College of Education > Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies > Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies, PhD
This 66-hour doctoral program prepares students to conduct research and generate scholarship aimed at furthering a critical understanding of higher education and its role in society while providing service to our local, state, and national communities through the improvement of higher education, and in general the furthering of education for all people.
To accomplish those broad aims, the Ph.D. curriculum in Higher Education provides students multi-disciplinary opportunities to develop specific competency in key areas. A solid framework for understanding educational challenges and opportunities; the inherently global nature of all educational experiences and their outcomes; and the critical contribution of rigorous research to adequate policy development; and the connected enterprise of increasing educational opportunity and success among schools, communities, and businesses.
For more information, please visit http://www.uh.edu/education/degree-programs/higher-ed-phd/.
The College of Education takes into consideration a number of criteria when determining admission, including prior college or university performance, letters of recommendation, standardized test scores and statement of intent. All applicants must abide by the minimum qualifications for admissions to a master’s or doctoral program. All graduate applicants (regardless of citizenship status) must demonstrate proficiency in English to obtain admission to the University. For more information, visit http://www.uh.edu/graduate-school/admissions/international-students/english-proficiency/.
An applicant is responsible for ensuring that all required materials for the evaluation of admissions are received by the College before the program’s deadline. If the application is not complete by the program’s deadline, it will not be evaluated for the admissions. Full details of the online application process can be found at www.uh.edu/graduate-school/admissions/how-to-apply.
- Complete online graduate application including statement of interest, resume/c.v., writing sample, letters of recommendation, and application fee payment
- Official transcripts from all previous college/university work sent to the UH Graduate School.
- Official reporting of GRE scores taken in the last five years
- International students have additional documentation requirements which can be found at www.uh.edu/graduate-school/admissions/international-students/
Grade Point Average Requirements
Admission requirements for the College of Education require a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.6 for undergraduate coursework or over the last 60 credit hours of coursework. The College requires a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 for graduate coursework. The College’s admission committees evaluate all credentials submitted by applicants to determine a student’s ability and potential to succeed in graduate study. In addition, the committee is interested in the applicant’s potential to contribute to his/her program of study and the University community as a whole.
Please visit the program’s Admission Application Instructions page for more information
Credit hours required for this degree: 66.0
The curriculum for the HELPS Ph.D. program involves the completion of specific coursework that includes foundations of psychological and educational theory, statistics, and research methodology. Completion of the program typically requires three years of full time study, inclusive of coursework, candidacy research project, comprehensive exam, and dissertation.
Since degree plans are enhanced periodically to support continuous improvement planning objectives, students will follow their approved degree plan that is in place at the time in which they complete an official, approved degree plan. The most current sample degree plan and academic benchmarks are provided below.
In the first two full years of studies (i.e., fall, spring and summer in each year), students in the HELPS doctoral program are required to complete at least 6 hours of coursework each term (i.e., Fall, Spring, and Summer) to satisfy doctoral residency requirements. Students should reference the schedule of course offerings and, in consultation, identify the courses required for a given term.
Program Core Requirements (30 hours)
Research Methods Core Requirements (15 hours)
Independent Research Requirements (9 hours min)
Students in the HELPS program are required to satisfy two major research requirements:
- the candidacy research paper, and
- a doctoral dissertation.
Both of these projects typically involve the collection, analysis, and interpretation of quantitative and/or qualitative data.
Specialization Electives (minimum 12 hours)
Students in the program are required to pursue one of the four Areas of Specialization within the program. These areas include Equity and Social Justice, International Perspectives, Policy and Politics, and Research Methods. Although all students in the program gain some background in these areas through the Program Area Core courses, students within each area add to their expertise by selecting electives relevant to a particular area of specialization. For these electives, students are encouraged to pursue coursework pertinent to their individual career goals, including courses offered by faculty within the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Department as well as courses offered by other departments in the College of Education, and those related to the fields of sociology, economics, political science, and other behavioral and social sciences. These electives should be identified in consultation with the student’s academic advisor.
Professional Development Activities
Students in the HELPS program are required to satisfy a Professional Development requirement during their first year in the program. Students are required to complete a separate Residency Report for the Fall and Spring terms of their first year in the program that will serve to satisfy their doctoral residency/professional development requirement. These forms must be approved by the student’s academic advisor, the chair of the department, and the Dean or his/her designee.
The following professional development activities are required for doctoral students in the HELPS program. Activities completed each term should be listed on separate Residency Reports for each term. Students should consult with their advisor regarding selection of additional activities that will augment their academic preparation in scholarship, teaching, and service, such as attending presentations of scholarly speakers at the University of Houston or elsewhere (e.g., Rice University, the Medical Center, in the community), assisting other doctoral students with data collection, etc.
- Attend at least one defense of a candidacy research proposal in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
- Attend at least one defense of a candidacy research final paper in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
- Attend at least one defense of a dissertation proposal in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
- Attend at least one defense of a dissertation final paper in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
- Attendance at a local, state, or national conference that pertains to education or a relevant social science. The sessions attended may be listed as additional activities.
- Attendance at the Houston Symposium for Research in Education, sponsored by the College of Education, when it is offered
- Membership in the Graduate Students Organization
- Student membership in a professional organization (e.g., American Educational Research Association, American Association for the Study of Higher Education)
Candidacy Research Paper
HELPS doctoral students must complete a candidacy research paper before they are eligible to have their Comprehensive Examination Portfolio submission materials officially reviewed. Students are expected to conduct a research project within the general domain of higher education. The scope of this research project should be equivalent to what would be expected from a master’s level thesis. Students who previously have completed a Master’s Thesis may petition to have the thesis count for the candidacy research requirement and should consult with their academic advisor regarding this matter.
College Academic Policies
University of Houston Academic Policies