Higher Education Program (PhD)
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY - HIGHER EDUCATION (Ph.D)
Dr. Benjamin Welsh
Coordinator, Higher Education Program
Banneker Building #315A
Tel: (443) 885-3748
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The Ph.D. Program in Higher Education at Morgan State University is a research doctorate in higher education as a field of study, which is designed for those persons whose interests are primarily related to high quality professional preparation to pursue career fields in which research and other scholarly skills are absolutely essential. As an essentially competency-based program that focuses more on learning than the mere accumulation of credits, the Ph.D. in Higher Education Program has as its broad mission the preparation of professors, scholars, policy analysts, and administrators who can assume leadership roles in either the public or private sector.
To provide a strong but flexible research oriented doctorate in higher education as a field of study, especially for practicing professionals interested in attaining or improving their positions as professors, researchers and policy analysts in the public and private sectors of higher education.
To strengthen and enhance the research capacity of the University and its ability to broaden its higher education research agenda.
To offer advanced educational opportunities for practicing professions that want to improve their competencies in the field but who may not be interested in pursuing the degree.
To strengthen the University's efforts in the area of diversity and its competitive advantage, particularly in recruiting, admitting and graduating students from all racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
To complement existing doctoral programs, especially to assure more collaborative and cooperative research across educational levels.
To provide an additional level of competencies for those persons whose goal is college/university administration.
Special Admissions Requirements
Official transcripts of all academic work completed at other regionally accredited institutions of higher education, with a GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale for the last two years of undergraduate work; and a GPA of 3.5 or better on all postgraduate study beyond the baccalaureate degree.
Official results of national entrance examinations such as GRE (verbal and quantitative sections), the MAT or the GMAT.
International students, whose native language is not English, must provide a TOEFL score of 550 or higher and demonstrate through the required written documentation and interview that they have requisite verbal and analytical skills needed to successfully complete the program.
2-3 page written statement of applicant's philosophy and career goals in higher education.
A current resume or curriculum vita, documenting professional experiences.
Samples of professional writing, including publications and research proposal abstracts, if available.
Part-time candidates for the Ph.D. degree will satisfy residency requirements by completing 18 credit hours over a period of three consecutive semesters (not including summer). Full-time doctoral candidates must complete two consecutive semesters, carrying 9 credit hours each semester, to satisfy residency requirements. Upon completion of the course requirements and the comprehensive examination, the candidate must complete RDHE 998-Dissertation Seminar (6 credits) and RDHE 999-Dissertation Project
(6 credits), and continue to register for RDHE 997-Dissertation Guidance (3 credits) each semester until the dissertation has been successfully defended.
All requirements for the Ph.D. degree must be completed within a period of seven consecutive years. The granting of a leave of absence by the School of Graduate Studies does not automatically extend this time limit.
The 72-credit hour (minimum) curriculum includes five principal components:
Research Core (18 credit hours of advanced course work in quantitative and qualitative methodology and collaborative field research modules when appropriate): These hours do not include the expectation that matriculated student's present evidence of at least three credit hours in basic statistical analysis. This number (18 credit hours) represents a minimum and a student could expect to take additional research hours depending upon levels of competency upon admission, as well as upon what will eventually be the methodology required for the successful completion of the dissertation project.
All students enrolled in the Ph.D. in Higher Education program path are expected to become competent researchers. Therefore, the program design includes a significant requirement for both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The design also assumes that students admitted will demonstrate competence in basic statistics. Students who do not demonstrate such competence and ability will be required to take an appropriate general survey course in basic statistical methods. It is understood
that the general survey course will not count toward the 18 credit hours (minimum requirement) for the research core.
The 18 credit hours (minimum requirement) must consist of at least the following:
Quantitative Methods (Two graduate-level statistics courses): Course work in experimental and non-experimental design and multivariate techniques constitutes part of the requirements. Also recommended are advanced courses designed specifically to develop expertise with statistical techniques commonly used in educational research. However, other equivalent courses from other disciplines may be substituted. The Program will maintain a list of approved graduate-level courses that are offered by other departments of the University.
Qualitative Methods (Two graduate-level courses): Courses that familiarize students with qualitative approaches to research (e.g., action research, case studies, and ethnographic studies) will be offered on an alternate semester basis by faculty in the School of Education and Urban Studies and through other programs under the auspices of the School of Graduate Studies. The emphasis will be on qualitative methods used in the educational and social sciences.
