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Adult and Higher Education Ph.D.

The doctoral program in Adult and Higher Education is directed toward the development of scholars and practitioners in Adult and Higher Education and is intended to serve individuals who have promise of making scholarly and professional contributions to the field of Adult and Higher Education. Doctoral emphases within the Adult and Higher Education program include:

The Ph.D. program in Adult and Higher Education is intended to be flexible in order to serve the professional developmental needs of the individual doctoral student. However, in order to enhance the success of completion of the program, all doctoral candidates are expected to take a certain number of research proficiency courses and will be expected to fulfill residence requirements. Graduate students must make a grade of “B” or better in core classes (EDAH 5013, EDAH 5023, EDAH 5033, EDAH 5043), if taken.  There was a moratorium on this policy from Aug 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014.  Effective Spring 2015 this moratorium has been lifted and we have returned to the original policy. Note that Ph.D. students are not required to take core courses but are required to take the qualifying exam if a previous master’s degree was not from EDAH; this exam is based on the core courses and comprehensive knowledge of adult and higher education. See a faculty advisor for specific academic advising.

Prospective students should review both the Graduate College Bulletin and information on the website under the ELPS Student Resources section, which describes in greater detail the procedures and requirements for doctoral study in Adult and Higher Education.


Our program prepares graduates to assume leadership, administrative, teaching, and training positions in a variety of organizational settings. Our graduates compete for positions as trainers, adult educators, program planners, distance education specialists, administrators, athletics administrators, and instructors in adult education organizations, colleges and universities (including community colleges and vocational schools), governmental and military agencies, and business and industry.

This program is designed to provide the students with the competencies necessary to teach, develop, and administer successful organizational and educational programs based on the literature and research in adult and higher education. Students will be exposed to significant insights related to management, leadership, evaluation, finance, marketing, development, program planning, distance and traditional learning, teaching strategies, organizational transformation, and human relations.

Our program is interdisciplinary, and we enthusiastically welcome students from all undergraduate and graduate disciplines. No prior teacher education nor administrative experience is needed to be admitted into the program.


The Adult and Continuing Education (ACE) emphasis prepares professionals for work as professors, administrators, program planners/evaluators, consultants, and adult/teacher education specialists in a variety of organizations including private firms, nonprofit/government organizations, colleges/universities, and K–12 schools/systems.

The ACE emphasis is designed to provide opportunities for advanced study in the theoretical foundations of adult learning/teaching, career development, community development, continuing education, and workplace learning, along with the application of such knowledge to practice. It is also designed to provide students with professional competencies necessary to develop, as well as opportunities of research, publication, and teaching in newly emerging areas within a rapidly changing, globalized world.

The doctoral program in Adult and Higher Education with the ACE emphasis offers both full-time and part-time options with flexible class times and specialized areas of practice within the field of adult and continuing education as follows:

·        Community Education/Organizing & Social Change
·        Educational Outreach
·        Informal & Non-Formal Learning
·        International Lifelong Learning
·        Professional & Continuing (Higher) Education
·        School-to-Work & Work-to-School Transition
·        Social Advocacy & Action
·        Workplace Learning & Organizational Change

If you have any questions about this emphasis, please contact Dr. Junghwan Kim.


The higher education concentration focuses on topics related to general administration in colleges and universities. In this concentration, students will be introduced to theories, issues, and research related to organizational behavior, academic administration, financial management, and planning in higher education. This concentration enables students to become competitive candidates for entry-level general administrative positions in higher education, intercollegiate athletics, and institutional development. 

The institutional research concentration focuses on the utility of data and information in decision making, planning, and management in colleges and universities.  Students will be introduced to management and decision support systems and the types of research that should be undertaken on various institutional aspects (students, faculty, staff, facilities, capital and finance, curricula, programs, internal and external environments) which can yield important findings and implications for planning and management purposes.  This concentration prepares students to assume institutional research positions in higher education.  Institutional research is an emerging specialty within higher education.

The student affairs concentration in Adult and Higher Education program is committed to helping students understand how colleges and universities work, the issues affecting college students and faculty, and how to best lead our colleges and universities to meet the challenges of our global and changing diverse democracy. Students will be challenged intellectually to consider the intersections of theory, research, and practice as they develop integrity, courage, and vision to advance social justice and educational equity in the field.

The doctoral program in Adult and Higher Education is directed toward the development of researchers in Adult and Higher Education and is intended to serve individuals who demonstrate the potential of making scholarly contributions to the field of Adult and Higher Education. The Student Affairs concentration focuses on research and scholarship related to organizational behavior, management, and administration related to diverse college students, departments of student affairs, and the system of higher education. This concentration prepares students to assume positions as faculty, research scientists, or student affairs administrators in higher education.

Students pursuing a doctoral degree will earn a Ph.D. in Adult and Higher Education and are able to take Intercollegiate Athletics Admin­istration emphasis coursework (95 credits). IAA emphasis courses are taught by both EDAH faculty members and practitioners who work in the OU Athletics Department.

This emphasis is philosophically embedded within the broader study of adult and higher education. As such, it reflects the realities of modern intercollegiate athletics programs within the context of the higher education setting. The curriculum is de­signed to provide a breadth of knowledge in higher education with specialized course work in intercollegiate athletics.

The community college concentration focuses on administration and research related to the community colleges. In this concentration, students are introduced to the unique role that community colleges play in the American higher education system, concepts and theories related to the administration of these institutions, and to critical research topics dealing with their constituents. This concentration prepares students to assume entry-level to mid-level administrative positions in the community colleges or related agencies.

