PhD in Higher Education Studies

Higher Education Studies is a scholarly field that draws on multiple disciplines to explore the university sector. While this programme is situated in the Education Faculty, the studies undertaken draw on Sociology, Psychology, Economics, History, Political Science and, indeed, Education. The studies focus on a range of topics such as the funding of higher education, the role of the university in the knowledge economy, quality assurance, disciplinary knowledge, teaching and learning, to name a few. 

The Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning offers a structured programme leading to the degree of PhD in Higher Education Studies. Successful candidates will follow a structured programme of six modules, facilitated online using Zoom, on the following topics: 

  • Orientation to doctoral studies
  • Mapping the field of higher education studies
  • Developing criticality in higher education studies research
  • Exploring theoretical frameworks in higher education studies
  • Exploring methodological frameworks in higher education studies
  • Conducting ethical higher education studies research

In addition to the structured programme, candidates will receive research supervision from a range of experts. Typically, co-supervision or team-supervision models are utilised. The programme also includes an excellent formal support system comprising:

  • A week long intensive Research Design course
  • Triannual Doc Weeks encompassing discussion forums progress presentations, seminars and workshops
  • An online fortnightly work-in-progress seminar series 
  • Candidate-led online research cluster meet ups
  • An online community where we share readings, hold discussions and post newsworthy topics relating to higher education studies.

Students in this programme benefit from excellent individual supervision while belonging to an interactive community of scholars engaged in similar research.

Success of the programme will be measured not only by the number of graduates but by the quality of their experience and by the ways in which their research contributes to debates about the higher education sector.

The programme is co-ordinated by Dr Kirstin Wilmot ( 


Last Modified: Thu, 06 Jun 2024 09:50:24 SAST