Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Administration, emphasis in Higher Education Administration
The 73-hour doctoral program prepares students for leadership roles in higher education administration, teaching, and research through an emphasis in integrating theory and practice. With a concentration in a variety of areas, students are able to achieve their personal goals. The degree has several required courses as well as electives. Electives are based on the student’s support field in a related discipline and must be approved by the committee chair.
Field of Study
Higher education is a broad-based area of knowledge and study that examines the management and coordination of programs, policies, and processes pertaining to colleges and universities. Programs, policies, and processes include issues associated with access, admission, assessment, curriculum, diversity, economics, enrollment, equity, faculty, finance, governance, law, learning, organizational behavior, philanthropy, policy, resource management, students, and teaching.
Arising from the desire to reform colleges and universities through the promotion of the study of higher education, the field encompasses a variety of professional options and career paths. In order to coordinate programs, policies, and processes in colleges and universities, higher education professionals representing a variety of knowledge, experiences and skills, are needed. Educators work to impact organizational systems and culture within colleges and universities through serving as administrators, faculty, researchers, and scholar practitioners.
Vision and Mission
Our program has a specific focus on infusing an equity minded agenda that is reflected in the courses we teach, the research we conduct, and the service we provide at the local, state, and national levels. Specifically, we offer areas of emphasis including higher education administration, student affairs administration and a certificate in college teaching for aspiring postsecondary instructors. We excel at graduating scholar practitioners.
We strive to prepare students to be equity-minded leaders in higher education in Texas and beyond.
We prepare future faculty members, administrators, and scholar-practitioners with interests in working at community colleges, four-year institutions, and state, and national organizations.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Creating equitable access and participation for underrepresented and disenfranchised populations in our communities and postsecondary institutions
Mentoring and Teaching: Challenging and supporting students through quality mentoring and teaching
Knowledge Development: Developing critical consumers and producers of knowledge.
Service: As a land grant institution, we embrace service to our diverse communities
Why Choose Texas A&M?
We welcome prospective students who want to engage with a community of scholars devoted to advancing research, policies, and practice focused on pressing issues in higher education. We have faculty members, administrators, and graduate students committed to being leaders at the local, state, regional, and national levels.
Our program offers opportunities to
- Work alongside faculty as research collaborators
- Make a meaningful opportunity to contribute to national discourses in higher education and student affairs
- Engaged learning community
- Serve or lead at the national level
- Apply academic learning and teaching in professional practice
- Individualized and tailor the educational experience based on personal goals
Further the program offers
- Faculty committed to student success
- Faculty with a breadth and depth of knowledge and experiences beyond teaching
- Graduate Fellowship from the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies
- Graduate student support and involvement (e.g., GRAB/SAAHE professional organization, Black graduate student association, Hispanic graduate student association, Graduate student senate?)
- Extensive academic support available through Texas A&M University (e.g. Writing Center, World Class Research Library)
Career Paths in Higher Education
Career paths in higher education vary widely, and are dependent on academic qualifications and job responsibilities required within and across colleges and universities. For example, the career path to become a president (an institution’s chief executive officer or CEO) at a university such as Texas A&M University that is designated as a R1: Doctoral Research University, is different for a baccalaureate college or a master’s college and university. While it is possible to prepare for a position for a career in higher education administration with a bachelor’s degree, most colleges and universities require an advanced degree such as a masters or doctorate. Higher education administrators typically hold a masters or doctorate degree with areas of specialization including business, equity, faculty, finance, law, student affairs, organizational behavior, policy, research methodology, and teaching.
A graduate degree in higher education can prepare you for a career in a postsecondary or professional setting. Here are a few examples:
- Academic Administration
- Administrative Leadership
- College Teaching
- Educational Development
- Faculty in higher education (tenure and non-tenure track appointment)
- Student Affairs
- Training and Development
Degree: Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Educational Administration
Emphasis: Higher Education Administration
Degrees Offered: Doctor of Philosophy
Credit Hours: 73 hours (minimum of 96 hours without a Masters degree)
This doctoral program is designed for aspiring faculty, experienced staff members and organizational/institutional leaders at various stages in their careers. Our Higher Education Administration program offers compelling and diverse coursework and offers exceptional academic preparation for scholar-practitioners and aspiring faculty members that reflects the guiding principles of Texas A&M and our department.
Our graduates are senior higher education administrators, faculty members, vice presidents, and Deans. Our faculty are leading scholars in the areas of research, which include student retention and financial aid, the preparation and retention of underrepresented groups such as males interested in attending a postsecondary institution, faculty work-life issues, diversity issues in higher education, college teaching, and qualitative research. The combination of our coursework and exceptional faculty result in a higher education program that meets the varying needs of our students through an emphasis on integrating theory and practice.
As a student in our doctoral program, you will be enrolling in a variety of courses. There are a number of required higher education course (shown below) that will provide you with a foundation of the field that help prepare you to be leaders in the higher education. Courses such as Administration of Higher Education and Organizational Theory, for example, work in tandem to help you understand how colleges and universities operate. Other courses, including Policy in the Administration of Higher Education and Higher Education Law, provide an understanding of how legal and policy issues interact in ways to affect institutional policy and legal issues in colleges and universities.
