Higher Education Ph.D. Curriculum

The Ph.D. program is designed to offer students both the rigorous methodological preparation required to undertake educational inquiry at the highest levels and the flexibility for students to work with their Program of Study Committees (POSCs) to pursue coursework and experiences that support the students’ individual research interests and professional paths. The Ph.D. program requires a minimum of 72 credits.

Course descriptions can be accessed via the Iowa State course catalog.

There are four levels of coursework requirements:

  • School of Education requirements
  • Division requirements
  • Area of emphasis requirements
  • Program of Study Committee requirements

School-Level Requirements

School of Education requirements for students starting summer 2018 or later*

All Ph.D. students in the SOE are required to take the following three courses:

  • EDUC 602: Educational Inquiry In Action (beginning Fall 2019)
    • C I 601: Foundations of Educational Inquiry**
  • ResEv 603: Foundations of Qualitative Inquiry in Education
  • ResEv 604: Advanced Qualitative Inquiry in Education

All Ph.D. students must also take statistics up through multiple regression. The SOE strongly prefers that students take the following courses, which are SOE educational statistics classes that will ground students in educational research and design.

  • ResEv 552: Basic Educational Statistics
  • ResEv 553: Intermediate Educational Statistics

There are, however, other pathways to meet the statistics requirement, including 404 and 568 (formerly STAT 401) in the Department of Statistics. If you are entering the Ph.D. program already versed in multiple regression, please discuss with your POSC in order to determine whether the requirement has been met.

*If you started in the fall of 2017 or prior, please review the requirements in this document and meet with your advisor to ensure all School of Education Ph.D. requirements are met.

**C I 601 is the course call number students should use in their POS in AccessPlus if you took the course during the Summer of 2019 or before. Students taking the course during the Fall of 2019 or after should use the EDUC 602 course number. They are the same class. 

Higher Education Core (18 credits)

  • HG ED 504: History of Higher Education in the United States
  • HG ED 578: Students in American Higher Education
  • HG ED 664: College Organization and Administration
  • HG ED 665: Financing Higher Education
  • HG ED 666: Academic Issues and Cultures
  • HG ED 673X: Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education

Higher Education Electives (6 – 12 credits)

Courses determined by student and POS Committee

  • HG ED 561: College Teaching
  • HG ED 562: Curriculum Development in Colleges
  • HG ED 576: Student Development in Higher Education
  • HG ED 580: Current Topics in Community Colleges
  • HG ED 582: The Comprehensive Community College
  • HG ED 590: Special Topics in Higher Education
  • HG ED 593: Higher Education Workshop
  • HG ED 615: Seminars in Higher Education
  • HG ED 676: Student Development Theory II
  • HG ED 690: Advanced Special Topics in Higher Education

Research (12 – 18 credits)

Minimum qualitative: Understanding & experience with multiple traditions of qualitative inquiry

  • Sequence option example
    • RESEV 603X
    • RESEV 604X

Minimum quantitative: Understanding & experience through multiple regression analysis

  • Sequence option examples:
    • RESEV 552 to RESEV 553
    • STAT 587 to STAT 404
      • Note: STAT 587 was formerly STAT 401 but was recently changed. Future course numbering changes may be in the future for the STAT program but for now, the sequence for STAT options would be 587/404.

Outside Emphasis Cognate (12 – 18 credits)

Focus and courses determined by student and POS Committee

Dissertation (12 credits)

  • HG ED 699