Jun 25, 2024  

Higher Education Administration PhD

Program Description

The Higher Education Administration program seeks to empower diverse scholar-practitioners for service in national and international colleges and universities, committed to Christian values and high professional standards.

Higher Education is one of the fastest growing areas of education in the world today. Graduates at the master level typically work in administrative and executive positions in student services such as enrollment, admissions, financial services, athletics and residence halls. At the doctoral level, the program serves those who wish to pursue careers and academic positions in teaching and research in colleges and universities, as well as corporate training or policy making positions at the private and state level. The curriculum has an international focus that includes visiting international universities to interact with faculty and students of institutions in different countries around the world.

The doctoral program in Higher Education is designed to prepare experienced practitioners for senior administrative and policy-making positions. The PhD degree is more research oriented and requires more courses in advanced research methodologies. The EdD program primarily serves those seeking administrative and executive positions, while the PhD program serves those who wish to pursue careers in research and teaching. Both degrees require the submission of a research-based article to a peer-reviewed publication. Graduates typically work in the following professional areas:

  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Policy leadership
  • College administration at all levels
  • Community college leadership and management
  • Student personnel administration
  • Corporate and post-secondary policy analysis

Total Credits: 90

Degree Core

Concentration - 20

Cognates - 12

  • Choose from outside Educational Administration, such as Business, Communication, Social Work, Psychology, Religious Education, Curriculum, Leadership, Research Electives, or transfer credits.

Additional Requirements


The degree programs require the completion of a portfolio that documents the participant’s work. These portfolios require documentation that evidences a level of mastery appropriate to each degree and can be presented in person or via electronic media. The portfolio must be assessed and approved by a faculty committee. More details on portfolio requirements are provided in the introductory course, LEAD 630, required in all programs.


Participants comply with registration guidelines by enrolling in a course at least one semester out of three consecutive semesters until their program is complete. If participants want to remain active and not register for regular course work they will need to register for EDAL 650 Program Continuation at least every third semester. This course has no credit but allows access to faculty advising and access to the Andrews University library. As an alternative to the above, a participant may request to go Inactive. When Active Status is desired, the participant may request reactivation and, if approved, pay the current Reactivation Fee.

Time Limits

Participants must complete the requirements for the MA within four years; EdS, EdD, and PhD degrees within seven years from the beginning of the first semester of class work after acceptance into the doctoral program, irrespective of admission classification.

Program Electives

As needed, in consultation with your advisor.

Admission Requirements

Application Process

Applicants must meet School of Education admission requirements for doctoral programs. They may transfer up to 42 credits from previous graduate work into the doctoral program. If they have not previously taken the courses, candidates must complete LEAD 630 - Introduction to Leadership  and LEAD 600 - Annual Conference  as an introduction to the philosophy of leadership and review of the standards that will guide their educational plan. The curriculum consists of a minimum of 90 semester credits beyond the baccalaureate degree and requires the completion of a portfolio and a dissertation. Many courses are offered as variable credits; therefore, candidates should consider their credit needs when planning their course work and registering for courses. The portfolio serves as a component of the doctoral comprehensive examination. Both doctorates require the successful completion of a dissertation.

Beginning the semester after registering for LEAD 880 , candidates must register for at least 1 dissertation credit during each semester until their dissertation is successfully defended.

Program Objectives

Guiding Principles

The Higher Education program of Andrews University is committed to the fundamental guiding principles of the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS), a consortium of 35 professional associations concerned with the development and promulgation of professional standards and guidelines for student learning and personal development support programs and services in institutions of higher learning.

According to the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, the five guiding principles for Higher Education can be summarized as follows:

1. Students and Their Institutions (the student must be considered as a whole person)

  • Each student is a unique person and must be treated as such.
  • The student’s total environment is educational and must be used to achieve full development.
  • Students seek higher education in responsible ways and will, when encouraged to do so, access appropriate educational resources when they are provided, made known, and relevant to students’ felt educational and developmental needs.
  • Institutions of higher learning are purposeful and function as social and cultural resources to provide opportunities for students to learn and develop in holistic ways.
  • The primary responsibility for learning and development rests with the student.
  • Institutions of higher learning reflect the diversity of the societies and cultures in which they exist.
  • Institutions are responsible for creating learning environments that provide a choice of educational opportunities and challenge students to learn and develop while providing support to nurture their development.

2. Diversity and Multiculturalism

  • Institutions embrace diversity and eliminate barriers that impede student learning.
  • Justice and respect for differences bond individuals to community.
  • Education for multicultural awareness and positive regard for differences is essential to the development and maintenance of a health-engendering society.
  • All students must have access to the educational and co-curricular resources available to the academic community at large; no student, for any reason, should be denied access to them.

