HIED Curriculum

The Ph.D. program in higher education administration requires the successful completion of a minimum of 64 credit hours of coursework beyond the master’s degree and a global understanding component. The exact number of credit hours will be determined by the student’s program advisor based on a review of previous graduate transcripts, the student’s professional aspiration and personal circumstances, and the Ph.D. requirements of both the HIED program and the Graduate College.

Core HIED coursework is offered primarily during the academic year, 6:00 p.m. to 8:50 p.m.  Select courses are offered over the summer.  Full-time students can complete the coursework in two years.  Part-time students typically take three years to complete coursework.  Students' preliminary examination and dissertation work follow the completion of coursework.

Students who have already completed courses equivalent to those required by the HIED program may, with the permission of their program advisors and the chair of the Department of Higher Education and Student Affairs, substitute those courses for the required courses and complete an equivalent number of credit hours in elective courses. Regardless of course substitutions, all students must complete at least 64 post-master’s credit hours at BGSU.

The minimum 64 credit hours of coursework are allocated as follows:

Core Courses

  • 15 credit hours
Research Methodology Courses
  • 15 credit hours


  • 9 credit hours

Diversity and Social Justice Courses

  • 6 credit hours
Seminar Courses
  • 3 credit hours
Dissertation Research
  • 16 credit hours
(Courses are 3 credit hours unless otherwise noted)


BGSU HIED Learning Outcomes

Students are expected to integrate and synthesize content across domains.  Learning outcomes are achieved through engagement in course work, independent research, employment, co-curricular and professional experiences, and interaction with faculty, peers, and university leaders.  

Administration and Leadership in Higher Education

• Understand the history, philosophy, sociology, and law pertaining to governance, administration, and leadership in higher education institutions and systems
• Articulate how higher education is differentiated by mission, sector, curriculum, size, and stakeholders
• Evaluate and apply organizational theories and models to create and lead effective organizations
• Develop effective practices and policies to create socially-just higher education institutions and systems

Postsecondary Students’ Learning and Development

• Understand the demographic profile and trends of college students in the U.S.
• Analyze and critique models and theories of student learning and development and understand the cultural factors that influence their creation and use
• Articulate the effect of individual and group differences and similarities on students' learning and development
• Create environments, policies, programs, and services that promote deep learning and foster the success of all students
• Collaborate within and beyond the institution to foster student learning, growth, and development

Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice

• Articulate the experiences of historically underrepresented and marginalized groups in higher education in the United States
• Understand issues of diversity, equity, and social justice in higher education
• Evaluate and create socially just policies and practices in higher education
• Understand a non-U.S. higher education system in the context of its culture
• Understand how U.S. higher education is similar to and different from other higher education systems
• Understand the role of globalization in higher education

Inquiry: Assessment, Evaluation, and Research

• Articulate paradigmatic assumptions that underlie different approaches to research, evaluation, and assessment
• Understand and interpret results from programmatic and institutional assessments
• Develop expertise in at least one research methodology
• Apply best practices of assessment and evaluation in postsecondary education
• Analyze qualitative and quantitative data to address research questions
• Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of research and assessment studies
• Create and implement at least one assessment project and one research study

Core Courses

HIED 7105: Foundations of Higher Education

This course emphasizes the social foundations of higher education as well as the history, curriculum, and philosophy. [sample syllabus]

HIED 7110: Governance and Organization of Higher Education

In this seminar, emphasis is placed on developing an understanding of the missions, organizational structures, and governance of institutions of higher education. [sample syllabus]

HIED 7120: Administration of Higher Education

This seminar involves an exploration of the functional areas/skills that contribute to the effective administration of institutions of higher education. Emphasis is placed on planning, leadership, personnel administration, and facility management in the higher education environment. (Prerequisite: HIED 7110 or consent of instructor)

HIED 7210: Law in Higher Education

This course emphasizes the legal environments of postsecondary institutions, legal processes and analyses, and problems incurred in the administration of colleges and universities.

HIED 7310: Postsecondary Students in the U.S.

This course offers a comprehensive overview of postsecondary students in the U.S. from the perspective of demographic, psychological, and cultural differences; patterns of growth and change during the college years; and the expected educational outcomes of college attendance.

Research Methodology Courses

EDFI 7510: Advanced Quantitative Methods in Education I

This course involves theoretical and philosophical constructs in research designs and projects, formulation and critique of research proposals, and statistical inference and application of selected techniques (basic research designs, chi-square, F-statistics, measures of relationships, covariance analyses, and other topics). (Taken concurrently with EDFI 6410: Statistics in Education or exemption from advisor) 

EDFI 7520: Advanced Quantitative Methods in Education II

This is a continuation of EDFI 7510. It is the second semester of a two-semester course sequence. (Prerequisite: EDFI 7510) [sample syllabus]

HIED 7510: Qualitative Research Problems and Methods in Higher Education

This seminar is an examination of alternative paradigms and methods of research in higher education with a comprehensive overview of extant models, including naturalistic inquiry, case study, and ethnography, and their application to problems and practices in higher education. [sample syllabus]

