Doctoral Degree

Higher Education Leadership (EdD)

Our 3-year doctoral degree in higher education leadership develops the skills you’ll need for a rewarding career grounded in theory, scholarship, educational research, and best practices.

Program Overview

From a scholarly perspective, you’ll learn how the field of higher education is organized and studied, how to become a proficient consumer of research, and how to integrate data and theories into decision-making.

From a practitioner perspective, you’ll hone your core competencies and leadership skills through case studies, collaborative team problem solving, and scholar–practitioner leadership research projects.

Plus, you’ll join a professional learning community of higher education leaders from around the region who go on to become leaders at area universities as presidents, provosts, vice presidents, deans, and more with a doctoral in higher education leadership from Widener.

EdD Degree Program Options

View the academic catalog for Loading... requirements.

Our doctoral degree program is a flexible, part-time program designed for working professionals. Complete your degree in just three years in an accelerated format, including your research and dissertation requirements. We offer a 100% online curriculum that you can complete at a pace that fits your lifestyle. 

Beginning graduate students may enter the Loading... and complete coursework in three consecutive semesters. The five courses are determined by advisement, which allows students to customize the certificate based on specific professional development needs and career goals

Widener's dissertation completion option is for students who have completed—or nearly completed—their doctoral coursework in Higher Education Leadership with only the dissertation remaining. 

Our faculty mentors will personally review your transcript to determine any doctoral requirements needed to put you on track for successful completion of the dissertation and success after graduation. For some, this will mean their 12 dissertation credits, which can be completed in as little as 4 semesters, while others will be guided to take additional coursework or research classes. 

  • Application Deadline: June 15 
  • Semester Start: Cohort begins fall semester
  • Tuition: 12-credit minimum at the graduate tuition rate

Admissions Requirements

  • Complete online application
  • Resume or CV
  • Two letters of reference
    • At least one letter must be from a faculty member in the student's former program, preferably from the dissertation chair or academic advisor. Letter must indicate that the student was in good academic standing when they left the program.
    • Letters must address the student's writing ability, academic ability, and work ethic
  • Official transcripts, including transcripts with master's degree conferral
  • Students must have earned a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their former doctoral programs
  • Academic writing sample, such as a current draft of the student's dissertation or a paper
    • Writing sample must be at least 10 pages long
  • Personal statement indicating the following:
    • The student's research interests
    • The current status of the student's dissertation
    • Widener faculty the student is interested in working with as Dissertation Chair

View the Loading... for more information. All questions can be directed to the graduate program director.

Admissions Information

  • Complete the application form.
  • Submit your resume.
  • Submit a personal statement.
  • Have an official transcript sent from all previous graduate and undergraduate programs.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation from colleagues, supervisors, or college professors.

You will have an admissions interview with a faculty advisor.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. We accept applications for students to begin in the fall, spring, or summer terms. 

Program Highlights

Gain the knowledge and skills to succeed as a leader at colleges and universities in positions such as presidents, provosts, vice presidents, deans, and more.

Finish Your Doctorate in 3 Years

Go further, faster with an EdD designed to help you experience rapid career growth. In just three years, you'll graduate ready to step into greater leadership in higher education. 

Learn from Faculty Who Prioritize Your Success

Our faculty hold doctorates in higher education and are known for their mentoring, academic advising, dissertation service, and personal commitment to working with you to align your coursework with your career goals.

Clubs & Organizations

Higher Education majors have the opportunity to join various clubs and organizations across and outside of campus to expand their network, including the Higher Education Student Association (HESA), Kappa Delta Pi, and many more.


Get to know the faculty who teach in the Higher Education Leadership program.

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

Outlook & Outcomes

Potential Careers

  • Senior Leadership (President, Provost, Vice President)
  • Dean (Assistant, Associate, etc.)
  • Faculty (Adjunct, Tenure-Track, etc.)
  • Chief Diversity Officer
  • Director of Academic or Administrative Unit

Recent Employers

  • Arcadia University
  • Delaware County Community College
  • Eastern University
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Pennsylvania

Take the Next Steps


We’re glad you made the decision to apply. All applications and supplemental materials are submitted through the online application system. There is a $35 application fee to apply to Widener.

Center for Education