Dissertation-Related Research Methods (At least one graduate-level course): Students will be required to take at least one graduate course focused on methods of inquiry or statistics that are related to their area of concentration and/or dissertation research project.
Research Practicum (This is a required 3 credit-hour course in research - RDHE 889): Students are required, before being admitted to candidacy and undertaking their dissertation projects, to demonstrate their ability to design and conduct research. The practicum provides the student the opportunity to complete the prospectus for the dissertation. For the majority of students this will mean the preparation of the first three chapters of the traditional dissertation; however, if another option for the dissertation is chosen, the prospectus will also reflect those differences.
Field Research (One 3 credit-hour course RDHE 789: - Field Research in Higher Education): This course requires research among higher education entities, such as American Council on Education, Middle States Accreditation Association, and the American Association of Community Colleges. The Field Research in Higher Education course provides an opportunity for the student to directly experience the research process prior to the dissertation and a chance to gain entrance to professional networks that are important to the students' career advancement. Alternatively, students can submit single authored higher education-related research that they completed prior to admission for faculty review and a waiver of the Field Research may be given based on this review.
The following courses must be successfully completed to meet the Research Core requirements:
EDSR 604 Introduction to Research Methods (3 credits)
This course is a prerequisite and does not count toward satisfying the 72 hour requirement for the Ph.D. in Higher Education degree. Students are required to demonstrate competence in basic statistical methods. This prerequisite may also be met on the basis of equivalent courses.
EDSR 624 Qualitative Research Methods in Education (3 credits)
EDSR 628 Applied Social Research (3 credits)
EDSR 719 Quantitative Data Analysis I (3 credits)
EDSR 818 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods (3 credits)
EDSR 819 Quantitative Data Analysis II (3 credits)
EDSR 889 Research Practicum in Higher Education (3 credits)
Additional research courses may be selected from the following list along with approved graduate courses from other disciplines:
EDSR 580 Measurement and Evaluation (3 credits)
EDSR 739 Management and Analysis of Large Data Sets (3 credits)
EDSR 829 Advanced Qualitative Research: Field Research (3 credits)
EDSR 789 Field Research in Education (3 credits)
Required Course Work in Cognate Discipline Fields (12 hours minimum): Fields include but are not limited to the social and behavioral sciences, business, economics, engineering or additional courses as electives in higher education. The Department of Advanced Studies, Leadership and Policy and the student's advisor will work collaboratively with other academic units of the University (which relate directly to higher education as a field of study) to develop appropriate cognate courses to serve the Ph.D. in Higher Education Program.
As indicated above, the Ph.D. in Higher Education requires a minimum of 12 credit hours be taken in cognate disciplines. The rationale for the requirements is based on the assumption that students derive the most benefit from course work in one or two closely related disciplines or fields that share some common theoretical base and methods of inquiry. Where appropriate, courses from previous advanced study (e.g., Master's degree) may be used to satisfy the cognate requirement. However, most students will need to take additional cognate work that is related to their current programs of study and to their proposed research areas.
Typically students will choose cognate work at the graduate level in disciplines such as sociology, economics, history, engineering, business, psychology, and mathematics, among others. Students whose previous graduate study has not been in higher education may be required to take additional courses in higher education from those courses listed as electives. Consequently, the theoretical frameworks and research methods used to examine issues will often be shared across and within disciplinary lines.
Frequently, elements of different theories are suggested to create interdisciplinary frameworks and models that are more explanatory and appropriate to the phenomenon of interest.
Foundations Course Work in Higher Education (24 credits minimum): Foundations courses include historical foundations of higher education, diversity and multiculturalism, organization theory and higher education administration, quality assurance and accountability in higher education, pro-seminar in higher education, and higher education policy analysis. An additional six hours must come from electives.
The Program requires a minimum of 24 credit hours of work in Higher Education as a field of study. Unless students have been awarded transfer credit or waivers of courses as a result of their pre-assessments at entry, students must take six (6) additional required foundations courses and two (2) electives.
