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Doctor of Education
(EdD) in Leadership
in Higher Education

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Overview

Just as teachers are now in greater demand than ever before, educational leaders are needed to manage and assist schools, school districts, state educational boards, and institutes of higher learning as they work to improve their instructional capabilities. The Doctor of Education program (EdD) uses an applied, project-based approach to prepare professionals who seek to lead improvements in the strategy, practice, policy, and outcomes of educational practice. EdD research focuses on solving a problem in the workplace or in the professional field of education.

The Leadership in Higher Education specialization prepares professionals for leadership in a variety of higher education institutions, including public, private, for-profit, and non-profit. The foundational coursework provides you with an in-depth understanding of research methods, statistics, and data analysis, while the specialty studies explore leadership across a variety of functions and considerations, such management and supervision, strategic planning and operations, legal issues, and financial concerns.

Admission Requirements 

A conferred post-baccalaureate master’s degree or doctoral degree from a regionally or nationally accredited academic institution or an international institution determined to be equivalent through an approved evaluation service. Examples of acceptable doctoral degrees include Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Education (EdD).

In addition to the general requirements for admission to the EdD program, applicants to the Nursing Education specialization must provide a copy of the following:

  • A valid and active RN license from the United States
  • A master’s degree in nursing (MSN)

Dissertation Process

In addition to the foundational and specialization courses, each doctoral student is required to complete a high-quality dissertation through a systematic process assisted by faculty. An EdD dissertation is a scholarly documentation of research that makes an original contribution to the field of educational study. The step-by-step process requires care in choosing a topic, documenting its importance, planning the methodology, and conducting the research. These activities lead smoothly into the writing and oral presentation of your dissertation.

Courses and Sequence

The EdD program requires 48 credits for degree completion. Students who choose the Nursing Education specialization must take two additional courses for a total of 54 credit hours. All foundation competency courses, specialization courses, and method coursework must be completed before beginning the Doctoral Comprehensive Assessment course (CMP-9601E).

Upon successful completion of the comprehensive assessment, you’ll become an official doctoral candidate and may move onward to the sequential dissertation coursework. Additional credit hours may be allowed as needed to complete your dissertation research. If granted, additional courses will be added to your degree program in alignment with the SAP and Academic Maximum Time to Completion policies. The estimated time needed to complete this program is 33 months.

Course Details

Course Listings

Your communication abilities have a big influence on your professional reputation. In this course, you’ll develop skills to establish yourself as a competent professional with strong communication skills. You’ll learn competencies related to written, oral, and visual forms of communication appropriate to specific media and audiences. You’ll also explore how the iterative nature of preparing communications and integrating feedback into your work products can support your development and advancement as a professional.

Leadership during times of change can be challenging. This course supports your professional development as an effective leader of educational organizations during periods of change. You’ll explore strategies and techniques for self-reflection, evaluating culture, integrating stakeholder feedback, and incorporating data as part of improvement processes. To conclude the course, you’ll synthesize these skills to design a comprehensive improvement plan that addresses a specific problem within an educational organization.

  • Specialization Course 1
  • Specialization Course 2
  • Specialization Course 3
  • Specialization Course 4
  • Specialization Course 5  (Nursing Education specialization only)
  • Specialization Course 6  (Nursing Education specialization only)

In this course, you’ll develop effective search and writing strategies to create a scholarly review of literature. The course emphasizes how to: (a) use effective literature search strategies; (b) develop a scholarly synthesis of research literature; (c) organize research literature around identified themes, including a study problem, purpose, and theoretical perspectives; and (d) focus on developing a scholarly exposition that reflects divergent viewpoints and contrasting perspectives. The overarching goal is for you to understand strategies for surveying scholarly literature that avoid bias, focus on educational practice-based research problems, and address the requirements of a scholarly literature review.

This course introduces you to the research process by exploring its underpinnings, examining its paradigms, and investigating the foundations of qualitative and quantitative methodologies used in educational studies. You’ll identify criteria for the development of quality research studies that are ethical, accurate, comprehensive, cohesive, and aligned. Specific course topics involve the ethics of conducting research; data collection and analysis techniques; and issues of feasibility, trustworthiness, validity, reliability, transferability, and rigor. The goal is to familiarize yourself with the concepts and skills associated with conducting theoretical and applied research.

This course provides the foundational knowledge to become a critical consumer of statistical-based research and a skilled analyst of non-inferential quantitative data. Coursework focuses on understanding multivariate data, non-inferential and inferential statistical concepts, the conventions of quantitative data analysis, and interpretations and critical inferences in statistical results. You’ll use software applications to complete statistical computations and perform quantitative data analysis. The course culminates in a synthesis project to demonstrate your statistical skills and present your results using APA guidelines. 

Select One of the Following Two Research Courses:

A focus on qualitative research methodology and the designs and methods used to collect and analyze data in educational research. You’ll examine the principles of qualitative research and explore commonly used designs (also referred to as qualitative traditions or genres) with a focus on application and feasibility. Qualitative data collection and analysis methods will be examined for their suitability with regard to the research design selected. Alignment between qualitative designs and research methods, issues of trustworthiness, and the responsibilities of the qualitative researcher will also be explored.

