Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Higher Education/Student Personnel

Improve the landscape of post-secondary education through scholarly leadership

University leaders on stage prepare for a summer commencement.

About this Program

A Ph.D. in Higher Education helps prepare students to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and equitableness of post-secondary institutions through scholarly leadership and informed decision-making.

  • Students learn how to synthesize research, identify gaps in knowledge, design and engage in research studies, and share research to help lead desired changes.
  • The Ph.D. program offers additional options for an emphasis in Gender Studies or an Interdisciplinary Minor in Applied Statistics. Please feel free to inquire about either of these opportunities.


A Ph.D. in Higher Education typically prepares individuals for career advancement. Graduates from this program have taken on faculty and executive leadership roles at higher education institutions as well as policy-development roles in government and other agencies.  

On this Page…

    Program Information

    Program Type

    Doctorate Program

    Area of Study



    4 years


    Ph.D. in Higher Education

    Program Location



    Gender Studies

    Required Credit Hours


    Ph.D. in Higher Education

    The Ph.D. in Higher Education offers academic and research opportunities aimed at cultivating future leaders and scholars within a collegiate setting.

    The Ph.D. in Higher Education requires the following courses for a minimum of 72 credit hours.

    To complete the Ph.D. in Higher Education, students must complete:

    • 21 hours of Research Component courses
    • 12 hours Higher Education Core courses
    • 21 hours of Specialization courses
    • 18 hours of Dissertation courses

    Research Component Courses (21)

    • EDRS 700 Models of Inquiry & Literature Review
    • EDRS 701 Educational Statistics II
    • EDRS 704 Foundations of Qualitative Research Methods
    • EDRS 705 Educational Research II
    • *3 Additional courses chosen in consultation with advisor

    Higher Education Core Courses (12)

    • EDHE 701 Doctoral Studies Proseminar
    • *3 Additional Core Courses selected from the list below:
      • EDHE 759 Finance of Higher Education
      • EDHE 760 History of Higher Education
      • EDHE 762 College Teaching
      • EDHE 764 Law of Higher Education
      • EDHE 721 Recent Developments in Educational Practice
      • EDHE 730 Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives on Leadership
      • EDHE 772 Advanced Educational Policy Analysis

    Specialization Courses (21)

    • Courses to be selected in consultation with your advisor in the development of an area of specialization to support the dissertation study. Courses maybe selected from the Department of Higher Education and other programs in the School of Education and the University. At least twelve hours must be selected from the Department of Higher Education.

    Dissertation (18)

    • EDHE 797 Dissertation - 18 semester hours after comprehensive exam
      • Comprehensive Examination: During the last semester of course work, or the next available comprehensive exam offering, the student must sit for a comprehensive examination.

    Other Academic Requirements

    • Students should be enrolled in six credit hours each semester

    Students applying to the Ph.D. in Higher Education must meet the following requirements. Students must have:

    • A completed masters degree
    • An undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 on the course work attempted and a 3.25 graduate grade point average
    • A completed online Graduate School application, which includes official transcripts, and GRE scores (less than five years old with verbal, quantitative, and writing component sub-scores)
    • The following supplemental materials uploaded to the Graduate School application:
      • statement of purpose: Please discuss how your life experiences (personal, academic, and/or professional) have fostered your interest in pursuing a graduate degree in higher education, the strengths you bring that will help you be successful in the program, areas of research interest you have, and how earning the degree might help you achieve your goals as a professional serving in higher education.
      • resume
      • contact information for three references
    • A successful interview with faculty

    To properly complete the application process for admission, students must submit all application materials before the following deadlines:

    • Fall priority application deadline: January 1
    • Spring priority application deadline: October 1
    George Stewart McClellan

    We're here to help!

    If you have any questions about the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Higher Education/Student Personnel, don't hesitate to reach out!

    George Stewart McClellan

    Professor of Higher Education

    Next Steps

    Explore Affordability

    We have a variety of scholarships and financial aid options to help make college more affordable for you and your family.

    Apply to the University of Mississippi

    Are you ready to take the next step toward building your legacy?