Ph.D. in Higher Education

Program Details

Area(s) of Study:
  • Higher Education
Associated Degree:
  • Ph.D.
  • On-Campus
Program Level:
  • Doctoral
Program Type:
  • Degree


ATTENTION NEW APPLICANTS: The GRE test requirement is OPTIONAL for applications to begin the Ph.D. in Higher Education program during the 2021-2022 application cycle.

Questions? Requests for additional information? Contact the Ph.D. in Higher Education program.

The Ph.D. in Higher Education at Rutgers University offers focused study of the complexities of colleges and universities, their missions, contexts, challenges, and successes. This interdisciplinary degree program brings together distinguished higher education scholars representing the Graduate School of Education (GSE), the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy (BSPPP), the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS), the School of Communication and Information (SCI), the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS), and the School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR). Affiliated faculty members are higher education experts in the fields of, for example: education, law, communication, organizational studies, public policy, and economics.

The Ph.D. in Higher Education program prepares higher education researchers who will take their scholarship, knowledge, and research skills into a range of higher education settings such as universities and colleges, state or federal governing and coordinating boards, independent research and policy organizations, and foundations.


Please visit to apply. (Online applications are required.)

Review of applications for Fall admission begins December 15.

Required Qualifications*:

  • Baccalaureate degree
  • Strong undergraduate GPA and GRE scores


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Earned master’s degree in higher education or related area
  • Strong undergraduate and graduate GPAs and GRE scores
  • 3-5 years full-time experience in higher education setting(s)
  • Higher education research and/or assessment experience


*Applicants with a baccalaureate degree and little to no higher education experience may be admitted in cases of extraordinary academic promise and demonstrated commitment to research and scholarship in higher education. 

Prior graduate work will be evaluated by faculty to determine applicable transfer credits and/or deficits.

Prospective students may apply online at A completed application includes:

  • Rutgers Application for Graduate Admissions
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate work
  • GRE scores (within last 5 years) Note: the GRE is OPTIONAL for applications during the 2021-2022 application cycle.
  • Personal statement
  • Writing sample
  • 3 Letters of reference (at least 2 from full-time faculty members)


Applicants must complete an individual interview with at least one Higher Education program faculty member.

For more information on the GRE, please go to


Non-matriculated students may enroll in courses only with permission of both the instructor and the GPD. Non-matriculated students should have an earned master's degree and 2-5 years of full-time professional experience in higher education or closely related setting(s). Successful completion of program coursework as a non-matriculated student does not automatically lead to admission into a higher education degree or graduate certificate program. Non-matriculated students and students from other Rutgers graduate degree programs may enroll in a MAXIMUM of 9 credit hours of core Higher Education courses.


Higher Education Core (18 credits)  
  • 16:507:510 Higher Education Structures and Governance
  • 16:507:515 Diversity and Multiculturalism in Higher Education
  • 16:507:520 Higher Education Law
  • 16:507:525 Higher Education Finance
  • 16:507:530 Higher Education Leadership: Theory, Research, and Practice
  • 16:507:535 History of Higher Education in the US
Additional Graduate Coursework* (15 credits minimum) Research Core (15 credits minimum)
Independent Dissertation Research** (24 credits minimum)  

* Courses to be selected in consultation with faculty advisor. Up to 6 credits may be used to complete pre-dissertation research studies under the supervision of an affiliated faculty member. Up to 3 credits may be used to complete an approved Field Experience. Coursework may be applied to earning one or more Graduate Certificates. No more than 24 credits of coursework outside the Rutgers GSNB (i.e., School 16) may be applied toward the 72 minimum credits required for the Ph.D. in Higher Education.

** Ph.D. in Higher Education students must pass the required qualifying examination that is designed and administered by the Ph.D. in Higher Education faculty.

Program Requirements

The Ph.D. in Higher Education curriculum is informed by the following learning outcomes. Graduates of the Ph.D. in Higher Education program will:

  • Conduct original, rigorous research and interpret and evaluate findings from other research studies.
  • Be knowledgeable about higher education organizations; systems; governance; leadership; analysis and planning; research, assessment and evaluation; and communication.
  • Understand current and developing trends and issues facing colleges and universities.
  • Understand and effectively negotiate the complexities of higher education in terms of institutional type, control, contexts, stakeholders, and constituencies.
  • Provide leadership, insight, and expertise at the institutional or related higher education settings in which they work.


A complete listing of degree requirements is available for download or at the Office of Student and Academic Services.

If you have more specific questions about this program, please contact Ebelia Hernández.


Master of Arts in Higher Education:

Upon successful completion of 18 credits of Core coursework, 3 credits of Research coursework, 6 credits of Additional Graduate Coursework, and examination designed by the Ph.D. in Higher Education faculty, a master’s degree in Higher Education may be earned. The master’s degree option is available only to Ph.D. in Higher Education students.