Jun 12, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 

Dual Degree: Doctor of Philosophy - Higher Education & Juris Doctor

Plan Description

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

Application deadlines

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.

Plan Requirements

Total Credits Required: 134

Course Requirements

Total Credits Required for the Doctor of Philosophy – Higher Education: 54

Research Elective Courses – Credits: 3

Select one of the following courses in consultation with your program of study chair.

Prospectus Course – Credits: 3

Dissertation – Credits: 12

Total Credits Required for the Juris Doctor: 80

Required Courses – Credits: 44

Directed Electives – Credits: 9

Free Electives – Credits: 27

Degree Requirements

  1. Students must be admitted to both the J.D. and Ph.D. programs with graduate standing. The candidates must successfully complete the 80 credits of Law course work and 54 credits of the Ph.D. required course work.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. In consultation with their 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.
  5. Students in the J.D./Ph.D. program must remain in good standing in both J.D. and Ph.D. programs.
  6. The doctoral comprehensive examination consists of two parts: A core examination and an individualized examination. Part I: Core examination:
    1. 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.
    2. To be eligible to sit for this examination, students must have completed the required core courses, the required research courses, and the methodology course.
    3. Each section of the comprehensive examination is taken over a two week period.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
  7. 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 credits. 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.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
  8. Students must complete the residency requirement. Residency requirements are met following the completion of 42 credits, the comprehensive examinations, and by completing these outcomes:
    1. Completion of remaining course work, including research courses and electives.
    2. Combination of doctoral internships and/or independent studies, as advised by student’s doctoral advisor.
    3. Successful completion of EDH 790 – Doctoral Internship and EDH 796 –Dissertation Proposal Preparation.
    4. Completion of a national presentation and/or a manuscript submitted for publication consideration.
  9. Students may use three credits of dissertation credits (EDH 799) towards their residency.
  10. 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.

Plan Graduation Requirements

Students cannot graduate from one portion of the dual degree until the requirements for both are met. Students must apply to graduate from both programs for the same semester.

The student must submit and successfully defend their dissertation by the posted deadline. The defense must be advertised and is open to the public.

After the dissertation defense, the student must electronically submit a properly formatted pdf copy of their dissertation to the Graduate College for format check. Once the dissertation format has been approved by the Graduate College, the student will submit the approved electronic version to ProQuest. Deadlines for dissertation defenses, format check submissions, and the final ProQuest submission can be found here

Students may apply for graduation up to two semesters prior to completing their degree requirements. All required forms must be submitted to the graduate college via the Grad Rebel Gateway.