Influence Higher Education Policy and Practice with the PhD in Higher Education

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  Online: Low Residency at Azusa (main campus)

The Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education prepares graduates for positions as faculty, researchers, and academic leaders who are able to conduct original research that contributes to higher education policy and practice, and to interpret and communicate the results of that research through their writing, teaching, and leadership.

Program Highlights

  • Cohort model designed for working professionals in higher education
  • Sequenced, lock-step curriculum enables students to complete the full degree, including dissertation, within four years at a guaranteed tuition rate
  • Two weeks at APU each January and July, with online instruction and meetings at professional conferences in between
  • Unique strengths-based approach to teaching, learning, leadership, and research
  • Experienced faculty who are professionally active scholars committed to student success
  • International travel as part of the Global Policy course exposes all students to international higher education policy and practice
  • All students join a faculty member’s research team for two years of hands-on experience doing research that makes a difference
  • Leadership skills and competencies, including emotional intelligence, are woven throughout the curriculum
  • Comprehensive exams that are practical demonstrations of program competencies in leadership, student success, and social justice/diversity
  • Social justice perspectives and faith integration are woven throughout the curriculum

Learn more about the program and our faculty.

Low-Residency Format

The PhD in Higher Education program accommodates working professionals through a low-residency format. Two-week intensive sessions are held at APU each January and July, with ongoing online instruction and additional meetings at professional conferences.

International Learning Experience

With a visit to New Zealand, second-year PhD students are offered a unique opportunity to examine higher education policies at the international level, with a special focus on social justice in postsecondary settings among indigenous student populations. Students enroll in two courses during the spring semester in preparation for a week in Auckland, New Zealand, visiting universities and sites related to indigenous knowledge. In the course on Global Policy Analysis in Higher Education, students will examine core policy principles, the culture of higher education, and critical theory. In Qualitative Research Methods, students will learn principles of observational research and interviewing skills that will be applied during the trip. This enriching experience provides students with the opportunity to deeply reflect on issues of policy and justice from a Christian perspective, as well as hone their skills of observation. All in-country costs of the trip except items of a personal nature are included in tuition. Students are responsible for their own airfare to and from Auckland.

Which One is for You—EdD or PhD?

The Department of Higher Education also offers an EdD in Higher Education for higher education professionals who work full time. Compare Higher Education’s PhD and EdD (PDF)

APU also offers an elementary and secondary education-focused Doctor of Education program through the School of Education.

School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences Accreditation

Azusa Pacific University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

University Reputation

Azusa Pacific University secured a place in the most prestigious category of U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges 2019 rankings, and also ranked No. 22 for First-Year Experience, No. 23 in Service Learning, and No. 31 in Campus Ethnic Diversity. In addition, Forbes and The Princeton Review included Azusa Pacific in their America’s Top Colleges 2019 and 2020 Best Western Colleges rankings, respectively. Azusa Pacific is also a military-friendly Yellow Ribbon University, serving more than 500 military-connected students and families, and is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as an R2 Doctoral Research University.

Note: This information is current for the 2021-22 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.