Loyola University Chicago

School of Education

Explore the Program

PhD in Higher Education

  • Collaborate with and learn from coursework, talented peers, and the Chicago community
  • Engage in rigorous research with a focus on social justice
  • Graduate from a doctoral program that prepares you to be a scholar-practitioner
  • Obtain experience as a teaching assistant for a graduate level course
  • Learn from diverse, respected, passionate faculty who are leaders in their field
  • Understand the history, foundations, critical issues, and applications of higher education theory and practice.
  • Build a strong foundation in critical social theory, curriculum and pedagogy, student affairs theory, critical issues, and socially just practices in higher education.
  • Critically evaluate research (i.e., designs, data analysis, and data interpretation).
  • Apply critical inquiry and research skills to successfully complete dissertation research.
  • Present at educational conferences and prepare manuscripts for publication.

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 432: Multiculturalism for Social Justice
  • 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.

Students engage in a rigorous, engaging curriculum that blends theory and practice.  Check out our course syllabi.

  • 3.0 GPA minimum
  • 2-3 letters of recommendation (at least 2, no more than 3) - The letters should speak to the preparation for graduate school, commitment to social justice, and/or special circumstances and context for the candidate's educational journey/life journey. 
  • Personal Statement - This statement should address students' research interests, why Loyola would be a good fit, what the student aims to do post-degree attainment, and any special circumstances that would inform the admissions committee's decision in less than two, double-spaced pages.
  • No GRE is required
  • Application Deadline – January 1, 2020

You can find tuition information here: https://www.luc.edu/bursar/tuitionfees/2019-2020/


The names in parentheses indicate the dissertation director.


  • Dr. Ajani Byrd (Engberg) "Transfer student success: Students of Color Overcoming Barriers to Degree Attainment at a Four-Year Institution"
  • Dr. Benjamin Correia-Harker (Dugan) "Understanding the Role of Leadership Motivation in College Student Leadership Development"
  • Dr. T. J. Jourian (Kelly) "'My Masculinity is a Little Love Poem to Myself': Trans*Masculine College Students' Conceptualizations of Masculinities"
  • Dr. Natasha Turman (Kelly) "Centering the Margins: Elevating the Voices of Women of Color to Critically Examine College Student Leadership"


  • Dr. Michael Bumbry (Dugan) "The Influences of Race, Ethnicity, and Class on Latin@ Young Alumni Philanthropy from a Predominantly White Institution"
  • Dr. Aliza Gilbert (Engberg) "Helping DREAMers Achieve the College Dream: A Case Study Analysis"
  • Dr. Shannon Howes (Dugan) "You're Kind of Just Conditioned": Women and Female College Students' Defiance of Dominant Social Messages in the Development of Leader Self-Efficacy"
  • Dr. William Rodriguez (Dugan) "Symbolic Centers in the Background or Units at the Forefront of Change? Race Specific Cultural Centers and Student Support Programs And Their Potential Impact on Students of Color"
  • Dr. S. Simmons (Kelly) "I Am Because We Are”: A Portrait of Trans* Post-Secondary Educators’ Experiences in Higher Education"


  • Dr. Jessica Murphy (Dugan) "International Partnerships for Service-Based Education Programs: An Instrumental Case Study of Haiti Compact"
  • Dr. Dian Squire (Kelly) "Shifting Narratives in Doctoral Admissions: Faculty of Color Understandings of Diversity, Equity, and Justice in a Neoliberal Context"


  • Dr. Diana Chavez (Kelly) "Examining Latino/a First-generation College Students' Educational Resilience at a Jesuit Higher Education Institution"
  • Dr. Kimberly Fath (Dugan) "A Content Analysis of Hierarchical Linear Modeling From Four Higher Education Journals"
  • Dr. Corinne Kodama (Dugan) "A Structural Model of Leadership Self-Efficacy for Asian American Students: Examining Influences of Collective Racial Esteem and Resilience"
  • Dr. Kristin McMann (Kelly) "Master's Students' Experiences with Multicultural Competency Curriculum in a Graduate Preparation Program"
  • Dr. Sunshine Nakae (Engberg) "Backgrounds and Outcomes of Allopathic Medical School Applicants: Exploring Stratification and Inequality"


