Best 15 Ph.D. in Higher Education Programs in 2024

January 26, 2024 | Admin

PhD in Higher Education

Why Choose a Ph.D. in Higher Education?

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A Ph.D. in Higher Education puts students in a position to make real changes in their school systems and communities. They may work as superintendents, principals, educational researchers or in other roles. There are a multitude of optional career paths and focuses, making this a varied career option as well.

Choosing a career in higher education is a good idea, based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s because the BLS expects careers for those with a doctorate in higher education to grow by 10% by 2026.

Top 5 Ph.D. in Higher Education Programs

Rank School Location
1University of West AlabamaLivingston, Alabama
2Arkansas State UniversityJonesboro, Arkansas
3University of KansasLawrence, Kansas
4Fairleigh Dickinson UniversityTeaneck, New Jersey
5University of DaytonDayton, Ohio

Choosing a Ph.D. in Higher Education

This degree allows students to work in administrative roles, such as becoming a principal, or becoming an instructional coordinator. Someone with an EdD is likely to get an average salary of $78,000. Superintendents, by comparison, have an average salary of $116,619.

Below are the top 15 schools we believe offer a great Ph.D. in Higher Education based on the total tuition compared with the overall enrollment. If you need assistance finding a program for your education, contact us so we can help.

Best 15 Ph.D. in Higher Education Programs


University of West Alabama

  • Livingston, Alabama

The University of West Alabama offers an Ed.D. in Rural Education that is unique from some other higher-education programs. It focuses on the unique challenges found in rural educational areas. The program consists of between 60 and 66 credit hours and can be completed in three to four years.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $6,678
Enrollment: 5,653
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Arkansas State University

  • Jonesboro, Arkansas

At Arkansas State University, a Doctorate of Educational Leadership is available. The program consists of 60 credit hours and may be completed in as few as 40 months.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $4,986
Enrollment: 13,356
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University of Kansas

  • Lawrence, Kansas

The University of Kansas offers an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership and Policy – Administration and Educational Leadership and Policy – Higher Education. Each program is focused on different educators, from those working in K-12 school districts to those looking to work at colleges or non-profits.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $9,989
Enrollment: 27,552
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Fairleigh Dickinson University

  • Teaneck, New Jersey

Students at Fairleigh Dickinson University can take a doctoral program for an Ed.D. Higher Education. The program takes around 26 months to complete and has 45 total credit hours.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $22,186
Enrollment: 3,366
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University of Dayton

  • Dayton, Ohio

The University of Dayton offers a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. The program allows students to specialize in Higher Education Administration or PreK-12 School Administration.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $17,190
Enrollment: 11,473
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University of Georgia

  • Athens, Georgia

At the University of Georgia, students can get an Executive Ed.D. in Higher Education Management. This is a two-year, accelerated program for those who are already working in post-secondary, senior-level or education middle-level positions.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $8,878
Enrollment: 38,920
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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers an Ed.D in Curriculum and Instruction, Curriculum and Instruction Licensure and Educational Leadership. The program is aimed at those teaching K-12. Apprenticeships, internships and a doctoral dissertation are required to graduate.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $10,552
Enrollment: 29,877
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Florida State University

  • Tallahassee, Florida

Florida State University offers multiple doctoral degrees in education as well as a direct doctoral degree in Higher Education. The program at Florida State has multiple tracks and areas for specialization. Public policy and student affairs options are both possible with the higher education degree path.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $9,684
Enrollment: 42,450
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Baylor University

  • Waco, Texas

At Baylor University, students may seek a Ph.D. in Higher Education Studies and Leadership. The Baylor HESL program consists of 72 credit hours and takes three years of coursework with another one to two years for the dissertation. It is a full-time program for those who desire to have a meaningful, lasting influence on higher education. The program offers a balance of research, academic rigor and hands-on professional experience to prepare scholars and practitioners for careers in leadership. The program is ideal for students who hold a master’s degree and want to study higher education to become senior leaders or faculty members at colleges and universities. The program offers full tuition coverage and a stipend for the 20-hour per week apprenticeship.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $32,130
Enrollment: 18,033
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University of Pittsburgh

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, students at the University of Pittsburgh can seek one of several doctorates in education. The school has eight programs, one of which is the Ed.D. in Higher Education Management. The programs consist of a three-year curriculum with 60 credits.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $23,530
Enrollment: 32,686
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Ohio State University

  • Columbus, Ohio

Ohio State University offers three doctoral degrees in educational studies and administration, educational studies with a focus on higher education and student affairs and a doctoral degree in kinesiology with a focus on physical education. The school has two Ed.D. tracks to choose from and is ranked highly among other doctoral programs.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $11,560
Enrollment: 61,391
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Michigan State University

  • East Lansing, Michigan

Michigan State University offers a doctoral degree in educational leadership with a focus on K12 administration. The program is a three-year doctorate program that has a three-week overseas trip with the Fellowship to Enhance Global Understanding.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $18,858
Enrollment: 49,809
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Boston University

  • Boston, Massachusetts

Boston University falls to the bottom of the list due to high enrollment rates and a high tuition cost. However, the school does offer four doctoral degrees in education with multiple specializations and degree tracks available. Some include working in educational leadership and policy, counseling psychology or curriculum and teaching.

School Overview

Tuition (in-state): $54,720
Enrollment: 33,720
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Ranking Specifications

The rankings in this article were assembled by ranking the schools based on overall tuition and overall enrollment. They were scored from 1 to 15 for either category. Those scores were then added together and ranked in descending order. While every effort has been made to provide accurate assessments of these programs, be aware that the results are not guaranteed. This list is subject to change.

Do you have questions about how your school ranked? We’d be more than happy to talk to you about the outcome of our ranking and to adjust any information that you disagree with. Don’t see your school here? Let us know that you’re interested in being ranked, and we’ll work with you.

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Whether you’re trying to start your career or make a big change, we can help you find the perfect school to help you reach your goals.

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