Part-time program, world-class degree for leaders in higher education administration.

Aimed at preparing practitioner-scholars, the Ed.D. in Higher Education is designed for experienced professionals who wish to continue their careers as research-practitioners and institutional leaders. Individuals learn to use research to make a difference in the lives of students and institutions by focusing on pressing problems of practice. 

What Sets Us Apart

#2 Penn GSE Programs in Higher Education have been highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report for over a decade
3,000+ Penn GSE alumni have served as higher education administrators
5:1 Student to faculty ratio

About the Program

Students will gain a deeper understanding of how institutions of higher education operate while learning how to conduct rigorous academic research that they will be able to use as higher education leaders. 

Application deadline
Closed for Fall 2024. The application for Fall 2025 will be available September 1, 2024.
Entry term(s)
Course requirements
20 courses (4 required, 16 electives)
Typical course load

Fall: 1-2 courses; Spring: 1-2 courses; Summer: 1-2 courses

Transfer courses acceptedUp to 8 with faculty approval

Culminating experienceDissertation

  • Part-Time

Students attain a broad comprehension of higher education through completion of core doctoral classes that are designed to facilitate their understanding of research and completion of a dissertation. In addition to these courses, doctoral students draw on their professional work experience to develop the skills they will need to conduct high-quality primary research in higher education administration. The program emphasizes the practice of education and consultation in colleges and universities, governmental agencies, and foundations. 

Those students who are looking for an executive-style experience might be interested in Penn GSE's Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management Ed.D. program.


With the ability to take courses across the University of Pennsylvania, students in the Higher Education Ed.D. program can build a rigorous program of study that is specifically designed to meet their career goals. 

For more information on courses and requirements, visit the Higher Education Ed.D. program in the University Catalog.

Our Faculty

Higher Education faculty are leading the conversation about how to expand college access, equity, and affordability. These experts are routinely sought by university presidents, foundation leaders, journalists, and policymakers seeking to understand the changing landscape of higher education. Please contact the program for information on selecting a faculty adviser.

Penn GSE Faculty Ross Aikins
Adjunct Associate Professor
Penn GSE Faculty Rachel B. Baker
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Stanford University
Penn GSE Faculty Amalia Z. Daché
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Rochester
Penn GSE Faculty Peter Eckel
Senior Fellow
Ph.D., University of Maryland
Penn GSE Faculty Diane E. Eynon
Senior Fellow
Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania
Penn GSE Faculty Manuel S. González Canché
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Arizona
Penn GSE Faculty David Grossman
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Penn GSE Faculty Matthew Hartley
Professor and Board of Advisors Chair of Education
Ed.D., Harvard University
Penn GSE Faculty Laura W. Perna
Vice Provost for Faculty
Ph.D., University of Michigan
Penn GSE Faculty Alan R. Ruby
Senior Fellow
Associateship, London Institute of Education
Penn GSE Faculty Valarie E. Swain-Cade McCoullum
Provost’s Distinguished Senior Fellow
Ed.D., Temple University
Penn GSE Faculty Ann E. Tiao
Assistant Dean for Student Services
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Penn GSE Faculty Damani White-Lewis
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
Penn GSE Faculty Julie E. Wollman
Professor of Practice
Ph.D., New York University

Affiliated Faculty

Peter Garland
Executive Vice Chancellor, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
Ph.D., Penn State University

Anita Mastroieni
Executive Director for Graduate Education and Initiatives
Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania

Jason A. Presley
Vice Dean, Finance and Administration, Penn GSE
Ph.D., New York University

Frank Roth
General Counsel & Secretary, Board of Trustees, Lehigh University

Sean Vereen
President, Steppingstone Scholars, Inc.
Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania

“Penn GSE gave me the analytical tools to understand the newest research on college access and help craft practical ways to recruit and support a wide range of students."

Andrew Moe

Higher Education Ed.D., 2018

Our Graduates

Higher Education Ed.D. graduates accept academic and leadership positions at universities, and as leaders at government and nonprofit institutions. 

Alumni Careers

  • Athletics Director, Johns Hopkins University
  • Assistant Dean for Admissions & Academic Affairs, University of Pennsylvania
  • Assistant Dean for College Programming and Student Services, The University of Chicago
  • Assistant Professor, Salem State University
  • Associate Vice President, Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Cal State Monterey Bay
  • Chief Student Affairs Officer, Amherst College
  • Chief of Staff, University of Wisconsin
  • Director of Strategic Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania
  • Director of Institutional Assessment and Quality Improvement, Rutgers University
  • Vice President, Rochester Institute of Technology

Admissions & Financial Aid

Please visit our Admissions and Financial Aid pages for specific information on the application requirements, as well as information on tuition, fees, financial aid, scholarships, and fellowships.

Contact Information

Contact us if you have any questions about the program.

Office of Admissions and
Financial Aid

Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania
3700 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-6415

Program Contact

Ross Aikins
Adjunct Associate Professor, Program Manager
(215) 898-8398

Noel Lipki
Program Assistant
(215) 746-2923

Please view information from our Admissions and Financial Aid Office for specific information on the cost of this program.

Penn GSE is committed to making your graduate education affordable, and we offer generous scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships.