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Doctoral programs.

The goal of the GSE PhD in Education is to prepare the next generation of leading education researchers. The cornerstone of the doctoral experience at the Stanford Graduate School of Education is the research apprenticeship that all students undertake, typically under the guidance of their academic advisor, but often with other Stanford faculty as well.

In this apprenticeship model, doctoral students are provided with a multi-year funding package that consists of opportunities each quarter to serve as teaching and research assistants for faculty members' courses and research projects. By this means, and in combination with the courses that they take part of their program, students are prepared over an approximately five-year period to excel as university teachers and education researchers.

The doctoral degree in Education at the GSE includes doctoral program requirements as well as a specialization, as listed below, overseen by a faculty committee from one of the GSE's three academic areas.

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Doctoral programs by academic area

Curriculum studies and teacher education (cte).

  • ‌ Elementary Education
  • ‌ History/Social Science Education
  • ‌ Learning Sciences and Technology Design
  • ‌ Literacy, Language, and English Education
  • ‌ Mathematics Education
  • ‌ Science, Engineering and Technology Education
  • ‌ Race, Inequality, and Language in Education
  • ‌ Teacher Education

Developmental and Psychological Sciences (DAPS)

  • ‌ Developmental and Psychological Sciences

Social Sciences, Humanities, and Interdisciplinary Policy Studies in Education (SHIPS)

  • ‌ Anthropology of Education
  • ‌ Economics of Education
  • ‌ Education Data Science
  • ‌ ‌Educational Linguistics
  • ‌ Educational Policy
  • ‌ Higher Education
  • ‌ History of Education
  • ‌ International Comparative Education
  • ‌ Organizational Studies
  • ‌ Philosophy of Education
  • ‌ Sociology of Education

Cross-Area Specializations

Learning sciences and technology design (lstd).

LSTD allows doctoral students to study learning sciences and technology design within the context of their primary program of study (DAPS, CTE, or SHIPS).

Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE)

RILE trains students to become national leaders in conducting research on how race, inequality, and language intersect to make both ineffective and effective educational opportunities. RILE allows students to specialize within their program of study (DAPS, CTE, or SHIPS).

Other academic opportunities

  • ‌ Concentration in Education and Jewish Studies
  • ‌ Quantitative Methods Certificate Program
  • ‌ Stanford Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Program in Quantitative Education Policy Analysis
  • ‌ PhD Minor in Education
  • ‌ Stanford Doctoral Training Program in Leadership for System-wide Inclusive Education (LSIE)
  • ‌ Certificate Program in Partnership Research in Education
  • ‌ Public Scholarship Collaborative

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“I came to Stanford to work with faculty who value learning in informal settings and who are working to understand and design for it.”

Doctoral graduates were employed within four months of graduation

of those employed worked in organizations or roles related to education

For more information about GSE admissions and to see upcoming events and appointments:

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Doctor of Philosophy in Education

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Additional Information

  • Download the Doctoral Viewbook
  • Admissions & Aid

The Harvard Ph.D. in Education trains cutting-edge researchers who work across disciplines to generate knowledge and translate discoveries into transformative policy and practice.

Offered jointly by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the PhD in Education provides you with full access to the extraordinary resources of Harvard University and prepares you to assume meaningful roles as university faculty, researchers, senior-level education leaders, and policymakers.

As a Ph.D. candidate, you will collaborate with scholars across all Harvard graduate schools on original interdisciplinary research. In the process, you will help forge new fields of inquiry that will impact the way we teach and learn. The program’s required coursework will develop your knowledge of education and your expertise in a range of quantitative and qualitative methods needed to conduct high-quality research. Guided by the goal of making a transformative impact on education research, policy, and practice, you will focus on independent research in various domains, including human development, learning and teaching, policy analysis and evaluation, institutions and society, and instructional practice.   

Curriculum Information

The Ph.D. in Education requires five years of full-time study to complete. You will choose your individual coursework and design your original research in close consultation with your HGSE faculty adviser and dissertation committee. The requirements listed below include the three Ph.D. concentrations: Culture, Institutions, and Society; Education Policy and Program Evaluation; and Human Development, Learning and Teaching . 

We invite you to review an example course list, which is provided in two formats — one as the full list by course number and one by broad course category . These lists are subject to modification. 

Ph.D. Concentrations and Examples

Summary of Ph.D. Program

Doctoral Colloquia  In year one and two you are required to attend. The colloquia convenes weekly and features presentations of work-in-progress and completed work by Harvard faculty, faculty and researchers from outside Harvard, and Harvard doctoral students. Ph.D. students present once in the colloquia over the course of their career.

Research Apprenticeship The Research Apprenticeship is designed to provide ongoing training and mentoring to develop your research skills throughout the entire program.

Teaching Fellowships The Teaching Fellowship is an opportunity to enhance students' teaching skills, promote learning consolidation, and provide opportunities to collaborate with faculty on pedagogical development.

Comprehensive Exams  The Written Exam (year 2, spring) tests you on both general and concentration-specific knowledge. The Oral Exam (year 3, fall/winter) tests your command of your chosen field of study and your ability to design, develop, and implement an original research project.

Dissertation  Based on your original research, the dissertation process consists of three parts: the Dissertation Proposal, the writing, and an oral defense before the members of your dissertation committee.

Culture, Institutions, and Society (CIS) Concentration

In CIS, you will examine the broader cultural, institutional, organizational, and social contexts relevant to education across the lifespan. What is the value and purpose of education? How do cultural, institutional, and social factors shape educational processes and outcomes? How effective are social movements and community action in education reform? How do we measure stratification and institutional inequality? In CIS, your work will be informed by theories and methods from sociology, history, political science, organizational behavior and management, philosophy, and anthropology. You can examine contexts as diverse as classrooms, families, neighborhoods, schools, colleges and universities, religious institutions, nonprofits, government agencies, and more.

Education Policy and Program Evaluation (EPPE) Concentration

In EPPE, you will research the design, implementation, and evaluation of education policy affecting early childhood, K–12, and postsecondary education in the U.S. and internationally. You will evaluate and assess individual programs and policies related to critical issues like access to education, teacher effectiveness, school finance, testing and accountability systems, school choice, financial aid, college enrollment and persistence, and more. Your work will be informed by theories and methods from economics, political science, public policy, and sociology, history, philosophy, and statistics. This concentration shares some themes with CIS, but your work with EPPE will focus on public policy and large-scale reforms.

Human Development, Learning and Teaching (HDLT) Concentration

In HDLT, you will work to advance the role of scientific research in education policy, reform, and practice. New discoveries in the science of learning and development — the integration of biological, cognitive, and social processes; the relationships between technology and learning; or the factors that influence individual variations in learning — are transforming the practice of teaching and learning in both formal and informal settings. Whether studying behavioral, cognitive, or social-emotional development in children or the design of learning technologies to maximize understanding, you will gain a strong background in human development, the science of learning, and sociocultural factors that explain variation in learning and developmental pathways. Your research will be informed by theories and methods from psychology, cognitive science, sociology and linguistics, philosophy, the biological sciences and mathematics, and organizational behavior.

Program Faculty

The most remarkable thing about the Ph.D. in Education is open access to faculty from all Harvard graduate and professional schools, including the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard Kennedy School, the Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard School of Public Health. Learn about the full Ph.D. Faculty.

Jarvis Givens

Jarvis R. Givens

Jarvis Givens studies the history of American education, African American history, and the relationship between race and power in schools.

Paul Harris

Paul L. Harris

Paul Harris is interested in the early development of cognition, emotion, and imagination in children.

Meira Levinson

Meira Levinson

Meira Levinson is a normative political philosopher who works at the intersection of civic education, youth empowerment, racial justice, and educational ethics. 

Luke Miratrix

Luke W. Miratrix

Luke Miratrix is a statistician who explores how to best use modern statistical methods in applied social science contexts.

phd higher education usa

Eric Taylor

Eric Taylor studies the economics of education, with a particular interest in employer-employee interactions between schools and teachers — hiring and firing decisions, job design, training, and performance evaluation.

Paola Uccelli

Paola Uccelli

Paola Ucelli studies socio-cultural and individual differences in the language development of multilingual and monolingual students.

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View Ph.D. Faculty

Dissertations.

The following is a complete listing of successful Ph.D. in Education dissertations to-date. Dissertations from November 2014 onward are publicly available in the Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard (DASH) , the online repository for Harvard scholarship.

  • 2022 Graduate Dissertations (265 KB pdf)
  • 2021 Graduate Dissertations (177 KB pdf)
  • 2020 Graduate Dissertations (121 KB pdf)
  • 2019 Graduate Dissertations (68.3 KB pdf)

Student Directory

An opt-in listing of current Ph.D. students with information about their interests, research, personal web pages, and contact information:

Doctor of Philosophy in Education Student Directory

Introduce Yourself

Tell us about yourself so that we can tailor our communication to best fit your interests and provide you with relevant information about our programs, events, and other opportunities to connect with us.

Program Highlights

Explore examples of the Doctor of Philosophy in Education experience and the impact its community is making on the field:

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Using E-Books to Get Young Readers Talking

New research shows how parents can help kids — and themselves — use e-books as a tool to improve early childhood development

Avriel Epps

Exploring Structural Oppression in Digital Spaces

Ph.D. student Avriel Epps studies how bias in the digital world impacts users across diverse backgrounds

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Connect with Pitt Education

phd higher education usa

PhD in Higher Education

A PhD student learning in the classroom with her peers

Develop an advanced understanding of the dynamic forces shaping higher education.

The PhD in Higher Education is committed to advancing scholarship, research, and practice in the field of higher education. The program is focused on critical scholarship and centers equity, inclusion, and justice.

Students have research interests ranging from student access to student outcomes, student development and affairs, faculty, organizations, and administration, community colleges and community college leadership, and policy.

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Program Facts

Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Time Commitment

3 - 5 years

Enrollment Term

Application Deadline

Admission Requirements

No GRE Exam is required

Program Overview

The PhD in Higher Education is committed to advancing scholarship, research, and practice in the field of higher education. The program is focused on critical scholarship and centers equity, inclusion, and justice. Our students research interests include student access, student outcomes, student development and affairs, faculty, organizations, and administration, community colleges and community college leadership, and policy.

The program has a core set of courses designed for students to gain an understanding of historical, political, philosophical, and social elements that shape and continue to reshape higher education. The curriculum is designed to ground students in the study of higher education as a discipline and critical scholarship within the field. Students develop an area of research specialization. The curriculum in higher education is complemented by courses within other programs in the Educational Foundations, Organizations, and Policy Department and across the School of Education. In addition, through a strong focus within the program on rigorous methodological training, students gain competency in both quantitative and qualitative research methods and take advanced courses in the methodological approaches they plan to utilize in their research.

The PhD in Higher Education program is 90 credits.

View full curriculum

Required Courses (21 credits)

  • EFOP 2307 – POLITICS AND HISTORY OF HIGHER EDUCATION
  • EFOP 2131 – HIGHER EDUCATION ADMINISTRATION
  • EFOP 2055 – STUDENT DEVELOPMENT THEORY
  • EFOP 3141 – POLICY STUDIES IN HIGHER EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3150 – FOUNDATIONS FOR THE STUDY OF HIGHER EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3151 – THEORETICAL FRAMEWORKS FOR THE STUDY OF HIGHER EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3153 – RESEARCH PERSPECTIVES ON DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION IN HIGHER EDUCATION

Electives (24 Credits)

Students enroll for 24 credits of electives, including 9 credits of higher education courses taught in the program. Program courses include but are not limited to the following:

  • EFOP 3015 – ETHICAL ISSUES IN HIGHER EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3131 – STUDENT, CAMPUS, AND SOCIETY
  • EFOP 3136 – COMPARATIVE HIGHER EDUCATION
  • EFOP 3134 – CONTEMPORARY LATINX ISSUES IN US HIGHER EDUCATION

Research Methodology (18 credits)

Students enroll for 18 credits of research methodology, including:

Three required courses (9 credits):

  • EDUC 3100 – INTRODUCTION TO QUAN METHODS: DESCRIPTIVE AND INFERENTIAL STATISTICS (required)
  • EDUC 3103 – QUANTITATIVE METHODS 2 (required)
  • EDUC 3104 – INTRODUCTION TO QUALITATIVE METHODS (required)

Research Methodology electives (9 credits) include the following:

  • EDUC 3107 – WAYS OF KNOWING
  • EDUC 3505 – RESEARCH-PRACTICE PARTNERSHIPS: APPROACHES TO COLLABORATIVE DESIGN, INQUIRY & CHANGE
  • EDUC 3506 – MIXED METHODS RESEARCH
  • EFOP 3012 – QUALITATIVE DATA MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, AND PRESENTATION
  • EFOP 3201 – INTRODUCTION TO EDUCATIONAL EVALUATION
  • EFOP 3209 – HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONAL ASSESSMENT & ACCREDITATION
  • EFOP 3408 – HIERARCHICAL LINEAR MODELING
  • EFOP 3417 – STRUCTURAL EQUATION MODELING
  • EFOP 3471 – CONSTRUCTING QUESTIONNAIRES AND CONDUCTING SURVEYS
  • EFOP 3472 – CAUSAL INFERENCE IN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH
  • EFOP 3501- Critical Policy Analysis
  • EDUC 3000 – ADVANCED APPLIED STATISTICAL ANALYSIS
  • EDUC 3106 – ADVANCED APPLIED QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS
  • TLL 3003 – RESEARCH INTERVIEWING

Supervised Research (6 credits)

Students enroll in 6 credits:

  • EFOP 3097 – SUPERVISED RESEARCH

Independent Research (18 credits)

Students enroll in 18 credits:

  • EFOP 3099 – GUIDANCE IN THE DOCTORAL DEGREE

Professional Seminars (3 Credits)

  • EDUC 3102 – FIRST YEAR SEMINAR 1
  • EDUC 3105 – FIRST YEAR SEMINAR 2

Prerequisites

There are no specific prerequisites for this degree, but interested students should verify that they fulfill the admissions requirements.

Take the Next Step

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"The School of Education has been an asset to my doctoral journey and truly embodies the famous words of Nelson Mandela: 'Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.'" Jenay Willis - Pitt alumni

Career Pathways

  • Faculty at institutions of higher education
  • Researchers at educational think tanks and major policy institutes
  • Leaders of administrative units with teaching and research responsibilities.

Program Faculty

Program Coordinator

Linda DeAngelo

Linda DeAngelo

Heather McCambly

Heather McCambly

Darris Means

Darris Means photo

Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher

Eboni Zamani-Gallaher

Maximilian T. Schuster

Max Schuster

Program News

phd higher education usa

$3 Million Grant Seeks to Build Stronger Career Pathways for Engineering Faculty of Color

$3 Million Grant Seeks to Build Stronger Career Pathways for Engineering Faculty of Color - Read more

phd higher education usa

Faculty Member Darris Means Named Emerging Scholar in Higher Education

Faculty Member Darris Means Named Emerging Scholar in Higher Education - Read more

phd higher education usa

New $1.3 Million Grant to Develop Industry-Focused Job Pathways for Community Colleges

New $1.3 Million Grant to Develop Industry-Focused Job Pathways for Community Colleges - Read more

phd higher education usa

Faculty Member Heather McCambly Receives NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Faculty Member Heather McCambly Receives NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship - Read more

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New Book Addresses Student Socialization in Higher Education

New Book Addresses Student Socialization in Higher Education - Read more

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Doctor of philosophy (ph.d.), you are here, a highly individualized doctoral program with nationally-recognized faculty researching the issues shaping higher education. .

Penn GSE's Higher Education Ph.D. program is pioneering research on the most pressing questions in higher education: college access and affordability; race, gender, and inclusion policies on campus; international education; and university governance. Our graduates are prepared to contribute to the field through positions in academia, government, or nonprofit institutions. 

What Sets Us Apart

About the program.

The Ph.D. in Higher Education prepares students for an academic career in the field of higher education. Through coursework and a research assistantship with their advisor, students develop the skills they need to conduct quality primary research in higher education.

Fall: 3-4 courses; Spring: 3-4 courses

Transfer courses accepted Up to 8 with faculty approval

Culminating experience Dissertation 

The Higher Education Ph.D. program is highly individualized, and students work closely with their academic advisor to draw from courses from the division and from other areas on campus that relate to their area of inquiry. Students develop the skills they need to conduct quality primary research in higher education, including understanding research design; program evaluation; and the analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data.

The Ph.D. program in Higher Education is highly individualized. At least 12 course units of graduate work must be taken at the University of Pennsylvania. The program requires students to complete two methods courses, and Ph.D. students develop a planned program of study in consultation with their academic advisor.

For more information on courses and requirements, visit the  Higher Education Ph.D. program in the University Catalog .

Our Faculty

Higher Education faculty are leading the conversation about how to expand college access, equity, and affordability. These experts are routinely sought by university presidents, foundation leaders, journalists, and policymakers seeking to understand the changing landscape of higher education.  Please contact our program for information on selecting a faculty advisor. 

Penn GSE Faculty Ross Aikins

Affiliated Faculty

Peter Garland Executive Vice Chancellor, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Ph.D., Penn State University

Anita Mastroieni Executive Director for Graduate Education and Initiatives Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania

Jason A. Presley Vice Dean, Finance and Administration, Penn GSE Ph.D., New York University

Frank Roth General Counsel & Secretary, Board of Trustees, Lehigh University

Sean Vereen President, Steppingstone Scholars, Inc. Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania

Demetri Morgan

"Everyone at Penn GSE is there for your success."

Demetri Morgan

Our graduates, alumni careers.

  • Assistant Professor, Loyola University of Chicago
  • Assistant Professor, Seattle University
  • Assistant Professor, The University of Michigan School of Education
  • Assistant Provost for Administration, Bryn Mawr College
  • Associate Dean, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Senior Program Officer, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Senior Policy Advisor, United States Department of Education    

Admissions & Financial Aid

Please visit our Admissions and Financial Aid pages for specific information on the application requirements , as well as information on tuition, fees, financial aid, scholarships, and fellowships.

Contact us if you have any questions about the program.

Graduate School of Education University of Pennsylvania 3700 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 (215) 898-6415 [email protected] [email protected]

Ross Aikins Adjunct Associate Professor, Program Manager (215) 898-8398 [email protected]

Noel Lipki Program Assistant (215) 746-2923 [email protected]

Please view information from our Admissions and Financial Aid Office for specific information on the cost of this program.

All Ph.D. students are guaranteed a full scholarship for their first four years of study, as well as a stipend and student health insurance. Penn GSE is committed to making your graduate education affordable, and we offer generous scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships.

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Institute for Research on Higher Education

The Institute for Research on Higher Education (IRHE) is a university-wide research institute that conducts research relevant to policymakers and educational practitioners.

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The Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (Penn AHEAD) is dedicated to fostering open, equitable, and democratic societies through higher education.

You May Be Interested In

Related programs.

  • Education Policy Ph.D.
  • Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management Ed.D.
  • Higher Education Ed.D.
  • Higher Education M.S.Ed.

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Higher Education, Ph.D.

  • Admissions & Financial Aid
  • Requirements

The doctoral degree in Higher Education prepares graduates to address the complex and interconnected issues facing higher education around the world through deep foundational knowledge and integrated practical experiences.

This program focuses on application of theory and research to the study of higher education. Giving the increasing diversity of college student backgrounds, critical reforms are needed in higher education to develop diverse curriculum, practices, policies, and pedagogies that embrace and build upon students’ talents, experiences, and potential to help them learn, develop, and success. Students analyze higher education at various levels, including individual students, student populations, institutions, and systems of higher education.

Application Deadline: February 1 | More admissions information

Our partnership with the Syracuse University Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience , as well as colleges and universities throughout the Central New York area, helps provide immersive field placements and assistantships for our students. In particular the Laboratory in Learning Communities course — the only of its kind in the nation — uniquely preparing students to leader initiatives that blur the lines between academic and student life issues to promote learning on college campuses.