The emphasis in distributive/distance education and learning prepares professionals for work in the field of distributive learning as administrators, planners, instructors, and telecommunications specialists in a variety of education-related organizations including universities, colleges, state and federal agencies, business and industry.  The distance education emphasis offers concentrations in administration and program design.  The administration concentration is designed to provide professionals with the competencies required to plan and administer distance learning systems.  The distance education design concentration prepares instructors with the competencies required to teach students who study at a distance.  The focus of this program is upon the application of telecommunications technologies in educational settings.

The Workforce Learning and Development emphasis prepares professionals for work as trainers, directors of training programs, and human resource professionals in a variety of training organizations including business, industry, government, and education.  Adult learning theory, instructional strategies, and evaluation techniques provide a basic foundation for the study of training and development of workplace.  The American Society of Training and Development HRD competencies are analyzed in a survey activity.  Personnel issues that often require HRD personnel participation are reviewed in a special topics setting.  Students enter the Workforce Learning and Development program from a variety of backgrounds.

The doctoral program in Adult and Higher Education is directed toward the development of researchers in Adult and Higher Education and is intended to serve individuals who demonstrate the potential of making scholarly contributions to the field of Adult and Higher Education. The Workforce Learning and Development concentration focuses on research and scholarship related to training and development, human resource development, organizational development, workplace performance issues, technology mediated learning and performance improvement systems (e.g., e-learning, blended learning, performance management), and cross cultural aspects of learning, performance, and workplace issues. This concentration prepares students to assume positions as faculty, research scientists, or HRD administrators in public and private sector organizations. If you have questions about the concentration, please contact Dr. Doo Hun Lim.

College Teaching Certificate

The College Teaching Certificate is offered by the Adult and Higher Education program at the University of Oklahoma. Earning the certificate demonstrates that the participants have focused a segment of their professional and graduate training on preparing to teach at the post-secondary level. Throughout the course of the program, students will develop proficiencies in pedagogical theory and instructional strategies relevant to the college classroom.  This Certificate is authorized by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and will be noted on the transcript of participants who complete the program.

Who should be interested?

This program is intended primarily for graduate students who are preparing for college-level teaching careers, regardless of the discipline in which they plan to teach or the type of higher education institutions in which they plan to teach.

Why was the program started?

While most new faculty members feel comfortable in regard to their knowledge of their respective disciplines, it is not uncommon to feel unprepared for the demands of teaching and unfamiliar with the nature of an academic environment. The College Teaching Certificate addresses this need in two ways. First, it insures that the future faculty member has teaching experience at the college level, as well as an opportunity to discuss and analyze that experience. Second, it provides instruction regarding the nature of the adult learner, instructional strategies that can be utilized in a variety of teaching circumstances, and an understanding of the college environment and the nature of the professoriate in American higher education.

What advantages might I gain from participation?

Besides the obvious advantage of enhanced preparation for a college teaching career, you will receive a certificate indicating that you have completed a program of preparation for college teaching positions. In addition, your transcript will reflect the fact that you have earned this certificate. Since this is a relatively unique program, such deliberate preparation can give you a professional advantage when entering a competitive job market for college-teaching positions.

Can courses count toward my degree?

The twelve credits required for the College Teaching Certificate are all in graduate-level courses. Discuss this matter with your major professor and graduate committee.

For more information on possible tuition assistance, please visit the following link for the Graduate College:

Do I have to enroll or begin at a particular time?

lNo. The courses are not sequential, and you can begin at any time in your graduate studies.

Do I need to complete a form to participate in this program?

Please visit the following link for the Graduate College to access additional certificate information:

What are the requirements?

In total, the certificate requires successful completion in the Graduate Teaching Academy and in four 3-hour EDAH courses for a total of 12 hours of coursework. The student must enroll in EDAH 5103, Instructional Strategies in Adult & Higher Education, and EDAH 5910, Practicum in Adult and Higher Education. Students must also enroll in two courses selected from the following list:

EDAH 5123, Decision Making in Adult and Higher Education

EDAH 5233, Research on the College Student

EDAH 5133, The American Community Junior College

EDAH 5243, Financial Management in Higher Education

EDAH 5153, Legal Aspects of Higher Education

EDAH 5253, Institutional Research in Higher Education

EDAH 5163, Diversity Issues in Higher Education

EDAH 5263, Planning in Higher Education

EDAH 5213, History of American Higher Education

EDAH 5333, Program Planning for the Adult Learner

EDAH 5223, Foundations of Student Affairs in Higher Education

EDAH 5553, Evaluation Strategies for Learning and Performance

What is the practicum?

The practicum is designed to give the student college teaching experience under supervision within their home academic department. Teaching assistants or others with college teaching experience may waive this requirement and replace it with an approved course from the above list of optional courses.

What is the Graduate Teaching Academy?

The Graduate Teaching Academy is a two-semester, weekly meeting for Graduate Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants who plan to teach. There are no costs or credits associated with the Academy, but participation is required for the certificate. In the first semester, participants attend seminars where invited faculty from across campus discuss fundamental practices in college teaching. Finally, participants begin building a teaching portfolio by writing a teaching statement and developing a career plan. 

Read more about it here: Graduate Teaching Academy

What should I do if I am interested in the program?

If you are interested in the College Teaching Certificate or would simply like more information about the program, contact Dr. Kirsten T. Edwards at