Higher Education Administration and Policy

Higher Education Administration and Policy Ph.D. Program

Dr. Raquel Rall and higher education doctoral students

The Higher Education Administration and Policy doctoral program is ideal for those who want to engage in higher education policy research or have a deep desire to improve their administrative practice. With its rigorous immersion in theory and methodology, this program will provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to research and understand the complex challenges facing higher education administration and policymakers today. You will be a part of a small group of doctoral students who work closely in an apprentice-style relationship with faculty on funded research projects. Among our students are faculty members, deans of community colleges, and administrators at state colleges and universities from throughout California.

Specialization Overview


  • Start Term: Fall only
  • Program Length: Approximately 5 years
  • Units: 60 minimum
  • Format: In-person instruction on Riverside campus
  • Schedule: Each class meets once a week 4-7pm (Monday-Thursday)
  • 94% of students receive multi-year fellowships

Steps to Degree Completion

  1. Complete coursework
  2. Written qualifying exam
  3. Oral qualifying exam/pre-proposal
  4. Proposal approved by dissertation committee
  5. Dissertation and final defense

Students admitted to the Ph.D. program are often offered a multi-year fellowship which covers tuition and health insurance and provides a stipend and/or paycheck during the academic year. It is recommended that students complete the program full time to meet the fellowship requirements working as a Teaching Assistant (TA) or Graduate Student Researcher (GSR). These duties require students to be available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for 15-20 hours per week.

Quarterly costs may be viewed here




Curriculum Overview

The full-time program is offered on a quarter calendar beginning in Fall, and requires a minimum of 60 units of course work. In consultation with the faculty advisor, a student selects the Quantitative or the Qualitative Methods strand to complete, plus one course from the strand they did not select. Students will also take 2 or more electives, and a required teaching and professional development course.

Career Opportunities

Students are eligible to become: 

  • Faculty
  • Researchers
  • Policy analysts in postsecondary institutions and public or private agencies
  • Senior-level higher education administrators

Let us help you with your search