PhD in Higher Education Administration

PhD in Higher Education Administration

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Priority application deadlines:

  • Feb 1 for Fall admission (general application deadline April 1)
  • Aug 1 for Spring admission (general application deadline Oct 1)


The Ph.D. Program in Higher Education at Morgan State University is designed to develop scholars and practitioners who will improve the worlds of higher and postsecondary education, as academic leaders, public policy experts, administrators, members of the professoriate, consultants, or training and development professionals. The program is a learning community characterized by scholarly rigor, strong connections to broader communities of practice, and a passion for contributing to the betterment of society through education. 

Our graduate programs are shaped by the following trends and issues:

  • A global economy demanding highly productive, creative, and adaptable workers
  • Demographic changes requiring attention to diversity and the multicultural contexts
  • Social and family changes necessitating coordination and collaboration with a variety of organizations to meet educational needs
  • The new technologies transforming social networks, instruction, and management tasks
  • Decentralized management and organizational systems requiring greater teamwork, human resource development, and accountability related to the mission of an institution or school;
  • The expectations of the policy community and the public that all individuals can and should achieve success in school
  • Increased levels of scrutiny and accountability for all activities within the campus environment

Our curriculum shifts student's thinking and action:

  • From technical skills to interpersonal skills
  • From command and direction to consensus building and motivating
  • From resource allocation to being accountable for learning processes and outcomes
  • From campus managers to leaders and integrators of resources, programs, and services
  • From policy recipient to policy shaper and participant

In our Higher Education Administration programs, our faculty seek to:

  • Enhance professional competence and communication skills
  • Promote social justice
  • Meet the needs of diverse learners
  • Engage and encourage reflective practice
  • Maintain a constructivist emphasis in teaching and learning
  • Encourage partnerships and collegiality

Through the process of self-reflection, our educational community will value:

  • Continuous growth in professional practice and competence
  • Respect for the uniqueness of all individuals
  • Ethical advocacy on behalf of individuals or groups experiencing discrimination

To that end, we expect all graduates of our programs will be able to:

  • Advance Social Justice & Transformative Practice within the campus community
  • Promote Stakeholder Development (student, alumni, donor, faculty, staff, administrator, community, etc.)
  • Enhance the Organization and Administration of their University/College
  • Engage in Independent Assessment, Evaluation, and Research

Goals of the Higher Education Administration PhD Program

The PhD program in Higher Education Administration recognizes the breadth of prior experiences, the various career paths that students are on, and the diversity of post-graduate opportunities students may pursue. Given this, there are five primary goals of the PhD program:

  • To provide students with grounding in the conceptual underpinnings of the practice of Higher Education.
  • To provide students with a broad appreciation and understanding of educational systems in social, historical, and normative perspectives as one basis for the exercise of educational leadership.
  • To expand students' theoretical understanding of administrative practice through study of one or more disciplines related to Higher Education Administration.
  • To convey inquiry skills useful to the practice of higher education and to the conduct of research in the field.
  • To provide opportunities to connect theoretical understanding to problems and contexts of practice through field-based experiences.

Program Admissions Requirements

  • Official transcripts of all academic work completed at other regionally accredited institutions of higher education, with a GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale for the last two years of undergraduate work; and a GPA of 3.5 or better on all postgraduate study beyond the baccalaureate degree.
  • Official results of national entrance examinations such as GRE (verbal and quantitative sections), the MAT or the GMAT.
  • International students, whose native language is not English, must provide a TOEFL score of 550 or higher and demonstrate through the required written documentation and interview that they have requisite verbal and analytical skills needed to successfully complete the program.
  • Written statement outlining applicant's background in higher education, specific career goals in higher education, how achieving a PhD through Morgan State University's program will assist in accomplishing those career goals.
  • A current resume or curriculum vita, documenting professional experiences. Applicants are expected to have a minimum of 3 years of professional experience working in a college/university setting, or related professional experience that would allow applicant to understand the context and general environment of higher education.
  • Samples of professional writing, including publications and research proposal abstracts.
  • Personal interview with program faculty

