2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    Apr 21, 2021  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

Education PhD, Higher Education Track

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College: Community Innovation and Education Degree: PhD
Department: Educational Leadership and Higher Education Option: Dissertation
Program Website: https://ccie.ucf.edu/elhe/higher-education-and-policy-studies/

Track Description

This program has temporarily suspended admission effective Fall 2020.

The Higher Education track in the Education PhD program is designed for applicants who have extensive experience as administrators or staff in postsecondary institutions who want to pursue careers as scholars and leaders.

A doctoral degree in this track will broaden the analytical skills necessary to contribute to the advancement of the field of higher education through research, administration and teaching. The students in this program are considered future leaders interested in intensive study of the organizational and policy issues influencing the diverse sector comprising contemporary American postsecondary education.


The Higher Education track in the Education PhD program requires 75 credit hours beyond the master’s degree. The curriculum includes 24 credit hours of core courses, 27 credit hours of specialization courses, and 24 credit hours of dissertation.  

Total Credit Hours Required: 75 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Master’s Degree

Required Courses: 51 Credit Hours

Core: 24 Credit Hours

Candidacy Examination: 0 Credit Hours (Required for Advancement to Candidacy [Dissertation hours])

Candidacy examinations will be scheduled near the tenth week of the fall and spring semesters; summer exams will not be offered.  The exams are:

  • Part 1. Written examination (submitted through webcourses)
  • Part 2. Oral examination 

Evidence of the following are required to be eligible to complete the doctoral comprehensive examination in the Education PhD program, Higher Education track:

  • Currently enrolled in the university during the semester any comprehensive examination is taken.
  • Submission of an approved program of study (overall GPA 3.0 or greater on all graduate work).
  • Completion of most course work. (Students may only take exams when only 2-3 semesters of course work remain. This statement does not refer to dissertation hours.)
  • In consultation with program faculty, the dissertation advisory committee is formed, paperwork filed, and approved. (Committee consists of four members: a minimum of three approved CCIE graduate faculty and one approved graduate faculty scholar or CCIE faculty.)
  • Submission of an approved doctoral comprehensive examination application by the stated deadline.
  • Fulfill any program deadlines for submitting comprehensive examination content-related materials (topics, questions, etc.) to the program coordinator by the stated deadline. (See program website for details HEPS: https://ccie.ucf.edu/elhe/higher-education-and-policy-studies/programs/#doc) .


Candidacy is the stage of doctoral studies when students focus exclusively on planning, researching and writing their proposal and dissertation. To enter candidacy for the Education Ph.D. program, Higher Education track, students must have an overall 3.0 GPA on all graduate work included in the planned program and pass all required examinations. In addition, evidence of the following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours at least one week before the first day of classes for which the students wishes to enroll in dissertation hours: 

  • Submission of an approved program of study.
  • Completion of all course work, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of all parts of the candidacy examinations. 
  • In consultation with program faculty, the dissertation advisory committee is formed, paperwork filed, and approved. (Committee consists of four members: a minimum of three approved CCIE graduate faculty and one approved graduate faculty scholar or CCIE faculty.)

Note: Once students enter Candidacy, they must enroll in a minimum of three dissertation hours (see below) every semester (including summers), until they graduate from the program.

Dissertation: 24 Credit Hours

Registration for dissertation hours is not permitted until the student is admitted to Candidacy.

Doctoral students must work with their doctoral adviser/major professor to prepare a proposal and present and defend  the proposal to the dissertation committee. Once the proposal is completed and approval is secured from the UCF Institutional Review Board (IRB), students conduct research and submit and defend the final research dissertation to their dissertation committee.

Required Documentation During Dissertation Stage

All items listed are necessary to fulfill the requirements to graduate.

  • Application to Defend Dissertation Proposal
  • Dissertation Proposal Approval
  • Application for IRB Approval of Research
  • Defense  Dissertation Announcement 
  • Dissertation Approval
  • Application to Graduate
  • All necessary requirements of the College of Graduate Studies for graduation

Independent Learning

The dissertation satisfies the independent learning experience.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions  section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements , applicants to this program must provide:

  • Evidence of a minimum of one year full-time or two years part-time professional higher education work experience. Evidence may include, but not be limited to, any one of the following: work experience listed on the resume/CV with confirmation email/telephone, letter of reference, or copies of annual reviews, etc.(Please note that graduate assistantships, teaching assistantships, internships and practica do not fulfill this requirement.)     
  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (on 4.0 scale) in the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate degree.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (on 4.0 scale) for all graduate work at the time of application.
  • A master’s degree in a closely related field from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years.
  • Three letters of recommendation (electronic or hard copy).
  • Goal statement. (Describe the following: preparedness for the program, career goals related to program, and potential area of research interest in the program.)     
  • Resumé/CV.
  • Submit one of the following writing samples: research paper, journal article, grant proposal, policy analysis, or program evaluation.

Application Deadlines

Higher Education *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 1 Jan 1    
International Applicants Jan 1 Jan 1    
*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information  section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.

Contact Info

Graduate Program

Thomas Cox EdD
Associate Professor
ED 315  

Graduate Admissions

Christina Dabrowski
Telephone: 407-823-2766
Millican Hall 230
Online Application
Graduate Admissions

Mailing Address

UCF College of Graduate Studies
Millican Hall 230
PO Box 160112
Orlando, FL 32816-0112

Institution Codes
GRE: 5233
TOEFL: 5233
ETS PPI: 5233

Graduate Fellowships

Grad Fellowships
Telephone: 407-823-0127

Graduate Financial Aid

UCF Student Financial Assistance
Millican Hall 120
Telephone: 407-823-2827
Appointment Line: 407-823-5285
Fax: 407-823-5241

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