A hallmark of our programs is the collaboration and community developed amongst a cohort of scholars. Many of our courses require group work to prepare students for the collaborative environment of higher education administration. The Higher Education programs and department also encourages research and project partnerships between students, faculty, and administration.

Expertise in teaching and instruction is also developed with the department and with participation in the Future Professoriate Program . This includes orientations, year-round services for teaching assistants, and opportunities to co-teach with fellow doctoral students and department faculty, guest lecture, and independent instruction.

Our department and our faculty have a national reputation that leads our graduates to be embraced by a vibrant job market offering a wide variety of opportunities and positions. Our graduates work across higher education administration, university faculty and teaching positions, research and writing, educational policy, and professional development work.

A strength of our program is our partnerships across Syracuse University and other local schools and organizations that provide intensive internships, where students are often supervised by our alumni. These include:

  • Syracuse University offices like Residence Life, Multicultural Collective, Alumni Engagement, Athletics, New Student Programs, Greek Life, Student Engagement, Admissions, Career Services, Veteran Affairs, International Serices, and Student Rights and Responsibilities
  • Academic, student engagement, and inclusion-related offices at local institutions like SUNY ESF, LeMoyne College, Onondaga Community College, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Hamilton College, and Utica College.
  • Other organizations like On Point for College, Say Yes to Education, POSSE Foundation, Creating Change, Association of College and University Housing Officers, American College Personnel Association, and Imagining America.

Leading the way: Higher Education alumni in institutional leadership roles

Program Contacts

Speranza Migliore

Admissions & Student Life

Ph.D. in Higher Education

GRADUATE PROGRAMS

The PhD in Higher Education is for post-Master’s degree students who are interested in preparing for service and leadership in a broad range of roles in Colleges and Universities. Program graduates will understand the administrative, political, financial, legal, and socio-cultural aspects of higher education and be prepared to be change agents in 21st century institutions of post-secondary education, including community colleges, 4-year degree granting institutions, and comprehensive graduate and professional degree granting universities. In addition to core coursework, students will have the opportunity to specialize by taking a minimum of 6 credit hours of coursework in an area of professional interest. Additionally, focused internships working with professionals in their field of interest and an international research focused study abroad experience will provide students with mentorship and real-world experience.

February 15th is the deadline for consideration for Fall admission. Incomplete applications are not reviewed.

What makes our program right for you?

Purdue specific outcomes and program highlights: 

  • Distinguish yourself in the education industry with a superior credential from an institution with worldwide recognition and impact.
  • Advance and network with an experienced and motivated peer group for mutual support, team exercises, and enhanced learning. 
  • Publish with internationally recognized faculty.

Purdue quality. Flexible schedule.

Online and hybrid students enjoy the same rigorous academic programs as on-campus students, but with a much more flexible class schedule. Assignments, discussions, and other coursework are posted each week in the virtual classroom.  Students are required to participate in real-time classes from 6-9 p.m. EST two nights per week.  The hybrid model of this program requires students to travel to campus at least once a semester.

The cohort model provides opportunities for student to get to know their peers.  Students can build friendships and a support system during the program that helps to build a professional network.  Students are able to learn from others who are in the same field and may have different and similar experiences. The Cohort Doctoral Program strives to develop leaders in the education industry.

Students will publish with internationally acclaimed faculty.  During the program, students will co-author with Higher Education faculty a minimum of three articles, published in peer reviewed journals. Higher Education students gain highly sought-after skills and experiences in research, writing and publishing – the currency of Higher Education Institutions.

MAKE YOUR NEXT GIANT LEAP

For more information, view the Admissions Application Checklist

Request Information – Ph.D. Higher Education

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This program does not lead to licensure in the state of Indiana or elsewhere. Contact the College of Education Office of Teacher Education and Licensure (OTEL) at [email protected] before continuing with program application if you have questions regarding licensure or contact your state Department of Education about how this program may translate to licensure in your state of residence.

Career Outlook

The higher education field is growing rapidly, according to the  Bureau of Labor Statistics .  Universities and institutions are struggling to find candidates who have the foundation to understand higher education structure, governance, and operation.  The Ph. D. in Educational Studies, Higher Education can give you the needed foundation to be successful.

Job opportunities include (but are not limited to):

  • Leadership Program Administration
  • Chief Academic Officer
  • Admissions Dean or Administrator
  • Financial Aid Director
  • Student Services Dean
  • Provost or Vice President
  • Student Engagement Outreach Specialist
  • Athletic Director
  • Education Consultant
  • Development Officer

Students enroll in 7 credit hours per semester: 2- 3 credit courses and 1 credit of research writing. Students should anticipate spending an average of 15 hours weekly on reading and homework.   Students are required to participate in real-time classes from 6-9 p.m. EST two nights per week.  The hybrid model of this program requires students to travel to campus at least once a semester.

Students attend a required 10-day study abroad experience during the summer after the second year of coursework. Please note that study abroad costs are in addition to tuition and will range between $4,000 – $6,000 plus airfare. (This fee includes one credit hour of tuition). 

Program and Required Courses (42 credit hours)

*all classes are 3-credit hours unless otherwise noted

  • Organization & Administration of Higher Education
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Economics and Finance of Higher Education
  • Higher Education Leadership
  • Quantitative Data Analysis Methods in Education I
  • Quantitative Data Analysis Methods in Education II
  • Politics & Policy in Higher Education
  • Higher Education Law
  • History of the American College & University
  • International & Intercultural Education
  • Cultural Engagement in Communities and Workplaces
  • Study Abroad for Educational Leaders (1 hour)
  • Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
  • Research Procedures in Education
  • Higher Education Internship (2 hours)

Elective Courses (6 credit hours)

For the remaining 6 credits, you and your advisor will work to develop a plan of study that matches your individualized interests and career goals. One suggestion would be Research Procedures in Education.

Dissertation Research (15 credit hours)

The Ph.D. in Educational Studies with a concentration in Higher Education program is affordable and competitive in cost. 

*Tuition and fees are charges on a per credit hour basis and are subject to annual increase.  Annual increases may change the total program costs. *Textbooks and course materials are not included. *A 10-day study abroad program is required for all students and is completed during the summer of the second year of doctoral students.  The fee for study abroad includes one credit hour of tuition.   *Faculty and staff fee remissions are not valid with this program.  Partial tuition scholarships may be available to Purdue University employees. *International Fee

December 1st is the deadline for applications for those interested in being considered for any available College and University Funding for Fall. Funding opportunities for this program vary year-to-year.

Admissions requirements:

  • Official transcripts
  • Personal History Statement – This may include relevant details on community service, leadership roles, participation in diverse teams, and significant barriers that you overcame to attend graduate school.
  • Academic Statement of Purpose – This is an opportunity for you to share information that will help reviewers understand your academic interests and objectives, assess your academic background, preparation, and training, and determine if you are a good match for the program to which you are applying.
  • 3 Letters of recommendation
  • English proficiency for international students
  • Application fee

For more information, please see  Purdue’s full application instructions and Application Checklist .

Program Faculty

Our faculty are nationally recognized and have the ability to work personally with students to individualize their plan of study to meet personal career interests and goals. These faculty will oversee the intensive coursework required for publications and research.

Christine Rienstra Kiracofe

Lisa Lambert Snodgrass

ALICE JOHNSON

Lamonica williams

Terron Phillips

Ahmad Javadi

Testimonials

MICHELLE L. ASHCRAFT

This program allows me to keep working full-time without having class, research projects, or internship experiences conflict with my work schedule. I wanted a cohort model, and was really intrigued by the three-paper dissertation format with a broader research arc. Additionally, when I interviewed colleagues, friends, and mentors, they all said they wished they had more experience with law, finance, and policy, which are three strong aspects of this program. MICHELLE L. ASHCRAFT Director of Purdue Promise Student Success Programs

Shauna McClure

The faculty has successfully created a rigorous program that also inspires collaboration and caring. Every aspect, from the cohort model to the dissertation process, is designed to help students be successful and also to strive a little further toward their educational goals. Cohorts are selected with diversity in mind to provide each class with a broad lens of understanding. Coursework allows for personal growth and development of our research arcs that fit within the scope of the class while allowing me to work full-time. SHAUNA MCCLURE Data Management Specialist Office of Global Partnerships and Programs Purdue University

KANGNI "SAM" MOMBOU

This program is designed to accommodate full-time workers. I did not have to resign from my position to pursue my doctorate. After a couple months into the program, I can attest to the rigor of the program and most importantly the real-world experiences that we gain through different case studies. There are so many opportunities to do research or even publish a research article in the very first semester into the program. KANGNI “SAM” MOMBOU PhD Student in Higher Education

Mark Schneider

The program has been a great experience! The coursework has been the perfect blend of theory and real-world application. Faculty have offered tremendous support throughout my journey. I am a much more efficient and effective administrator and leader because of things I have learned and experienced in this program. I would not trade the experience and knowledge I have gain for anything else like it! MARK SCHNEIDER Assistant Vice President of K-14 Academic Initiatives & Support Ivy Tech Community College

