and/or independent studies, as advised by student’s doctoral advisor.
- Successful completion of EDH 790 – Doctoral Internship and EDH 796 –Dissertation Proposal Preparation.
- Completion of a national presentation and/or a manuscript submitted for publication consideration.
- Students may use three credits of dissertation hours (EDH 799) towards their residency.
- Residency requirements must be fulfilled prior to the dissertation proposal defense. Students must review an outcomes checklist with their advisors prior to the proposal defense to verify completion of residency. Upon completion of residency students should have 9 to 12 dissertation credits remaining in the program of study.