Doctorate in Higher Education Programs | PhD in Higher Education Administration Degrees

If you aspire to hold an advanced or senior administrative and leadership role within education, achieving a PhD in Higher Education Administration, Educational Leadership, or Organizational Leadership degree could be a key qualification.

Higher Education Doctorate Career Growth such as PostSecondary Education Administration

Types of PhD in Higher Education Programs

There are different types of Higher Education graduate degrees, depending on one’s interests, vocational goals and academic requirements. Some of the options include: Doctor of Philosophy in Education – Leadership in Higher Education, Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis on Higher Education Leadership, Doctor of Management – Private Sector Higher Education Leadership.

PhD in Higher Education Programs

Higher Education PhD programs are oriented more toward theory and research than other doctorate degrees. A PhD in Educational Administration program might suit students who aim for a career in school administration, a school district or a statewide education system. This type of doctorate program may expose learners to theories on how to form educational policy, conduct research in Educational Administration, as well as prepare for a teaching position at a college or university.

A typical PhD in Higher Education or Leadership curriculum, on the other hand, focuses on organizational theory in higher education, higher education and leadership, administration for higher learning students, development of curriculum and instruction, as well as the history and evolution or higher education administration.

Both Higher Education PhD programs may also cover research methodology and analysis to support dissertation work, as this is typically a large component of any PhD program.

EdD in Higher Education Doctoral Programs

EdD programs tend to be geared more towards working professionals in education and organizational leadership. These higher education doctoral programs may help professionals gain a greater understanding of human learning processes and educational institutions and their organization. Students may also study how to conduct and apply research and the interactions between society, finance and government. In general, EdD programs in Educational Administration require a master's degree and at least several years of work experience in education, whereas the PhD does not always require work experience.

FUN FACT: College presidents and school superintendents typically have a doctoral degree in the field in which they originally taught or in education administration.i     

How To Decide Between Higher Education PhD Programs

With the array of choices and specializations in higher educational administration, it helps to determine where your interests lie, so that you might determine the type of administrative role you aspire to. Earning a doctorate in higher education is a rigorous commitment. Wh en you contemplate the area of emphasis, you may want to consider:

  • Are you interested in working in public or private schools, with K-12 schools, community colleges or universities?
  • Are you drawn to working in a particular sub field of education, such as Special Education?
  • Are you hoping to help form educational policy, or do you see yourself working as a consultant?

Explore a Career in Higher Education

There are several careers that a Higher Education PhD degree or doctoral program might support.

The general duties of postsecondary education administrators are to oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities. Their responsibilities vary. Some work in admissions and decide whether potential students should be admitted. Others may work in student affairs and coordinate student athletics or housing. Provosts, or academic deans are chief academic officers, who may help develop academic policies, participate in hiring new faculty or managing a budget. The BLS predicts that employment of postsecondary education administrators will increase by 15%, which is faster than average, from 2012 to 2022.ii

Instructional Coordinators are professionals who oversee school curriculums and teaching standards. They may have experience teaching or working as a principal. Coordinators in public schools may be required to be licensed teachers or licensed school administrators. The BLS predicts that employment of instructional coordinators will increase by 13 % from 2012 to 2022.iii

Advancing from an assistant principal to an Elementary, Middle and High School Principal may require additional education. Most schools require principals to have a master’s degree in education administration or leadership, and a majority of principals also have work experience as teachers. The BLS predicts that employment of principals will increase by 6% from 2012 to 2022.iv

Ready to Search for Higher Education Doctoral Programs?

Whether you are a current professor, or hold an administrative position, you may already have the foundation to take your own education up to the next level. Pursuing a PhD in Higher Education Administration may help you take on a role of leader or policy maker in the field.

Review the different Higher Education Doctoral programs on GradSchool.com through the user-friendly search tools, which allow you to compare multiple listings at once. A location search will determine where these programs are offered. Refine this search by deciding whether you are looking to study on campus, or for busy working professionals, a distance-learning format may be more convenient. If so, review hybrid or online doctorate in higher education. Once you're ready, contact higher education phd programs directly through the on page form.


Sources:[i] bls.gov/ooh/management/top-executives.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/management/postsecondary-education-administrators.htm | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/management/elementary-middle-and-high-school-principals

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