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long is the program? The program is designed to take 4 years (Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters).
  • Is the GRE required for admission?  Are GRE waivers available? Yes, the GRE is required for all students.  There are no GRE waivers for this program.  However, you can submit GRE scores that are up to 5 years old.
  • Is a Masters degree required for admission? Yes.  All applicants must have a masters degree from an accredited College or University. 
  • Are there funding opportunities available? Students can apply (by December of the year prior to the start of the cohort) for competitive fellowships through the College of Education and the University. Please note that the fellowship application deadline is much earlier than the regular application deadline.  Fellowship students come and work either as teaching assistants or graduate assistants at Purdue. 
  • Is it possible to work full time and complete the PhD? Yes.  However, students must be available to take classes (either in person or live via Zoom) from 6 – 9 p.m. EST two weeknights each week (days may vary). 
  • How much is tuition? Tuition is $700/credit hour for in-state students and $750/credit hour for out-of-state students.  Please note that the required study abroad program expenses are in addition to tuition and will range from $4,000 – $6,000 plus airfare.
  • How many courses do PhD students take each semester? Standard load is two three-credit courses each semester.  In addition to these two classes, depending on the semester, students may also register for 1 hour of internship, or dissertation research.  Students will not take more than 7 credit hours in a semester unless special arrangements are made in advance.
  • What is the study abroad component of the program? The required study abroad program will take place during the summer after students’ second year of coursework. We will travel abroad for approximately 10 days and work with professors and administrators at a partnering Higher Education Institution (currently at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland).  Please note that study abroad costs are in addition to tuition and will range between $4,000 – $6,000 plus airfare.
  • What does the dissertation for this PhD look like? The dissertation requires that students author (with program faculty) at least three peer-reviewed scholarly articles of appropriate length and subject matter during their doctoral studies.  The dissertation consists of an introductory chapter, reprints of these three (or more) articles, and an analysis/conclusion chapter.
  • What does the internship involve? Internships are individualized and are designed to give students experience in areas of a college or university that they are interested in exploring.  The internship is not a “job shadowing” experience and students are not required to be physically present in West Lafayette to complete an internship at Purdue.  Instead, the internship is project based, allowing students to gain important experience with “real world” higher education issues and challenges.
  • What does it mean to be a “hybrid” doctoral program? Students are required to come to West Lafayette for an intensive class once per semester.  Students are encouraged to attend class in-person each week as they are able.  However, for students who live some distance from Purdue, they can access the weekly courses in real time via Zoom each week.  The only requirement is that students must be available to be “at” classes from 6 – 9 p.m. EST two nights each week.
  • When is the application deadline? NEW DEADLINE – February 15 th  (note that students interested in fellowships must apply by December of the previous year)
  • Download a PDF of this FAQ factsheet

Make your next giant leap

Admissions:   [email protected] Course Content Information: Contact Dr. Christine Kiracofe Course Registration, payment, drops/withdraws, and removing holds: Purdue Online [email protected] Career accounts: ITaP (765) 494-4000

  • College of Education
  • Degrees & Programs

Welcome to the Ph.D. in Higher Education

phd higher education usa

Welcome from PhD in Higher Education Leadership Faculty

dlouis-fa23.jpg

Welcome to the University of Houston’s Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies (Ph.D. in HELPS). The Ph.D. Program is grounded in a philosophical belief in the transformational nature of higher education as an institution of social change. Our program prepares scholars and scholar practitioners to generate and apply research aimed at furthering a critical understanding of postsecondary education and its roles in society. It also aims, through its graduates, to strengthen educational opportunities and outcomes for all students, but particularly those traditionally underserved by our current local, state, national, and international systems.

The Ph.D. program provides opportunity to study and conduct research with outstanding faculty, including former university presidents, chancellors and internationally renowned scholars. The program is home to four centers and institutes –  Asian American Studies Center (AASC) , Center for Research, Evaluation and Advancement of Teacher Education (CREATE) , Education Research Center and  Institute for Education Policy Research and Evaluation (IEPRE) – that also make available key research openings to students. In combination, this collaborative research is addressing the critical challenges of Texas and the nation, including the increasing costs of college, the benefits and challenges of a global society, and access to and success in college for all students.

The coursework includes core higher education, research, and policy classes and along with electives that allow students to focus on a particular area of interest: Equity and Social Justice; Research Methods; International Perspectives; or Policy and Politics. Our students come to Houston from all over the United States and internationally and represent a diverse array of backgrounds and experiences that contribute importantly to the learning experience as well. We offer competitive fellowships for our full-time and scholarships for all students.

I hope you'll spend time learning about what we're doing in more detail.

Higher Education doctoral student Maria Luna Torres talks about her experiences in the program.

Graduate Programs

Explore information.

The next Ph.D. program in Higher Education application process will begin with the Fall 2026 Cohort . The Ph.D. program in Higher Education is a 60 credit-hour program that operates in a cohort model. The program culminates with the completion of original dissertation research focused on a higher education issue.

The United States has about 4,000 accredited institutions of higher education. All of them need dedicated professionals to manage business operations, student programs, residence halls, advising, scheduling, admissions and other functions. 

The University of Toledo’s Ph.D. program in Higher Education will prepare you for a thriving career in this diverse professional landscape.

Learn more about graduate tuition and fees.

The Ph.D. program in Higher Education is offered in a blended/hybrid format that combines face-to-face meetings, web conferencing and online delivery methods. 

Top Reasons to Study higher education at UToledo

  • Blended course format. Classes follow a hybrid format combining weekend in-person meetings, WebEx meetings and online modules. Our courses offer you flexibility and an opportunity to build a close network of colleagues.
  • Caring community. The program follows a cohort model and cultivates a network of colleagues. You can work through issues, share ideas and collaborate for the rest of your career with these colleagues.
  • Devoted faculty. Program faculty have devoted their research and professional life to studying higher education and contributing to the training of doctoral students.
  • Research support. The Higher Education program is home to the  John H. Russel Center for Educational Leadership . The center promotes the development of educational leaders. The  Russel Center Scholarship  supports the research activity of all students in the Higher Education program.
  • International exposure. The Ph.D. program offers opportunities for international travel to experience other countries’ higher education systems, policies and practices.

UToledo encourages our graduate students to present, write and publish. Funds are available to help pay for travel to conferences. The   Russel Center Scholarship   is geared to support the research activity of all students in the Higher Education program.

Ph.D. students complete a dissertation with the support of the Higher Education faculty.

View all completed dissertations 

What jobs can I get with a higher education degree?

UToledo Higher Education Ph.D. program graduates have experienced tremendous success. They have gone on to attain college and university presidencies, vice presidencies, deanships and other leadership positions, including: 

  • President, Madonna University, Livonia, Mich. 
  • President, Owens Community College, Perrysburg, Ohio 
  • President, Rockford University, Rockford, Ill. 
  • President, American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges 
  • Senior vice president of student affairs, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 
  • Vice president of instruction, Monroe County Community College, Monroe, Mich. 
  • Vice president of institutional advancement and executive foundation director, Terra State Community College, Fremont, Ohio 

How to Apply to Graduate School

Find your next steps whether you are a new student, readmit student or guest student.

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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

Taiwo Adenuga , PhD,  Higher Education Administration (2022)

Exploring Adjustment Challenges of Nigerian International Students in U.S. Higher Education

Megan Schutte , PhD,  Higher Education Administration (2022)

"Try This Brick": A Transformative Narrative Inquiry Examining the Lived Experiences of Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Community College Students

Tiffany Quawaine Brown , PhD,  Higher Education Administration (2021)

An Analysis of the Relationship Between Student Behavior, Community Characteristics, and Crime on HBCU Campuses

Fatimah Mansour , PhD,  Higher Education Administration (2021)

Academic Writing Difficulties for Graduate Saudi International Students in U.S. Higher Education Institutions

Shahinaz Alkhaldi , PhD,  Higher Education Administration (2021)

Examining Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety of Saudi International Students Attending Colleges in the United States of America   

Olushola Emiola Owolabi, PhD,  Higher Education Administration (2021)

The Use of Active Learning Pedagogy in Two Undergraduate Remote Civil Engineering Classrooms: A Mixed Methods Study

Nada Hamouh , PhD,  Higher Education Administration (2021)

Saudi Female Students’ Experiences at an HBCU

Mona Aldahlawi , PhD, Higher Education Administration (2020)

Examining the Relationship of Student Characteristics on Engagement to Predict Academic Gains of Saudi Female International Students in the United States of America

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

  • view Program Information

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.

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

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P: (443) 885-1908 E: [email protected]

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Studying a PhD in The USA - The Complete Guide

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PhD USA

The USA is a favourable postgraduate study destination for international students due to the high standard of academic study and the wide variety of subjects. By undertaking a PhD in the USA, you will find yourself becoming an internationally recognised expert in your chosen field.

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the USA is considered the highest awarded degree in many US universities and institutes for most fields of study. For many international students, it's a dream course that offers an exciting new life chapter.

Attending Grad School for a PhD in the USA is not the same as undertaking a PhD in Europe or the UK , it can often be a different experience. However, studying abroad will improve your global cultural understanding in addition to your network of contacts for your future career. A PhD degree is often required when you apply for high-level management jobs, government expert positions, and careers like a university professor, researcher, or scientist in many fields.

There are a multitude of reasons why the United States is a fantastic choice for your PhD studies. Here’s everything you need to know about studying a PhD in the USA.

1. PhD course length

The total length of a PhD in the USA is between 4-8 years for full-time students and 8-10 years for part-time students, depending on your field of study. PhDs can be completed in 4-5 years for students with a masters degree in an appropriate subject. Students typically dedicate 1-4 years on coursework, followed by 2-4 years of dissertation work. In the USA, the academic year is divided into two teaching semesters: August to December and January to May. 

Having a longer duration for your PhD allows for greater opportunities to adjust to your course and find your footing. This enables you to concentrate on developing a more comprehensive understanding of your chosen subject at a more relaxed pace.

2. World-class universities

The US repeatedly tops the charts of worldwide ranking universities, so what better place to do your PhD studies? Although rankings shouldn’t be the main deciding factor when making your PhD choice, they're a great indicator of educational expertise.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the location for your PhD. Does the university have a high employability rate after graduation? Are you wanting to go public or private university? What kind of research facilities do they have? 

Be sure to do some research before making a decision on your perfect place of study.

3. International community

The United States is a popular choice for international students from all over the world – making it an inspirational and cosmopolitan choice for your PhD studies. No matter what your choice of academic study is, you are guaranteed to find a diverse community that welcomes students from all backgrounds. 

4. Affordable tuition fees 

There are various tuition fee options available for PhD students regardless of your budget. The American higher education system is often associated with high fees and substantial student debt, but in fact, studying at an American university isn't always expensive, and many institutions offer affordable courses. For instance, PhD costs range from $28,000 to $55,000, which shows that finding a PhD course that’s more affordable is possible. 

5. Student experience

American universities typically have vibrant campus communities with a wide range of extracurricular activities, clubs and organisations. As a student, you will have the opportunity to engage in various social, cultural and recreational activities alongside your academic studies.

6. Student Support

American universities typically provide comprehensive support services to assist you on your PhD journey. These services may include academic advising, counselling, career services, libraries, writing centres and various student organisations aimed at fostering your personal and professional development.

