With its nationally known faculty, the HESA doctoral program is one of the country’s major doctoral-granting programs in the field of higher education and student affairs.

HESA reflects a movement in the study and practice of American postsecondary education to integrate academic experiences with the co-curricular learning experiences of students, and to study the outcomes of both. The curriculum is organized around three core areas: Higher Education Administration & Policy; Teaching, Learning, and the College Experience; and Diversity, Equity, and Foundations of Higher Education. 

Application Deadlines

  • December 1 (Fall semester)

Admission Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree from a Regionally Accredited American College or University, or an equivalent degree from another country as determined by the Office of Admissions.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (in both undergraduate and graduate work)
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General test – verbal and quantitative
  • Evidence of significant leadership or work experience, writing ability, and fit with the program
  • English Proficiency Requirements (international students)
  • Most students admitted to the HESA Ph.D. program hold a previously earned master's or equivalent degree

These are general criteria; the admissions committee considers each applicant's entire portfolio. Applicants will not be considered until they have submitted a complete application packet.

Application Process

  1. Create an application account to begin the application process.
  2. Submit the online application to the Graduate College and pay the $60 application fee by credit card ($100 for international applicants).
  3. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive email instructions on how to establish your HawkID and password which you will use to access MyUI, our online service center for students and applicants.
  4. You will use your Admissions Profile on MyUI to upload required supplemental materials.

Required Supplemental Documents

  1. Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
  2. Official GRE scores from Educational Testing Service (the University’s institutional code is 6681)
  3. A statement of purpose (1-3 pages) that includes your professional and/or research interests, whether you plan to enroll full- or part-time, and how your goals and experiences are consistent with the HESA program’s mission and values.
  4. Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  5. Three letters of recommendation. At least one letter should be from a professor or instructor.*

* You will be asked to give the contact information of your recommenders, including their email, on your Admissions Profile. The recommender will then get an email with instructions on how to upload the recommendation letter and/or form.


Application questions can be directed to: Sue Cline in the Office of Student Services   319/335-5260, sue-cline@uiowa.edu.

Questions about HESA Ph.D. program requirements can be directed to Betsy Winter (program graduate assistant) at epls-hesa@uiowa.edu.

We look forward to receiving your application!

Summary (semester hours)

  • Core Courses: 18
  • Concentration Area: 18 (developed with faculty)
  • Research Methods: 18
  • Electives: 24 (may be transferred in)
  • Dissertation Research: 12
  • Total minimum semester hours: 90

FilePh.D. Curriculum - full program requirements (printer-friendly)

Employment Opportunities
  • Leaders in student affairs and academic administration
  • Graduate faculty at research universities
  • Leaders in conducting research about college students and higher education
  • Policy analysts in postsecondary institutions and public or private agencies
  • Teachers and academic leaders at two-year and four-year colleges
Application Questions

Sue Cline
Office of Student Services

Application Deadline: December 1 (Fall semester)