The doctoral degree programs in Higher Education at the University of North Texas provide you with the valuable opportunity to acquire knowledge about research and theory as well as conduct and evaluate research applicable to higher education.

Graduate Opportunities

If you’re interested in scholarly research, exploration and teaching higher education, the Doctor of Philosophy degree is for you. This degree will provide you with a career as a professor or an applied researcher and prepare you for senior leadership positions in higher learning institutions, statewide higher education coordinating agencies, medical centers and government agencies.

The Doctor of Education degree is for students interested in applying theory and research to higher education. This degree qualifies you for a staff position or an administrative position at the middle-management or senior level in a college, a university or a state or regional higher education coordinating, accrediting or governing agency. It also prepares you for positions in student affairs, administrative and business affairs or development/advancement areas in higher education.

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. Our faculty have:

  • Served as editors or editorial board members for various academic journals
  • Presented numerous papers at national and international 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 that aims to improve the quality of the 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 programs' admissions committee uses a holistic review process and considers the following criteria:

  • Acceptable graduate GPA
  • GRE or GMAT scores (optional)
  • Clarity and fit of your career objectives
  • Strength of your professional/educational references
  • Quality of your 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 completing the higher education program application materials. 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 Division of International Affairs website.

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

Application deadlines

Students can apply to either the Ed.D. or Ph.D. program. Applications for the doctoral programs are reviewed twice each academic year. The deadlines are:

March 1 for fall enrollment
Oct. 1 for spring enrollment

Degree requirements

Ph.D. degree

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

After completing the required coursework, 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 also are available. For more information on scholarships and assistant positions in the Department of Higher Education, visit our website.

For information about other financial assistance opportunities, visit the graduate school website or the financial aid website.


Veronica Baldwin (Jones), Associate Professor; Ph.D., Texas A&M University. Men of color in higher education; student activism and engagement; institutional equity and diversity; critical race theory and critical discourse analysis.

Clifford P. Harbour, Professor; Ed.D., North Carolina State University; J.D., Ohio Northern University. Community colleges; higher education law; institutional mission and normative vision.

Hyun Kyoung Ro , Associate Professor; Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University. Gender and racial equity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education; learning experiences and outcomes among marginalized students; and critical quantitative research and assessment.

Barrett Taylor, Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Georgia. Higher education policy and finance; organizational theory; sociology and higher education.

Uyen Tran-Parsons, Senior Lecturer and Master's Program Coordinator; Ph.D., Texas Tech University. Diversity and inclusion; student affairs; retention of underrepresented populations.

Affiliate faculty and specialization areas

Jason Simon, Associate Vice Provost for Institutional Research & Effectiveness; Ph.D., University of North Texas. Institutional research; institutional effectiveness; higher education accreditation; alumni relations and fundraising.

Elizabeth With, Vice President for Student Affairs; Ed.D., University of North Texas. Higher education administration with an emphasis on legal issues in higher education.

David F. Wolf, Vice President for University Advancement; Ph.D., University of North Texas. Resource development in higher education; university marketing, branding, communications and community relations; university governmental relations; higher education leadership studies and higher education organizational theory.