Higher Education

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Doctoral applicants must submit test scores from either the GRE, GMAT, or LSAT, taken no more than 5 years prior to the application date. Master’s applicants must submit test scores from either the GRE, GMAT, MAT, or LSAT, taken no more than 5 years prior to the application date.

The requirement for test scores is waived for World Campus M.Ed. applicants who have either:

  1. worked full-time for a minimum of three years in an administrative role in a college or university;
  2. a master’s degree; or
  3. completed the Institutional Research Certificate Program at Penn State.

All applicants must also submit a curriculum vitae (CV), a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation.

Students in the D.Ed. and Ph.D. programs at University Park may begin the program in the fall semester. Students in the M.Ed. program at University Park may being the program in the fall or spring semesters. Students in the M.Ed. program through World Campus may begin the program in the summer, fall, or spring semesters.

Degree Requirements

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

A minimum of 30 credits is required, and must include:

Required Courses
HIED 808Pro-Seminar in U.S. Higher Education3
HIED 545Foundations in Higher Education and Student Affairs3
HIED 842Administrative Leadership in Higher Education3
HIED 846College Students and Their Success3
HIED 841Research and Assessment in Student Affairs3
or HIED 801 Foundations of Institutional Research
Emphasis Area in Higher Education
Students will choose an emphasis area to tailor a program of study to fit an intended career path, in consultation with their adviser. A list of acceptable emphasis areas and their required courses is maintained by the program.6
Electives
Students will choose from a list of approved electives maintained by the program office, in consultation with the student’s adviser.6
Culminating Experience
HIED 596Individual Studies 13
Total Credits30

Doctor of Education (D.ED.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

The D.Ed. requires a minimum of 90 credits, of which at least 30 credits must be earned in residence at the University Park campus. A maximum of 30 credits from a completed master's degree earned at an institution that does not grant a doctorate in Higher Education may be accepted towards this minimum,  subject to restrictions outlined in GCAC-309 Transfer Credit. A maximum of 60 credits beyond the baccalaureate may be accepted towards this minimum,  subject to restrictions outlined in GCAC-309 Transfer Credit.

Required Courses
HIED 501Foundations of Higher Education3
HIED 552Administration and Organization in Higher Education3
HIED 556Higher Education Students and Clientele3
HIED 502Diversity & Equity in Higher Education3
Specialization in Higher Education
Select 9 credits in additional HIED course work.9
Theoretical/Conceptual
Select 9 credits from list maintained by the graduate program office.9
Methodological
Select 12 credits, including at least (a) one quantitative course (e.g., STAT 500 or EDPSY 406) and (b) one qualitative course (e.g., HIED 586).12
Proposal
HIED 594Research Topics (Research Proposal Topics)3
Dissertation
HIED 600Thesis Research15
or HIED 610 Thesis Research Off Campus
Total Credits60

In addition, the program may require a 9-credit internship depending on students’ previous professional experiences in higher education administration. D.Ed. students must pass a qualifying examination, a comprehensive written and oral examination, and a final oral examination (the dissertation defense). Their dissertation must also be accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

Ph.D. students must pass a qualifying examination, a comprehensive written and oral examination, and a final oral examination (the dissertation defense). Their dissertation also must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

A minimum of 51 credits is required:

Required Courses
HIED 501Foundations of Higher Education3
HIED 552Administration and Organization in Higher Education3
HIED 556Higher Education Students and Clientele3
HIED 502Diversity & Equity in Higher Education3
Specialization in Higher Education
Select 9 credits of additional HIED course work9
Theoretical/Conceptual
Select 9 credits from a list maintained by the program office.9
Methodological
Select 18 credits, with at least (a) one quantitative course (e.g., STAT 500 or EDPSY 406) and (b) one qualitative course (e.g., HIED 586).18
Proposal
HIED 594Research Topics (Research Proposal Topics)3
Total Credits51

Dual-Titles  

Dual-Title M.Ed., D.Ed., and Ph.D. in Comparative and International Education

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Higher Education and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Comparative and International Education dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Comparative and International Education Bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Comparative and International Education prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the degree they are enrolled in Higher Education. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Comparative and International Education, listed on the Comparative and International Education Bulletin page. Some courses may satisfy both Higher Education and Comparative and International Education degree requirements. Final course selection must be approved by the student's Ph.D. committee.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Higher Education and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Comparative and International Education program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both Higher Education and Comparative and International Education. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of a Higher Education and Comparative and International Education dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the Comparative and International Education Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the Ph.D. committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Comparative and International Education, the member of the committee representing Comparative and International Education must be appointed as co-chair. The Comparative and International Education representative on the student’s Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their Ph.D. committee and reflects their original research and education in Higher Education and Comparative and International Education. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Joint Degrees

Joint J.D/M.Ed., D.Ed., and Ph.D. with Penn State Law

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-211 Joint Degree Programs.

Penn State Law (PSL) and the Higher Education (HIED) Program offer a joint degree program leading to a Juris Doctor (J.D.); and either a Master of Education (M.Ed.), a Doctor of Education (D.Ed.), or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Higher Education.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the joint degree program must apply and be admitted first to Penn State Law, and subsequently to the Higher Education graduate program. Admissions requirements and applications for admission for Penn State Law are listed in the J.D. Admissions section of the Penn State Law website. The admission requirements for the Higher Education graduate program are listed on the Admission Requirements tab. When applying to the Higher Education graduate program, applicants must include two letters of recommendation from Penn State Law faculty members and a career statement. Applicants to the joint degree program may submit LSAT scores instead of GRE scores.

