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Department of Advanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy

PhD in Higher Education Administration


The PhD Program in Higher Education is designed to develop scholars and practitioners who will improve the outcomes of postsecondary education as academic leaders and administrators, public policy experts, researchers, faculty members, and consultants. The program is a learning community characterized by scholarly rigor, strong connections to broader professional communities of practice, and a passion for contributing to the betterment of society through education.

Tanya Johnson
PhD Higher Education Administration Candidate

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 of our students, 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 interdisciplinary study of higher education administration
  • To convey inquiry skills useful to the practice of higher education and to research in the field
  • To provide opportunities to connect theoretical understanding to problems and contexts of practice through field-based experiences
Recent Doctoral Dissertations

Marc H. Strothers, PhD, Higher Education Administration (2020)
Administrators’ Perceptions and Responses to Sexual Assault and Violence Against Women at an Urban Historically Black University

Corey D. Robinson, PhD, Higher Education Administration (2020)
The Role that Society and Culture Play in African American Students' Decisions to Attend HBCUs

Tobias R. Morgan, PhD, Higher Education Administration (2020)
Owt on the Yard: An Exploration of Masculinity among African American Members of Historically Black Greek-Letter Fraternities Who Identify as Gay, Bisexual, or Same-Gender Loving at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Trevor R. McKie, Ph.D., Higher Education Administration (2020)
The Relationship Between Student Engagement and the Academic Success of African American Males Enrolled at an HBCU

Derrick W. Wise, PhD, Higher Education Administration (2019)
The Role of Spirituality in the Resilience of the Collegiate African American Male

Danny Molock, PhD, Higher Education Administration (2019)
The Journey in a Mile: An Exploration of Leadership Identity Development in Black Males it in HBCU

Alexandria Burrel, PhD, Higher Education Administration (2019)
Exploring the Experiences of Black and Latina Female Students at a Predominantly White Institution and Their Perceptions of Campus Climate

DeAnne Perry, PhD, Higher Education Administration (2019)
A Narrative Exploration of the Experiences of First-Generation Undergraduates in a Living-Learning Program

Abosede Gbenga-Akinbiola, PhD, Higher Education Administration (2018)
Telling Their Stories: Women in Nigerian Higher Education

Avetta White, PhD, Higher Education Administration (2018)
An Examination of the Differences in Presenting Mental Health and Psychosocial Issues of College Students by Race/Ethnicity and Gender

Charmaine Troy, PhD, Higher Education Administration (2018)
Examining Media Bias Surrounding Black Higher Education: A Content and Discourse Analysis of Print News Surrounding Critical Incidents that Have Occurred at Two Historically Black College and Universities
        2018-19 Department Dissertation of the Year Winner

Martin A. Dada, PhD, Higher Education Administration (2017)
African American Students' Assumptions about Blackness or Whiteness, Explored in the Context of College Selection: An Interpretive Analysis
        2017-18 Department Dissertation of the Year Winner

Rhonda Battle, PhD, Higher Education Leadership (2015)
International Student-Athletes’ Retention at an NCAA Division I Institution

Charisse F. Werneke, PhD, Higher Education Administration (2015)
How One Small, Private Non-profit University Has Prospered During and After the Great Recession: An Ethnographic Case Study

Dennis W. McCunney, PhD, Higher Education Administration (2015)
Striving for the Magis: An Ethnographic Case Study of Transformative Learning and Sustained Civic Engagement at a Jesuit University

Admission Requirements

Fall Admission Application Deadline: March 1 (ALL application materials must be received by this date for consideration)

Spring Admission Application Deadline: September 1 (ALL application materials must be received by this date for consideration)

Visit the Graduate School page to apply today!

1. Applicants are required to have at least 1 year of post-master's, full-time professional work experience in a college/university setting, or closely related professional experience (such as a higher education association, policy association, state/federal agency focused on higher education, etc.) that would allow an applicant to understand the context and general environment of higher education.

2. Official transcripts of all academic work completed at other regionally accredited institutions of higher education are required prior to matriculating and beginning coursework. Applicants are expected to have an undergraduate 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. Applicants with a graduate GPA of less than 3.5, but above 3.0 will be considered along with other materials that show academic promise for success.

3. Three (3) official recommendations from supervisors, faculty, or professionals who can comment on and attest to applicant's ability to engage in doctoral level work. Note that recommendations cannot come from family members or friends.

4. A written statement outlining the applicant's background and experience in higher education, specific career goals related to higher education, and how achieving a PhD through Morgan State University's program will assist in accomplishing those career goals. Applicants should also discuss any initial research ideas about the dissertation, and how faculty might be able to support and nurture those research ideas. Applicants are not required to identity a faculty "sponsor" or primary research advisor before being admitted; but if an applicant wishes to work with particular faculty that should be mentioned. It is imperative that applicants discuss all elements outlined above in their personal statement. 

5. A current resume or curriculum vita, documenting professional experiences.

6. A sample of professional writing (such as a professional paper, grant proposal, publication, or research proposal abstracts). If applicant does not have a recent professional writing sample, applicants are asked to respond to the following questions in a 4-5-page essay: What do you see as three (3) major trends or issues facing higher education? What are the implications of these trends/issues for campuses (including students, faculty, staff, or other constituents)?

7. International students, whose native language is not English, must provide a minimum TOEFL score of 590 PBT/97 iBT (scores approximately at the 75th percentile), or an IELTS score of 6.5, and demonstrate through the required written documentation and interview that they have requisite verbal and analytical skills needed to successfully complete the program. Applicants whose native language is not English must recognize that the program does not teach English Language skills; it is expected that international applicants have mastery and proficiency in both written and spoken English at a level that would allow them to fully participate in and contribute to the PhD program.

8. Personal interview with program faculty (at discretion of faculty).

9. NOTE: As of October 2017, GRE/MAT tests are no longer required for admission into the PhD program.

All application materials must be sent directly to the Graduate School. Any materials sent to the department or the program coordinator will not be placed in an applicant's file. It is the responsibility of applicants to ensure that all materials are appropriately submitted. Applicants should not ask the department to follow-up on their behalf.

Fall Admission Application Deadline: March 1 (ALL application materials must be received by this date for consideration)

Spring Admission Application Deadline: September 1 (ALL application materials must be received by this date for consideration)

Visit the Graduate School page to apply today!

Visit the School of Graduate Studies for information about financial aid.

For additional information:

For questions and/or more information, please contact Dr. Sean Robinson, Program Coordinator