Jul 22, 2024  
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog 

Higher Education Ph.D.

The Doctor of Philosophy in 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.

The Higher Education Program in coordination with the UNLV Boyd School of law also offers a dual JD/Ph.D. degree. Students interested in the dual program should alert Graduate School admission personnel when commencing the admission process. A dual program candidate must complete the Graduate School, 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 Degree Program should alert the Higher Education Ph.D. Admissions Coordinator so that consultation on the admissions process can be initiated.


Admission Requirements

Entrance to the Ph.D. program requires candidates to complete three steps. Current application deadlines are posted on the website

Minimum admission requirements for UNLV’s Graduate College include:

  1. Completed application for admission and the nonrefundable application fee;
  2. One copy of official transcripts from all institutions attended after high school, including verification of a master’s degree from an accredited college or university.

More information is available on the Graduate College website.

Additional materials each candidate must also upload with the application:

  1. Personal Statement of Professional Aspirations;
  2. A professional resumé or vita;
  3. Verification of experience in higher education or related field;
  4. Scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). Score should be no more than seven years old;
  5. Three letters of nomination/ professional reference;
  6. Evidence of writing ability; see the website for specifics.

In the final step after reviewing all material, a select number of candidates will be invited for an interview with department faculty. The interview enables candidates to demonstrate their oral communication skills, commitment to continuing professional development, and to show their leadership, learning, and educational philosophy. Final admission will be based on evaluation of all application materials, including the interview.

For specific information on the Department Educational Psychology & Higher Education’s Higher Education Ph.D. programs, please visit the website. Applicants interested in receiving a graduate assistantship must complete the Graduate Assistantship Application found on the Graduate College website. Potential students should also inform the program or doctoral admissions coordinator of their interest in the program.

Degree Requirements


This terminal degree requires students to complete a minimum of 72 semester hours of course work beyond the earned master’s degree, including the dissertation. The doctoral program also has a residency requirement. The residency requirement does not require students to forego employment or embark on full time study; rather, the residency requirements are met following the completion of the first part of the doctoral core comprehensive examination and by completing these outcomes:


Other Requirements

Completion of remaining course work can be accomplished by incorporating up to two independent study projects. An independent study can substitute for one research requirement or as an elective.

A student may also use three credits of dissertation hours: (EDH 799 - Dissertation ) toward the residency. Completion of the national presentation and/or submission of a manuscript for publication can be completed before or during the time in which students have enrolled for the first three credits of the dissertation.The 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.

Program requirements include a 15 credit content core, 18 credit research core, 21 credit of specialization, and 18 credits of internship (3) and dissertation (15). 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.