Earning a PhD focused on higher education at UMass Amherst helps prepare graduates for careers as administrators, policymakers, researchers, and faculty members. Most importantly, our emphasis on scholarly practice helps graduates support student success through evidence-based policies and interventions as well as rigorous empirical research. 

Our doctoral program is research and writing intensive. You’ll complete 42 credits of coursework and 10 dissertation credits. Along the way, you will develop a mastery of research methods and key issues and concepts in at least one major area of study within higher education (e.g., student learning and development; social justice, oppression and diversity; assessment, evaluation, and research methods; or policy, politics, and economics). You will also develop new methodological, theoretical, and analytical skills that will support you as you complete a comprehensive exam and then write a dissertation. 

Doctoral students in our PhD program come from a range of backgrounds and professions. Some attend UMass full time (taking three courses each semester) while many attend part time while working full time.