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Welcome to the Ph.D. in Higher Education

Welcome from PhD in Higher Education Leadership Faculty

Clinical assistant professor & Higher education program director Tiffany J. Davis

Welcome to the University of Houston’s PhD in Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies (PhD in HELPS). The PhD Program is grounded in a philosophical belief in the transformational nature of higher education as an institution of social change.  Our program prepares scholars and scholar practitioners to generate and apply research aimed at furthering a critical understanding of postsecondary education and its roles in society.  It also aims, through its graduates, to strengthen educational opportunities and outcomes for all students, but particularly those traditionally underserved by our current local, state, national, and international systems.

The PhD program provides opportunity to study and conduct research with outstanding faculty, including former university presidents, chancellors and internationally renowned scholars. The program is home to 3 centers and institutes – the Asian American Studies Center (AASC), Center for Research, Evaluation and Advancement of Teacher Education (CREATE), and the Institute for Educational Policy Research and Evaluation (IEPRE) – that also make available key research openings to students. In combination, this collaborative research is addressing the critical challenges of Texas and the nation, including the increasing costs of college, the benefits and challenges of a global society, and access to and success in college for all students.

The coursework includes core higher education, research, and policy classes and along with electives that allow students to focus on a particular area of interest:  Equity and Social Justice; Research Methods; International Perspectives; or Policy and Politics. Our students come to Houston from all over the United States and internationally and represent a diverse array of backgrounds and experiences that contribute importantly to the learning experience as well. We offer competitive fellowships for our full-time and scholarships for all students.

I hope you'll spend time learning about what we're doing in more detail.

If you’re interested in the Ph.D. program, please contact Dr. Tiffany J. Davis at, if you have any questions.

Higher Education doctoral student Maria Luna Torres talks about her experiences in the program.