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Higher Education & Organizational Change Division

In the Higher Education & Organizational Change (HEOC) graduate division, students gain an understanding of the historical, political, social, and philosophical elements that have shaped and continue to affect higher education. The programs are designed for students whose primary career interest is in research and teaching in institutions of higher education; higher education administration working in student affairs, academic affairs, or college leadership; or working in a research or policy institute. The HEOC division offers three degree programs: the M.A. and Ph.D. (research-focused programs) and the M.Ed. in Student Affairs, a one-year cohort-based Ed.M. program designed to provide early-career professionals with knowledge, skills, and a social justice perspective in the areas of student development theory, foundations of higher education, student affairs administration, research, and assessment.
overhead view of campus


Overview of Program

The Higher Education and Organizational Change (HEOC) Division is committed to advancing the scholarship, research, and practice of higher education and organizational transformation in the United States and abroad.

HEOC represents the School's commitment to excellence, equity, and social justice within higher education and to a steadfast belief in the transformatory nature of higher education as an institution of social change. In the M.A. and Ph.D. programs, students gain an understanding of the historical, political, social, and philosophical elements that have shaped and continue to affect higher education. They also work with the resources and ongoing research of the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI).

The purview of the HEOC Division encompasses:

  • Research and scholarship aimed at furthering a critical understanding of higher education and its role in society
  • Developing in practitioners of higher education the skills necessary for visionary leadership, community building, and responsible citizenship
  • Providing service to our local, state, national and international communities aimed at the improvement of higher education, and in general, the furthering of education for all people



HEOC aims to provide students with:

  • An understanding of the historical, political, social,
 and philosophical elements which have shaped 
and continue to affect American higher education.
  • An understanding of the broad scope, diversity,
 and functions of postsecondary education and 
its component parts.
  • An understanding of the theories, issues, and practices that define postsecondary education and its research.
  • The ability to develop and apply theory, research,
 and methods to professional practice.
  • A sense of colleagueship with peers and faculty as 
well as with other scholars and professionals in the field.


What Graduates Do

HEOC alumni go on to do amazing work in their fields. This information is designed to provide an introduction to the diverse research interests of HEOC scholars.
Mike Hoa Nguyen, education alumnus
Mike Hoa Nguyen ’19, Ph.D.
Nguyen is currently an assistant professor of education at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Prior to earning his doctorate, Dr. Nguyen served as a senior staff member in the United States Congress, where his policy portfolio included a number of key issues, such as postsecondary education and the judiciary. Before federal service, Dr. Nguyen was a program associate at De Anza College, where he mentored students, developed new curriculum, and taught.
Damani White-Lewis, education alumnus
Damani White-Lewis ’19, Ph.D.
Damani White-Lewis is an assistant professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania. As an interdisciplinary scholar, Dr. White-Lewis studies racial inequality in academic careers and contexts using multiple methods and theories from organizational behavior and social psychology.
Gina Garcia, education alumnus
Gina Garcia, '13 Ph.D.
Garcia is an associate professor in the department of Educational Foundations, Organizations, and Policy at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research centers on issues of equity and justice in higher education with an emphasis on understanding how Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) embrace and enact an organizational identity for serving minoritized populations. She also seeks to understand the experiences of administrators, faculty and staff within HSIs and the outcomes and experiences of students attending these institutions. Her research looks at the ways that race and racism have shaped the experiences of minoritized groups in higher education.
Our Current Students
Visit the student directory and see what they are working on.


Graduate students at UCLA Department of Education benefit from—and contribute to— the resources of the country’s number one public graduate school of education.

A distinguished faculty committed to research and teaching and excellent research centers and institutes offer extraordinary opportunities for graduate endeavors. We are preparing the next generation of researchers and professionals to address some of the most pressing challenges in the field. Learn how HEOC could be the right fit for you.

The UCLA Ed & IS Office of Student Services looks forward to assisting you through the application process. If we can be of service to you in any step of this process, please feel free to contact any one of our advisors.

Academic Information

Find Your Place
UCLA Ed&IS provides pathways for all. Let's see where you fit.


Our Faculty

Linda Sax, faculty director
Linda Sax
Professor; Founding Director, Momentum: Accelerating Equity in Computing and Technology; Faculty Director, Master’s in Student Affairs (MSA) Program
Cecilia Rios-Aguilar, professor of education
Cecilia Rios-Aguilar
Associate Dean for Equity & Inclusion; Professor of Education; Former HERI Director
Sylvia Hurtado, professor of education
Sylvia Hurtado
Professor of Education; Former HERI Director
Kevin Eagan, director of UCLA's Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP), is the co-author of HERI's Faculyt survey. Phoot by Todd Cheny, UCLA
Kevin Eagan
Associate Professor; Director of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP); Director of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA

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