Higher Education, EdD/PhD

The Higher Education Doctoral Program (EdD/PhD) is distinguished by six defining characteristics:

  • It is committed to fostering organizational change, and to preparing administrators and educational leaders to make significant improvements in colleges and universities.
  • It is designed on a cohort model, in which students who enter at the same time take courses and do field work together—a model that fosters collaborative approaches to learning, decision making, and problem solving.
  • It is focused on the opportunities, challenges, and concerns that characterize urban higher education, including access and equity for underrepresented populations.
  • It is designed to serve experienced, working practitioners who are committed to expanding and strengthening their capacities for leadership and for advancing social justice in higher education institutions.
  • It is committed to serving as a means by which more individuals from underrepresented groups, including women and people of color, can become higher education leaders.
  • It emphasizes the development of scholar-practitioners who can apply research and theory to issues of policy and practice in higher education, as well as contribute new knowledge to the field of higher education through their own research.


The Higher Education Doctoral Program focuses on issues of concern to leaders in all types of higher education institutions, including community colleges and four-year institutions both public and private. The curriculum covers topics such as organization and leadership, teaching and learning, college student development, diversity, public policy, institutional change, college access, and community engagement. Students also develop a strong foundation in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, as well as the social and historical foundations of U.S. higher education. 

Students are full-time working professionals in higher education, and occupy roles in student affairs, academic affairs, enrollment management, financial aid, institutional research, human resources, and other administrative areas. Faculty members, department chairs, and academic program directors have also entered the program to develop organizational leadership skills and perspectives.

For more information, please see the current student handbook.

The program enjoys a strong relationship with the New England Resource Center for Higher Education at UMass Boston. NERCHE was created to fill the need for information, analysis, and technical assistance for colleges and universities in New England.