7. Land of opportunity

It's fair to say that student life in the USA offers something for everyone, regardless of what you're looking for from a PhD. With 50 states, six time zones, and thousands of higher-education providers, there's an opportunity waiting for every individual across the globe.

So let’s take a look at some of the key factors to consider when studying for a PhD in the USA.

Studying a PhD in the USA: top tips

Who is eligible for a phd in the usa.

To be eligible for PhD in the USA, generally students should have completed a graduate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0, provide proof of English language proficiency, GRE scores and other supporting documents.  The eligibility criteria for a PhD in the USA can vary depending on the specific university and program. 

Can I get a PhD without a masters degree?

Yes, you can pursue a PhD without having a masters. Universities in the USA do not require a masters for you to apply. Because of the graduate programs in the US, you will receive your masters degree once you have completed your coursework stage. This practice combines the masters and PhD into one.

The eligibility criteria and requirements for direct entry PhD programs vary among institutions and fields of study, so it is advisable to check the entry requirements of the specific university or course you are interested in.

How to apply for a PhD in the USA

When applying for your chosen subject in the USA, you should expect to provide relevant information and statements to the university. This will include:

Completed application form – provided by your preferred university.

A personal statement – on why you want to study the subject, your research interests and career goals. Be sure to include any extracurricular activities and achievements within the body of your statement.

References – universities will expect that your referees will recommend you for the chosen course.

Test scores and grades – you will generally need to submit scores from standardised tests like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). 

English Language Proficiency – international applicants whose native language is not English usually need to provide proof of English language proficiency through tests like the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). It varies from institution to institution, but international students in the USA are required to have a TOEFL score of about 90.

Samples of work – it is recommended that you provide some work you have done that is relevant to your chosen subject. You may even be asked to complete a small task during the application process.

The application fee. 

Method of study

Compared to the UK and Europe , studying a PhD in the USA involves several key differences. Students in the USA are usually in direct contact with their professor, compared with those in the UK where students might find that their PhD program is headed by a professor who gives them a little less flexibility to change their research and study areas. There can be several cultural differences between UK, Europe, and USA university lifestyles. US students are expected to undertake a great deal of teaching and marking, as opposed to PhD students in Europe. 

As a result, you may have less free time outside of the university when pursuing a PhD in the USA.

Application for PhD In USA

When applying for your chosen subject, you should expect to provide relevant information and statements to the university. This might include:

A personal statement on why you want to study the subject. Be sure to include any extra-curricular activities and achievements within the body of your statement.

References. Universities will expect that your referees will recommend you for the chosen course.

Test scores and grades. It is important that you provide a list of your awarded grades from previous courses you have studied.

Samples of work. It is recommended that you provide some work you have done that is relevant to your chosen subject. You may even be asked to complete a small task during the application process.

UK and Europe students decide on their PhD thesis subject area before they apply . While taking classes at a graduate level, prospective PhD students in the USA spend up to a year or two deciding on their specific research subject. It is normal to apply for up to six institutions for a PhD in the USA, and students apply to each institution separately as there is no central organisation. 

Students in the UK and Europe are expected to apply with an understanding of the subject already, usually in the form of a masters degree, and be ready to start studying at the PhD level straight away. In the USA it is expected that students do not have an in-depth understanding of their subject as they usually only have an undergraduate degree when they apply. 

When should I start applying for a PhD in the USA?

Deadlines for applications to PhD programs in the USA tend to be between December and February, and institutions should let you know about your application by April. Most US institutions recommend that you apply as far in advance as you possibly can to give them, and you, plenty of time to make arrangements. 

Universities in the USA do not require a masters for you to apply as well. Because of the graduate programs in the US, you will receive your masters degree once you have completed your coursework stage. This practice combines the masters and PhD into one.

It varies from institution to institution, but international students in the USA are required to have a TOEFL score of about 90.

Funding your PhD in USA

PhD students are very likely to receive financial support in the form of PhD scholarships ; some USA PhD students also receive PhD studentships .

Making your PhD application in plenty of time allows you more time to apply for and arrange your PhD funding. Many students find that funding can cover much, or all, of the cost of their PhD studies in the USA, which ranges between $28,000 and $40,000. Deadlines for funding applications can be as early as December before starting your studies in the Autumn/Fall. 

There are two types of PhD funding: fully funded, which pays for the student's graduate school tuition fees, accommodation, and living expenses, or partially funded, which pays for the student's tuition only partially or fully.

Can a PhD be fully funded?

Yes, many top universities in the USA offer fully funded PhD programs for eligible students. This funding pays for the student's graduate school tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses. Partially funded PhDs only cover the student's tuition in part or in full.

Some PhD students will receive a stipend from their institution with an assistantship position, but this varies between institutions and between departments within institutions. Other students can find funding from both their own and the American government, and there are plenty of American government schemes like The Fulbright Program that offer funds.

Apply for one of our x5 bursaries worth £2,000

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phd higher education usa

How long does it take to study a PhD in the USA?

For part-time students in the USA, a PhD can take eight to ten years, but it usually takes five to six years for full-time students. PhDs can be completed in four to five years rather than five or six for students with a masters degree in an appropriate subject.

Top 10 ranked American universities

Based on 2023 worldwide rankings, the following table shows which US universities rank the highest.

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phd higher education usa

  • PhD in USA – A Guide for 2020/21
  • Finding a PhD

A PhD in USA takes approximately 5 – 6 years of full-time study and can cost between $12,000 – $45,000 per academic year. PhD programs in USA differ from that in the UK and Europe in that students must first take taught classes, coursework and exams before starting their research project.

Why Do a PhD in USA?

The United States has long had some of the most distinguished universities and advanced PhD programmes in the world. Combined with curriculum flexibility, rigorous teaching methods, vast funding opportunities, breathtaking campuses and significant career prospects, it’s no wonder that it is one of the most sought-after study destinations for research students.

In addition to comprehensive training standards, here are a few other reasons why a student may choose to undertake their PhD in the United States:

  • Longer learning timeframes – A PhD in the US lasts longer than a PhD in the UK or Europe. This allows students to more confidently transition from undergraduate to postgraduate studies; more commonly referred to as ‘graduate studies’ in the US. This gives you the opportunity to learn more about your subject, research methods and academic writing in general before starting your research project.
  • World-class universities – It’s no secret that some of the most well-known higher education institutions that continue to dominate global rankings are based in the United States. Although many factors go into determining whether a position is right for you, a PhD at a high-ranking American university will undeniably have many benefits, from excellent learning standards to access to innovative equipment and deep expertise.
  • International network – The US has long been a popular choice among PhD students around the world. As such, the US hosts a diverse and multicultural learning environment in which many research students will quickly feel at home.
  • Opportunities – With over 4,000 universities in the US, we can safely say you will have plenty of opportunities to find the ideal combination of project, supervisor and university that works for you.

Universities in USA

Universities in the United States can be divided into two types: public universities and private universities.

Public universities are financed by the state in which they are based. Because of this, public universities charge less for students from within the state and more for students from outside the state, including international students.

Private universities are not financed by their state, but by private donors, research funds and tuition fees. For this reason, private universities generally charge higher tuition fees than public universities and require all students to pay the same amount, regardless of whether they come from out-of-state or abroad.

According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 , eight of the top ten universities in the world are located in the United States. These are:

Method of Study

The main difference between a PhD in the US and a PhD in Europe lies in the program structure. Whereas a European PhD essentially consists of a single phase lasting three to four years , an American PhD consists of three different phases, each with its own time frame.

  • Phase One – The first phase lasts approximately two years and focuses on building a basic foundation for the doctoral student. This phase consists largely of taught components such as lectures, tutorials and laboratory sessions, in which the student learns more about theoretical concepts and research methods within their discipline.
  • Phase Two – The second phase can be considered an assessment phase, which runs both periodically alongside and at the end of the first phase. Here, students complete coursework and take exams on the basis of the material they have covered of which they must pass in order to proceed to the third phase.
  • Phase Three – The third phase lasts approximately three years and resembles the European PhD structure. During this period, the student undertakes an independent research project, including forming a research design, conducting experiments, writing a thesis (more commonly referred to in the USA as a dissertation) and sitting a viva exam.

Teaching Requirements

Besides structure, a key difference between a PhD program in the US and in Europe is the focus on teaching requirements. In the US, doctoral students are expected to lecture, lead tutorials, host laboratory sessions, mark coursework and provide office hours for undergraduate students. Although students studying in European will likely contribute to these at some point during their study, this would normally be on a voluntary basis and involve less time commitment.

Research Flexibility

Another difference is project flexibility. In Europe, students typically apply to a PhD project predetermined by a supervisor, and although there may be some scope to adapt the project, depending on the funding provider , it will usually be limited to how the project is carried out rather than what it is about. In the US, however, a student applies to become a doctoral candidate within a department rather than applying for a particular research project. This is because students are expected to decide on their thesis topic (also commonly referred to as a dissertation research topic) near the end of their first phase after they have developed a better understanding of their subject and know where their interests lie. Therefore, research students in the US generally have more flexibility and influence in the direction of their research than students in the United Kingdom or Europe.

PhD Admission Requirements in USA

PhD admission into US universities can be highly competitive, both because of the limited number of positions and the large number of annual applicants.

The eligibility requirements for a doctoral program in the USA can generally be divided into four sections:

How to Apply for a PhD in USA

  • Grade Point Average (GPA) – in the US, a scoring system known as Grade Point Average is used to measure academic ability. A student’s GPA is calculated as a weighted score of the subjects they study during their undergraduate degree; an equivalent score is calculated by universities for international applicants. Although universities rarely set minimum GPA requirements for doctoral study, it’s worth being aware that a GPA of 3.0 is equivalent to a UK second class honours (2:1); the typical entry requirement for UK universities.
  • Graduate Records Exam (GRE) – most universities will require you to take a series of examinations known as Graduate Records Exams, which are used to determine your suitability for graduate study. GREs will assess your analytical, reasoning and critical thinking skills as well as your depth of your subject.
  • Student aptitude – in addition to academic ability, US universities also look for characteristics of a strong researcher. These include traits such as engaging in the subject in your own time, e.g. by attending talks and conferences, demonstrating a high degree of independence and enthusiasm, and a general passion for your subject.
  • English Language Proficiency – international students whose first language is not English must sit language exams such as IELTS or TOELF to demonstrate their English language proficiency.