Residency

Students will normally spend four semesters in residence at PSL and as many additional semesters in residence as needed to complete the additional requirements for the pertinent HIED degree. Ph.D. candidates must arrange the sequence of semesters to ensure that they are in residence as full-time students in the HIED program for at least two consecutive semesters (Fall-Spring or Spring-Fall) excluding summer in a single twelve-month period.

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the J.D. program are listed on the Penn State Law website. Degree requirements for the Ph.D., D.Ed., and M.Ed. degrees are listed on the Degree Requirements tab.

Penn State Law

A maximum of twelve credits for HIED course work may be double-counted for credit toward the J.D. degree at PSL. Students must obtain a grade satisfactory to PSL for the course work to be credited towards the J.D. degree. The following HIED courses may qualify for credit in PSL:

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
HIED 545Foundations in Higher Education and Student Affairs3
HIED 552Administration and Organization in Higher Education3
HIED 560Legal Issues in Higher Education and Student Affairs3
HIED 587Education Policy and Politics3
HIED 806Teaching and Learning in Higher Education3
Higher Education

The courses that may be double-counted will be determined by the student's degree program. Normally a maximum of twelve credits of PSL course work will be counted for credit for the minimum requirements for a master's degree, subject to approval by the student's advisory committee.

Sequence

The sequence of courses will be determined by the students and their advisors.

Recommended Program of Study and Advising

All students in the program will have two advisers, one from PSL and one from HIED. Periodic interaction between the two advisers is encouraged.

Tuition

Students will be charged the applicable PSL tuition to cover the J.D. program and the applicable graduate tuition to cover the HIED degree program. PSL tuition will be paid for the semesters in which the student is registered for PSL courses, and graduate tuition will be paid for the semesters in which the student is registered for graduate courses. A student may take up to one course (3 credit hours) per semester in the program where the student is not primarily registered without any change in tuition, but must pay additional tuition to the program that the student is not primarily registered if he or she wishes to take additional course work pursuant to that program during the semester.

Financial Aid and Assistantships

Decisions on financial aid and assistantships will be made by each school according to that school's procedures. Generally, assistantships and financial aid granted by HIED will not apply to time spent at PSL.

Fulfillment of Degree Requirements and Graduation

All courses in one program that will count toward meeting the requirements of the other program must be completed before the awarding of either degree. If students accepted into the joint degree program are unable to complete the J.D. degree, they are still eligible to receive the Higher Education degree if all Higher Education degree requirements have been satisfied.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Higher Education (HIED) Course List

Learning Outcomes

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

  1. Demonstrate reading proficiencies to deal effectively with theoretical, empirical, and policy material in higher education.
  2. Demonstrate writing proficiencies to analyze problems of practice, draw upon and apply concepts studied, and synthesize ideas into relevant and useful conclusions.
  3. Demonstrate critical thinking skills that require suspended judgment and the application of relevant theory to varied areas of practice.
  4. Demonstrate responsibility toward the goal of becoming a proactive, reflective life-long learner.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to collaborate with others to facilitate problem-solving and decision making through reflective practice.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of purpose, audience, and context in communication activities.
  7. Demonstrate appropriate use of communication technologies.
  8. Demonstrate an ability to draw upon key theories, concepts and research findings to assess current issues and challenges facing higher education institutions.
  9. Demonstrate the ability to collect and analyze data to improve practice in particular administrative areas of higher education.
  10. Demonstrate an understanding of professional and ethical practice.

Doctor of Education (D.Ed.)

  1. Distinguish various aspects of higher education—including perspectives on its past, present, and future.
  2. Interpret and communicate knowledge of higher education that informs research, policy, and professional practice.
  3. Demonstrate competence in designing and conducting applied research that results in informs and improves professional practice.
  4. Identify and address ways in which power operates in higher education, and has been differentially distributed by race and by other marginalized social identities.
  5. Utilize concepts, theories, and frameworks from education and other fields of inquiry in exploring and critically analyzing programs and practices in higher education.
  6. Evaluate required competencies, needed preparation, and potential rewards relative to a pursuing a range of career opportunities in all sectors of academia.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

  1. Distinguish various aspects of higher education—including perspectives on its past, present, and future.
  2. Interpret and communicate knowledge of higher education that informs research, policy, and professional practice.
  3. Demonstrate competence in designing, conducting, and communicating (including in written form) research that generates new knowledge.
  4. Identify and address ways in which power operates in higher education, and has been differentially distributed by race and by other marginalized social identities.
  5. Utilize concepts, theories, and frameworks from education and other fields of inquiry in exploring and critically analyzing topics in higher education.
  6. Evaluate required competencies, needed preparation, and potential rewards relative to a pursuing a range of career opportunities in all sectors of academia.

Contact

Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Kevin Paul Kinser
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Leticia Oseguera
Program Contact

Susan Greyson Bass
400 Rackley Building
University Park PA 16802
sgb13@psu.edu
(814) 863-2690

Program Website View
Campus World Campus
Graduate Program Head Kevin Paul Kinser
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Leticia Oseguera
Program Contact

Susan Greyson Bass
400 Rackley
University Park PA 16802
sgb13@psu.edu
(814) 863-2690

Program Website View