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  • Center for Education

    • Hyatt Hall
    • tel: 610-499-4294
    • fax: 610-499-4623

Curriculum, Higher Education Leadership (EdD)

The minimum requirements for the doctoral degree in higher education leadership are:

  • Completion of 78 semester-hours of graduate credit
  • Successful completion of the comprehensive examination
  • Completion of the doctoral dissertation

Areas of Study


These courses investigate fundamental concepts, theories, and principles which ground the study of historical and philosophical aspects of higher education including, the college student in America, organizations and governance, and institutional effectiveness. (18 semester hours)


Research courses examine research methodology, educational measurement, and educational statistics. (12 semester hours)

Professional Core

These courses provide students with the opportunity to examine current issues in higher education, and expose students to research and practice associated with leadership and administration, assessment of student learning, teaching and learning in higher education, and resource development and finance. (24 semester hours)

Professional Electives

Students select elective credits in consultation with their advisors. Graduate elective courses provide further opportunities for the study of higher education issues such as diversity, student affairs, legal issues, faculty professional development and service learning. A scholar-practitioner leadership project elective provides a unique option for in-depth research and exploration of a specific higher education research topic or a work related project. (18 semester hours) 

Dissertation Requirements

The dissertation experience requires a minimum of 18 semester hours. Students must complete their doctoral dissertations within four years of doctoral candidacy. See FAQS for more information.

Sample Courses 

View a selection of courses students typically take as a higher education leadership doctoral student.

ED 640 History of Higher Education

This course examines the history of post-secondary education in the United States with a focus on the societal contexts in which colleges and universities have developed. In this course, students focus on societal, economic, political, and cultural forces that have impacted various stages in the development of the American higher education enterprise. A primary course goal is to provide an introductory foundation to key events and time- lines in the development of the American higher education system, and to link them with current and emerging issues.

ED 627 Institutional Effectiveness in Higher Education

This course introduces students to strategic planning and assessment practices in American higher education. Increasingly, higher education leaders are asked to provide evidence of strategic, effective, mission-driven initiatives. Further, American colleges and universities are being asked to provide evidence of student learning and organizational and program-specific outcome effectiveness. This course provides an integrated approach to strategic planning, institutional effectiveness, and assessment.

ED 734 Leadership in Higher Education

This course provides an overview of leadership theories and explores their historical and current applications to the field of higher education. Traditional institutional leadership roles such as those of the president, provost, and dean are explored. In addition, students apply leadership theories to their own development and identities as leaders and contribute to research and practice related to the application of leadership to higher education administration.

ED 675  The American Community College

This course provides students with knowledge and understanding regarding the history and evolution of community colleges. Topics include the average American community college mission; students; assessment; resources and financing; develop- mental, terminal, and transfer education; workforce development and continuing education; faculty; governance; and leadership. Higher education policy decision impact and future trends are examined.

ED 619  Comparative and International Higher Education

This course explores postsecondary education from a comparative perspective through the study and analysis of national contexts, trends, and models of higher education. Multinational and regional comparisons and in-depth explorations of individual models contribute to students’ understanding of comparative and international issues and global higher education.

For more information about courses and requirements for the EdD degree in higher education leadership, please refer to our course catalog.