You will have a number of opportunities to enroll in elective courses of your choosing. These courses can be taken within the department or outside of the department. In addition, you will be required to take courses outside our department and to develop a secondary field of concentration. Your concentration courses do not have to be from the same field. In other words, you can take courses from different fields, such as Business, Sociology, Communication, and/or Psychology. The purpose of requiring this outside concentration is to allow you to take courses that will provide you with disciplinary breadth and depth in understanding your research interest(s). You will work with your faculty advisor to tailor a program of study, including your area of concentration, that will assist you in choosing courses that help develop and shape your research interest(s) and position you to succeed in higher education now and in the future.
As the doctorate is a research degree, you will be required to take a combination of quantitative and qualitative research courses. These courses will prepare you to be an independent researcher and to conduct the research of your dissertation.
Higher Education Program FAQ
Higher Education Administration
What are the minimum GRE scores or GPA to be admitted?
We do not have a minimum GRE score or GPA. While scores matter, we look for a combination of strengths from professional experience, understanding of the field, vision for their career as well as test scores and grade point average. For doctoral students, we focus more on a master’s degree GPA than an undergraduate. At the undergraduate, we look at GPA from the 60 credit hours of upper-level coursework (not first year courses). For many students this GPA is higher. Students are also invited to explain a bad semester or bad start in their personal statement. Students are encouraged to put together the best case for their admission in the personal statement and be prepared to help the program faculty understand why you are considering this degree as an area of study.
Can I focus on an area of specialization?
We encourage students through their electives to pick areas of study to be their strengths when they graduate. More than half of our students go on to be full time administrators at higher education institutions. As administrators, students can focus on students or academic affairs, public policy, finance, teaching and curriculum, social justice and diversity etc. If you are thinking you might have reached a plateau in your career, it might be the right time to pursue a doctoral degree. Other doctoral students are community college or university faculty in their discipline who anticipate moving into administration and want to learn more about academic leadership. A portion of our graduates also go on to be full time faculty members in other higher education programs. For the faculty pathway, we encourage full time study and a concentration on research in coursework and preparation.
Can I study full or part time?
Some of our students are full-time professionals who are studying at the same time, while other students choose to study full-time and acquire a research or teaching assistantship while studying. Either pathway is an option. We encourage full time study, especially if you wish to become a professor of higher education, but all students are supported to reach their personal goals.
Is there any opportunity for financial assistance?
Yes, the department has graduate assistantship and some administrative units (student and academic affairs) have graduate assistantship which provide a modest salary and tuition assistance. There are also fellowships for students with strong academic records from the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies. [need to include hyperlinks to the GA and fellowship web sites] and the Office of Graduate Studies Financial Aid
Can students start in the spring or summer?
The programs admit students once a year for the following fall. Students may take courses as a non-degree seeking student before their admission is finalized, but there is no guarantee of admission or that the course will be considered part of the program. Talk with an academic advisor or program faculty for advice. Once admitted, the student will need to process paperwork to transfer the course into their program. Students may be able to defer an admission to the spring or fall if life circumstances require.
Can I transfer from another university?
At the graduate level, transfer is not as simple as that of an undergraduate student. TAMU like most universities wants you to pursue most if not all of your graduate degree at TAMU. Therefore, we only allow about 12 credits to transfer from other programs at the master’s level. At the doctoral level, we do not have a maximum, but students should assume that the program does not accept more than 10 to 20% of the coursework as transfer. We realize that life circumstances cause people to move while pursuing a degree, etc., therefore, feel free to contact one of our academic advisors or program faculty with questions.
Do you admit international students?
We admit students from across the globe and enjoy the rich perspective they bring to the classroom. Please see the university admissions guidelines for international students. International students can compete for most fellowships and assistantships with domestic students.
Do I need a master’s in higher education?
No. Students come from a variety of undergraduate and graduate disciplines. Students may tailor their graduate program to their particular career goals. Students from inside and outside of higher education make for rich classroom discussions. If students are admitted to the doctorate without any master’s degree, they will need additional coursework beyond the 73 credit hours. For example, the program has admitted students with master’s degrees in student affairs, math education, public affairs, library information studies, and business.
I still have further questions—who can I contact to help me answer those?
Please feel free to contact the Graduate Advising Office in 511 Harrington Tower. Our office hours are Monday-Friday 8:00a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our mailing address is 4226 TAMU; College Station, TX 77843-4226. Office fax number: (979) 862-4347. Please make sure to include a cover sheet when faxing.
Can you guide me through the application process?
Completed Application: A completed Apply Texas application. Apply online at www.applytexas.org. The name on your application must match your name as it appears in your passport. Application Fee: A non-refundable $50 application fee for domestic applicants and $75 application fee for international applicants. The application fee may be paid by check, money order or approved credit card. Applicants who wish to pay by credit card may do so as part of the online application. If you are unable to pay the fee online, you may call the Graduate Admissions Office at 979-845-1060. Official Transcripts and Records: Submit official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended. NOTE: You do not need to submit an official transcript from Texas A&M University. For information on submitting official transcripts to Texas A&M University, please visit their website.
How soon can I apply?
Prospective students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible!
I live out of state. Do you accept out-of-state applicants?
Yes, we accept in-state and out-of-state applicants.
Is there any opportunity for financial assistance?
Yes, there are opportunities for financial assistance through the following departments: Office of Graduate Studies Financial Aid
What are the typical program costs?
You can base the cost of attendance on 64 graduate credit hours (for doctoral students). The following website can help you estimate the cost of the program, including current costs of tuition and fees: Cost of attendance estimator
Is the GRE required?
Yes, the GRE is required.