Loyola University Chicago

School of Education


PhD in Higher Education

This page contains degree requirements for those admitted Fall 2011 or later (click here for previous requirements).

Completion of the PhD in Higher Education degree program requires 60 semester hours, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation and oral defense. An internship experience is optional. Up to 30 semester hours of previously completed graduate work may be recommended for transfer by the student's advisor to meet the doctoral degree requirements.

Core Courses (15 semester hours)
Students must earn a B- or better in these core courses to fulfill the degree requirements. Students may only repeat a core course once. If a grade of B- is not earned, the student will be dismissed from the program. Note: Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 to remain in good standing. 

  • ELPS 427 American Higher Education
  • ELPS 430 Curriculum in Higher Education
  • ELPS 431 Evaluation in Higher Education
  • ELPS 459 Organization and Governance in Higher Education
  • ELPS 505 Seminar in Leadership Theory

Elective Courses (9 semester hours selected)

  • ELPS 429 Critical Social Theory
  • ELPS 429 Higher Education Policy
  • ELPS 429 Advanced Student Development Theory
  • ELPS 429 Women in Higher Education
  • ELPS 434 American College Student
  • ELPS 435 Enrollment Management in Higher Education
  • ELPS 453 Legal Aspects of Higher Education
  • ELPS 454 Budgeting and Finance in Higher Education

Research Courses (12 semester hours selected)

  • RMTD 420 Educational Research I: Building a Body of Evidence Using Qualitative Methods
  • RMTD 421 Educational Research II: Building a Body of Evidence Using Quantitative Methods*

* A basic understanding of introductory statistics is required for RMTD 421.  In addition to the six hours in the educational research core, students select one advanced research methods course to support their dissertation research and one additional elective.

Minor Courses (12 semester hours) 

OPTION A: The completion of four graduate-level courses in a single field of study outside the School of Education (e.g., history, sociology, anthropology, management).

OPTION B: The completion of four graduate-level courses in one area in the School of Education (e.g., counseling, foundations of education). Coursework in higher education administration cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.

OPTION C: An intellectually defensible minor developed in conjunction with a student's advisor consisting of two courses, each from options A and B (e.g., a minor in educational history, drawing on appropriate course work in history and educational leadership and policy studies).

Elective Courses (12 semester hours)
Previously completed graduate coursework may be considered for transfer to complete the minimum 60-semester-hour program requirement. Students may also select graduate courses from other academic departments or programs at Loyola to fulfill this requirement.

Length of the Program: Full-time students typically take three courses each term. Completion time for the dissertation depends on the topic selected and the diligence of the student. Time for degree completion, including the dissertation, is typically 4 years for full-time student and 5-6 years for part-time students.

Continuous Enrollments: Doctoral students in higher education are required to maintain the status of continuous enrollment during their program of studies. This means that during each semester of each academic year (excluding Summer Sessions), each student must do one of the following:

  • Enroll in one of the following:
    • At least one course OR
      ELPS 610 - Doctoral Studies OR
      ELPS 600 - Dissertation Supervision
  • A formal leave of absence may be granted upon request and the approval of the Graduate School's Associate Dean.

Comprehensive Assessment: A literature review is required. Comprehensive application and instructions with due dates .

Dissertation: A dissertation in the field of higher education, along with an oral defense, is required.

Degree Conferral: While the commencement ceremony is every May, degrees can be conferred May, August, and December. Students must apply for graduation/degree conferral. Students should apply for graduation in the semester they anticipate completing all degree requirements. Failure to meet application deadlines may result in a delay of the conferral of the degree to the following semester. Applications for Degree Conferral are due:

  • August 1 for December conferral
  • December 1 for May conferral
  • February 1 for August conferral

Please note the degree conferral application is valid for only one semester. If the degree is not conferred for the semester requested, a new application is required for a subsequent semester.

See also