About this Program

The Ph.D. program draws in students from all over the US and world due to its comprehensive curriculum, nationally recognized faculty, and emphasis on scholarship, mentorship, and leadership. The Ph.D. program prepares individuals with the skills to carry out scholarly research, lead organizations, and create new knowledge. In addition to core courses, a combination of experiences, including seminars, programs, and international study abroad opportunities, complement students' learning.

Program Highlights

  • Our signature 5:5:5 approach lets students build a personalized plan of study based on their academic and career goals, including academic, administrative, and policy-related careers

  • Our program is 1 of 4 programs in the U.S. with a specialized focus on International Education among over 350+ programs listed in NASPA’s Graduate Program Directory

  • We believe mentorship is essential for professional development and academic success, so students work closely with their academic advisors throughout the program and are assigned peer advisors to help with their transition to the program

  • Ph.D. students begin their program at our premiere annual event: the Summer Institute, a national event where students engage one-on-one with faculty members and build strong, supportive relationships with each other

Degree Level
Degree Earned
Doctor of Philosophy
Delivery Modes


Check out these ideas from ODU Career Development Services and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). A median salary is a midpoint of what people typically earn—half of those surveyed earned above the median salary, and half earned below.

Social Science Research Assistants

$49,030 Median Salary

Assist social scientists in laboratory, survey, and other social science research. May help prepare findings for publication and assist in laboratory analysis, quality control, or data management.

Education Administrators, Postsecondary

$107,670 Median Salary

Plan, direct, or coordinate research, instructional, student administration and services, and other educational activities at postsecondary institutions, including universities, colleges, and junior and community colleges.

Education Administrators, All Other

$88,240 Median Salary

All education administrators not listed separately.

Education Teachers, Postsecondary

$72,410 Median Salary

Teach courses pertaining to education, such as counseling, curriculum, guidance, instruction, teacher education, and teaching English as a second language. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.


What are the requirements to apply for Higher Education at ODU?
Students entering the Doctor of Philosophy program in Higher Education should meet the minimum university admission requirements Graduate Admission.

Ph.D. applicants must apply by February 1st to begin in the summer semester. All applicants must have a completed Master's degree from a regionally accredited university. To apply to the program:

  • Completed an online application and pay application fee;

  • Upload unofficial transcripts from previous educational institutions;

  • Applicants whose native language is not English must submit a current score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT of at least 80.

  • Applicants also upload supplemental materials including:

    • A CV or resume that describes the your academic and professional background;
    • 1-page Essay/Statement of Purpose that addresses: What are your professional goals? Why do you wish to obtain a PhD?
    • An original 2-page single-spaced academic writing sample on a current issue facing higher education of interest to you that adresses: What is the issue? Why is it important to the field of higher education research and practice?
    • Three (3) letters of recommendation. At least one letter must come from a professor or an individual who describes the applicant's academic performance and writing ability. Letters from senior-level leaders that endorse the applicant's leadership potential are encouraged. Applicants will enter the emails for references in the online system, and references will be emailed a link to upload a letter of recommendation on letterhead and complete the online reference form.


Estimated rates for the 2023-24 academic year. Rates are subject to change. Anyone that is not a current Virginia resident will be charged non-resident rates. That includes international students.

Virginia Resident
Cost Per-Credit $599
Technology Delivered Courses Outside Virginia and/or the United States
Cost Per-Credit $623
Cost Per-Credit $1,439

Ways to Save

Here are a few ways for you to save on the cost of attending ODU. For more information visit University Student Financial aid


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