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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in

Curriculum and Instruction

Higher Education Emphasis

The Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Higher Education Administration is a research degree that prepares individuals interested in teaching, research, and policy positions in both community colleges and universities.

Appropriate professional positions for graduates of this program would be:

  • faculty who intend to teach in universities in the field of higher education,

  • faculty who wish to teach in community colleges,

  • administrators who seek positions that entail expertise in research and

  • institutional researchers in colleges and universities, and

  • policy analysts in state and national higher education agencies and


Requirements for Admission

Admission Deadlines

Spring 2017 - October 15, 2016
Summer & Fall 2017 - February 15, 2017


In order to be admitted to the Ph.D. program, a student

will need to meet the following requirements:

  • an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 (B) minimum

  • on the upper division portion of the baccalaureate degree or a grade point average of 3.5 at the master's level and a GRE score of 1,000 minimum (quantitative and verbal), and 
  • a Master's degree from an accredited institution of higher education.

Strongly Recommended Professional Experience:

  • one or more years of relevant work experience in higher education.

In addition, students need to submit the following information directly to the department when they apply for admission to the program:

  • a vita or a resume,

  • a personal statement describing the student's professional goals and why he or she is applying to the program, and  

  • three letters of recommendation from references familiar with the student's academic and/or professional abilities.

  • the preferred method of submitting your application's Personal Goal Statements, Vita/Resumes, and  Letters of Recommendation is to email them to Lisa Adkins at Note: Please have you recommender put your name and program in the subject line.


Recommended Co-curricular Experiences

In addition, the faculty of the Higher Education Program, strive to provide scholarly experiences to enhance students doctoral studies. To that end, numerous options are available to students which include (but are not limited to) the possibilities listed below:

  • observe and critique at least two proposal and two dissertation final defenses (two within the department and two outside, if possible),

  • organize a major part of a conference or a doctoral student colloquia/symposia,

  • author and/or co-author at least one refereed journal article (must be research-based),

  • participate in research project with a approved faculty member.

  • attend one national and none higher education conference,

  • deliver a formal presentation on a research area of interest (to faculty or at a professional meeting),

  • assist a professor to teach a course, including presenting or facilitating several units, and/or

  • conduct a significant job-shadowing experience with someone in a position consistent with your professional goals.


Each of these options is dependent upon the availability of faculty. Students should discuss with their faculty advisor which of the activities would enhance their residency experience.


By the end of the 2nd semester of the student's coursework or before the student has completed 15 hours of graduate coursework, the student will select a Program of Study Committee comprised of a minimum of four credentialed faculty members, one of whom serves as a chairperson, or two of whom serve as co-chairs. One member must also be from outside the Department of Adult, Career and higher Education. This committee will be responsible for developing the student's Program of Study and designing and evaluating his/her qualifying examination.


Qualifying Exam  

After completing all coursework or during the last semester of coursework, Ph.D. students must pass a qualifying examination. The student and his/her major advisor can select one of three options for planning and evaluating the qualifying examination.

Option 1 -The exam integrates the work in the student's specialization area, the cognate area, and required coursework. The majority of students choose this option.  

Option 2 - The exam is composed of sub-tests covering the specialization, the cognate area, the and required coursework.

Option 3 - The student writes a formal, scholarly paper that demonstrates integration and synthesis covering knowledge in the specialization, the cognate area, and the required coursework. This paper can not be used to fulfill part or all of the dissertation requirements . The paper is evaluated by all members of the student's Program of Study Committee.  

Qualifying Exam Grading Rubric


After completing all coursework and passing the qualifying exam, the student is "admitted to candidacy." At this point, the student will prepare a dissertation proposal that identifies the research problem, surveys and evaluates the relevant literature, and describes the plan for conducting the research. While working on the dissertation, the student enrolls for a minimum of 24 Dissertation credit hours. Beginning with the semester immediately following admission to candidacy, the doctoral student must be continuously enrolled in dissertation hours (including summer term) until the dissertation is successfully defended. Exceptions to the continuous enrollment policy are possible, but a formal request must be made in writing to the student's Major Professor.

The student will defend the dissertation before a committee  comprised of a minimum of four members. The Dissertation Committee members do not necessarily have to be the same as those on the student's Program of Study Committee. In some instances, a student's interest in a topic changes as s/he progresses through the program and the student may wish to ask different faculty members to be a part of his/her Dissertation Committee, especially if these faculty members conduct research and/or have expertise in the student's dissertation topic.                                                                          



Higher Education Home

Requirements for Admission

Admissions Application

Outline of Revised Degree  Plan: Admitted Fall 2013

Outline of Old Degree Plan: Admitted prior to Fall 2013

Recommended Co-curricular Experiences

Ph.D. Program of Study Form

Qualifying Exam




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