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College of Education

Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership
in Academic Advising

The Ph.D. in Leadership in Academic Advising is designed for academic advisors, academic advising administrators, and leaders who seek to enhance their knowledge and professional skills to assume administrative or faculty positions in institutions of higher education with a focus on Academic Advising. The Ph.D. program is for advanced students who desire to contribute to the knowledge base of higher education and leadership through a thorough grounding in research. The program emphasizes professional practice and leadership in academic advising guided and informed by theory and research.

The official title of this degree is Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling and Student Development.


The Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership in Academic Advising requires a minimum of 90 post-baccalaureate, graduate credit hours. With the approval of the supervisory committee, up to 30 hours earned as part of the master’s degree may be used to satisfy the degree requirements.

A designated core of 18 hours of graduate credit is required. These courses may be part of a master’s degree or must be completed in addition to the doctoral course work. These courses include the following:

  • EDCEP 812 – History and Philosophy of Higher Education (3 credits)
  • EDCEP 816 – Research Methods (3 credits)
  • EDCEP 835 – Foundations of Academic Advising (3 credits)
  • EDCEP 838 – Student Development Theory (3 credits)
  • EDCEP 851 – Multicultural Aspects of Academic Advising (3 credits)
    EDCEP 830 – Diversity in Higher Education (3 credits)
  • EDCEP 863 – Trends in Career Development (3 credits)

1. Professional Courses (18 credit hours)

  • EDCEP 923 – Higher Education Law (3 credits)
  • EDCEP 925 – Higher Education Finance (3 credits)
  • EDCEP 926 – Enrollment Management in Higher Education (3 credits)
  • EDCEP 927 – Higher Education Administration (3 credits)
  • EDCEP 948 – Advanced Student Development Theory(3 credits)
  • EDLEA 828 – Scholarly Orientation to Graduate Studies (3 credits)

2. Academic Advising Professional Courses (9 credit hours)

  • EDCEP 930 – Approaches to Academic Advising: Linking Theory, Research, and Practice (3 credits)
  • EDCEP 932 – Ethical Issues and Practice in Academic Advising (3 credits)
  • EDCEP 937 – Administration of Academic Advising (3 credits)

3. Research Courses (15 credit hours)

  • EDLEA 838 – Qualitative Research in Education (3 credits)
  • EDLEA 938 – Advanced Data Analysis in Qualitative Methods (3 credits)
  • EDCEP 817 – Statistical Methods in Education (3 credits)
  • EDCEP 917 – Experimental Design in Educational Research (3 credits)
  • EDCEP 934 – Research in Academic Advising (3 credits)

4. Dissertation Research (18 credit hours)

  • EDCEP 999 – Research in Counseling and Educational Psychology (1-18 credits)

Admission Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to this degree program must complete the admission process presented below. Before starting the online application, gather all information and documents required for application to the program so that they may be uploaded to the online application system. Admission to graduate study is granted by the Dean of the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the faculty in the graduate program.

  • Complete the Online Graduate School Application.
    (Follow the prompts for completing the application process.)
  • Application Deadlines
    • U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents: Cohorts begin in summer of even-numbered years with completed applications due by December 1 of the previous odd-numbered year.
    • International Students: The online application, application fee, transcripts, financial documents, and all required application materials must be submitted by December 1 of odd-numbered years.
  • Graduate School Application Fee
    • For domestic applicants, a $65 application fee is required, and for international applicants, the application fee is $75; the application will not be processed without this fee. The fee can be paid by credit card when completing the online application.
  • Official Transcripts
    • Unofficial transcripts are to be obtained from each college or university where a bachelor’s degree(s) was received, where a master’s degree was received, and any other post-baccalaureate course work or degrees were completed. The unofficial transcripts are to be uploaded in pdf format to the online application system. Transcripts become part of your records at Kansas State University and cannot be returned. Students whose transcripts are not in English must furnish a translation by an appropriate authority.
    • If you are admitted, you will be required to submit an official transcript for grade point average and degree conferral verification from the institution(s) where you received your degree(s) and completed any additional post-baccalaureate credits. The official transcripts will be requested in the letter of admission. Students whose transcripts are not in English must furnish a translation by an appropriate authority. Failure to list any colleges or universities may result in dismissal from the university.
  • Statement of Goals and Professional Experience
    • You must upload into the online application system a double-spaced paper, a minimum of three pages, which addresses the following topics:
      • Career and professional experiences, goals, and aspirations, and how being accepted to the program will benefit the goals and aspirations;
      • Evidence of commitment to the academic advising profession;
      • Competencies and experiences related to the program (e.g., academic advising and/or academic advising administration experience, interpersonal skills, teaching skills, program development experience);
      • Evidence of motivation, persistence, leadership, and strong work ethic (commitment to completion of a doctoral program);
      • Knowledge, competencies, and experience related to educational research;
      • Broad areas of interest for research;
      • Evidence of experience with diversity, equity, and, if applicable, fluency in languages other than English; and,
      • Commitment to being present at all required program activities (asynchronous distance learning on Canvas, synchronous sessions on Zoom as formally scheduled, and one week residency at Kansas State University each summer).
    • The paper is to be well written and thoughtfully presented. For resources to help writing the paper, see the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL).
  • Scholarly Writing Sample
    • An important aspect of doctoral work is to advance and apply scholarship on educational issues within the context of the academic program.
    • For the purpose of this application, please consider a complex issue related to academic advising in higher education that you find important and compelling, and develop a scholarly essay (approximately 5-8 pages) which includes:
      • an overview of the issue you’ve chosen to explore;
      • a presentation of the current state of knowledge in the literature related to the issue (citing sources as appropriate); and
      • conclude with a possible interpretation of the critical issue from at least two different perspectives, including initial discussion regarding the potential for future research on the topic. How could you further study this issue?
    • The essay should be included as a MS Word document or PDF file, double-spaced, formatted in APA (6thed.) style, and include a minimum of 5 scholarly (peer-reviewed) sources. The essay will be assessed according to the following elements: overview of the issue, incorporation of existing literature, interpretation of the critical issue, articulation of future research ideas, and overall coherence and readability. 
  • Recommendations
    • Three letters of recommendation are to be submitted by college or university faculty and/or colleagues or supervisors who are qualified to address your professional skills and potential for success in the graduate program. Enter the names and email addresses of the individuals who have agreed to serve as references in the appropriate place on the online application. References will be sent a link at which they will be asked to complete an evaluation and upload their letters of recommendation to the application system.
  • A Professional Resume or Vitae
    • A current professional resume or vitae is to be uploaded to the online application system. It is to include academic degrees, past and current professional employment, professional activities and roles, and other pertinent information.
  • An Interview
    • An interview (via Zoom or phone) with faculty members in the program may be required before an admission decision is made
  • English Language Proficiency
    • To demonstrate competence in the English language, an official report of scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System – academic exam (IELTS) or Pearson Test of English (PTE) must be sent to Kansas State University for all applicants whose primary language is not English. Enter your scores in the online application and upload the report of your scores.
    • Learn more about English proficiency requirements

International applicants must meet the same academic standards for admission as those required of domestic students. When applying for admission, international applicants must provide an Affidavit of Financial Support and documentation of English language proficiency. Detailed information about these issues is provided at the Graduate School's International Students web page.

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Special Education, Counseling, and Student Affairs

Course Delivery:

One-week, on-campus sessions required each of the first three summers.



Tuition Information:

See the Cashiers and Student Accounts website for tuition and fee schedules.

Additional Information

Global Campus Website

Related Programs

Master of Science in Academic Advising

Academic Advising Graduate Certificate

Master of Science in College Student Development