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Higher and Postsecondary Education

Department of Organization & Leadership

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Doctor of Education


EDD Degree-Grad Picture

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. As they engage in study across these domains and beyond them (through related out-of-program courses), 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.


They are positioned then 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 the Ed.D. 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. 

Core courses required:

  • 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: The literature of higher education  (3)
  • ORLH 5527: The college professoriate (3)
  • ORLH 6511: Coordinating seminar in higher education (3)
  • ORLH Advanced seminar in higher education (3) 

In addition to ORL 5521, all Ed.D. students must  take a minimum of four (4) additional research courses to be selected relative to student’s research preparation needs. See department core requirements. 

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

  • Five (5) courses within the Program (i.e., beyond the "Core course required") with advisor approval. The purpose of this coursework is the development of a concentration within one or two of the Program's curricular domains or crossing all three.  These curricular domains are: Academic and Developmental Analysis; Organizational and Institutional Analysis; Social/Cultural and Civic Analysis.  The chosen concentration must represent a coherent area of study that broadly situates doctoral dissertation research.
  • Five (5) courses outside the HPSE Program, with at least three (3) of these outside the Department of Organization and Leadership.  Chosen with advisor approval, these courses must contribute substantively, conceptually, or methodologically to the student’s selected area of study.
  • Five (5) courses either within or outside the HPSE Program.  These courses should contribute substantively, conceptually, or methodologically to the student's selected area of study.

Please review the Office of Doctoral Studies Ed.D. Handbook to find out more information about Teachers College Doctoral Requirements.