3. Organization, Educational Administration, and Human Resources

  • Capable, credible, knowledgeable, and experienced educational administration is essential for institutional success.
  • Organizational units are most successful when their missions and outcome expectations are effectively documented and understood by all concerned.
  • Effective programs and services require well-qualified staff members who understand and support the student learning and development outcomes the programs are intended to provide.
  • Leaders and staff members alike must possess effective managerial skills, be properly titled, and be well-qualified by both education and experience.

4. Health-Engendering Environments

  • Educational programs and services prosper in benevolent environments that provide students with appropriate levels of challenge and support.
  • The primary purpose of education has always been to promote change, both in individuals and in society. College and university student support programs are first and foremost educational enterprises.

5. Ethical Considerations

  • Ethical standards are essential to guide the behavior of staff members in ways that enhance the program’s overall integrity.
  • Because special mentoring relationships develop between students and those who facilitate their learning and development, support service providers must exemplify impeccable ethical behavior in both their professional relationships and personal lives.

International Focus

Higher education is becoming an increasingly global phenomenon characterized by international trade in educational services. For this reason, the Higher Education program is structured with an international focus. As an international Adventist institution, Andrews University is uniquely positioned to offer the following opportunities:

International Study Tour. A seminar in International Higher Education in the format of a summer tour to visit systems of higher education that have influenced post-secondary education in different parts of the world, such as Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. The tour includes campus visits and interaction with faculty and students of public, private, and Adventist international institutions of higher education, and meets the requirements of master’s and doctoral programs. Travel expenses are mostly covered by tuition credits.

International Internships. The Higher Education program works with international Seventh-day Adventist colleges and universities to develop an internship program that integrates theory and research with the practice of higher education in international settings. The extent and format of these programs vary and are negotiated on a personal basis between the participant and the institution.

Intercultural Seminar. This is a seminar in intercultural communication that explores the role of culture and diversity in today’s organizations in order to develop cross-cultural competence and sensitivity. Explores issues such as effective communication across group barriers, leadership and culture, and the impact of cultural differences on relationships, decision making, motivation, conflict management, human resource development, and other leadership issues.

For further information, students may contact the coordinator of the Higher Education program.

Program Outcomes

Competencies of the Program

Higher Education requires theoretical knowledge and practical application in the following core competencies:

1. Self-Development Competencies: This cluster of competencies focuses on the self awareness, intellectual growth, and the personal and professional identity required for inspiring and supporting the development of college students.

a. Philosophical foundations—Higher Education functions within the context of multiple perspectives and a personal belief system and worldview that influence their practice.
b. Ethics, values, and spirituality—Higher Education functions from a set of principles and personal values that guide their work, promote healthy behavior, and influence decision making and their relationships with others.
c. Human development and career choice—Higher Education is committed to continuous learning and personal development, articulating career choices based on assessment of interests, values, skills and abilities resulting from formal education, work experience, community service and volunteer experiences. 

2. Interpersonal Development Competencies: This cluster of competencies focuses on the interpersonal aspects of Higher Education that promote growth and development of others and challenge students to learn and develop in holistic ways.

a. Effective communication and mentoring—Higher Education fosters effective communication in all internal and external interactions, to establish and maintain cooperative relationships that are trust-centered, providing empowerment that results in personal and performance improvement toward satisfying mutual objectives.
b. Appreciating diversity—Higher Education values one’s own identity and culture and articulates the advantages and challenges of a diverse society, promoting multicultural awareness and positive regard for differences.
c. Social responsibility—Higher Education is accountable to others and endeavors to see that family, community, and environmental needs are met in local and in global ways, as appropriate. 

3. Leadership and Organizational Development Competencies: This cluster of competencies addresses the organizational aspects of Higher Education, focusing on the achievement of goals and programs that make colleges and universities an educational enterprise.

a. Resource development; human and financial—Higher Education appropriately develops, allocates and manages human and financial resources for promoting change and fostering healthy and strategic outcomes.
b. Legal and policy issues—Higher Education applies and understands the scope of a legal and policy structure appropriate for their field.
c. Organizational behavior, change, and culture—Higher Education understands personal, group, and inter-group behaviors, and how they impact the organizational culture and shape the vision and strategy for facilitating the change

4. Research Development Competency: Research skills are necessary for engaging in organizational development, assessment and evaluation, and other Higher Education projects.

Conducting, evaluating and reporting research—Higher Education understands the logic and processes of scientific inquiry, explains major research methodologies, formulates empirically-driven research problems, selects appropriate research designs, conducts basic data collection and analysis and adequately communicates research findings and implements the findings in the workplace.