Following are the six required Foundations courses:
RDHE 701 Pro-Seminar in Higher Education (3 credits)
RDHE 702 Historical Foundations of Higher Education (3 credits)
RDHE 703 Diversity and Multiculturalism in Higher Education (3 credits)
RDHE 704 Higher Education Policy Analysis (3 credits)
RDHE 705 Quality Assurance and Accountability in Higher Education (3 credits)
RDHE 722 Organizational Theory and Administration/Management in Higher Education (3 credits)
Two Electives (minimum of 6 credit hours) are to be chosen from among the following courses:
RDHE 720 Contemporary Issues & Concepts in Higher Education (3 credits)
RDHE 725 The American College Student (3 credits)
ASLJ 601 Legal Aspects of Education (3 credits)
RDHE 731 Governance and Coordination in Higher Education (3 credits)
ASLC 602 Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment in Higher Education (3credits)
RDHE 735 Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education (3 credits)
ASLF 601 Educational Economics and Finance (3 credits)
RDHE 738 Institutional Research & Planning in Higher Education (3 credits)
ASLP 601 Politics of Education (3 credits)
RDHE 745 Student Development Theory and Research (3 credits)
The division of courses into Required and Electives is not intended to imply any priority of ordering with respect to their importance in the preparation of higher educational professionals. It is rather recognition that the clientele for this program would consist largely of practicing professionals many of whom would have had prior exposure to the concepts dealt with in some of these courses. Such courses were made elective. Courses specific to the field of higher education were made compulsory. For example, the concepts of EDSR 739 - Management and Analysis of
Large Data Sets while germane to the practice of Higher Education are likely to have been treated in other courses; the course is therefore an elective. Individual students may be advised as to electives they should take on the basis of their pre-entry assessment. The courses selected as compulsory are reflective of important contemporary issues in higher education and seek to take account of the social, political and cultural milieu in which higher education occurs.
In this respect the program has a unique emphasis and one that is in keeping with the mission of Morgan State University.
Modular "Signature" Courses (6 one-credit seminars): These courses involve specialty topics designed to enhance the knowledge, skills and abilities of doctoral students. Through faculty or student request, courses may be added such as those that address deficiencies in topics as grant proposal writing, enrollment management, outcomes assessment, or scholarly writing.
The program would facilitate the student's acquisition of these skills through traditional or asynchronous methods.
It is necessary to underscore the importance of the knowledge, skills, and abilities successful applicants bring to Morgan State University, and to utilize information about applicants to complement-not duplicate-the competencies they have attained. Thus, the rationale for the implementation of "signature" or "thematic" courses to enhance a student's competencies and outcomes is that duplication will be minimized and the extra time can be used to strengthen other professional competencies and research skills of those matriculating in the program.
RDHE 691/Fall Selected Topics in Higher Education Seminars (1 credit)
RDHE 791/Spring Selected Topics in Higher Education Seminars (1 credit)
RDHE 891/Summer Selected Topics in Higher Education Seminars (1 credit)
Seminar Topic Examples:
Executive Leadership in Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Concepts and Practices in Enrollment Management in Higher Education
Classroom Assessment Strategies
Competency-based Higher Education Initiatives
Critical Thinking and Analysis
High Stakes Testing and Achievement Gaps for Minorities in Higher Education
Governance in Higher Education
Ethics in the Academy
Accreditation and Outcomes Assessment
Dissertation (12 credit hours including RDHE 998 - Dissertation Seminar and RDHE 999 - Dissertation Project):
Students whose dissertation projects that extend beyond RDHE 998 and RDHE 999 will be required to register Fall and Spring semesters (but not during the Summer Sessions) for additional hours of dissertation (RDHE 997 - Dissertation Guidance) until the dissertation is successfully defended.
Dissertation Courses-Sequence is:
RDHE 889 Research Practicum in Higher Education (3 credits)
RDHE 998 Dissertation Seminar (6 credits) - Required
RDHE 999 Dissertation Project (6 credits) - Required
RDHE 997 Dissertation Guidance (3 credits) - Required each semester until the dissertation is completed and successfully defended.
Ph.D. Program Path Design Elements: Other Requirements and Policies
Selection of Supervisory Committee
Students must select three professors to serve on their supervisory committee, two of whom must be from the Department of Advanced Studies, Leadership and Policy (although one of the two may be any MSU graduate faculty).
