Is there a Core Curriculum across Higher Education Doctoral Programs?

Karen Card, Crystal R Chambers, Sydney Freeman Jr.
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 11  •  2016  •  pp. 127-146
Currently the study of higher education has been referred to as a multidisciplinary field. Consensus is continuing to evolve regarding both what is considered the appropriate coursework and the foundational knowledgebase of this field. The study of higher education is maturing and has the potential to transition from being seen as a field to being respected as an academic discipline. The purpose of the present study is to investigate the status of the core curriculum in higher education doctoral programs from the perspective of program directors with programs that required the completion of standardized coursework prior to beginning a dissertation. We used online survey analytic techniques to query program directors about their EdD and PhD programs in higher education, credit hours, and curricular content. Our study confirms previous work finding that there is common agreement in the subject matter areas of organization, leadership, administration, and history. What our work adds is that there is a growing consensus among higher education doctoral programs about the position of higher education law and finance in the curricular core. In addition, we find there is a growing interest in public policy and community colleges over time, with a majority of EdD programs including instruction in these areas. Nevertheless, majoritarian agreement does not meet at a level wherein consensus can be inferred, especially within PhD programs where requirements are more varied across programs. In addition, while there is an increasing trend in the inclusion of multiculturalism in higher education doctoral programming, multiculturalism is not currently part of higher education’s core. We conclude with research and practice implications for doctoral programs in higher education as a field of study.
Academic Curriculum, Doctoral Education, Higher Education as a Field of Study
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