International students will also require a F1 student visa in order to study in the US, however, you would typically apply for this after you have secured a place into a doctorate program.

How to Apply for PhD in USA

When applying for a PhD position at a graduate school, the application process will differ between universities, however, they will all typically ask for the following:

  • Academic CV – a short document summarising your educational background and current level of experience .
  • Personal statement – a document which outlines why you believe you are suitable for PhD study and your passion for the subject.
  • Academic transcripts – a complete breakdown of the modules and their respective marks you have taken as part of your previous/current degree.
  • GRE scores – a transcript of your Graduate Records Exam results.
  • Research statement – a condensed version of a research proposal outlining your general research interests, if required.
  • Recommendation letters – references from several academic referees who endorse your qualities as a person, your abilities as a student and your potential as a doctoral researcher.

Application Deadlines and Fees

Since PhD programs in the United States have taught components, they commence at the same time as all other taught degrees, and therefore share the same application deadlines and start dates. This corresponds to an application period that typically begins in August and ends in February. Admission decisions are typically made in April, with successful students starting in August/September.

When you apply to a graduate school, you will be expected to pay a fee for each doctorate application to cover the school’s administrative costs for processing your application. The fee varies from university to university, but typically ranges from $50 to $100 .

Funding your PhD in USA

It’s very common for a PhD student to receive financial aid in the form of a PhD scholarship; in fact, this will be the case for the vast majority of students in the US.

PhD funding can be ‘fully funded’ covering the student’s graduate program tuition fees, accommodation and living costs, or ‘partially funded’ covering the student’s tuition fee only in part or full.

Besides funding, a graduate student can take on an assistantship, such as a graduate teaching assistant or research assistant, in which they take on a part-time salaried position at the university alongside their studies.

Due to the international and collaborate nature of American universities, there are also a number of international scholarships available, such as the Fulbright Scholarship and the AAUW International Fellowship .

PhD Duration in USA

In the US, a PhD takes approximately 5 – 6 years to complete if studying full-time, and 8 – 10 years if studying part-time.

If you already have a Master’s degree, your first phase can be shortened by one year at the discretion of the university.

Cost of a PhD in USA

The cost of a PhD program in the US can vary considerably depending on the type of university, i.e. whether it’s a public or private university, the doctoral course, i.e. whether it’s in a STEM subject such as computer science, engineering or a non-STEM subject, and whether you are a home or international student.

In general, however, the typical annual tuition fee for a PhD in the US is between $12,000 and $45,000 per academic year.

As with any doctoral degree, additional costs may include travel for collaborations, bench fees, accommodation and living expenses.

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U.S. News Education Rankings Grad Schools

U.S. News Best Graduate Schools rankings are designed to help prospective students research more than 2,000 graduate programs.

Read the methodology

Business Schools

Law Schools

Medical Schools

Engineering Schools

Nursing Schools

Education Schools

Fine Arts Schools

Health Schools

Library and Information Studies Schools

Public Affairs Schools

Science Schools

Social Sciences and Humanities Schools

Top Business Schools

Earning an MBA or another master's degree in business can help prospective students advance their careers in the public and private sectors. U.S. News weighs factors such as employment rates, student selectivity and reputation to rank the top graduate business schools.

2023-2024 Best Business Schools

  • # 1 University of Chicago (Booth)
  • # 2 Northwestern University (Kellogg)
  • # 3 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

2023-2024 Part-time MBA

  • # 1 University of California, Berkeley (Haas)
  • # 2 University of Chicago (Booth)
  • # 3 Northwestern University (Kellogg)

MBA Programs

Executive MBA

MBA Specialties

Business Analytics

Entrepreneurship

Information Systems

International

Production / Operations

Project Management

Real Estate

Supply Chain / Logistics

Top Law Schools

Students interested in pursuing a legal career can find a wide range of options among the law schools accredited fully by the American Bar Association. U.S. News factors in data on reputation, LSAT scores, job placement success and more when ranking the top law schools.

2023-2024 Best Law Schools

  • # 1 Stanford University  (tie)
  • # 1 Yale University  (tie)
  • # 3 University of Chicago

2023-2024 Part-time Law

  • # 1 Georgetown University
  • # 2 George Washington University
  • # 3 Fordham University

Law Programs and Specialties

Business/Corporate Law

Clinical Training

Constitutional Law

Contracts/Commercial Law

Criminal Law

Dispute Resolution

Environmental Law

Health Care Law

Intellectual Property Law

International Law

Legal Writing

Trial Advocacy

Top Medical Schools

Students who dream of donning a white coat can explore separate rankings of the top medical schools for primary care and research. To produce the rankings, U.S. News collects data on student selectivity, faculty resources and more from both allopathic and osteopathic medical schools.

2023-2024 Best Medical Schools: Research

  • # 1 Harvard University
  • # 2 Johns Hopkins University
  • # 3 University of Pennsylvania (Perelman)

2023-2024 Best Medical Schools: Primary Care

  • # 1 University of Washington
  • # 2 University of Minnesota
  • # 3 Oregon Health and Science University

Medical Programs and Specialties

Anesthesiology

Family Medicine

Internal Medicine

Obstetrics and Gynecology

Most Diverse Medical Schools

Most Graduates Practicing in Medically Underserved Areas

Most Graduates Practicing in Primary Care Fields

Most Graduates Practicing in Rural Areas

Top Engineering Schools

Engineers can build on the skills they learned as undergraduates with advanced degrees in areas ranging from biomedical engineering to nuclear engineering. U.S. News weighs factors such as reputation, research activity and student selectivity to rank the top graduate engineering schools.

2023-2024 Best Engineering Schools

Engineers can build on their skills with advanced degrees.

  • # 1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • # 2 Stanford University
  • # 3 University of California, Berkeley

Engineering Programs and Specialties

Aerospace / Aeronautical / Astronautical Engineering

Biological / Agricultural Engineering

Biomedical Engineering / Bioengineering

Chemical Engineering

Civil Engineering

Computer Engineering

Electrical / Electronic / Communications Engineering

Environmental / Environmental Health Engineering

Industrial / Manufacturing / Systems Engineering

Materials Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Nuclear Engineering

Petroleum Engineering

Top Nursing Schools

Nurses are increasingly encouraged to earn a graduate degree to enhance their knowledge of patient care and advance in a rapidly evolving field. U.S. News factors in data on reputation, faculty resources and more when ranking the top nursing master's programs and the top Doctor of Nursing Practice programs.

2023-2024 Best Nursing Schools: Master's

  • # 1 Emory University (Woodruff)
  • # 3 University of Pennsylvania

2023-2024 Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice

  • # 1 Johns Hopkins University
  • # 2 Columbia University  (tie)
  • # 2 Duke University  (tie)
  • # 2 Rush University  (tie)
  • # 2 University of Washington  (tie)

Nursing Programs

Schools ranked in these areas may offer programs at the master's and/or DNP level

Nursing-Anesthesia

Nursing-Midwifery

Nursing Specialties

DNP Administration/Management

DNP Leadership

DNP Nurse Practitioner: Adult / Gerontology, Acute Care

DNP Nurse Practitioner: Adult / Gerontology, Primary Care

DNP Nurse Practitioner: Family

DNP Nurse Practitioner: Pediatric, Primary Care

DNP Nurse Practitioner: Psychiatric / Mental Health, Across the Lifespan

Master's Nurse Practitioner: Adult / Gerontology, Acute Care

Master's Nurse Practitioner: Adult / Gerontology, Primary Care

Master's Nurse Practitioner: Family

Master's Nurse Practitioner: Psychiatric / Mental Health, Across the Lifespan

Master's Nursing Administration

Master's Nursing Leadership

Master's Nursing Practitioner: Pediatric Primary Care

Top Education Schools

Educators, including those who want to move into leadership positions, may find it necessary to earn a graduate degree to achieve their career goals. U.S. News weighs factors such as faculty resources, reputation and research activity to rank the top graduate education schools.

2023-2024 Best Education Schools

Educators can earn a graduate degree to achieve their career goals.

  • # 1 Teachers College, Columbia University  (tie)
  • # 1 University of Michigan--Ann Arbor  (tie)
  • # 3 Northwestern University  (tie)

Education Programs and Specialties

Curriculum and Instruction

Educational Administration and Supervision

Educational Psychology

Education Policy

Elementary Teacher Education

Higher Education Administration

Secondary Teacher Education

Special Education

Student Counseling and Personnel Services

Top Fine Arts Schools

Artists interested in pursuing a master's degree in fine arts can explore a wide range of schools offering programs in areas such as graphic design, photography and sculpture. The U.S. News fine arts programs rankings are based solely on opinions of each program's quality as rated by academic experts at peer institutions.

Best Best Fine Arts Programs Schools

Pursue a master's degree in fine arts by exploring a wide range of schools

  • # 1 University of California--Los Angeles
  • # 2 School of the Art Institute of Chicago  (tie)
  • # 2 Yale University  (tie)

Fine Arts Specialties

Graphic Design

Painting / Drawing

Photography

Printmaking

Time-Based Media / New Media

Top Health Schools

Graduate degrees in health cover a range of fields, from audiology to veterinary medicine. The U.S. News rankings of graduate health programs are based solely on ratings of each program's quality by academics.

Health Specialty Rankings

Clinical Psychology

Health Care Management

Occupational Therapy

Physical Therapy

Physician Assistant

Public Health

Rehabilitation Counseling

Social Work

Speech-Language Pathology

Veterinary Medicine

Top Library and Information Studies Schools

Students who wish to become librarians generally must earn a graduate degree in the field. The U.S. News rankings of library and information studies master's programs are based solely on opinions of each program's quality as rated by academic experts at peer institutions.

Best Best Library and Information Studies Programs Schools

Future librarians need a graduate degree in the field.