Residency Requirements

Part-time candidates for the PhD degree will satisfy residency requirements by completing 18 credit hours over a period of three consecutive semesters (not including summer). Full-time doctoral candidates must complete two consecutive semesters, carrying 9 credit hours each semester, to satisfy residency requirements. Upon completion of the course requirements and the comprehensive examination, the candidate must first complete RDHE 998-Dissertation Seminar (6 credits) and then RDHE 979-Dissertation Guidance (3 credits) each semester until the dissertation has been successfully defended. All requirements for the PhD degree must be completed within a period of seven consecutive years. The granting of a leave of absence by the School of Graduate Studies does not automatically extend this time limit.

General Requirements (72 credits total) (as of August 2015) 

I. Required Core/Foundations Courses (30 credits)

There are 30 credits required of each student; these courses provide broad overviews of the key aspects of postsecondary education, from both contemporary and historical perspectives.

  • ASLP 600 Introduction to Doctoral Studies (3)
  • RDHE 702 Historical Foundations of Higher Education (3)
  • RDHE 703 Multiculturalism and Diversity in Higher Education (3)
  • RDHE 704 Higher Education Policy Analysis (3)
  • RDHE 731 Governance and Administration in Higher Education (3)
  • ASLF 601 Higher Education Finance and Budgeting (3)
  • RDHE 727 Legal Aspects of Higher Education (3)
  • ASLP 601 Politics of Higher Education (3)
  • RDHE 722 Organizational Theory in Higher Education (3)
  • Core Elective -- Choose one of the following:
    • RDHE 720 Contemporary Issues in Higher Education (3)
    • RDHE 705 Quality Assurance and Accountability in Higher Education (3)
    • RDHE 706 Technology in Higher Education (3)
    • Other courses may be chosen with permission of advisor

II.  Research Courses (15 credits)

Since the PhD is a research degree, the research requirement consists of both introductory and advanced courses in quantitative and qualitative methods

Pre-requisites Research Methods Courses

  • EDSR 719 Quantitative Data Analysis I (3)
  • EDSR 604 Educational Research Methods (3)

Introductory Methods (6 credits)

  • EDSR 622 Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods (3)
  • EDSR 624 Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (3)

Advanced Methods (9 credits)

  • EDSR 819-Quantitative Data Analysis II (3)
  • Plus two of the following:
    • EDSR 628 Applied Social Research (3)
    • RDHE 627 Mixed Methods (3)
    • EDSR 818 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods (3)
    • EDSR 829 Advanced Qualitative Fieldwork (3)
    • RDHE 739 Management and Analysis of Large Data Sets (3)
    • Or other research course chosen in consultation with advisor

III. Specialization/Concentration (15 credits)

The Specialization consists of a set of courses comprising in-depth study in the concentration, including at least one internship experience. The Specialization should be developed in consultation with your Advisor and should provide depth and focused study in one or two areas of interest to the students. Courses may be taken from outside the School of Education to complete the concentration with the permission of student's Advisor. In addition, ASLP 691/791/891: Special Topics courses may be taken to fulfill the concentration electives. These Special Topics courses are offered regularly by program faculty; recent such courses have included: Advanced Student Development Theory, Contemporary Issues in Student Affairs Administartion, and Exploring aand Understanding Organizational Cuture (Advanced Topics in Organizational Theory).

  • RDHE 885 Internship in Higher Education (required) (3)
  • Specialization Electives (12)

IV. Dissertation Preparation/Capstone Methods Course (3 credits)

  • EDSR 889 Research Practicum (3)

V. Dissertation Courses (completed independently with dissertation chair) (9 credits minimum)

  • RDHE 998-Dissertation Seminar (6)
  • RDHE 997-Dissertation Guidance (students re-register for this course until the dissertation is defended) (3)

Apply Online Today! Click here 

Priority application deadlines:

  • Feb 1 for Fall admission (general application deadline April 1)
  • Aug 1 for Spring admission (general application deadline Oct 1)

For more information about the PhD Program, contact:

Dr. Benjamin Welsh, Program Coordinator
P: (443) 885-3748