Jun 07, 2023  
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog 

Doctor of Education in Adult and Higher Education

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Check departmental information for any additional requirements.

The Ed.D. program in adult and higher education provides a flexible system of professional study with course work in areas of instruction, administration, and research to prepare both generalists and specialists in the field. Doctoral students in adult and higher education prepare for leadership roles in a variety of adult and higher education endeavors. Adult and higher education can be formal or informal, traditional or nontraditional, and embraces such areas as adult basic education, adult English as a second language, human resource development, continuing professional education, community education, and higher education.

The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/clearinghouse/outcomes/index.shtml.

Application Deadlines

Admission to the doctoral program in adult and higher education is competitive and takes place once a year in the spring. Students are admitted for the fall semester. All materials must be received by the Graduate School and the Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education no later than February 1.


Admission to the doctoral program requires a master’s degree either in adult and higher education or in another discipline acceptable to the admissions committee. Three letters of recommendation are required from professors, employers, or supervisors who can provide supportive evidence of an applicant’s professional qualifications and potential. Each applicant must complete a writing sample to be administered by the adult and higher education faculty office. Ordinarily, an interview with the adult and higher education admissions committee is required. The faculty reserves the right to request additional evidence of potential such as assessment letters from adult and higher education faculty. Applicants must contact the admissions committee chair about additional requirements.

An applicant may submit MAT scores in lieu of the GRE scores. Students who have successfully completed a master’s degree at an accredited institution may have the GRE requirement waived upon successfully completing two NIU adult and higher education courses and having an assessment letter written by each instructor.

Student-at-Large, Study-Abroad, and Transfer Credit

A maximum of 15 student-at-large semester hours of post-master’s course work taken at NIU or at another university may be transferred into a student’s doctoral degree program. See “Requirements for Graduate Degrees” for limitation on study-abroad credit.


Students whose master’s degree is in a field other than adult and higher education will be required to take CAHA 500 and CAHA 501 as deficiency courses. These courses do not count toward the 63 semester hour minimum required in the doctoral program of study.

Check departmental information for any additional requirements.


Upon admission, a student is expected to meet with his or her adviser to complete a program of study.

The doctoral program in adult and higher education requires a minimum of 93 semester hours of graduate work beyond the baccalaureate degree, including the dissertation. With the approval of the department and the office of the dean of the Graduate School, a master’s degree may be accepted in lieu of 30 of the 93 semester hours. Ordinarily a student’s program will consist of the following.

Course work constituting the common requirements in research methodology, learning and development, and sociocultural analyses (15). These requirements may not be met through independent study. At least 9 semester hours must be in research methodology, not including ETR 520 or its equivalent.

Adult and higher education (CAHA/CAHE) course work (minimum 18), excluding dissertation hours.

A cognate area outside of adult and higher education in a professional area such as human resource development, community education, English as a second language, gerontology, or higher education.

CAHA 799, Doctoral Research and Dissertation (15-30)

A typical doctoral program includes study in a variety of disciplines within the university. Ordinarily, a minimum of 9 semester hours of course work is pursued in other colleges within the university. These credits may be taken within the common requirements or the cognate.


Qualifying examination. Before attempting the candidacy examination, students pursuing the Ed.D. in adult and higher education are required to pass a qualifying examination. This examination must be taken after completion of at least 15, but not more than 24, semester hours of an approved official program of courses, not including deficiency courses or courses taken as part of a master’s program.

Candidacy examination. A written candidacy examination is scheduled and administered at least twice each year. This is offered in several formats, to be decided in conjunction with the program committee. A graduate student eligible to take this examination, with the permission of the chair of the doctoral committee, will have completed at least two-thirds of his or her courses, exclusive of dissertation research, but including the common requirements. This examination encompasses major areas of professional knowledge.

Once a student has successfully completed all examinations and is admitted to candidacy, she or he must assemble a dissertation committee. This committee ordinarily includes a chair from the adult and higher education faculty with at least two other members, one of whom is from outside the adult and higher education faculty. The committees must also meet all Graduate School requirements.

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