This course introduces you to the research process by exploring its underpinnings, examining its paradigms, and investigating the foundations of qualitative and quantitative methodologies used in educational studies. You’ll identify criteria for the development of quality research studies that are ethical, accurate, comprehensive, cohesive, and aligned. Specific course topics involve the ethics of conducting research; data collection and analysis techniques; and issues of feasibility, trustworthiness, validity, reliability, transferability, and rigor. The goal is to familiarize yourself with the concepts and skills associated with conducting theoretical and applied research.

Select One of the Following Two Data Analysis Courses:

This course builds on a foundational understanding of qualitative designs and measurements to focus on analyses of the data. Coursework takes you deeper into the skills and techniques necessary to ensure the appropriate analyses of qualitative data, including integrating relevant frameworks, verifying trustworthiness of the findings, and selecting suitable methods for presenting analyses and findings.

An exploration of advanced statistical principles and how to apply them to quantitative research. This course provides an overview of advanced statistical concepts used in empirical research, including inferential analyses. You’ll use SPSS software to perform advanced computations as you build independent, scholarly statistical skills. Coursework will emphasize multivariate data; the use, comprehension, and evaluation of sophisticated statistical concepts; and the proper presentation of statistical results.

The doctoral comprehensive assessment is your opportunity to demonstrate your preparation for entering the dissertation phase as a doctoral candidate. You’ll synthesize discipline-specific content with research designs and methods to create a prospectus for a problem of applied practice within an educational context. This prospectus will likely become the foundation of your dissertation. This course is begun only after all your foundation, specialization, and research courses have been completed.

In this 12-week course, you’ll complete all relevant subsections of Section 1: Foundation. You’ll use your school-specific template and guidance from your chair to determine which subsections apply to your individual work. Section 1 must be completed and approved by your committee in order to pass the course and move forward. If you do not receive committee approval of Section 1, you’ll be able to take up to three supplemental eight-week courses to finalize and gain approval.

In this course, you’ll compose all relevant subsections of Section 2: Methodology and Design, and complete your proposal. Both of these components must be approved by your committee in order to pass the course and move forward. You’ll use your school-specific template and guidance from your chair to determine which subsections apply to your individual work. If you do not receive approval of Section 2 and the completed proposal by the conclusion of this 12-week course, you’ll be able to take up to three eight-week supplementary courses to finalize and gain approval.

In this course, you’ll prepare, submit, and obtain approval of your Institutional Review Board (IRB) application before collecting data and, if applicable, executing your project modeling. You’ll also submit a final study closure form to the IRB. If you’re still collecting data at the end of the 12-week course, you’ll be able to take up to three supplementary eight-week courses to complete the required components.

In this 12-week course, you’ll complete the relevant subsections of Section 3: Findings, Implications, and Recommendations, finalize your manuscript, and disseminate your findings. You’ll use your school-specific template and guidance from your chair to determine which subsections apply to your individual work. The final manuscript, including Section 3 and the dissemination of findings, must be approved by your committee in order to pass the course and be eligible to graduate. If you do not receive committee approval on all components, you’ll be able to take up to three supplemental eight-week courses to finalize these requirements and be eligible to graduate.

Specialization Courses

LHE-7100 Leadership, Management, and Supervision in Higher Education 

In this course, you’ll explore the differences between leadership, management, and supervision in the context of the Leadership in Higher Education (LHE) specialization. Your exploration will be grounded in historical trends, theoretical and applied considerations, and the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. You’ll also examine the role of shared governance and the ability to effectively manage change and conflict.

LHE-7300 Legal Issues in Higher Education

Higher education institutions in the U.S. are bound by different legislation and regulation. Leaders must also consider the different types of institutional and programmatic accreditation. In this course, you’ll explore the implications of these different accreditations, regulations, and legislation, with a specific focus on risk management, institutional self-studies, and issues of intellectual property across different types of institutions.

LHE-7500 Financial Considerations in Higher Education

Financial considerations in higher education can be complex. While accounting departments may be responsible for most of the details, higher education leaders need to understand the scope of financial considerations across the institution. In this course, you’ll examine budgets and budget cycles; sources of revenue, including financial aid, grants, and fundraising; and the regulations that govern these activities within U.S. institutions of higher education. Throughout your financial explorations, you’ll also consider the role of fiscal accountability and related challenges.

LHE-7600 Strategic Planning and Operations in Higher Education

The operational complexity of higher education institutions grows exponentially with their size. This course investigates the typical departments and processes before examining more specific operational aspects of educational institutions, such as human resources, data-based decision making, institutional effectiveness, environmental scanning, strategic planning, and continuous improvement. As usual, your coursework will consider your specific interests in topics and types of institutions.

Program Outcomes

The Doctor of Education (EdD) program develops your abilities to lead improvements in practice within educational organizations. EdD learning outcomes include the ability to:

  • Recommend policies advancing equity and social justice in educational organizations
  • Select ethical and regulatory compliant actions supporting the mission and vision of organizations
  • Develop leadership skills through the integration of theoretical constructs with professional practice
  • Create strategic and tactical plans to improve organizations
  • Construct theory-informed decisions for addressing complex problems of practice

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We’re proud to be a Veteran-founded, San Diego-based nonprofit. Since 1971, our mission has been to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. Today, we educate students from across the U.S. and around the globe, with over 220,000 alumni worldwide.

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Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.

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