Online PhD in Higher Education

Learn more about obtaining an online PhD in higher education. Find information on courses, prerequisites, concentrations, and career information. View popular schools that offer PhD degrees in higher education.

Program Overview

An online PhD in higher education may include coursework which prepares students for a career in academia, research, senior administration, and educational policy development. Students may learn skills in management, organizational leadership, and policy and decision-making. Coursework may include statistical research courses alongside core education classes. PhD candidates may learn how to develop curriculum, manage university admission and enrollment, and evaluate current teaching methodologies. An online PhD in higher education may include courses such as:

  • Leadership in Higher Education
  • Curriculum in Higher Education
  • Enrollment Management in Higher Education
  • Faculty Personnel
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Student Development Theory
  • History of Higher Education

Program Prerequisites

Prior to admission, students may need to satisfy several program prerequisites, such as graduation from an accredited master’s degree program with a certain GPA (varies by school). Students may also be required to submit all transcripts from all college coursework, passing scores on required standardized tests, and multiple letters of recommendation. Additionally, applicants may have to complete and submit a personal statement.


Online PhD programs may provide students with the opportunity to concentrate in a specific area in higher education, including leadership and administration. In these focus areas, students may learn how to manage school district personnel, develop and maintain budgets in educational settings, and adhere to federal education rules and regulations. Also, students may learn how to set educational policies in colleges, local school districts, and in non-profit foundations. Additional concentration areas may include international higher education, education policy, and organizational culture and change.

Career Options

Graduates of online PhD-level programs in higher education may find employment opportunities in teaching, advising, research, and non-profit management. They may work in many educational settings including public and private schools, state education departments, government education programs, and non-profit organizations. Graduates may also choose to purse employment in colleges and universities as professors, associate deans, or provosts. In addition, students may choose to work in local school districts as education administrators, instructional supervisors, and education directors.

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