Ed.D. in Higher Education

Part of the Higher Education Division

The Ed.D. in Higher Education is for experienced professionals who wish to continue their careers as practitioners. This part-time program emphasizes the practice of education and consultation in colleges and universities, governmental agencies, and foundations. Students looking for an executive-styled experience might be interested in Penn GSE's Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management program.


Fast Facts


  • Transfer Courses Accepted: Up to 8 courses with faculty approval
  • Entry terms: Fall
  • Course Requirements: 20 courses
    • Required: 6
    • Elective: 14
  • Typical Course Load: Fall: 1-2 courses; Spring: 1-2 courses; Summer: 1-2 courses
  • Culminating Experience: Dissertation

 

View Admissions Requirements

Overview


The Ed.D. in Higher Education is for experienced professionals who wish to continue their careers as practitioners. This part-time program emphasizes the practice of education and consultation in colleges and universities, governmental agencies, and foundations. Ed.D. 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 quality primary research in higher education administration. Students' work experience (acquired professionally) will provide insights into issues facing universities and may provide students with possible dissertation topics. Those students who are looking for an executive-styled experience might be interested in Penn GSE's Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management program.

Program of Study

Core Requirements

Transfer Credit

GSE will, under certain conditions, accept equivalent credit toward the degree. Up to eight graduate-level CUs taken at GSE, Penn, or another institution, may count toward the Ed.D. degree.  Transfer credit is not automatically accepted or applied toward the doctoral degree. Students should consult their academic advisor and the GSE website for the policies governing the application for transfer credit. Students who are not awarded a full 8 CUs of transfer credit should consult their academic advisor for the appropriate elective coursework to fulfill the 20 CUs of coursework required for the Ed.D. degree program.  Students without a master’s degree in Higher Education may be required to fulfill some of their electives with required coursework from the Higher Education M.S.Ed. program.  Transfer credit paperwork needs to be completed after the students first semester of coursework; please consult the GSE website for the proper forms and procedures.

Required Higher Education Courses

All Higher Ed doctoral students should take:

  • EDUC 556 Higher Education Finance
  • EDUC 705 Proseminar in Research and Analysis

Course substitutions must be approved by your advisor.

Methods Courses

All Higher Ed doctoral students are required to take two methods courses either within GSE or another school at Penn. One of these courses must be a statistics course.  Students should consult their academic advisor regarding the appropriate methods courses for their program of study. Methods courses filled at GSE outside of the Higher Education Division will also fulfill GSE’s distribution requirement.

Electives

All remaining courses required to fulfill the 20-course requirement are electives.

Dissertation

The Ed.D. dissertation explores a problem of practice at one or more postsecondary institutions. Students have five years to finish writing the dissertation.

Residency Requirement

All doctoral students must satisfy a residency requirement as a condition for earning the degree. The residency requirement is defined as completion of at least four course units within two successive terms in University courses approved for graduate credit by GSE.  Please consult the GSE website for the policies governing the residency requirement.

CU Count

This planned program of study is based on enrollment in 2 courses per semester including summer session. Doctoral candidates must be registered each fall and spring term for coursework; however you are not required to take two courses a semester except to fulfill the residency requirement as set forth on the GSE website.

Elective Courses

May be taken at any school at Penn; however, the majority of Higher Ed students fulfill their electives within the division.  Courses must be at the 500 level or above and students must consult their academic advisor before enrolling in any course outside of the Graduate School of Education. Information regarding program candidacy, the doctoral preliminary examination, forming a dissertation committee, holding an oral proposal hearing and scheduling a final defense can be found on the GSE website.

Faculty

Ross Aikins, Ph.D.

University of California, Los Angeles

Diane Eynon, Ed.D.

University of Pennsylvania

Joni Finney, Ph.D.

Pennsylvania State University

Marybeth Gasman, Ph.D.

Indiana University

Manuel S. González Canché, Ph.D.

University of Arizona

Matthew Hartley, Ed.D.

Harvard University

Eric Kaplan, Ed.D.

University of Pennsylvania

Laura W. Perna, Ph.D.

University of Michigan

Alan Ruby, Associate

Institute of Education, University of London

Robert Zemsky, Ph.D.

Yale University



Contact

Higher Education Division

University of Pennsylvania
Graduate School of Education

3700 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Ross Aikins, Ph.D.
Program Manager and Lecturer
(215) 898-8398
raikins@gse.upenn.edu

Karen Carter
Coordinator: Higher Education Division
(215) 898-2444
karen@gse.upenn.edu

Questions for current students?
(215) 746-2923
E-mail Higher Education Division Graduate Assistants at:
GSE-HED@gse.upenn.edu