Graduate Certificate Program in Higher Education

The Graduate Certificate Program in Higher Education (GCPHE) is designed to provide an overview of historical and contemporary issues in higher education for doctoral students who wish to gain a greater understanding of higher education research, policy, assessment and/or administrative practices. Current Washington University doctoral students who are interested in pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education may begin taking courses pursuant to the Certificate upon entry into the University.

Doctoral students interested in pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education must take a total of 12 total credit hours.  Options include taking either four courses or three courses (9 total credit hours) plus engagement in a (3-credit hour) Mentored Experience in Higher Education (MEHE) through the Department of Education. The MEHE will be approved, after consultation with the Practicum Supervisor, by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) in the Department of Education. During an MEHE, a student would work with an administrative or faculty supervisor to gain deeper experience in the student’s particular area of interest in higher education. Examples of MEHEs include working in an administrative office at Washington University (or another institution) or completing an institutional project related to program development, evaluation or improvement.

Doctoral students must fulfill all requirements of the Ph.D. within their respective home departments, the Office of Graduate Studies, and the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Program requirements as specified. Students in departments outside of the Department of Education must obtain approval from their home department in order to officially enroll in the GCPHE.

Students pursuing certificates will complete only one course from each of the course groupings detailed below until their 9 or 12 credit hour requirement has been met. The course groupings consist of the following: (1) Foundations of Education, Assessment, and Evaluation, (2) Diversity and Inclusion in Education, and (3) Critical Issues in Higher Education. Students may elect to take a further course in Critical Issues in Higher Education or enroll in an MEHE.


Sample Courses

Foundations of Education, Assessment, and Evaluation (one course)


  • EDUC 4022: Higher Education Administration: History, Research and Practice
  • EDUC 4288: Higher Education in American Culture
  • EDUC 5832: Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education

Additional Possibilities:

  • EDUC 453B: Sociology of Education
  • EDUC 481: History of Education
  • EDUC 489: Education and Public Policy
  • EDUC 4033: Video Microanalysis: Methods and Tools
  • EDUC 4055: Central Topics in Psychological Research on Teaching and Learning
  • EDUC 503: Foundations of Educational Research
  • SOC 3030: Introduction to Research Methods

Diversity and Inclusion in Education (one course)


  • EDUC 4037: Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in Higher Education

Additional Possibilities:

  • EDUC 4289: Neighborhood Schools and Social Inequalities 
  • EDUC 4607/4608: Education of Black Children and Youth 
  • EDUC 4621: The Political Economy of Urban Education
  • AFAS 445 / EDUC 4552: Ebony & Ivory Towers: Black Experiences with the American University
  • AFAS 461B / EDUC 461B: The Construction & Experience of Black Adolescence 
  • APL 4111/EDUC 4111: Linguistics and Language Learning 
  • APL 4692/EDUC 4692: Reading Across Languages and Culture: Theory, Research, and Practice
  • IAS 4290 / EDUC 4290: Equity, Merit and Social Change: Higher Education Policy and International Comparison

Critical Issues in Higher Education (one course and one 3-credit MEHE) or (two courses)

  • EDUC 5830: Academic and Student Affairs: An Essential Partnership
  • EDUC 5833: Leadership in Student Affairs
  • EDUC 5834: Legal Issues in Higher Education
  • EDUC 5835: Mental Health in Higher Education
  • EDUC 5837: College Student Development
  • EDUC 5836: Political Economy of Urban Higher Education
  • EDUC 5839: Financing Higher Education

Election of Candidates and Admission Criteria

Current Washington University doctoral students who are interested in pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education may begin taking courses pursuant to the Certificate upon entry into the University. 

Courses in the GCPHE will taught by current faculty within the Department of Education and practitioners in administrative roles at the University.

The Department of Education serves as the academic home of the certificate program. The Director of Graduate Studies will work with the certificate program's co-directors to mentor and advise doctoral students in the program. The majority of full-time doctoral students receive financial support through financial assistance, grants, loans, or Federal Work Study Program opportunities. Financial assistance in the form of fellowships and mentorship are offered annually on a competitive basis through the Office of Graduate Studies from government, private, unrestricted or endowed sources. Also available are scholarships, fellowships, and clinical internships in applied social sciences; grants and fellowships in national competition and loans.

Have more questions?

Contact the Department