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Higher Education

Doctoral Degree Programs


Graduate Opportunities

The doctoral degree programs in Higher Education at the University of North Texas provide you valuable opportunities to:

  • Acquire knowledge about research, theory and practices applicable to higher education domestically and internationally
  • Assess and participate in the practice of higher education administration and research
  • Conduct and evaluate applied and basic research in higher education
  • Study past, present and emerging patterns for organizational and professional administrative practices in higher education leadership and research

Our degree programs

The Doctor of Philosophy degree serves students interested in scholarly research, exploration and teaching of higher education. This degree is appropriate if you want to be in a(n):

  • Academic teaching or research position in a graduate program, institute or center for the study of higher education
  • Applied research or senior leadership position in a higher learning institution, medical center, government agency, consortium of a higher education institution or higher education professional association
  • Senior leadership position in a comprehensive or doctoral/research university
  • Research or senior leadership position in a statewide higher education coordinating agency or multi-campus system office

The Doctor of Education degree is for students interested in applying theory and research to higher education. The degree qualifies you for a(n):

  • Administrative or staff position in a state or regional higher education coordinating or governing agency
  • Administrative leadership position with a higher education accrediting agency, professional association or consortium
  • Middle-management administrative position in student affairs, administrative and business affairs, or development/advancement in higher education
  • Senior leadership position in a college or university

The curricula for each degree program focus on teaching and practicing academic integrity and ethical behaviors as professionals and individuals.

Outstanding faculty

Our faculty members have published more than two dozen books, monographs and book chapters and more than 100 refereed journal articles. Their research areas include leadership in higher education, higher education policy and finance, access and equity, institutional effectiveness, professoriate, student affairs and student development. They’ve also:

  • Served as editors or editorial board members for the Journal of College Student Development, Community College Journal of Research and Practice, Journal of College and Character, Journal of American Indian Education, Journal of Student Centered Learning, Journal of Distance Learning Administration, and Journal of the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition
  • Presented numerous papers at international and national professional meetings and conferences
  • Generated more than $2 million in grants from federal, state and private foundations

The program is a member of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED). CPED is a consortium of colleges and schools of education that aims to improve the quality of doctorate in education.

Research centers and opportunities

The Bill J. Priest Center for Community College Education supports research in the community college field and prepares students for leadership positions in community colleges. The center also houses the Council for the Study of Community Colleges.

The Higher Education Development Initiative explores the impact of trends and legislation on higher education domestically and internationally. Participants pursue collaboration in research and higher education development in underserved regions and countries with other governmental and private agencies.

Attending UNT

Admission criteria

The program admissions committee uses a holistic review process and considers the following criteria:

  • Acceptable graduate GPA
  • GRE or GMAT scores
  • Clarity and fit of the applicant’s career objectives
  • Strength of the professional/educational references
  • Quality of the admission essay
  • Quality and relevance of your prior undergraduate and graduate work
  • Quantity and relevance of your prior work experience in higher education administration, teaching and/or research

Admission requirements

Admission to the doctoral programs requires applying to the Toulouse Graduate School and sending three recommendation forms to the higher education program office. The graduate school’s specific admission requirements are outlined in the catalog or on the Graduate School website.

The recommendation forms are available from the program office and, when completed, should be sent to:

UNT Higher Education Program
c/o Doctoral Admissions Coordinator
1155 Union Circle #310829
Denton, TX 76203-5017

International applicants must provide proof of English language proficiency if English isn’t your native language. For more information about international admissions, visit the UNT-International website.

After faculty members have reviewed these materials through a holistic process, you may be invited for an interview.

Application deadlines

Deadlines vary based on whether you’re enrolling in the Ed.D. or Ph.D. program. Applications for the Ed.D. program are reviewed twice an academic year, and Ph.D. applications are reviewed once a year. The deadlines are:

Ed.D. program
March 1 for fall enrollment
Oct. 1 for spring enrollment

Ph.D. program
Dec. 1 for fall enrollment

Degree requirements

Ph.D. degree

  • 18 credit hours of higher education doctoral core courses
  • 12 credit hours of a minor or cognate area
  • 15 credit hours of higher education research courses
  • 6 credit hours of higher education electives
  • 6 credit hours of College of Education research core courses
  • 6 credit hours of an internship (if needed)
  • 9 credit hours of dissertation (minimum)

Ed.D. degree

  • 18 credit hours of higher education doctoral core courses
  • 15 credit hours of a cognate area
  • 6 credit hours of College of Education research core courses
  • 6 credit hours of an internship (if needed)
  • 9 credit hours of higher education research courses
  • 9 credit hours of dissertation (minimum)

After completing the required course work, you must pass the program’s written and oral qualifying exams before beginning your dissertation.

Financial assistance

Our department, the College of Education and the graduate school fund several scholarships to help you pursue your graduate education. Some graduate and research assistant positions are also available. For more information on the scholarships and assistant positions, visit our website.

For information about other financial assistance opportunities, visit the Graduate School website or the Financial Aid site.