  • # 1 University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign
  • # 2 University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill  (tie)

Library and Information Studies Specialties

Archives and Preservation

Digital Librarianship

Health Librarianship

School Library Media

Services for Children and Youth

Top Public Affairs Schools

Earning a master's degree in public affairs and administration can help prepare students for leadership roles in government, the nonprofit sector or a related field. The U.S. News rankings of public affairs programs are based solely on opinions of each program's quality as rated by academic experts at peer institutions.

Best Best Public Affairs Programs Schools

Earn a master's degree in public affairs can help prepare for leadership roles.

  • # 1 Indiana University--Bloomington  (tie)
  • # 1 Syracuse University  (tie)
  • # 3 Harvard University

Public Affairs Specialties

Environmental Policy and Management

Health Policy and Management

Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Information and Technology Management

International Global Policy and Administration

Local Government Management

Nonprofit Management

Public Finance and Budgeting

Public Management and Leadership

Public Policy Analysis

Social Policy

Urban Policy

Top Science Schools

Students interested in furthering their knowledge of the sciences can explore programs ranging from chemistry to physics. The U.S. News graduate science rankings are based solely on ratings of each program's quality by academics.

Science Specialty Rankings

Biological Sciences

Biostatistics

Computer Science

Earth Sciences

Mathematics

Top Social Sciences and Humanities Schools

Graduate programs ranked in the social sciences and the humanities range from economics to sociology. The U.S. News rankings are based solely on ratings of each program's quality by academics.

Social Sciences and Humanities Specialty Rankings

Criminology

Political Science

Human Development and Education

Students in class

Contact Information

Connect with program staff.

If you have program-specific questions, please contact HDE Assistant Director Mandy Farhoodi-Moberger .

  • Connect with Admissions

If you have admissions-related questions, please email [email protected] .

Admissions Information

  • Application Requirements
  • Tuition and Costs
  • International Applicants
  • Recorded Webinars
  • Download Brochure

Connect pioneering research with practice and policy in human development at every stage — helping you support the unique needs of all learners.

The Human Development and Education (HDE) Program prepares you to support the unique needs and growth of all learners — whether you are interested in exploring a direct service role, starting a nonprofit organization, engaging in clinical or counseling work, or pursuing doctoral research. By linking theories and pioneering research with practice and policy about child, adolescent, and adult development, you will have opportunities to examine different developmental domains — including cognitive, emotional, social, moral, and neurological — as well as design strategies and interventions to promote healthy development. HDE offers a School Counseling Licensure Pathway for students interested in pursuing Massachusetts licensure in school counseling. 

"We know much about the science of human development, but we are just beginning to figure out how to communicate and enact it to actually better the world. Our program helps our students gain a deeper understanding of learning and growth across diverse contexts, as they explore their professional roles in supporting human development for children, families, and communities." Junlei Li Faculty Co-Chair

After completing the HDE Program, you will have a deeper understanding of the following competencies that explore how:

  • Learning and development are lifelong processes, with a predictable sequence at the population level and significant variation at the individual level  
  • Learning and development are active and interactive, driven by maturity and experience levels  
  • Ecological factors — including families, teachers, schools, communities, neighborhoods, and culture — influence learning and development  
  • Evaluation of evidence and research from human developmental science can inform effective change strategies to lead, design, and implement intervention, prevention, and support efforts  
  • Engagement in continuous learning can emerge from reflective practice, community involvement, and evaluation of intervention, prevention, and support efforts    

Curriculum Information

The HDE Program is designed to help you gain the knowledge and skills essential to promoting healthy development for all learners. A minimum of 42 credits are required to graduate with an Ed.M. degree from HGSE.

The main elements of the 2022–23 academic year are: 

  • This program commences with How People Learn, an immersive online course that runs June–July and requires a time commitment of 10-15 hours per week.
  • You will continue Foundations with Leading Change, Evidence, and Equity and Opportunity on campus in August. 
  • Your Equity and Opportunity Foundations experience culminates in an elected course, which will take place during terms when electives are available.

To fulfill the program requirement, students must take a minimum of 12 credits specific to HDE, including the following:

  • The HDE Program Core Experience (4 credits), is a combination of required coursework, program-wide events, and small group experiences. It is designed to help you develop the capacity to bridge research and practice across human development contexts. Whether your professional trajectory leads you to focus on children, families, communities, or organizations, there are "through lines" (ways of thinking and connecting) from the field of human development that can expand our vision and understanding. For example, understanding individual development within the larger ecological contexts or recognizing human relationships as the driver for many different developmental outcomes. The program experience provides opportunities to discuss and reflect on your insights and professional goals with peers and the teaching team.
  • Research methods and applied professional skills courses (4 credits), you will choose from a list of qualitative, quantitative, and skills-based courses. Course subject matter may include statistics and data science in education and organizations, participatory action research for educational justice, and ethnographic methods. 
  • Human development, age/context/domain-specific courses (4 credits), tailor your coursework to your chosen career pathway by selecting from a rich and diverse set of courses that deepen your knowledge in a specific age category, context, or domain. Course subject matter may include early childhood development, developmental psychology, preventative and developmental group counseling, college student development, or language and literacy development. 
  • The remaining credits are taken via  elective coursework , which includes the opportunity to specialize in a  Concentration . 

Explore our  course catalog . Note, a ll information and courses are subject to change.

School Counseling Strand

Students can get licensed as a school counselor by taking two years of sequenced coursework and fieldwork through our School Counseling Licensure Pathway . Year one consists of pursuing an Ed.M. in the HDE Program and our School Counseling Strand. The School Counseling Strand begins the pathway to Massachusetts licensure in school counseling and prepares K–12 school-based counselors-in-training with the skills necessary to promote positive, healthy academic and social emotional development with an emphasis on prevention and social justice.

Year two consists of our Certificate of Advanced Study in Counseling program, which allows students to pursue Massachusetts initial licensure as a school counselor or school adjustment counselor. Through this curricular sequence and field-based placement, graduates will be prepared to enter K–12 schools as counselors, leaders, and advocates.

Program Faculty

Students will work closely with faculty associated with their area of study, but students can also work with and take courses with faculty throughout HGSE and Harvard.  View our faculty directory for a full list of HGSE faculty.

Faculty Co-Chairs

Junlei Li

Junlei Li's research and practice focuses on understanding and empowering human relationships across developmental contexts.

Meredith Rowe

Meredith L. Rowe

Meredith Rowe's research focuses on young children's literacy and vocabulary development, particularly as it is influenced by communication between children and their caregivers.

Gretchen Brion-Meisels

Gretchen Brion-Meisels

Elizabeth Bonawitz

Elizabeth Bonawitz

Hadas Eidelman

Hadas Eidelman

Catherine Elgin

Catherine Elgin

Nadine Gaab

Nadine Gaab

Paul L. Harris

Paul Harris

Nancy E. Hill

Nancy Hill

Stephanie M. Jones

Stephanie Jones

James S. Kim

James Kim

Josephine M. Kim

Josephine Kim

Nonie K. Lesaux

Nonie Lesaux

Huan-Tang Lu

Huan-Tang Lu

Pamela A. Mason

Pamela Mason

Dana Charles McCoy

Dana McCoy

Joseph McIntyre

Joseph McIntyre

Luke W. Miratrix

Luke Miratrix

Charles Nelson, III

Charles Nelson III

Gabrielle Oliveira

Gabrielle Oliveira

Ola Ozernov-Palchik

phd higher education usa

Alexis Redding

Alexis Redding

Mandy Savitz-Romer

Mandy Savitz-Romer

Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D.

Jack Shonkoff

Catherine Snow

Catherine Snow

Carola Suarez-Orozco

Carola Suárez-Orozco

Paola Uccelli

Paola Uccelli

Adriana Janette Umana-Taylor

Adriana Umaña Taylor

Richard Weissbourd

Richard Weissbourd

Jacqueline Zeller

Jacqueline Zeller

Career Pathways

The HDE Program prepares you for a variety of career pathways, including: 

  • School counselor (K–12)   
  • Curricula developer
  • College or university administrator   
  • Afterschool program, camp, or youth organization director  
  • Researcher (university centers, nonprofit/for-profit think tank)  
  • Local, state, or federal government program administrator  
  • Field-staff or program manager at domestic or international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) 
  • Consultant, trainer, facilitator, technical assistance provider 

Cohort & Community

You will join an extraordinary cohort of students representing a rich diversity of personal and professional backgrounds. As an HDE student, you will engage in events and professional development opportunities that build community — including discussions about career pathways, conversations with faculty members about their research interests, and other community events. You will find that your cohort members exhibit energy, curiosity, and compassion, as well as a common commitment to understanding the deepest puzzles of development and addressing the greatest practical challenges. This community results in an exhilarating learning environment that forms the basis for lifelong friendships and long-term professional networks.

Applications Are Now Open

The deadline to apply is January 5, 2024.

Program Highlights

Explore examples of the Human Development and Education experience and the impact its community is making on the field:

Football players embracing

Saved by the Ball

How a high school football team and determined principal helped keep their tiny school from closing

ICA Winners 2023

HGSE Honors Master's Students with Intellectual Contribution Award

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Studying phd in the usa 2023 - 2024: your complete guide.

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Studying PhD in the USA 2023 - 2024: Your Complete Guide

Thinking about PhD? Think America!

PhD in the USA comes not only with a substantial recognition of your expertise but also impacts your overall growth in person. Learning shoulder to shoulder with the best minds that walked on this planet is a privilege. Starting from engineering, computer science, applied sciences, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and medicine to management, you may earn your PhD in the USA in the program of your choice. There are many fully funded PhD programs in America for international students in 2023 that you may opt for, too. Overwhelmed? Don’t worry; reading this blog is the first step which may guide you to your dreams of studying PhD programs in the U.S.A. Let’s keep scrolling!

Why Study PhD in the USA?

The top reasons to study in the USA include unparalleled academic excellence, American prestige , choices of flexible college programs alongside the best Universities like Stanford and Harvard and a diverse range of courses offered for PhD in the USA.

1. Course Length of PhD in the USA

Students prefer to earn their degree in the USA for the flexibility of the PhD programs in the USA for international students in 2023. The duration of your PhD in the country may vary from program to program. The maximum no. of years a part-time doctoral student spends is ten years. In other cases, full-time enrollment in PhD programs in the United States of America demands a minimum of 4 years. There are many online PhD programs in the country you may go for. Adding more to the best things about studying in the USA, you will also have the option of one-year PhD programs in the USA.

