About the Program
APU’s Department of Doctoral Higher Education programs are driven by these core values:
- A commitment to rigorous research that makes a difference in real-world settings
- A commitment to enable students to become “big picture” thinkers who are people of character and integrity
- A strengths-oriented perspective on learning and leadership that encourages students to reach their full potential and teaches them how to lead effectively by developing the strengths of others
- A commitment to diversity and an international perspective that enhances learning and leadership effectiveness
- A commitment to mentoring doctoral students academically, professionally, and personally
The Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Program meets on campus full time for two weeks each July and two weeks each January. At each visit, students conclude two courses and begin two new ones. Between sessions on campus, faculty and students are in communication with one another and assignments are submitted electronically. This schedule enables working professionals from the U.S. and abroad to participate in the program.
In addition, all students join a research team when beginning the program. This research team meets twice yearly in conjunction with professional conferences for which students receive one unit of credit each term.
The Ph.D. program has two areas of concentrations: Organizational Leadership and Student Success. Students in both concentrations take a common core of foundational courses (18 units) shared with students in the Ed.D. program. All students in the Ph.D. program take 20 units of coursework specifically designed to develop their skills as researchers (compared with 12 units of research coursework in the Ed.D. program). The remaining courses in the Ph.D. program are devoted to the chosen concentration (12 units) and electives (4 units).
The APU Experience
APU's doctoral programs in higher education are intensive programs for the working professional. As such, there are distinctive features of these programs that make the APU experience a life-changing one for our students.
The Cohort Model
Students are admitted to the intensive program as part of a cohort. Cohorts are typically 10-15 students who are employed full-time in higher education or a related field. They take courses in a carefully designed sequence and stay with their cohort throughout the program, as much as possible. This affords students the benefit of a network of professional colleagues with whom to study and conduct research. Our students report that their fellow students are one of the highlights of being in the intensive program.
In the intensive program, students come to APU twice a year for 10 days each time. Morning classes are offered 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m./12 p.m. and afternoon classes meet from 1:30-5 p.m. Two courses are offered each term. Each class consists of five days in July and five days in January; each term, two classes are starting and two classes are concluding. In between terms, students are working online on course assignments.
Registration and Books
Students register for classes when they arrive on campus. Payment for doctoral courses is due each term. A textbook list is sent in advance to students. Doctoral students are expected to complete some assigned reading in advance.
Campus housing in an air-conditioned residence hall, including kitchen facilities, is available to doctoral students during the July intensive session. University food service facilities are also open and there are many restaurants within easy walking distance of the Azusa campus. In January, doctoral students must arrange for their own off-campus housing. A complete housing packet is sent to doctoral students prior to arrival for the January and July on-campus sessions.
APU also provides housing resources through the Office of Asset Management. Asset Management manages Azusa Pacific University’s non-campus rental properties reserved for graduate, international and ALCI graduate, married undergraduate, other non-traditional students, and faculty/staff, as well as maintains up-to-date listings of housing opportunities for the larger APU and local communities. Please contact Asset Management for additional information about available housing options near APU.
Support from Your Home Institution
Students in this program hail from many different kinds of institutions throughout the world. Their home institutions provide various levels of support for these professional students who are pursuing graduate education. Please consider asking your home institution to support you in your advanced educational efforts. Types of institutional support students receive from their home institutions include the following: release time for professional development (2-4 weeks); funds for airfare, housing, and meals (as if attending a professional conference); book purchases; and tuition subsidy (faculty/staff development funds or benefit packages).
Local Airports and Transportation
Ontario International Airport (ONT) is the closest airport to APU, located approximately 25 minutes away. The Burbank (BUR), Los Angeles International (LAX), Long Beach (LGB), and John Wayne (SNA) airports are all about an hour from campus. Shuttle vans are available from the airport for a fee; however, most students arrange for a rental car. Ph.D. students receive a list of students who are flying in for the intensives each year, so that car pooling and airport pickups can be arranged.
Graduates of the Ph.D. in Higher Education are expected to:
- Conduct and disseminate original research that extends the theoretical knowledge base of higher education policy and practice and answers meaningful questions.
- Competently engage the critical issues and help shape the conversations that affect the future direction of higher education at the national and international level.
- Lead effectively, collaboratively, and with vision.
- Articulate and evaluate a strengths-based approach to teaching, learning, and leadership development.
- Foster optimal learning in the students they serve, through effective pedagogy and institutional practices that are learning-centered.
- Articulate and evaluate a Christian perspective on effective leadership in higher education.
- Effectively address personal, institutional, and systemic injustices through competent policy analysis, formulation, and revision, as well as individual actions.