Higher and Postsecondary Education EdD

Doctor of Education in Higher & Postsecondary Education


The Doctor of Education Program degree develops breadth of understanding about higher and postsecondary education with a focus on an intellectual issue or professional activity (concentration or emphasis area). Breadth is assured through study within three curricular domains: (1) academic and developmental analysis, (2) organizational and institutional analysis, and (3) social/cultural and civic analysis of higher and postsecondary education. Students will work with faculty advisors to develop emphasis areas, among them studies in teaching and learning, institutional assessment, administration and leadership, diversity and access, student learning and development, and scholarly learning and careers. The Ed.D. requires in-depth study in processes/methods of inquiry appropriate to the area of concentration or emphasis, as well as a substantial theoretical understanding of the area and approaches to inquiry within it. 

Students who pursue the Ed.D. explore and question the range of perspectives for understanding the higher education enterprise, its educational and intellectual core, its institutional/organizational rubrics, and its social/cultural and civic contextualizations. Thus, through their own research (situated within an emphasis area), students participate in reshaping current understandings of postsecondary education. Ed.D. students conclude their programs by writing a dissertation that, though focused on a particular research problem within higher and postsecondary education, reflects the tripartite aims of the curriculum, as well as deep understanding of knowledge structures underpinning their area of inquiry.

Our students are positioned to scrutinize prevailing views of what it means to engage in “higher learning,” and to improve and develop the settings in which that learning occurs.

Graduates of our program may become policy-makers and evaluation specialists in higher and postsecondary education; they may assume substantial leadership responsibilities, as through presidencies or other key administrative posts in colleges and universities or state systems; they may lead university- or college-wide instructional development centers and activities; they may become academic scholars and researchers.

The Ed.D. requires a minimum of 90 points of graduate coursework, completion of the certification exam (an exam in two parts), and the writing and successful defense of a dissertation. 

A student is engaged in conversation with one her peers at a study group at Teachers College.

Admissions Information

Doctor of Education

  • Points/Credits: 90
  • Entry Terms: Fall Only

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): January 5
  • Summer/Fall (Final): January 5

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

  • Academic Writing Sample
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation, two (2) of which must be academic
  • Must hold master's degree

Statement of Purpose

  • For more information on our application process and guidelines for the statement of purpose, please visit the Admissions website.

Course Requirements

Doctor of Education

The Ed.D. requires a minimum of 90 points of graduate coursework, completion of the certification exam (two parts), and the writing and successful defense of a dissertation.

Required core courses include (33 points):

  • ORL 5521 Introduction to research methods in education (3) or equivalent with advisor approval
  • ORLH 4010 Purposes and policies of higher education (3)
  • ORLH 4011 Curriculum and instruction in higher education (3)
  • ORLH 4020 College and university organization and administration (3)
  • ORLH 4031 Financial administration of higher education institutions (3)
  • ORLH 5011 College teaching and learning (3)
  • ORLH 5044 Theories of diversity in higher education (3)
  • ORLH 5526 Advanced professional seminar: The literature of higher education  (3)
  • ORLH 5527 Advanced professional seminar: The college professoriate (3)
  • ORLH 6511 Coordinating seminar in higher education (3)
  • Other advanced seminars with advisor approval (3) 

A minimum of four (4) additional research courses (12 points) will be selected relative to the student's research preparation needs; selection of research coursework requires approval of the dissertation sponsor. Additional methodological coursework and a research apprenticeship are recommended and may be required by dissertation sponsor or committee toward development of appropriate research expertise.  Consult with dissertation sponsor.   

The remaining fifteen courses (45 points) are to be distributed as follows:

  • Five courses within the Program: Development of a concentration within one or two of the curricular domains, or crossing all three, with advisor approval. The concentration must represent a coherent area of study that broadly situates dissertation research. 
  • Five courses outside the Program, with at least three of these outside the Department of Organization and Leadership, with advisor approval. These courses must contribute substantively, theoretically, or methodologically to the student's selected area of study.
  • Five courses either within or outside the Program, with advisor approval.  These courses should contribute to the student’s area of study substantively, conceptually, or methodologically.

Changes or other adjustments to requirements and distributions, as shown for the Ed.D. in Higher and Postsecondary Education, require approval of the HPSE faculty advisor.  The above plan assumes advisor approval for all courses of enrollment. 

A limited number of internships may be available to Ed.D. students, pending advisor consultation and approval of the Program Director.  For information, please contact the Program’s Internship Coordinator.

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