Apr 16, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Doctor of Education in Higher Education

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The Ed.D. program in higher education provides a sequenced program with course work in areas of instruction, educational policy, administration, and research to prepare both generalists and specialists in the field. Doctoral students in higher education prepare for leadership and teaching roles in a variety of adult and higher education contexts including student affairs, academic affairs, and other areas of higher education administration.

The student learning outcomes for this degree are located here.

Application Deadlines

Admission to the doctoral program in 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, Higher Education and Student Affairs no later than March 1.


Admission to the doctoral program requires a master’s degree either in adult education, higher education, student affairs 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 submit a resume/CV and written goals statement. An interview with the higher education admissions committee may be required. The faculty reserves the right to request additional evidence of potential such as assessment letters from higher education faculty. Applicants must contact the admissions committee chair about additional requirements.

Simultaneous Enrollment in Ed.D. and J.D. Degree Programs

The Department of Counseling and Higher Education and the College of Law offer the opportunity for simultaneous enrollment in the Doctor of Education in Higher Education (Ed.D.) and Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree programs to qualified graduate students. Students must be admitted to both the Ed.D. program and the J.D. program. Matriculation in the two programs must be within 18 months of each other.

Since students enroll in two separate degree programs, to receive both degrees students must meet all of the graduation requirements for both degree programs. A student may obtain either degree prior to completing all requirements for the other degree. Under the simultaneous enrollment plan, students are required to take at least 126 total semester hours, 78 from the College of Law and 48 from the Department of Counseling and Higher Education. Up to 36 semester hours of College of Law coursework may be applied toward the 84 semester hours required for the Ed.D. degree, and up to 12 semester hours of Ed.D. course work with a grade of B or better may be applied toward the 90 semester hours required for the J.D. degree.

Students should begin their coursework in Higher Education during a fall semester. During each semester in which students plan to take courses in the Higher Education program, they must enroll in two courses and follow the outlined course sequence throughout their program.

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

Students-at-large are normally prohibited from registering for higher education Ed.D. courses. Transfer students will be considered on a case-by-case basis and can transfer in a maximum of 9 semester hours into a student’s doctoral degree program. See “Requirements for Graduate Degrees” for limitation on study-abroad credit.


The Ed.D. program in higher education requires a minimum of 54 semester hours beyond the master’s degree. Students are required to take 21 semester hours of common requirements, 21 semester hours in their specialization, and 12 semester hours of dissertation.

Area of Specialization (21)

HESA 799 - Doctoral Research and Dissertation (12)

When students pass the required exams and are eligible for dissertation, they must remain continuously enrolled and take a minimum of 3 semester hours of dissertation hours (HESA 799) per semester (spring, summer, and fall) to continue enrollment in the Ed.D. program.


Students will need to successfully pass their candidacy examination prior to registering for HESA 799 - Doctoral Research and Dissertation.

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

A final oral examination related to the dissertation is required and is conducted in accordance with the general requirements of the Graduate School.


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