2. Top-Notch Universities

If the USA were to be a person, it would have definitely boasted about being the top destination country with its cities encompassing every aspect of a student’s dream. The hunt for knowledge seems never ending in the top institutes for PhD in the USA. The USA is home to distinguished universities like Harvard and Stanford. Studying Doctor of Philosophy in the USA means you will never have to look back. 

And, just in case you are very prepared and have the merits for pursuing a PhD in the U.S.A. for international students, the chances are high that you might get an acceptance letter from the oldest universities in the world. The fully funded PhD programs in the U.S.A. for international students 2023 add to the glee of every applicant. Most public and private universities conduct intakes year-long. Also, the intakes for 2023-2024 in the USA are ongoing. You may go ahead and plan accordingly and not miss the opportunity of studying at world-class universities and the best faculty. 

3. Diversity in the College Campuses 

The USA is the pioneer in neo-cultural globalisation or, let us rather say, the initiator of cultural diversity. The USA is home to approximately 9,50,000 international students, making up 5.5% of the international diaspora in the US. The whooping number of students choosing the USA as their destination for higher studies is a testimony to the diversity of the beautiful campuses host. 

4. Availability of Scholarships for PhD in the USA

The education system of the USA is very well devised to serve the needs of every student enrolling for PhD degree in the USA. There are many scholarships available for PhD students in the American universities. The scholarships allow you to pursue a fully funded PhD in the USA for international students 2023. There are entities such as the Government of the USA, universities and various private organisations that extend scholarships to students with merits and credible need of funds to pursue their PhD programs in the USA. We will be discussing it further in some moments. 

5. Availability of Jobs after PhD in the USA

American universities typically have vibrant campus communities with a wide range of extracurricular activities, clubs and organisations. As a student, you will have the opportunity to engage in various social, cultural and recreational activities alongside your academic studies.

Best Universities for PhD Programs in the USA

1. harvard university.

Tuition Fees: $78,000 ‍Acceptance rate: 4% QS Ranking: 4th

US Ranking: 2nd

Top Courses: Arts & Humanities, Business & Management, Engineering & Technology, Life Sciences & Medicine, Social Sciences & Management

Intake Seasons: Fall/Spring

Famous Alumni: Bill Gates

Harvard University stands as one of the best universities in the USA and the entire world. The university enrols close to 22,947 students annually, making it one of the toughest universities to get into as well. The university hosts a range of PhD programs in the U.S.A. for international students 2023, including chemical biology, engineering, immunology and neuroscience, among other top PhD programs in the U.S.A. The campus is also home to the largest library system in the world. 

2. Stanford University

Average Fees: $80,000 ‍Acceptance rate: 16% QS Ranking: 5th

US Ranking: 3rd

Eligibility: GPA: 4, SAT: 1465, ACT: 31.5, IELTS: 6.5, TOEFL: 90, GMAT: 690, GRE: 162

Intake Seasons: Fall

Famous Alumni: Elon Musk

Located in the silicon valley, the university is a pioneering institution brimming with knowledge. As a campus that is spread across more than 8,000 acres and home to 16,000+ students flocking in from various parts of the world each year, it is one of the best choices for PhD programs in the U.S.A. for international students 2023.

3. University of Chicago

Average Fees: $78,000 ‍Acceptance rate: 6.5% QS Ranking: 11th

US Ranking: 12th

Intake Seasons: All Seasons

Famous Alumni: Susan Sontag

The University of Chicago introduces you to a world that's transformational, effective and always on the go. The campus is home to more than 17,000 students and boasts of one-of-its-kind diversity. A wide number of PhD programs in the U.S.A. for international students 2023 makes it one of the top choices for students in the world. 

Top 3 PhD Scholarships in the USA

There may be situations where you wish to pursue PhD in the USA but are unable to take your leap of faith due to financial constraints. You may enroll in fully funded PhD programs in the U.S.A for international students 2023 with the help of the scholarships provided for PhD in the U.S.A. We have listed below the best scholarships for PhD in the United States of America. 

1. Fulbright Foreign Student Program

Amount: $35,000

Provider: Binational Fullbright Commission/US Embassies

Deadline: 17th May, 2023

Expenses Covered: Tuition and fees, Round-trip travel, Living expenses and others

The scholarship offered by the organisation for PhD in the U.S.A. comes by as a ray of hope in your tough times. The scholarships help you move further towards a bright future backed by the PhD programs in the U.S.A. from top educational institutions. 

2. AAUW International Fellowships

Amount: $20,000

Provider: American Association of University Women 

Expenses Covered: Full tuition and Fees

Deadline: 1st December, 2023

The scholarship is one of the oldest, largest and most competitive scholarships for PhD in the U.S.A. The scholarship or fellowship is offered to women from across the world. The scholarship aims at boosting the contribution of women in the field of research and development. And transforming the world. 

3. Campbell Fellowships for Transformative Research

Amount: $54,000

Provider: School of Advanced Research

Expenses Covered: Stipend, Tuition fees waiver, Registration costs

Deadline: November, 2023

The scholarship is among the best short-term scholarships for PhD in the USA for women scholars. The duration of the Campbell fellowship lies between 6 months to 9 months. The scholarship is awarded to female scholars who are working in global research for women in developing nations. 

Application Requirements for PhD in the USA

Pursuing a PhD on American soil sounds like a dream come true. However, the process of application is extensive and requires due diligence and the best research before the selection of the scholarships and the colleges or the courses. We have tried to help you out below with some of the many requirements for applying for scholarships for PhD programs in the U.S.A. for international students 2023. Scroll for the list below:

1. Applying 

The first step is completing the application form before the deadline. You may check out the websites of the scholarships and universities and keep track of deadlines.

There are two types of scholarships. One is an easy scholarship which might not require an essay, and there are scholarships for PhD in the U.S.A. demanding essays. Thus, depending on the requirement, prepare an essay describing the needs of the scholarship for you.

3. Credible References

You must collect credible sources of references while applying for the scholarships. The reference must align with the PhD programs in the USA for international students 2023 you are applying for.

4. Competitive Exam Scores

Receiving a scholarship for PhD in the United States of America comes with criteria of scores in competitive exams like IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, SAT, and ACT, among many others. Take your tests well to qualify for the applications of scholarships to transform your PhD into fully funded PhD programs in the U.S.A. for international students 2023.  

Top 3 Jobs Options After PhD in the USA

1. professor/ lecturer.

After completing your PhD in the U.S.A., you become eligible for the position of lecturer or professor in the top universities in the world. 

2. Scientific Assessor

The job of a scientific assessor is also available post you earn your degree in any of the PhD programs in the U.S.A. for international students 2023.

3. Research & development

A PhD in the U.S.A. makes you eligible to apply for jobs in the research and development field. If your field of study is research-oriented, you may have job opportunities in some of the best research institutes in the world nestled in the USA. 

Hope you are ready to resume or take forward the academic journey you have been aiming for. The blog was just an initiative for you to understand the overall landscape of PhD in the U.S.A. You may get in touch with us via the comment section below or DM us on our Instagram channel for additional info you might need. 

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Florida Legislature needs to reward FAMU’s academic success by funding more Ph.D. programs

The 2023 Celebration Bowl, where Florida A&M University clinched a national football championship with a 30-26 win over Howard University, was more than a meeting between two top athletics programs at HBCUs. That Saturday also brought together two schools that are powerhouses in preparing blacks for the highest level of scholarly study.

Florida A&M University celebrates its graduating class with the Fall commencement ceremony at the Lawson Center on Friday December 15, 2023. The Commencement address was delivered by FAMU Journalism graduate and President of ABC News, Kimberly Godwin Manning.

A recent National Science Foundation report on the “Baccalaureate Origins of Underrepresented Minority Research Doctorate Recipients” reveals that FAMU is the No. 1 public baccalaureate institution of origin for blacks who earn research doctorates. Howard, a private institution, is No. 1 overall.FAMU’s success is no surprise given its history of admitting students with strong academic records. For 29 years, all FAMU’s freshman classes have had at least a “B” (3.0 or better) average high school GPA. Since 2019, all FAMU’s freshman classes have had an “A” (3.5 or better) average high school GPA.Howard tops the overall list of institutions that prepare blacks for research doctorates, in large part, because it has more than 30 Ph.D. programs, far more than any other HBCU. Every day, its undergraduate students can observe doctoral training in-progress and receive advisement from the professors who teach those doctoral students. Howard’s baccalaureate recipients can also apply for admission to Howard’s Ph.D. programs to continue learning with the faculty members who served as their college mentors.Ever since its founding in 1867, national security has been a cornerstone of Howard’s mission. This helped lead to the federal investments that set the university on the path to becoming a robust center for doctoral instruction. The university’s third president and namesake, Gen. Oliver Howard, used funding from the U.S. Department of War’s Freedmen’s Bureau to support the school’s work to train students for skilled professions that were vital to rebuilding to the post-Civil War South.Still funded heavily through Congressional appropriations, Howard continues to contribute to national security by conducting research and educating scientists in its Ph.D. programs. It is accompanied in this work by neighboring D.C.-based institutions such as Georgetown University and George Washington University.

The Sunshine State, like D.C., should have an HBCU with Ph.D. programs in the science fields that are critical to national security. Florida, due to its status as the third most populous state, a leading food producer, a hub for space exploration, and its location on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, plays an integral role in protecting the country.During the late 1990s, FAMU received state approval, but not funding, to establish Ph.D. programs in a cluster of disciplines that included agricultural sciences, biology, chemistry, computer science, and mathematics. These fields are essential to securing the nation’s food supply and fighting threats such as bioterrorism, chemical warfare, and cyberterrorism. 

The Florida Legislature should provide FAMU with the appropriations it needs to start Ph.D. programs in these crucial areas of study. By supporting the development of more science Ph.D. programs at FAMU, Florida can do even more to enhance the United States’ safety.

Larry O. Rivers, Ph.D., is an historian and a FAMU alumnus. He resides and works in the metro Atlanta area.

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