Higher Education, Ph.D.

The doctoral degree in Higher Education prepares graduates to address the complex and interconnected issues facing higher education around the world through deep foundational knowledge and integrated practical experiences.

This program focuses on application of theory and research to the study of higher education. Giving the increasing diversity of college student backgrounds, critical reforms are needed in higher education to develop diverse curriculum, practices, policies, and pedagogies that embrace and build upon students’ talents, experiences, and potential to help them learn, develop, and success. Students analyze higher education at various levels, including individual students, student populations, institutions, and systems of higher education.

Application Deadline: February 1 | More admissions information

Our partnership with the Syracuse University Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience, as well as colleges and universities throughout the Central New York area, helps provide immersive field placements and assistantships for our students. In particular the Laboratory in Learning Communities course — the only of its kind in the nation — uniquely preparing students to leader initiatives that blur the lines between academic and student life issues to promote learning on college campuses.

A hallmark of our programs is the collaboration and community developed amongst a cohort of scholars. Many of our courses require group work to prepare students for the collaborative environment of higher education administration. The Higher Education programs and department also encourages research and project partnerships between students, faculty, and administration.

Expertise in teaching and instruction is also developed with the department and with participation in the Future Professoriate Program. This includes orientations, year-round services for teaching assistants, and opportunities to co-teach with fellow doctoral students and department faculty, guest lecture, and independent instruction.

Our department and our faculty have a national reputation that leads our graduates to be embraced by a vibrant job market offering a wide variety of opportunities and positions. Our graduates work across higher education administration, university faculty and teaching positions, research and writing, educational policy, and professional development work.

A strength of our program is our partnerships across Syracuse University and other local schools and organizations that provide intensive internships, where students are often supervised by our alumni. These include:

  • Syracuse University offices like Residence Life, Multicultural Collective, Alumni Engagement, Athletics, New Student Programs, Greek Life, Student Engagement, Admissions, Career Services, Veteran Affairs, International Serices, and Student Rights and Responsibilities
  • Academic, student engagement, and inclusion-related offices at local institutions like SUNY ESF, LeMoyne College, Onondaga Community College, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Hamilton College, and Utica College.
  • Other organizations like On Point for College, Say Yes to Education, POSSE Foundation, Creating Change, Association of College and University Housing Officers, American College Personnel Association, and Imagining America.

Leading the way: Higher Education alumni in institutional leadership roles

Program Contacts

Speranza Migliore, Graduate Academic Advisor
Speranza Migliore
Dawn Johnson, Associate Professor
Dawn Johnson