If the student determines that there is a need to select an individual from outside the University, this individual must submit both a letter of agreement and a curriculum vita to the chair of the department for approval. This individual cannot serve as chair of the committee nor receive compensation from the University. All professors who serve on dissertation committees must be professors as designated by the University Graduate Council and must have departmental
Comprehensive Qualifying Examination
The Comprehensive Qualifying Examination is an independent writing project required of all Ph.D. in Higher Education students. However, the department allows for a range of options to constitute the comprehensive qualifying examination. The examination is taken once the student has completed at least seventy-five (75) percent of all course work (54 hours), including at least four of the courses required in the research core. The examination covers the general area of higher education, the candidate's area of concentration, and a question designed to assess the student's ability to construct a research design or proposal.
The structure and content of the examination is related closely to the research topic for the dissertation. Thus, there is an assumption that students have read the literature widely and that students will use their critical thinking and writing skills optimally to produce the desired outcomes for the examination.
The following are specific guidelines and must be adhered to:
Each well-researched and documented essay must be at least 15-20 pages, double-spaced. Reference sections must contain a minimum of twenty (20) citations as appropriate to the substance of the dissertation.
Each publishable quality essay must be accompanied by an Executive Summary.
The examinee must prepare an outline of each essay's content and include this information in the table of contents preceding each essay.
The essays should follow current APA publication style.
For style and formatting directions and information, the examinee will be provided Departmental examination instructions as part of the comps package.
The time period for completing the "Comprehensive Qualifying Examination" is six calendar weeks. Expectations for conduct are included in the School of Graduate Studies Handbook for Dissertation and Theses, "Responsible Academic Conduct and Ethical Research." see (www.morgan.edu/academics/Grad- studies/pdf/DissThesis- Hand.pdf).
The presentation of three acceptable publishable quality research papers is followed by an oral examination. Scheduling an oral examination is the responsibility of the student's dissertation chair in consultation with other members of the supervisory committee and the scheduled date must be confirmed with the Department.
Upon entrance to the Higher Education program, the student who has limited or no experience in higher education may be required to take the internship course (RDHE 885). Participation in the internship must occur before candidacy is conferred. The purpose of the internship is to provide the student with professional and/or research competencies that were identified as incomplete at the time of admittance to the program.
Internship Course: RDHE 789 Internship in Higher Education (3 credits)
Institutional Review Board Approval
Students must seek and obtain approval of the Morgan State University's Institutional Review Board even in cases where the research may be exempt. The necessary forms can be obtained from the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research.
Preparation and Defense of Dissertation Proposal
After successfully completing the required Comprehensive Qualifying Examination, students must prepare and defend a proposal for the dissertation. Whatever methodological form the dissertation may take, it must be done on the basis of a thorough review of the literature. Typically, this will mean three chapters addressing the nature, background and scope of the problem, research questions, and hypotheses (for quantitative research); a literature review;
and a methodological design, covering the specific research methods, subjects, instruments, and data interpretation.
Once the proposal has the approval of the student's supervisory committee and the department chair, a publicly announced oral defense of the proposal is conducted.
Advancement to Candidacy
Upon successful defense of the comps and the dissertation proposal students may be advanced to candidacy for the degree and are considered doctoral candidates.
Preparation and Defense of Dissertation
The Ph.D. dissertation must demonstrate conclusively the ability of the student to conceive, design, conduct, and interpret independent, original, and creative research. It must attempt to describe significant original contributions to the advancement of knowledge and must demonstrate the student's ability to organize, analyze and interpret data. In most instances, a dissertation includes a chapter concerning the nature, background, and scope of the problem, along with a clear statement of purpose of the research, research questions, and hypotheses (for quantitative research); a provision for a comprehensive review of pertinent literature; a description of the methodology used in the study; results obtained; and a final chapter containing a critical interpretation of conclusions in relation to the findings of other researchers.
The completed dissertation project should be worthy of publication. Responsibility for writing and editing of the dissertation rests with the student, under the supervision of the chair of the student's supervisory committee. General guidelines for formatting and submitting dissertations are detailed in the School of Graduate Studies, Handbook for Dissertations and Theses, which may be downloaded from the School of Graduate Studies' website. Students must also have a working knowledge of the most recent version of the APA publication style manual.
The final defense of the dissertation is an oral exam conducted publicly during which the student presents the dissertation research to the supervisory committee. The presentation must be of highest academic quality. It is the responsibility of the chair of the supervisory committee to submit a letter to the department chair and the School of Graduate Studies affirming the successful defense of the dissertation, including a completed, and up-to date plan of study.
Finally, the student must complete the administrative process for proper submission of the dissertation to the Graduate School.
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