  • Dr. Michael Beazley (Dugan) "Socially Responsible Leadership Capacity Development: Predictors among African American/ Black Students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly White Institutions"
  • Dr. James Hammerschmidt (Williams) "An Investigation of  Chinese Graduate Student Understanding of Academic Integrity in U.S. Higher Education"
  • Dr. Brenda Poggendorf (Williams) "Exploring Predicted vs. Actual First-to-Second Year Retention Rates: A Study of Evangelical Lutheran Church in American Colleges"

PhD in Higher Education

  • Program Director: Aurora Chang
    Phone: 312.915.6856
    E-mail: achang2@luc.edu

Faculty Profiles

Related Faculty


How long does it take to finish the program?

 The time toward completion of a doctoral degree varies with each student.  A full-time student can complete their coursework in two years; the remaining years are spent conducting an original research study and writing the dissertation. 


What are the career paths for those who earn a PhD in Higher Education?

Our alumni include: University Professors, Directors of Cultural Centers, Policy Analysts, Community-Based Organization Managers, Student Affairs Administrators at all levels (including executive positions), Consultants, and other education-related careers.


 Can I visit the campus or sit in on a class?

Yes!  We welcome your visit to campus which can include a class visit.  Contact our enrollment advisor, Brittney Marshall, at bmarshall@luc.edu to arrange a visit.


Is there funding available for my doctoral studies?

We aim to support full-time doctoral students with graduate assistantships that generally include a combination of tuition remission and a stipend.


 Who will be my advisor/dissertation chair?

The advisee-advisor match is initially determined upon admittance to the program, however, we, as a faculty, work to ensure that this process is as organic as possible.  Therefore, changes may occur as you develop your scholarly identity within the program.


 Can I make an appointment to talk to someone about the program?

Absolutely!  Feel free to contact our enrollment advisor, Brittney Marshall, at bmarshall@luc.edu to get started. 

Graduate Financial Assistance

School of Education Assistantships 
(EdD & PhD Degree Students)

Graduate assistantships offering tuition fellowships and financial stipends are available through the school. Assistantships offer a stipend, while tuition fellowships pay for 21 semester hours of coursework. Assistantships are limited in number, are available only to full-time EdD or PhD graduate students in the School of Education, and are awarded on a competitive basis. In addition, the university also sponsors fellowships, teaching fellowships and dissertation fellowships for doctoral students. The latter two fellowships are available only to advanced graduate students.


Applying for Departmental Assistantships

Awardees are chosen from among applicants for admission and no additional application material is required.  Admission does not guarantee funding. Unless otherwise noted, the deadline for consideration for merit awards is February 1 or earlier if the department requires. The application for admission as well as all supporting documents (e.g., transcripts and letters of recommendation) must be on file by the award deadline.


University Assistantships

Information Technology Services: Loyola's Information Technology Services offers graduate internships in research and academic computing. For more information, including how to apply, contact Information Technology Services at: 773.508.2270.

LUC-Noyce Scholars: This National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program provides tuition and programmatic support to recruit and prepare STEM majors and professionals to become Grade 9-12 teachers. Award recipients are required to complete two years of teaching in a Chicago or other high-need school for each year of support. The program seeks to increase the number of teachers with strong STEM content knowledge who teach in high-need school districts. Details and Application.



Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL) Fellowships: For information on graduate student fellowships offered by CURL, please visit CURL Fellowship Website.


Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois (DFI) Fellowship: The goal of DFI is to increase the number of minority full-time tenure track faculty and staff at Illinois’ two- and four-year, public and private colleges and universities. Fellowships are available to qualified minority applicants who are Illinois residents and who demonstrate financial need. Details are available through the Graduate School's Financial Assistance and Funding Website.


Various Fellowships through the Graduate School: For information on graduate student fellowships offered through the Graduate School, please visit the Graduate School's Financial Assistance and Funding Website.

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