Jul 22, 2024  
2012-2013 Graduate Bulletin 
2012-2013 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Higher Education Administration, Ph.D.

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Higher Education

The Higher Education Administration program provides options for individuals interested in both administrative and faculty/research roles within post-secondary institutions. The curriculum emphasizes the aquisition of skills and knowledge and includes a thorough grounding in theory and practice in higher education including administration, finance, human resources, legal issues, the professoriate, curriculum and teaching, and leadership. The department offers a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling and Personnel Services with an emphasis in Student Affairs Administration, a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Higher Education.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Higher Education Administration

The Ph.D. program in Higher Education Administration is designed for educators whose interests lie in seeking academic positions in higher education administration and in research related to effective practice in a post-secondary setting.


  Required Criteria Supplementary Criteria*
  GRE official scores interview
  GPA on previous graduate work other official standardized test scores
  three letters of recommendation** writing sample
  letter of interest and professional goals professional experience
  vita/resumé GPA for last two years of undergraduate work
  TOEFL scores, if International  

*Supplementary materials may be submitted at the student’s discretion or may be requested by the admissions committee.

** Letters should be from persons qualified to assess the applicant’s readiness for graduate study.

Members of underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Plan of Study. During the first semester, students will schedule a program planning meeting with their assigned advisor. Students must submit their signed, official Plan of Study form to the Graduate School by the end of the first semester they are enrolled. The Plan of Study forms are available at www.usm.edu/graduateschool/planofstudy.php.

Continuous Enrollment Requirement: Students must meet the continuous enrollment and time limitation requirements specified in this Bulletin.


Residency may be met through one of the following:

  • Two consecutive* semesters of 12 hours each (12-12);
  • Three consecutive* semesters of 9 hours each (9-9-9);
  • Four consecutive* semesters of a minimum of 6 hours each, none arranged (6-6-6-6);
  • Two semesters within a three-year period in which a minimum of 12 hours is taken in each of the two semesters and a minimum of 3 hours in each of the intervening semesters.

* Consecutive does not have to include summer term but may, at the student’s discretion.

Responsible Conduct of Research Training

All faculty holding regular or associate graduate faculty status, must complete RCR training modules required by the Graduate School and their departments. All graduate students must complete the RCR training modules required by the Graduate School and their departments the first semester they are enrolled in graduate school. The RCR policy and training information are found on the Graduate School web page – www.usm.edu/graduateschool. Contact the Dean of the Graduate School if you have any questions regarding the policy or training information.

Comprehensive Exam

A comprehensive exam will be given at or near the conclusion of coursework and must be passed before proceeding to dissertation work.

The Dissertation

All students must complete twelve (12) hours of HE 898 - Dissertation . A minimum of three (3) credit hours of HE 898  must be completed during each of the semesters in which the dissertation is proposed and defended. The student’s doctoral committee will be comprised of at least four faculty members. The student submits three documents to this committee as described in the department dissertation guidelines: pre-proposal, proposal, and completed dissertation. The latter two are also presented orally.


To complete the doctoral degree, students must

  1. maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average,
  2. complete all coursework,
  3. pass the comprehensive exam, and
  4. successfully complete and defend a dissertation.

Ph.D. requirements (69 hours)

Options* (12-18 hours)

  • 12 hour HE Electives**
  • 12 hour Minor (requires advisor approval)
  • 15 hour Certificate: Adult Education, Community College Leadership, or Institutional Research
  • 18 hour Teaching Emphasis

Dissertation support (3 hours):

Dissertation (12 hours):


*The option selected may increase the number of hours required for graduation. Program advisors consider students’ academic preparation, life experience, and career goals in helping them select an option.

**HE Electives: HE 712 , HE 717 , HE 718 , HE 719 , HE 794 , REF 709 

Doctoral Minor in Higher Education Administration

Students majoring in a different discipline at the doctoral level may also wish to pursue a doctoral minor in higher education administration. The objectives of the minor are to prepare individuals to

  1. Understand the role of an administrator in a higher education setting,
  2. Work as an academic administrator or student services administrator in a higher education setting, and
  3. Examine how the role of an administrator in higher education affects other faculty, staff, and students.

A minimum of eighteen (18) semester hours is required for the doctoral minor in higher education administration.

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