HIED 7520: Issues and Methods of Applied Inquiry in Higher Education

This course focuses on research methods used by higher education administrators and emphasizes the application of data or information to the processes of decision-making and policy formulation. (Prerequisites: EDFI 7510, EDFI 7520, HIED 7510) [sample syllabus]

HIED 7530: Advanced Qualitative Research Problems and Methods in Higher Education II

This course is intended to prepare students to collect, analyze, and report qualitative data. The tools, strategies, and criteria used within the five main qualitative traditions (e.g. phenomenology, grounded theory, narrative, case study, and ethnography) will be emphasized. (Prerequisite: HIED 7510 or permission of the instructor)

Diversity and Social Justice Courses

Six credit hours of graduate coursework must be completed in courses focused on diversity and social justice. These courses can be taken within HESA or elsewhere at BGSU or at another university. If you complete your Global Understanding requirement for credit, those credits may count toward your Diversity and Social Justice credits.

BGSU offers several graduate certificate programs (e.g., women's studies, ethnic studies). A student could satisfy the diversity and social justice requirement through completion of a certificate program. Graduate certificates are described in the Graduate College. Students are reminded that no more than three courses at the 5000-level may be counted toward the PhD.

A maximum of three credit hours earned in practicum/internship or independent study/directed readings courses may be applied to the diversity and social justice requirement. The remaining three credit hours must be associated with formal classroom instruction. Credit hours earned in other courses required by the HIED program (e.g., core courses or research methodology courses) may not be counted toward the diversity and social justice requirement.

Dissertation Seminar and Research

HIED 7800: Graduate Seminar in Higher Education: Dissertation Seminar

This course is designed to help students prepare for the dissertation process and should be completed during the last year of coursework. Selection of research topics/methods, selection of committee chairs/members, and steps in the dissertation completion process are emphasized. (2 credits – summer semester) (sample syllabus)  

HIED 7990: Dissertation Research

Students must maintain continuous registration in this course while they are completing their dissertations. A minimum of 16 credit hours of HIED 7990 is required for the Ph.D. (variable credit hours)

The BGSU Thesis and Dissertation Handbook has more information about writing a dissertation, including a helpful checklist. 

Global Understanding Requirement

The global understanding requirement (GUR) is intended to assist students in developing a holistic perspective of higher education through knowledge of its internal and external constituents within the global community. 

To complete this requirement students must demonstrate an understanding of a non-U.S. culture (international students must select a culture other than their own) and the effects of that culture on its system of postsecondary education. Students must work with their program advisors, preferably during their first semester in the HIED program, to develop their plans for completing their global understanding requirement. Proposals must be approved by the student’s advisor and the HIED Program Coordinator. At the conclusion of the GUR experience, a summative report must be submitted to the advisor. This summative report should address relevant components of the approved proposal.

Student's should complete the global understanding approval form within the first year of the program. Projects must be completed, presented, and approved prior to preliminary examinations.

Students may fulfill the global understanding requirement by taking a course for credit, integrating their projects into existing courses, completing an independent study, studying abroad, or completing internships in other cultures. The following are the most common ways in which students have pursued their global understanding of higher education:

  • Completion of EDFI 7010: Comparative Higher Education – Analysis of worldwide higher education systems. [sample syllabus]
  • Completion of internships or study abroad programs at universities in other countries. If students choose this option, they must immerse themselves in the cultures selected for a minimum of one month.
  • Independent study of a particular culture and the influences of that culture on higher education. Perspectives taken may be historical, sociological, religious, economic, etc.

Visit the HIED Global Understanding Requirement website for additional information and examples of past internships. 

Departmental Electives

The following courses have been offered by the HESA program as electives. A maximum of three credit hours for independent study/directed readings or practicum/internship may be included in the cognate. Although additional elective courses (including independent study/directed readings and practicum/internship courses) may not be included in the minimum 64 credit hour requirement for the HIED program, they may be recommended by program advisors to students who have relevant interests and/or who need additional credit hours to fulfill minimum enrollment requirements for students with graduate assistantships. Students may select electives from all graduate courses at the university or, with advisor approval, transfer graduate credits from another institution.

CSP 6010: Foundations and Functions of College Student Personnel
CSP 6020: Theory and Assessment of College Student Development
CSP 6030: Theory and Assessment of Educational Environments
CSP 6035: Multicultural Competence in Student Affairs
CSP 6040: Educational Outcomes of American Colleges and Universities
CSP 6050: Capstone Seminar in College Student Personnel
HIED 7035: Equity and Justice in U.S. Higher Education
HIED 7330: Women in Higher Education
HIED 7340: College and University Teaching
HIED 7800: Graduate Seminar in Higher Education (1-3 credit hours)
HIED 7840: Advanced Readings in Higher Education (1-3 credit hours)
HIED 7890: Higher Education Administration Internship/Field Experience (1-3 credit hours)
HIED 7900: Directed Research in Higher Education (1-4 credit hours)
HIED 7970: Advanced Practicum in Higher Education (1-3 credit hours)
HIED 7980: Readings for the Preliminary Examination (1-12 credit hours)
EDFI 7010: Comparative Higher Education

Information about official policies and procedures can be found in the official Graduate Catalog of Bowling Green State University. Please consult the catalog for University polices and procedures.

Updated: 02/26/2024 10:08AM