Higher Education Administration (Ph.D.)

Growth in complexity and size of the administration of colleges and universities has prompted a need for professionally trained administrators who are knowledgeable of the structure, financing, legal issues, staffing, and administration of higher education organizations. Increasing societal demands for accountability of educational institutions means that individuals with doctoral preparation in research will be central to meeting this need.

The Higher Education Administration program within the Department of Educational Research and Administration provides options for individuals interested in both administrative and faculty/research roles within post-secondary institutions. The program emphasizes the acquisition of skills and knowledge needed to perform effectively in various positions in higher education. Students seeking academic careers (e.g., scholarly study of higher education, university teaching, and policy analysis) are encouraged to take the Ph.D. track. The program provides a foundation for graduates to generate new knowledge about post-secondary education and lead their organizations through visionary planning, strategic utilization of resources, effective motivation of employees, and practical application of research.

Program Requirements - 66 hours

This program requires a minimum of 66 credit hours beyond the Master’s degree and is inclusive of the dissertation.  Required coursework will be followed by dissertation hours (HE898) taken after coursework is completed. Pre-requisite courses are included.

 Core Courses



HE 711: History of Higher Education

HE 713: Curriculum and Teaching

HE 714: Higher Education Finance & Economics

HE 705: Multiculturalism and Social Justice in Higher Education

HE 716: Legal Issues in Higher Education

HE 712: The Community College

HE 800: Leadership Theory

HE 814: Organization and Administration in Higher Education




*REF 601: Educational Research

*REF 602: Introduction to Educational Statistics

*prerequisite courses

REF 761: Quantitative Analysis I

REF 762: Quantitative Analysis II

REF 824: Advanced Experimental Design

REF 830: Multivariate Analysis

REF 730: Qualitative Research I

Elective Options

12 – 18 hours

Select one (1) of the following:

  • 12 hours of approved HE electives
  • 15 – 18 hour approved minor (Student Affairs, Educational Research, or a minor outside of the department). Minors outside of the department must be approved.
  • 15 hours of Institutional Research


Dissertation Support


3 hours

REF 889: Dissertation Support




12 hours

9 hours HE 898: Dissertation AND EDA 807: Literature Review

OR 12 hours HE 898: Dissertation



 Additional Requirements

  1. A comprehensive examination will be taken during or after the last semester of coursework and must be passed before presenting a dissertation proposal.
  2. A GPA of 3.0 is required for graduation.
  3. Students may only earn two course grades of “C” in their coursework.

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For more information, please contact Dr. Holly Foster (holly.foster@usm.edu) or at 601-266-4621.