Campus: Blacksburg 

Instructions: Residential/On Campus 

Comprehensive Program, Designed to Prepare Higher Education Leaders for the Challenges of Tomorrow.

96 semester hours of graduate study
Small Cohorts and high student/professor interaction
A commitment to diversity
Opportunities for student scholarship and research
Our Higher Education Program

The doctoral program in Higher Education (HED) provides mid-level professionals with the essential knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes necessary for advanced practice in the field of student affairs and higher education administration.The Ph.D. in Higher Education is a 96-hour program that prepares graduates for a broad range of administrative and leadership positions in colleges and universities including academic affairs, student affairs, roles in policy, planning, and resource management, assessment, enrollment management, and others. Some graduates work as policy analysts for state and federal agencies, or professional organizations. The program also prepares students for faculty positions in graduate programs in higher education

Why Study Higher Education Here?

Graduate professional education is concerned with enhancing a broad spectrum of talents in students. Some of these talents are addressed by structured, in-class activities determined primarily by faculty, while others are addressed by out-of-class activities that often are student-directed. Both types of learning opportunities are incorporated into each student's Plan of Study. The Higher Education program at Virginia Tech is built upon collegial relationships between faculty and students throughout the period of graduate study. Faculty serve as teachers, advisors, colleagues, and mentors to students.

Faculty Research Interests

Higher Education Economics, Finance, and Policy

Fiscal Administration in Higher Education

Enrollment Management and Student Price-Response

College Going and Choice

Research Design and Applied Econometrics

Social Identity Construction

College and Graduate Student Development

Student Affairs and Higher Education

Gender, Race, and Intersectionality

Qualitative Research Methods

Dr. Sharrika D. Adams

Crisis management

Case management in higher education

Contemporary women's issues

Dr. James Orr

Higher education law and policy



Organizational theory

Self-efficacy of community college STEM students

Dr. Michael Herndon

 Student epistemic beliefs in the virtual learning environment

Dr. Patricia Hyer

The nature of today’s college students

Organizational models

Tragedy and recovery at Virginia Tech

Student learning and engagement

Positive psychology and its influence on student growth and development

Dr. Sherwood G. Wilson

Dr. Kimberly S. Smith

Engineering Education

Learning Analytics

Engineering Student Outcomes

Diversification of STEM Fields

International Higher Education

Critical race studies

Black feminism

Critical race feminism

Transdisciplinary analysis of diversity issues in higher education

Dr. Susan Short

Higher Education Research Highlights

  • Serna, Gabriel R. (2015) “Do Tax Revolt Provisions Influence Tuition and Fee Levels: Evidence from the States using Recent Panel Data” Journal of Education Finance, 41(1), 48-82.
  • Serna, Gabriel R. (2015) “Insiders/Outsiders? Market Signaling and Student Identity in College Choice” Strategic Enrollment Management Quarterly, 3(3), 167-183.


  • Robbins, C. K. (in press). White women, racial identity, and learning about racism in graduate preparation programs. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice. b.

  • Robbins, C. K., & Jones, S. R. (in press). Negotiating racial dissonance: White women’s narratives of resistance, engagement, and transformative action. Journal of College Student Development.

Related Programs

Deadlines for Domestic and International Application

Applications for Fall are due on January 15


Dr. Gabriel Ramón Serna
Program Leader
1750 Kraft Dr., Room 2007
Blacksburg, VA24060

Ben Austin
Admissions Coordinator
1750 Kraft Dr., Room 2011
Blacksburg, VA 24060

School of Education

226 War Memorial Hall (0313)

370 Drillfield Drive

Blacksburg, VA 24061